Lack of Energy
Energy loss is defined in a number of ways. Exhaustion, lethargy, tiredness, weariness, listlessness, lassitude and fatigue are just some of the terms in common usage. All these refer to a state where the body runs out of steam. You may lack vitality, feel drowsy, lack general interest and concentration and remain inactive.
Lack of energy may be temporary, from overexertion, or your body sending a message that it needs to rest.
In a society where overwork and sleep deprivation are normal we all feel tired from time to time. However, the lack of energy (or fatigue) referred to here is more than just a few hours of tiredness. Although it is not a disorder in itself, severe energy loss can be a symptom of disease or bodily imbalance and can occur at any age. It may be a first indication that your body is not working as it should and needs attention.
If energy loss is prolonged, no matter how much rest you take, with constant feelings of fatigue after only short bursts of activity, it is an indication of a more serious imbalance.
Nutritional deficiencies, malnutrition, malabsorption and lack of exercise all contribute greatly to energy loss, as does almost every illnesses and disease. As well as this fatigue can also be a side effect of many medications and chemical imbalances.
Neurons (unique cells that process and transmit information) in your brain and nervous system communicate millions of electrical messages per second. You need essential nutrients to be fully and properly absorbed for this electrical system to work correctly. When an imbalance occurs these nutrients stop being replaced. When your energy is directed elsewhere, such as an inadequate or diseased digestive system, you will have no energy for your other vital systems.
Left uncorrected your system will overload and malfunction, nutrient levels plummet and you begin to slow down, become forgetful and of course lose energy.
Age-Related Energy Loss
The main reason for loss of energy in aging is due to the continual lack of nutrients over years of insufficient dietary practice, an inadequate lifestyle, surrounding environmental factors and years of long-term medication. These all lead to a progressive decrease in muscular strength and flexibility, immune deficiency and disease vulnerability, making your body fight harder day-by-day to remain healthy.
By adulthood your resting metabolism has already decreased by 10%. In older age, along with your oxygen intake, your metabolism continues to decrease by a further 10%. Most of your total daily energy comes from this resting metabolism, therefore nutrient intake must be sufficiently increased and/or adjusted accordingly as we age to maintain sufficient energy use.
Many conditions list ‘lack of energy’ or ‘fatigue’ as a symptom, in fact almost all of them!…
- Respiratory disorders
- Arthritic disorders – ankylosing spondylitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis
- Mood disorders – depression, bipolar disorder
- Gastrointestinal problems – celiac disease, constipation, diarrhea
- Musculoskelatal disorders – fibromyalgia
- Sleep disorders – insomnia
- Menopause and premenstrual syndrome
- Obesity, and, of course…
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Many medications also list energy loss or fatigue as a side effect. See Causes below.
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Causes of Energy Loss
Common examples of conditions causing loss of energy include:
- Depression and anxiety
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Anorexia and other eating disorders
- Autoimmune disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- Colds and flu
- Premenstrual tension
- Chest infections
- Glandular fever
- Gastrointestinal disorders.
Certain medications cause loss of energy too:
- Blood pressure medications
- Sleeping pills
- Beta blockers
- ACE inhibitors
- Heart medications
- Narcotics, and
- Muscle relaxants
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Diagnostic tests may also be performed to help in a diagnosis. These may include blood tests and urinalyses (e.g. for anaemia, thyroid function and possible infections).
The pattern of energy loss itself usually gives away any significant problem and healthcare practitioners may rely on your presentation and severity of symptoms for their diagnosis.
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Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of 'serious' energy loss are pretty much universal, regardless of the cause.
- Blurred vision
- Dry skin
- Intolerance to cold
- Restless, disturbed sleep
- Feelings of muscle weakness
- Slowed movements or central nervous system reactions
- Shortness of breath
If you are taking medications (including over-the-counter medicines) these may cause similar symptoms and drowsiness too.
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Prescription drugs are often given to try to increase energy levels. Many treat the symptoms that are apparently causing the fatigue, but suppressing these doesn’t generally deal with the actual cause.
There is really very few if any successful drugs that will restore the loss of the energy you once had. You really need to go back to 'basics' and review your lifestyle, diet etc.
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To restore natural levels of energy in your body you must start at the 'beginning'. In other words examine every aspect of your diet and lifestyle. Make adjustments to improve these, and take steps to give your digestive system the best detox and support you can. This will help. However, you will still need to do more.
Because it is likely that the lack of energy is primarily as a result of nutrient deficiencies then an effort should be made to replenish any shortfall, and make sure that these replenished nutrients absorb in an optimally functioning digestive system. The specific nutrient deficiencies are almost impossible to define as there are so many nutrients that contibute to the millions of processes that take place in your body every day and for which different nutrients are needed for this to effectively take place.
