One of the main reasons why clients call to make an appointment for an IV infusion at our clinic is “fatigue”. It could be a general lack of energy, brain fog or even muscles, which tire easily with minimal effort.
The way I think of “fatigue” is that it is an energy imbalance. Cells DEMAND more energy than those same cells can SUPPLY.
Take a moment first and think about that statement! It’s more profound than it sounds.
When I was personally faced with fatigue I had to stop to ask myself: Why aren’t I able to make enough energy? What aspect of my life is consuming so many resources? Is it an infection? Is it toxicity? Is it a hormonal imbalance? Worrying thoughts? How long can I keep going like this before something else breaks down?
In Part 1 of this discussion I will cover how cells make energy first, and then how we can test and re-balance, based on results, the nutrients needed to restore proper energy production.
How Cells Make Energy:
Our bodies make energy in the form of ATP. This is the molecule that the body uses as the energy “currency” in every cell kind of like spending dollars to buy food, gas etc.. ATP it is made in our cells in the Mitochondria.
Mitochondria are the little brown “organelles” pictured above, often referred to as “intracellular powerhouses” inside of our cells which are thought to be related to ancient bacteria that have since become permanent residents of our cells. Think of them as tiny energy producing organisms residing in each of our cells. Some cells which use a lot of energy (muscles) have thousands of mitochondria whereas other cells may have very only a few hundred. Mitochondria even have their own DNA and protective “cell” membrane. They are essentially “cells within our cells” that help us make all of our energy!
You CAN damage mitochondria and they can even die when exposed to antibiotics and free radicals (more on that and what you can do about it in the next post). Interestingly we get almost all of our mitochondria from our mothers, as sperm cells from our fathers do not have much mitochondria to donate. Thanks Mom!
Fatigue and Mitochondria:
Energy production in mitochondria is absolutely essential to sustain life itself and it plays a part in anything from physical strength, to endurance and alertness. Even a slight decrease in the production of energy from mitochondria can quickly manifest as physical weakness, inability to concentrate (brain fog) and fatigue. Understandably this is where all the action is and I have to explain a little bit of how it works.
It’s in the mitochondria that the food we eat in the form of protein, fats and carbohydrates finally gets converted to energy in the form of ATP.
This is a complicated process with a lot of complex biochemical reactions in which quite a few things can go wrong. It’s made of two parts: The Citric Acid Cycle and the Electron Transport Chain. The Citric Acid Cycle feeds molecules such as NADH FADH2 to the Electron Transport Cycle where Oxygen is used to make most of the ATP.
For each of the complicated steps above there’s a protein (enzyme) which moves the process forward. However our mitochondria also need Co-Factors, i.e. “Helpers” for these enzymes to do their job as without the co-factors everything comes down to a halt. Look for these “Helpers” in the green circles in the figure above.
What are the Co-Factors “Helpers” needed for the mitochondria to make energy?
1. B-complex, meaning all of the B vitamins, but especially B1, B2 and B3
2. Magnesium (a mineral)
3. Zinc (a mineral)
4. Manganese (a mineral)
5. Glutathione (the master antioxidant)
6. NAD (derived from Vitamin B3).
7. Alpha Lipoic Acid (aka. Lipoate, an antioxidant)
8. Carnitine (shuttles fat)
Getting Immediate Help:
It’s no coincidence that these are some of the main ingredients we included in the Immune Wellness IV at our clinic to get an immediate boost of these “Helpers” delivered straight to your cells.
If you are suffering from even a temporary shortage of energy start with the Immune Wellness IV to get you replenished with all of the “Helpers” the mitochondria need to make more energy. The Immune Wellness IV provides B vitamins in the form of B-complex (all of the B vitamins in one) as well as B5, B6 and B12 which are key in adrenal energy production. It also contains Magnesium and Zinc, the minerals outlined above. Lastly Vitamin C and Glutathione are included in this IV as they not only help re-cycle and boost Alpha Lipoic Levels, but they are key anti-oxidants which help us mop up the damaging side products of metabolism and other toxins which enter our bodies.
Of course you may be wondering how we can determine whether in fact you do have an issue with a deficiency in one or more of these co-factors. Well, we can easily test and find out in detail what you are missing.
For this purpose I recommend the GenovaLabs: NutrEval FMV. You can read more about this test in our “Testing “ category on this website (link to Testing section of website). If you’re feeling fatigued and your energy level is just not what it used to be, I think this test will be a big “Aha!” moment in your search for answers. Take a look at a sample report to get an idea of how comprehensive this test is.
Once we find out your exact deficiencies we immediately customize the Immune Wellness IV with great precision to target the nutrients you are low in, especially when it comes to the Mitochondrial “Helpers” we discussed above.
Getting the “Helpers” in food:
The Genova NutrEval test not only helps point out deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients, but it also offers explanations on how this may have come about and how we can fix the deficiencies via nutrition Take a look at the figure below under the first heading “Thiamin – B1”.
The discussion points out that we can become deficient if we consume “too much alcohol, coffee and tea”. A severe deficiency can even lead to “dementia”. However we can get more B1 from “food sources like lentils, whole grains, wheat germ, Brazil nuts, spinach, milk and eggs”. Very handy information if you’re planning on making some changes in your lifestyle and diet!
1. Your mitochondria hold the key to your energy production but they need “Helpers”, certain key vitamins and nutrients for the production of energy as ATP.
2. If you are fatigued or weak consider the Immune Wellness IV as your first option as it provides B-vitamins, Minerals and anti-oxidants like Glutathione and Vitamin C, all the necessary “Helpers” which mitochondria crave to function effectively.
3. Consider testing using the Genova NutrEval Lab at least once a year to find out your specific deficiencies and customize your IV treatments.
4. Use the Genova NutrEval information to customize your diet and oral supplements to slowly repair your deficiencies over time so you can overcome fatigue and weakness naturally.
NEXT UP: Part 2 – Mitochondrial Energy Blockers (and what to do about them)