Are you Addicted to Coffee? 5 Reasons Why You May Have Daily Low Energy Levels
Recent studies have found that coffee drinking may be beneficial for your health. A 2014 journal article found that individuals who drank at least one cup per day (8 oz., black, or with a small amount of milk/or sugar) over a four year period had a 11% lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Another 2001 study suggests that coffee consumption could protect against the risk of Parkinson’s disease. This information is not provided in order to create a coffee craze, and as the old saying goes, “too much of anything, good for nothing”. Coffee containing caffeine is known to cause insomnia, nervousness, anxiety and even an increased heart and breathing rate. Coffee may be harmful to those with high blood pressure and increase the risk of osteoporosis. As with everything in life, moderation is key!
The concerning issue is that many Americans may be drinking coffee as a bandaid for mental or physical fatigue without addressing the root cause for these changes. Being attuned with your body and its changes are important to maintaining optimal health.
Reasons You May Be Experiencing Low-Energy Levels
1. Nutrition: Iron Deficiency and Blood Sugar Imbalance
Iron deficiency anemia is a common condition, especially amongst women. In this condition, the body lacks sufficient red blood cells. Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen to the bodies’ various organs and tissues. Women lose blood during menstruation making them at greater risk for iron deficiency anemia. Lack of adequate oxygen transport within the body can lead to symptoms of fatigue, weakness, cold hands and feet, chest pain, palpitations, headache, dizziness, heavy periods, brittle nails and hair loss. If you suspect any of these symptoms you should contact your doctor for an evaluation. Iron deficiency can be corrected, however it is important that you know your levels before supplementing, as unnecessary supplementation can lead to an iron overload. Iron-rich food sources include beans, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, iron-fortified cereals, breads, pastas, peas, seafood, red meat, pork, poultry.
Blood sugar imbalance can lead you on a cycle of fatigue, headaches, sugar cravings, weight gain, hunger and brain fog. Sometimes with a busy schedule it may be hard to be consistent with meal timing and quality. You may find yourself skipping meals, eating fast food, or making up for skipped meals at dinner time. The harm in this pattern is inconsistent blood sugar levels.
After a meal the pancreas releases the hormone insulin. Insulin allows the cells of the body to absorb the glucose provided from food for energy, reducing blood sugar. If foods high in simple carbohydrates are eaten, the pancreas will release a large amount of insulin to rebalance the body. This causes a large drop in blood sugar that can lead to sudden feelings of fatigue and brain fog.
Tip: Eat meals and snacks that consist of protein, good fat, and carbohydrates. You will be fuller longer, have less cravings for unhealthy snacks, and maintain more energy.
Water is so important to maintaining everyday health and is involved in every process of bodily function. In fact, the average adult loses about 6 pints of fluid a day in sweat, urine, bowel movements, and breathing. Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine can actually cause your body to excrete more water than normal, due to its diuretic effects. Many people are walking around chronically dehydrated. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition, healthy women who failed to replace 1.5% of their water weight experienced adverse changes in cognitive function, mood and fatigue. Other symptoms of mild chronic dehydration may include headache, constipation, joint pain, back pain, dry skin and even high blood pressure.
Tip: Aim to take in at least ½ your weight in ounces of water each day. (Example: 150 lb woman = 75 oz of water daily). If you are nowhere near this, you can increase your water intake gradually by adding an additional 8 oz. to your average daily intake each week. Try to track your intake by using a reusable, BPA-free plastic or glass container with graduations.
According to the National Sleep Foundation women are more likely to struggle with insomnia, somnolence and fatigue. Additionally a poll taken showed that women ages 30-60 slept an average of six hours and 41 minutes on weeknights, which is lacking from the 7-9 hours of sleep recommended for adults. Sleep can be interrupted as a result of many factors including hormonal levels, daily stressors, or even poor sleep hygiene.
Tip: Keep a sleep journal and avoid screens at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Make sure to talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns before starting any herbal or supplemental therapy.
Exercise as a cure for fatigue may seem counterintuitive, but the research has been consistent. A study performed by the University of Georgia found that sedentary people who regularly complain of fatigue can increase energy levels by 20% and decrease fatigue by 65% by engaging in regular, low intensity exercise.
Tip: If exercise is not a part of your normal regimen, start slow. Work your way up to 30 minutes 4-5 times a week. During the week, try adding a walk into your lunch break.
5. Thyroid Imbalance
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland responsible for producing hormones that control and regulate your energy, metabolism, and many cellular functions of your body. One of the common thyroid disorders is hypothyroidism. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, dry skin, dry hair, irregular menstruation, low libido, intolerance to cold and enlarged thyroid. If you are experiencing the symptoms contact your doctor and ask for a comprehensive thyroid evaluation. Comprehensive thyroid tests include TSH, free T3, free T4, thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin antibody, reverse T3, and thyroid-specific nutrients.
You can see there are so many reasons that you may have fatigue or daily low energy. Remember your body does not suffer from a coffee deficiency! It is always worth it to listen to your body and dig a little deeper to find the root cause of your imbalance.
Dr. Mary Tracey sees patients in both West Hartford and Manchester, Connecticut at Collaborative Natural Health Partners. She is currently accepting new patients. For more information or questions, please call (860) 533-0179 or visit: www.ctnaturalhealth.com.