Below are some essential nutrients that contribute to 'energy' but there are many more that are needed to build a strong 'energy' foundation.
|Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and muscle tissue. Studies show that even a single amino acid can specifically elevate general circulation within 15 minutes, providing a source of energy. They sustain energy-protein metabolism and promotes immunity and energy. |
|Bee Pollen |
|A natural energizer helpful against the aging process, shown to consistently increase energy levels. It contains various vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and protein. Increases in strength as high as 40-50% have been recorded in those taking regular doses of bee pollen...but, it has to be prepared in a specific way in order to be effective. |
|Siberian Ginseng Extract ||Boosts energy and alertness in older people. It contains polysaccharides and other natural sugar components, lipids, fatty acids, flavonoids and alkaloids. These ingredients alter blood flow to the brain and modify levels of neurotransmitters. |
|Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC) ||Derived from lysine and methionine and synthesized in the liver and kidneys. It is essential in fatty acid oxidation and a key energy source for the body. Has shown an increase in metabolic rate and energy in cells exposed to toxins and treated with ALC. |
|Acetyl L-Cysteine ||A stable form of l-cysteine used to produce glutathione, an antioxidant needed to fight free radicals. Increased Glutathione levels have found to increase health and energy status in elderly subjects. |
|Inositol Hexaphosphate ||Found in whole grains and seeds. It assists in the regulation of various cell functions and has antioxidant properties. It is shown in clinical trials to inhibit free radicals and boost immune system activity. |
The above ingredients are available individually and each has significant capabilities in their own right. However, to initiate effective treatment experts note these ingredients are not individually potent enough to combat energy loss issues and prevent reoccurrences.
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Insomnia is a lack of sleep, or restless or poor quality sleep. You may have difficulty in going to sleep, or you may wake up frequently and restlessly during the night. Insomnia is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying cause.
Restorative sleep gives your body the chance to recuperate and regenerate. Without it your body and mind become weary and easily malfunction. Illnesses and viral or bacterial infections result, giving rise to severe illness and general malaise.
Insomnia can affect you at any age, although you become more susceptible to it as you get older.
Insomnia can be divided into two categories:
Sleep Onset Insomnia and Sleep Maintenance Insomnia.
Sleep Onset Insomnia is shown as an inability to fall asleep.
Sleep Maintenance Insomnia is shown as an inability to stay asleep, or to wake frequently.
It is possible for you to suffer both sleep onset insomnia and sleep maintenance insomnia, leading to chronic sleep deficiency.
There are varying degrees of insomnia in both duration and severity:
- Temporary insomnia lasts from one night to a few weeks. It has a known cause and is an interruption to your body clock, e.g. when you are suffering from jetlag.
- Short-term insomnia can last from two to three weeks and again has a known emotional or psychological cause, e.g. stress over a particular factor, like work.
- Intermittent insomnia is more difficult and vague. It is unpredictable in terms of the number of episodes and their duration, and can be attributable to both emotional and physical causes.
Finally, chronic insomnia can take place on most nights and may last indefinitely.
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- 49% of adults worldwide report brief periods of difficult sleep.
- 10% of adults claim they have had insomnia lasting at least two weeks.
- Over 100 million Americans are estimated to have sleep problems. 1 in 6 of these have chronic insomnia at a serious level.
- Insomnia and untreated sleep disorders cost Americans $15 billion in health care expenses annually and $50 billion in lost productivity.
- Globally, 25% of elderly people and about 15% of the general population suffer from varying degrees of insomnia.
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Causes of Insomnia
Insomnia can be caused by physical, emotional and psychological factors, with stress being a major contributor.
Other factors include:
- Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.
- Medical illness, e.g. heart disease, respiratory disease, or disorders of the digestive system that cause physical discomfort or psychological stress or anxiety, resulting in sleep disturbance.
- Heartburn, menopause, diabetes and arthritis.
- Periodic limb movement disorder – a frequent involuntary leg movement - or restless leg syndrome with a tickling or aching sensation in the muscles of the legs.
- Lifestyle factors - bad diet, or digestive upset, caffeine, alcohol, drug use, work patterns and prescription medications.
Biological factors are also a consideration as sleep may become lighter and more disjointed as you age. Your inbuilt biological sleep regulator can malfunction, encouraging you to remain awake longer, but also sleep longer, or to sleep earlier but rise early too.
Psycho physiologic ("Learned") insomnia is also more common than perhaps first thought. This is an inability to sleep through the worry of being unable to sleep!
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Conventional Insomnia Treatments
The prescribing of sleeping pills is the most common conventional insomnia treatment.
These have a sedative effect from active ingredients diphenhydramine and doxylamine. This is thought to be a result of their initial purpose, which is the antagonism of the central histamine H. They can easily be found in over-the-counter sleep aids.
