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Energy: How to Get It Back and Keep It

Fatigue is a complaint frequently reported in doctor's offices.

The underlying causes and treatment recommendations are often as varied as the providers who make them.   This issue of HealthQuest will review things that contribute to fatigue, including hormonal imbalance and anemia.   Please note that ALL of these maladies are exacerbated by nutrient deficiencies.

It is beyond the scope of a 4-page newsletter to diagnose any specific disorder, but it is quite possible to provide insights that can drive your own self-assessment.


The Mechanism of Energy Production

Every cell in our body contains thousands of tiny little power generators called the mitochondria.   Once glucose, amino acids, or fatty acids enter our cells, they are broken down by a series of enzymatic reactions into smaller building blocks, which then enter the mitochondria.   The mitochondrial “nuclear reactor” then breaks these compounds into their constituent parts:   carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O), while also releasing 36 of energy units called ATPs.   [1]   Mitochondria provide the energy every cell needs to move, divide, produce products, or to contract – depending on that particular tissue’s function(s).

 

As amazing as the Krebbs Cycle is, it’s only efficient in the presence of oxygen.   [2]   When your tissues don’t get sufficient oxygen, the process crashes, releasing only a fraction of the energy, while producing lactic acid.   That’s what makes our muscles sore after a prolonged workout.   This is the main reason why anemia causes such physical exhaustion.

Red blood cells (RBC) are designed to carry up to 4 oxygen molecules each, when our blood chemistry and nutrient levals are in balance.   If you lack sufficient iron in your diet, or can’t absorb it properly, your RBCs can’t carry enough oxygen to your tissues, and you tire easily and feel out of breath.




Hormonal Imbalance

A hormone imbalance occurs when there is too little or too much of a particular hormone in the blood stream.   Hormones are chemical messengers, released to the bloodstream to command organs and tissues to do specific tasks.   Endocrine glands are the tissues that produce hormones.   [3]

There are a variety of named-diseases that involve failure of a gland to produce sufficient hormones (such as insulin from the pancreas, or T3 And T4 from the thyroid).   That failure can occur if the gland/organ is ill, or if the brain fails to produce and/or release the neurotransmitters that direct the gland to produce their hormones (by secreting and releasing a stimulating or releasing hormone).   [4]


Blood Sugar Imbalance

In the case of Diabetes, even though there may be a problem with the cells that produce insulin, or an insensitivity to insulin at the cellular level, supplementation with chromium (found in Shaklee’s Glucose Regulation Complex (20749) and all Shaklee's other multi-vitamin lines) has been shown to improve blood glucose levels and glucose metabolism.   [5]

GRC also contains 3 other nutrients that help manage blood sugar:   vanadium, alpha lipoic acid and banaba leaf extract.   [6]   Among its many other roles, insulin is the key that activates transport proteins (pores) in the cell membrane to shuttle glucose into the cell.

Deficiencies in key minerals, including calcium, zinc, and vanadium also may inhibit this process, thus reducing cellular energy output, and the overall function of the tissues those cells comprise.   [7]



Thyroid Imbalances

In the case of the Thyroid, reduced output of T3 (the active) and T4 (the inactive) hormones drastically slows our metabolism, drops body temperature, and contributes to weight gain, because of the reduced energy consumption within the body.   [8]   The primary medical condition that causes hypothyroid (hypo = too little) is an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.   [9,   10]

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), found in Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex (20656) has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to treat a spectrum of energy depleting disorders [11].

Recent animal studies have shown that Ashwagandha significantly increased T4 concentrations in the blood, [12], decreased cholesterol oxidation, and also increased the activity of the antioxidant enzymes, including both superoxide dismutase and catalase.   [13]

Certain thyroid syndromes (euthyroid sick syndrome and Low T3 syndrome) arise because the body loses the ability to break down thyroid hormones, so that they can convert inactive T4 into the active T3 form.   [14]   The mineral selenium is a co-factor in those conversions, and administration of selenium completely reversed the effects of slowed metabolism in test animals, by increasing their T3 and metabolism levels.   [15]

Iodine is also an important and well-known component of thyroid hormones, but numerous other minerals and vitamin complexes are also required to produce these complex substances.   Deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron, selenium, vitamin A, and possibly zinc appear to depress thyroid function.   This is why broad-based supplementation has helped so many people who suffer from hormonal imbalance.



