Energy & Metabolism - 5 reasons your energy is low and how to turn up the dial

Energy & Metabolism - 5 reasons your energy is low and how to turn up the dial


The great energy slump. Many of us seem to be suffering the effects of an energy crisis within our own bodies. The causes can be anything from nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep, stress and even dehydration. In this article we’ll tap into some key tips to turn these around and support your energy and metabolism.


Metabolism: The Engine of Vitality


Metabolism basically encompasses all the chemical processes within the body that convert food into energy. The more energy we expand, the higher our metabolic rate. The majority of the energy we get from the food we eat will go towards the costly basics of ‘living’. From keeping us warm, pumping blood, digesting, thinking and simply breathing; we call these essential tasks our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). 


Factors such as age, genetics, body composition, and hormonal balance all have an influence over this metabolic rate, but the good news is there are ways in which we can increase it and therefore create more energy. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for sustaining energy levels and supporting metabolic health. A huge factor in our BMR also lies in the energy demands of muscle cells. Differing from other cell types, muscle cells create more energy to repair, contract and relax. Protecting and gaining muscle creates a metabolic sink for your body and increases your BMR.


Top 5 factors having a down-turn effect on your energy and metabolism 


  • You’re lacking protein in your diet

  • Protein is a powerhouse nutrient for metabolism. Remember; muscle plays a key role in our metabolism, and so we’ll give you no guesses which nutrient is essential for preserving lean muscle. Correct: Protein. Through its thermogenic effect, your body actually expends more energy in digesting and metabolising protein compared to other macros. Therefore by including protein-rich foods you can temporarily increase metabolic rate, which can go some way in managing your weight and body composition.


    Feeling hungry an hour after eating? Then you may have been lacking some protein-balance in that meal. Protein is highly satiating, promoting fullness after eating and helping you to regulate your appetite. It can also help stabilise blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and reducing postprandial glucose spikes which can lead to those slumps in energy. 


    Elevate your energy: Include a source (or a few sources) of protein with every meal or snack. This can look like having eggs, yogurt, legumes, meat, fish, lentils or of course, collagen. We’re big believers of including a range of protein from different sources to ensure you include a whole range of amino acids across the day for optimal health. 

     


  • You’re not drinking enough water + minerals                                                     
  • Proper hydration is essential for metabolic efficiency. Metabolism happens at a cellular level and water plays a critical role in the structure and function of cells facilitating the transport of nutrients and waste products. Without good hydration, metabolism is compromised, leading to decreased energy production. 


    Water also helps regulate body temperature through sweating. During physical activity or in hot environments (sauna anyone?) the body loses water and minerals which need to be replenished to prevent dehydration.


    Like any process where something great is created, waste products are also made. When creating energy, metabolic processes generate waste products that need to be eliminated from the body and water helps to flush these out. 

     


    Elevate your energy: Getting enough water each day is a no-brainer and yet many people still struggle to do this. Keeping a glass of water by your bed and drinking it when you wake, topping up on herbal teas and investing in a water bottle you enjoy using are some helpful tips. However true hydration is more than just water. Your body also needs key electrolyte minerals to bring water into the cells and therefore getting enough minerals through your diet and with clever electrolyte supplementation can be a game changer for your energy. 


  • You need to move more

  • Our current environment is set up for a sedentary lifestyle. From our commutes to our offices to our sofas - we have made our lives utterly comfortable and yet biologically we are made for movement and challenge. Our body doesn’t receive energy - it actively creates it and simply by moving our bodies more we can feel more energised.  Current research now suggests that having an hours workout to combat sitting for the rest of the day just isn’t enough. We need to be active throughout the day, moving our bodies in functional ways to support our energy pathways and  muscle health. 


    Elevate your energy: Find ways to inconvenience yourself across the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a few roads away from your work or home, walk during your lunch break, create or invest in a standing desk.

     


  • Your Circadian Rhythm is out of whack 

  • Alongside not moving so much, we’re also spending more time indoors and around artificial lights than ever before. The knock on? Amongst other things, our metabolism pays a price. Our circadian rhythm is governed by light and behaviours, and helps regulate most physiological processes in our body, including the release of hormones to help us wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night, our body temperature, and our glucose metabolism. Our circadian rhythm  also regulates our energy expenditure and and in some cases, weight management. 


    Elevate your energy: The key takeaway here is to ensure you are exposed to natural light during the day (take your sunglasses off for 20mins outdoors, even on overcast days), reduce your artificial light exposure at night and also look at key behaviours such as physical activity and when you eat. 


    Intermittent fasting or Time Restricted Eating has gained popularity for its purported benefits for energy and metabolism. Rooted in ancient traditions, studies now suggest that intermittent fasting may aid weight loss, improve metabolic health, enhance cognitive function and has been associated with reduced inflammation and improved markers of cardiovascular health. Whilst most people can benefit from a 12hr fasting window from their last meal of the day to their break-fast, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution. Factors such as age, gender, medical history, pregnancy, high stress and lifestyle should be considered before embarking on an intermittent fasting regimen. 


  • You’re lacking in some vital micronutrients 

  • Optimal hydration, quality sleep, and regular physical activity are the fundamental pillars for sustaining energy and optimising metabolic function. However taking a deeper look at what micronutrients you may be lacking in your diet can turn the dial even further, as deficiencies in key nutrients such as iron, B12, Vitamin D and magnesium can impair energy production pathways.


    Those chronically lacking in energy should always check with a health professional and often a blood test to determine iron, B12 and Vitamin D levels will be advised. Magnesium also plays a specific role in ATP production (the currency of energy in your cells) as well as over 300 processes in your body. Low magnesium levels will mean over 300 processes can’t work effectively and the result? You feel wiped. 


    Elevate your energy 


    Nourishing your body with foods rich in these nutrients coupled with supplementation for those at risk of deficiency, can really ensure levels are optimised. 

    Iron rich foods include: liver, red meat, beans, legumes, dried fruits, beetroot

    Magnesium rich foods: spinach, chard,pumpkin seeds, cacao 

    B12 rich foods; meat, fish, eggs, dairy, fortified milks and nutritional yeast 


    Your Metabolic Allies 


    Alongside lifestyle and dietary changes, there are a few natural allies which can help to support your energy levels and metabolism. Our favourites include: 


    MCT Oil: Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are unique fats metabolised by the liver to produce ketones, a potent source of energy for both the body and brain. MCT Oil can be seamlessly integrated into your morning routine to fuel workouts, support fat burning, and boost metabolic efficiency. Research highlights the benefits of MCTs for enhancing endurance, promoting satiety and protecting brain health. 


    Coffee + Matcha: An ingredient to use mindfully, caffeine, found in coffee and matcha, is a natural stimulant that can increase alertness, focus, and energy levels. Caffeine has also been promoted as a performance enhancer pre-workout so can also be utilised effectively for powering you through your workout. Matcha also contains catechins, a group of antioxidant compounds known for their thermogenic properties. Catechins, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been shown to increase thermogenesis and fat oxidation, potentially contributing to weight management and metabolic health.

     


    Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha has been found in studies to improve energy levels and increase stamina. Utilising this helpful herb to support your physical and mental performance can help you to level up from mastering the foundations to energy expert. 

     

     

     

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