How often when asked “How are you?” do you automatically respond with the polite, standard answer, “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?” If we responded truthfully, we might say “I’m exhausted, actually,” or “I’m just worn out today.” The truth is that many of us are trying to balance work, home, school and family responsibilities, often on less than optimal sleep. On top of that, restrictive diets and our standard American diet don’t necessarily provide the nutrients we need to optimally support our everyday bodily processes, including energy production. Getting sufficient, and even excessive, daily calories does not necessarily equate to proper nutrient intake. Studies show we are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies that can lead to energy depletion, fatigue and a whole range of health problems.
Poor nutrition often results in food cravings, overeating and obesity, as our bodies attempt to get the nutrients required for good health and function. As much as we think our bodies just run automatically 24/7, depriving the body of nutrients isn’t much different from depriving a machine of the fuel it needs to operate. Eventually, the machine runs dry, catches fire, seizes up or quits running altogether, similar to our bodies when they break down–dehydration, inflammation, muscle fatigue and exhaustion can ensue. And while fatigue can be a warning sign of potential illness, many times the most common causes of fatigue are vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
All bodily cells rely on vitamins and minerals to produce energy. Nutrient deficiencies impair cellular energy production, resulting in a lack of energy and fatigue. Low energy has become one of our most common health complaints, as fatigue can negatively affect all areas of life from work quality to enjoyment of daily activities. Persistent feelings of exhaustion or muscle fatigue should be addressed sooner rather than later, as prolonged fatigue may be an early warning sign of underlying health issues or potential future health problems. In addition to nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep quality, lack of exercise and emotional stress all deplete energy stores and contribute to overall tiredness.
Let’s take a look at how deficiencies in certain nutrients affect our energy levels:
- Calcium – Calcium is critical to energy production and proper nerve function. In addition to fatigue, low calcium can cause muscle cramps and abnormal heart rhythms.
- Vitamin D – Essential for growth and development, vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle aches and weakness and can negatively affect the health of bones and teeth. Low vitamin D levels can result in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and compromised immune and neurological health.
- Iron – When the body lacks iron, it struggles to make new red blood cells that carry oxygen to cells throughout the body. Left unchecked, iron deficiency can result in severe anemia, which can cause extreme exhaustion.
- B vitamins – B complex vitamins aid in converting food into energy. Deficiencies in any of the B vitamins can negatively affect the cells’ mitochondrial energy production, resulting in weakness, balance issues and physical and mental exhaustion.
- Magnesium – Insufficient magnesium intake can result in oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, key players in fatigue-related conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome. Vital for energy production, a magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, fatigue and weakness.
- Potassium – Low potassium levels may cause muscle cramps and weakness and can dangerously disrupt normal heart rhythms, resulting in heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats.
- Antioxidants – Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage that can compromise mitochondrial energy production. Antioxidant vitamins, such as C and E, and the mineral selenium help address fatigue by supporting healthy mitochondrial energy production.
Deficiencies should always be addressed as a preventative measure to protect against illnesses associated with nutrient deficiencies. Fortunately, many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be corrected with good health advice, dietary changes and supplementing with high quality vitamins and minerals.
Multi-Mins™ (Iron & Copper Free) by Biotics Research – This high absorbable formula supplies a balanced source of mineral chelates, whole foods, phytochemically bound trace minerals and antioxidant enzymes. Gluten and dairy free.
UltraNutrient® by Pure Encapsulations – This advanced formula provides core vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, botanicals and phytonutrient extracts to provide broad-spectrum nutritional support. Non-GMO formulation.
Active B Complex by Integrative Therapeutics – This formula provides the full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of multiple biochemical processes including energy production, healthy homocysteine blood levels, and improved visual clarity, concentration and alertness.
Minimal and Essential® Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula by Vital Nutrients – This full-spectrum formula provides the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some essential minerals along with a potent antioxidant complex.
Is a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Making You Tired? http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/09/08/is-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-making-you-tired
3 Top Nutritional Deficiencies As Fatigue Causes. http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/fatigue-lack-of-energy/3-top-nutritional-deficiencies-as-fatigue-causes/
7 nutrient deficiencies that can make you sick. http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/7-nutrient-deficiencies-that-can-make-you-sick
10 Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies That Are Draining You Of Your Energy. http://dailyhealthpost.com/10-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiencies-related-to-fatigue/
7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs. http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-essential-nutrients/common-nutrient-deficiencies/
Vitamin D Deficiency – An Ignored Epidemic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797/