Anemia

As we discussed earlier, red blood cells (RBC) transport oxygen from the lungs to all of our tissues.   Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein found within every healthy red blood cell.   We cannot create hemoglobin without the presence of iron and B vitamins.   [16]   The eight B vitamins participate in so many functions — cell growth, enzyme activity, and carbohydrate, fat, and amino acid synthesis and breakdown — that reduced levels push cell function into disarray.   [17]

One of the reasons we need to be careful with our diet is because we require B vitamins to break down (or metabolize) simple sugars, alcohol, and caffeine products.   NOTE:   So, if you do enjoy a cup of coffee, a soda, or a glass of wine, then remember to replenish yourself with extra B vitamins to replace what was lost.   B vitamins are also critical for producing the neurotransmitters of the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.

Although there are some insidious forms of anemia, the most common form is caused by blood loss, from menstruation, stomach ulcers, or intestinal disorders like colitis.   Reduced iron intake and poor absorption also contribute.   It's important to know that when we eat something that contains iron, we need to have vitamin C present in the gut at the same time, to convert (or reduce) iron from it’s usual ionic +3 state to the +2 state, before it can be absorbed by our intestines.   It is notable that Shaklee was the first company to add vitamin C to their iron-containing supplements to enhance absorption.



Deficiency Diseases

Specific vitamin deficiency diseases occur when we fail to get enough of a nutrient in our diet.   I list them so you may review the broad spectrum of disorders cause by vitamin deficiency.

VITAMIN DISORDER
Vitamin A   Immune Deficiency
Night Blindness   (early sign), AND
Keratinization (hardening) of the skin, and of the mucous membranes withinin
the respiratory, GI, and urinary tracts.   (later signs)

Vitamin B   Neural Tube Birth Defects   (Folate)
Peripheral Neuropathy   (B-6)
Megaloblastic Anemia   (B-12)
Peripheral Neuropathy   (B-12)
Megaloblastic Anemia   (Folate)
Beriberi   (Thiamin)
Pellagra   (Niacin)
Conjunctivitis   (Riboflavin)
Seborrheic Dermatitis   (Riboflavin)
Normochromic-normocytic Anemia   (Riboflavin)

Vitamin C   Fatigue
Gingivitis
Depression
Internal Bleeding
Impaired Wound Healing

Vitamin D   Rickets in Children
Osteomalacia in Adults
Impaired Bone Mineralization

Vitamin E   Hemolytic Anemia
Neurologic Deficits
Degeneration of Neurons
Fragility of Red Blood Cells

Vitamin K   Internal Bleeding
Impaired Clot Time

As we just discussed, insufficient vitamin and mineral intake also contributes to incomplete digestion and metabolism of our food, reducing our energy levels, and increasing the risk of the onset of disease and premature aging.

Reduced dietary levels of the B vitamins are associated with depressed secretion of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid).   This creates a real problem, because a high acid level (or low Ph) is critical for breaking down our food to release and absorb the vitamins and minerals we require daily.   [18]

B vitamins also support mental health and memory.   Dr. Abram Hoffner discerned the relationship between vitamin B3 deficiency and schizophrenia when he discovered the similarity to the B3 deficiency and Pellagra.   He found that supplementing schizophrenics with high levels of B3 helped to control the delusional symptoms that are its hallmark.   [19]



Nutrient Recommendations

The following recommendations are divided into 3 stages, based upon the health status of the individual.   These recommendations presuppose that you already eat a diet filled with fruits, vegetables, legumes, and a low-fat source of protein.   If you don’t, then please refer to previous newsletters.

Ideally, you are already using one of Shaklee’s soy products like the delicious Life Energizing Shake, or the remarkable Energizing Soy Protein or the versatile Instant Protein Soy Mix to provide the building blocks of health and energy.


Stage I

These recommendations are for a healthy person who has observed that their energy level is lagging.

1.   B vitamins

The ideal source for time release B vitamins is Shaklee’s Vitalizer System, or the new Life Strip.

Vitalizer is available in 4 formats:

Vitalizer for Women (20283),   for Men (20282),

and for those of us over the age of 50,

Vitalizer Gold with (20284) or   without Vitamin K (20285).

The Life Strip is available in 2 formats:

Life Strip (21294 with iron),   Life Strip (21293 without iron).

