Fatigue happens to be the number one complaint that people come in to resolve. So many factors can be responsible for fatigue so labs must be run to rule out the most common reasons like iron deficiency anemia, hypothyroidism, depression and HPA axis dysfunction (adrenal fatigue). In this post, I am going to talk about boosting mitochondrial function using nutrition. Mitochondria are the energy producing organelles in our cells. Nutrition can support our mitochondria and thus boost energy or do the opposite (undermining energy). This information comes from Dr. Terry Wahl’s book “The Wahl’s Protocol”. She has MS and turned around her condition using functional medicine and a comprehensive nutritional approach. I too have had MS since I believe the age of 21 and have been in remission using a nutritional approach along with functional medicine.
Nutrients that support mitochondria include leafy greens such as kale, swiss chard, romaine, leaf lettuce, bok choy, etc., cabbage (red,green), onions/leeks, raw nuts and seeds (soak overnight in water if you have trouble digesting them), B vitamins, magnesium and Coenzyme Q10. A kelp seasoning powder or seaweed blend of spice would be helpful to support iodine intake(subtle thyroid support) and can be added to your evening meal of cooked foods. Take as directed on the label.
Foods most likely to be beneficial for energy include 9 cups of vegetables and fruits daily to maximize cellular repair and energy; 3-6 cups of cabbage, onion, and green vegetables daily to support mitochondrial brain function; 3 cups blue/red/yellow/orange vegetables daily to maximize antioxidant status; raw nuts and seeds soaked overnight in water such as walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, etc. hemp seeds, chia, flax seed (ground after soaking). Ensure you are getting a serving of omega 3 rich foods daily (flax seeds, chia, hemp, walnuts, wild seafood). Turmeric should also be included (1/4 inch) of fresh root to lower inflammation.
Avoid factors that sap energy including white flour, sugar, refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners and additives, trans fats and hydrogenated oils (often found in processed foods). Food sensitivities can cause fatigue and IgG testing can rule those foods out. Chronic infections including yeast or dysbiosis (imbalance between good and bad bacteria) can contribute to fatigue and should be treated if present. Digestive complaints like gas and bloating or brain fog might be present in this case and can be investigated to find the root cause using lab testing.
Avoid environmental toxins (use natural cleaners like baking soda and vinegar) and clean up your immediate environment as much as you can to avoid synthetic chemicals that may contribute to fatigue. Buy organic produce for the dirty dozen and limit non-organic to clean fifteen (Environmental Working Guide). Making sure you are using ‘clean’ makeup and sunscreen/body creams is important to reduce chemicals that may be causing your fatigue. Drink half your body weight in filtered water daily. I love my Mountain Fresh water filter.
Get clear on what drains your energy mentally, emotionally and physically and do less of that if you can help it. Concentrate on slowing down and breathing consistently and deeply to maximize energy intake. Gentle exercise that you love consistently can help renew your energy as well. Do what you love- make time for things that you have a passion for. Until next time, be well. Book an appointment with me at Parallel Wellness to dive more deeply into this topic and get pointed assistance. For more information on boosting mitochondria through nutrition, I urge you to read The Wahls Protocol.
Reference: The Wahls Protocol, Terry Wahls MD 2014 Penguin Books