Optimising Energy Levels
By taking a detailed health history and examining your current diet, lifestyle and energy patterns, your therapist gains valuable clues for ways to help you optimise your energy levels. For example:
A desire for improved energy levels is one of the most common reasons that people consult a nutritional therapist. Often, people are also looking to optimise their digestive health, their hormonal function, their weight and their general sense of wellbeing. Could this be you?
- achieve a healthy blood sugar balance. You may have irregular eating patterns and/or a high sugar diet or use of stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol.
- optimise your digestion and absorption of nutrients from food
- increase the quality and quantity of nutrients in your diet
- optimise your adrenal function. The adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol in response to stress (which may be emotional or physiological). Over time, the amount of stress experienced may lead to a reduction in cortisol production by the adrenals, with a resulting loss of 'get and up and go'. The ability to resist infections is also lowered, leading to increased susceptability to colds, viruses, etc.
Having identified the most likely triggers for your poor energy, the first step is to address your diet. Your therapist will explain the importance of balancing blood sugar, which helps to produce a steady flow of energy throughout the day, reduce cravings for sugar/stimulants and lessen mood swings. You will be given examples of the best foods to eat and the optimum times to consume them.
If your therapist considers that your digestion requires optimisation, she may also suggest a gut function test - click here for further details. The results will be used to prepare a specific nutritional programme using dietary choices and supplements to help resolve issues identified, such as a lack of digestive enzymes, imbalanced gut bacteria or intolerance to certain foods. Better energy may result as your ability to digest nutrients improves.
If your therapist thinks that optimising adrenal function may have a significant impact on your energy levels, she is likely to recommend that you undertake an Adrenal Stress Profile (£75). This involves taking 4 saliva samples over the course of one day to measure cortisol levels at particular times, and can be done at home or while at work. Cortisol should be high in the mornings and decrease over the course of the day. Your profile results will be used to put together a specific adrenal support programme, using dietary and lifestyle change as well as nutritional supplements. Over time, an improvement in energy may be experienced if the programme is followed closely.