Because the B+C Complex is provided by a sustained-release gel diffusion system, it uniformly releases the B and C vitamins to the blood over a 12-hour period.   Vitalizer and Life Strip both contains 26 separate antioxidants to prevent the pervasive damage caused by free radicals.   Each of these antioxidants contributes to different aspects of your cellular defense mechanism.   Deficiencies in any particular antioxidant can increase cellular damage rates, causing premature aging.


Another option would be to to take Shaklee’s B Complex (20194).   Shaklee's patented B Complex solved the problem that all supplements had with poor absorption of Folic Acid, by coating the the tablet with it, to make it more bioavailable.   But remember: because the B vitamins are water soluble, our bodies deplete them within several hours, so to get the best results, you need to take them throughout the day (with meals).


2.   Multi-vitamin

If you aren’t already taking Vitalizer and Life Strip, then you will benefit from taking one of Shaklee’s basic multi-vitamins:  




Stage II

These recommendations are for a person who may be taking a prescription that is exhausting them, but is otherwise reasonably healthy.   This person should adopt the Stage I recommendations, as well as the following recommendations.

First, please check the Nutrient Depletion Charts   [20]   because they provide 3 separate resources to discover which nutrients are depleted by your prescription.   Unfortunately, there is no one convenient website containing all this information for free, but these 3 separate pages can help you to zero in on which additional nutrients you may need to take.

NOTE:   You will notice that many of these drugs deplete Coenzyme Co-Q 10, and Shaklee’s CoQHeart (22076) can help replenish it.   Shaklee spent 3 years developing this product, and it is 50-500% better absorbed than any other CoQ product on the market.   Although our cells produce CoQ, production starts to decline in our late 20s, and by middle age our cells only produce about half of what’s needed.   Along with the eight B vitamins, Co-Q 10 is a key nutrient for supporting energy.



Stage III

These recommendations are for a person who has anemia or one of the specific hormonal problems we reviewed earlier.   This person would adopt the Stage I recommendations, plus the following suggestions.   This person should definitely be taking Vitalizer, and might even consider taking it in the AM and PM for the first month (or 2), to replete the body reserves of nutrients, and to regain and stabilize their health.

HORMONAL IMBALANCE:   Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex (20656) is very helpful for reducing stress without the side effect of drowsiness.   It is also very protective of all your organs because it blunts cortisol release.   As we reviewed earlier, Ashwagandha has been shown to increase T4 concentrations in the blood, which will help with hypothyroidism.   [12,   13]

Because of the need for these critical minerals (calcium, zinc, vanadium, and selenium) you would also benefit from taking Vitalizer or taking at least 3 daily doses of one of Shaklee’s multi-vitamins.

PANCREAS:   If your blood sugar is irregular, then Shaklee’s Glucose Regulation Complex (20749) provides all the key minerals associated with balancing and managing sugar levels.   It also contains alpha lipoic acid, a powerful antioxidant that protects against free radical damage and also helps convert glucose into energy.   [3]   Alpha-lipoic acid has also been found to be protective of the vascular system   [3]   and has shown promise in reducing the pain, burning, itching, tingling, and numbness in people who have nerve damage caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy). [23]


Both those individuals would also benefit from taking Shaklee’s CorEnergy (20732) because it contains a proprietary blend of cordyceps, panax ginseng and green tea.   Ginseng is one of the most powerful of the adaptogenic herbs.   It is also a tonic for the yang chi in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).   Ginseng is usually given to people who display yang deficiency — weakness in muscles, voice and constitution.

Asian ginseng has also been shown to increase protein content and RNA
in the muscle and liver tissues of laboratory animals.   [23]   This same process may be the biochemical mechanism that makes ginseng such a highly regarded tonic.   Asian ginseng is said to tonify the chi and the lungs while strengthening the spleen and stomach and calming the spirit.   Studies show ginseng provides antidepressant, anti-diabetic and anti- hypertensive qualities.   [24]   And lastly for:

ANEMIA:   Shaklee’s Iron Plus C Complex (20491) provides high potency and easily absorbed iron, to help you create more oxygen carrying red blood cells.   Iron-deficiency affects 240,000 toddlers and 3.3 million women in the United States.   It can lead to fatigue, impaired concentration, and compromised immune function.