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Estazolam (ProSom)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
These are members of the Valium family and have been prescribed as a sleep aid since the 70s. They work by suppressing the reticular activating system of the brain, the system that regulates brain activity, by increasing the action of Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a chemical that helps to slow the transmission of nerve signals in the brain.
- Phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton)
- Secobarbital (Seconal)
These insomnia treatments work by more powerfully reducing the amount of activity in the brain and central nervous system. They can be lethal drugs and easily overdosed.
Because of their danger they are much less prescribed now compared to antihistamines and benzodiazepines above, but are still used in the treatment of seizures and to induce anaesthesia.
It is known that Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates may deplete or interfere with the absorption and function of natural substances such as Biotin, Calcium, L-Carnitine, Vitamin A, B6, B9 (folic acid), B12, Vitamin D and K.
Although they may provide short term insomnia relief, all of the above drugs have serious side effects and can be extremely addictive if taken for more than a couple of weeks.
Side effects include the following:
- Poor coordination
- Reduced reaction times
- Impairment of memory
- All-day drowsiness
- Skin irritation Irritation to the mucous membranes
- Stomach problems
- Vision problems
- Loss of sexual pleasure (especially women taking antihistamines)
- General malaise Possible heart muscle damage
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Natural Insomnia Treatments
Insomnia does have the potential to destroy your health. It is important to correct medical imbalances causing the problem. We now know that this is possible to do naturally!
In addition to good dietary practices, regular sleep patterns and exercise, it is necessary to correct nutrient deficiencies and to rebalance your body’s natural digestive function, and hence natural chemical structure.
There are a number of natural substances known to help achieve this without side effects:
A neurotransmitter used to regulate serotonin levels in the brain and central nervous system. It is the quickest and most effective overall treatment for insomnia, with the added benefit of improving the quality of sleep. In clinical trials by Brain Research, 5-HTP show an increase in REM sleep by more than 25%, whilst increasing deep sleep stages 3 and 4 by shortening the time spent in sleep stages 1 and 2.
An essential nutrient needed by the peripheral nervous system for the proper transmission of nerve impulses from nerve endings to target organs. It helps maintain sleep by strengthening the 'stimulus barrier’, enabling you to sleep through minor noises and disturbances.
A major constituent of Lecithin, essential for forming acetylcholine. It belongs to a category of fat-soluble substances called phospholipids. In a study on the effects of phosphorylcholine affects were seen on neuronal mechanisms relating to paradoxical sleep, possibly caused by fatty acid residues.
SAMe is a natural substance found in every cell of the body. It reduces symptoms of major depression and produces a similar sedative effect to conventional antidepressants but without the side effects. It alters the brain’s responses and improving the quality of sleep. Note: This nutrient is only effective if included in an enteric coated tablet.
D-phenylalanine (DPA) is an amino acid with antidepressant properties. It influences chemicals in the brain that relate to mood sensation and elevation. It relieves depression and the underlying cause of insomnia, producing relaxation, effective in treating sleep disturbances.
An extract known to cause sedation and sleepiness by the action of its volatile oils. In a study by the Institut fur Psychosomatik, a double-blind clinical trial shows Hops and Valerian as a good alternative to benzodiazepines for the treatment of non-psychiatric sleep disturbance.
Valerian Extract (Root)
An anxiolytic (reduces anxiety) for restlessness and sleeping disorders. It has hypotensive properties attributed to its volatile oils and other constituents, along with sedative-hypnotic effects. It works by increasing amounts of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) – an inhibitory neurotransmitter – and by it’s Valerenic acid inhibiting the enzyme that destroys GAMA. It also decreases benzodiazepine withdrawal.
The dried flower heads of either Anthemis nobilis or Matricaria chamomilla. Used as a counterirritant and carminative. It acts as a muscle relaxant and mild sedative hypnotic. It contains substances that act on the same parts of the brain and nervous system as anti-anxiety drugs. It contains the amino acid Tryptophan and appreciable amounts of calcium, together giving a soporific effect.
A mild natural sedative that’s isolated multiple flavonoids exhibit sedative effects. Studies reveal that Passion Flower extract is an important factor in the phytotherapy of tenseness, restlessness and irritability with difficulty in falling asleep.
These herbs and nutrients, along with many other individual substances are well known for their abilities to relax and aid sleep and some are readily available in shops and other retail outlets.
On their own they will provide you with a certain amount of insomnia relief and relaxation. This is extremely limited however and does not tackle your essential need to rebalance your chemical and hormonal discrepancies.
Experts know that if these ingredients could be combined to work together to enhance each other’s individual components, it may enable a product to be produced that will be potent enough to achieve results.
Xtend-Life scientists have managed to do this by combining such ingredients in an advanced and balanced insomnia relief formula. The result of this is Xtend-Life Neuro-Natural Sleep.
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