Friday, July 17, 2009

Kick Start Your Body's Natural Energy Production

It seems many of us are tired, almost all the time. That's why we often turn to unhealthy stimulants like sugar, caffeine, energy drinks and nicotine to give us a little boost to get us through the day --but it can leave us jittery and nervous, and it's only a temporary fix. 

Break that slump cycle for good by firing up your body’s neurotransmitters -- the “messengers” of the brain. It takes the perfect combination of nutrients to stimulate your brain's most important energy-makers when under stress.  A carbohydrate*-heavy diet of empty calories and low quality nutritionless refined foods our government has been recommending for years, and a deficiency of some common nutrients (also from sub-optimum nutrition) actually alters our brain chemistry by keeping our bodies from producing the vital "chemical messengers" we need to stay alert, energized, and mentally sharp.

* - high quality carbohydrates are essential to feed the brain and maintain many other functions, eg. blueberries.  Find out more about the carbs your body needs for vibrant health at:

In simplest terms, energy comes from the foods we eat.  This may seem obvious, but consider this: "Food" is not simply the sugars, fibers, proteins, and lipids that our bodies digest and "burn" for energy -- it's also the vitamins, minerals, proteins, etc., that give every cell in our bodies the raw materials they need to extract that energy.

We've discussed Neurotransmitters in previous posts. Neurotransmitters are chemical "messengers" that travel across tiny gaps between neurons in your mind and body. Once sent, they bind to the receptor sites of specific neurons. This determines what electrical message gets sent down the line to the next neuron, and the next, and so on until the signal reaches the intended destination -- perhaps a muscle or nerve.

There are literally hundreds of different types of neurotransmitters in a healthy body. Most of them are specialized. Some help you respond to stress. Some make you euphoric. Some are in charge of memory and mental alertness.

Still other neurotransmitters make you feel energized. These are the ones that most people don't have nearly enough of -- because nutritional deficiencies (especially as we age) are hampering their bodies' ability to produce them in sufficient amounts. That's why so many of us feel lethargic and run down all the time.

Some natural neurotrasmitter-boosters are:

• Tyrosine (alertness, mood, energy) -- Bridges barriers in the brain to produce energizing neurotransmitters like adrenaline and dopamine. Proven by military testing to boost mental response and physical performance under stress, tyrosine also packs mood enhancement benefits. 

• Rhodiola (stimulation, mental sharpness, mood) -- Not only a boost to levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, rhodiola has been shown to increase energy and mental acuity. Used by Soviet athletes to enhance performance, this natural wonder also helps boost mood and immunity. 

• Trimethylglycine (heart protection, energy) -- Often lacking in the body as a result of poor nutrition, this naturally occurring substance is crucial for neurotransmitter production. It also helps convert homocysteine into an energy enhancer called dimethylglycine. 

• Magnesium (energy generation, mental acuity) -- Vital for your brainpower and overall health, this mineral is an essential cofactor in the production of neurotransmitters--and in its aspartate (chelated) form, magnesium is much easier for your body to absorb and put to work. 

• B-Vitamins (neurotransmitter production, overall health) -- All essential cofactors in neurotransmitter production, the five B vitamins in my formula -- niacin, pantothenic acid, folic acid, B-6, and B-12 -- also give you countless healthy benefits above and beyond restoring energy levels and alertness.

Maintaining sugar, hormone and blood pressure are also important to balance the body. Some examples to maintain energy and mental keenness are:

• Reishi Mushroom Extract -- By stabilizing adrenal hormones, this ancient healing secret sharpens thinking while both calming and energizing the entire body. As a fringe benefit, it can also help manage blood pressure. 

• Siberian Ginseng -- By increasing cellular oxygenation while normalizing blood sugar (and blood pressure) levels, this natural stimulant supports the adrenal system, which boosts both physical and mental energy and performance.

If everyone ate organic and hormone/antibiotic free fresh seasonal local foods, there'd probably be no need to supplement. But most don't -- especially with today's abundance of refined and processed foods that we see advertised on TV, giving them more "curb appeal" on the shelves with snappy packaging than actual nutritional value our bodies need to maintain vibrant health. 

In the interest of living a vibrantly healthy life, we suggest you consume the kinds of nutrient-rich raw and unprocessed nourishment our bodies need for optimum energy production. Use supplements to kick start your way out of nutritional deficiencies.  You may not use supplements long term. If you feel better when you use them -- great.  If you stop and feel lethargic, you may need to continue using them and/or look more closely at what you consume and at what time of the day. Journal what you eat for 2-4 weeks and discuss the results with a whole food trained nutritionist you trust.


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