New Vivix Study Published

A newly published research study just demonstrated the incredible power of Shaklee’s Vivix. In this randomized, placebo-controlled study, performed by scientists at State University of New York at Buffalo, Vivix halted the inflammatory stress and oxidative damage caused by eating a high-fat, high-carbohydrate, or HFHC meal.   [25]   (Full Text)

Dr. Ghanim and his staff of endocrinologists had previously demonstrated that HFHC meals induce oxidative and inflammatory stress, and also produce an increase in plasma endotoxin concentrations. The increased release of reactive oxygen species (or “free radicals”) they observed induces inflammatory damage that contributes to vascular inflammation, plaque buildup in the arteries, increases in blood pressure, and the tendency towards obesity.   [26]

In the current study, the subjects were fed a 910-calorie, fast food breakfast, which included sausage, cheese, and fried potatoes (Burger King breakfast). Half the participants received a supplement containing resveratrol and muscadine grape polyphenols along with their meal (Shaklee’s Vivix), while the other half received an inert placebo. The participant’s blood was tested for the activity levels of a key genetic molecule, called NF-E2-related factor-2 (or Nrf2 for short), which is the coordinator of antioxidant protection within every cell in your body. Blood testing revealed that Nrf2 activity was significantly depressed in the placebo group, while the Vivix group demonstrated dramatic increases in Nrf2 activity.

The researchers also measured and tracked several other key blood markers,
and observed that HFHC meals also:

  • Evoke an increase in the expression of the suppressor of cytokine-1 (SOC-3), a protein that interferes with insulin and fat metabolism, thus forcing the body to store rather than burn fat (obesity).

  • Increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which depress immune function, by interfering with the function of white blood and killer T cells.

  • Depressed the Nrf2 system, reducing its ability to produce superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathoine S-transferase (GST), the cells own most powerful tools for preventing oxidative damage.   [27,   28]






Did you see the Oscar-nominated movie Superzize Me?
If so, you will recall that Morgan Spurlock’s health declined precipitously during the month that he lived exclusively on fast food. The processed grains, saturated and trans-fats, preservatives, and other food additives contained within those meals depress immune function, cause arterial constriction, depose plaque in the arteries, and increase cortisol production, leading to stress and accelerated aging. That’s why Morgan’s health declined so rapidly.

The Nrf2 defense system is best known for mobilizing antioxidant enzymes.   It also choreographs immune response, and enhances cellular detoxification pathways.   Disruption of this system by eating HFHC meals spells disaster for the body.

Let’s discuss some of the amazing characteristics of the Nrf2 defense system.

Click to enlarge graphic

Nrf2 manages Phase II detoxification within the liver. Phase II detox enables the body to excrete xenobiotics, or man-made compounds, like drugs and other oil-based toxic chemicals, which the Phase I liver detox system can’t eliminate. Depressing Nrf2 activity leaves the body incapable of removing these toxins.   [29]   This is of particular importance if your diet includes conventional produce, exposed to pesticides. If anything, you want to encourage your liver to detox with Vivix.

Disruption of the Nrf2 gene can also lead to severe airway inflammation created by allergens, and can contribute to the development of asthma.   [30]   Nrf2 has also just been found to inhibit the development of emphysema by researchers at Johns Hopkins’s School of Public Health.   [31]   Several years before that, this same group at Johns Hopkins had demonstrated that Nrf2 protects against developing pulmonary fibrosis, a frequently fatal lung disease.   [32,   33]

Because oxidative stress is associated with the onset of so many different diseases, the Nrf2 antioxidant system has recently been found to be associated with reduced risk for developing Parkinson's,   [34]   and Huntington's disease,   [35]   lung cancer,   [36]   and other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.   [37]   It’s also been shown to provide protection against a variety of pathologies in numerous organs, including the liver, intestine, lung, skin, and nervous system.   [38]   That pretty much covers all my favorite organs.

In 2008, when Vivix was first released, Shaklee scientists knew that these polyphenols could repair cell damage, thus reducing the risk for heart disease, diabetes, and perhaps neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This new study suggests that Vivix, because it stimulates the Nrf2 system, may have even more profound health benefits.

Let's conclude with a comment from Dr. Steve Chaney about this Vivix study:

“Just think how much more beneficial it will be to keep your natural antioxidant defense mechanisms, your detoxification systems, your immune system, and your anti-stress systems in tip top shape, without wasting those resources compensating for the effects of a bad diet.”

That sounds like sound advice to me!

 
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Please e-mail me
I am happy to help!



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Please e-mail me
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* Although these statements may have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration,
they are all drawn directly from the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and that's good enough for me!