Have you heard of your mitochondria? Mitochondrial dysfunction might be where the problem lies.
Inside every cell in your body you have these little structures called mitochondrial. They are like the powerhouses of your cells and their job is to produce energy. For you chemistry geeks this energy molecule is called ATP or adenosine tri phosphate.
The mitochondria can’t do their job if they don’t have the right tools. It would be like trying to build a house with out nails. The tools that your mitochondria need are NUTRIENTS! Such as magnesium, B vitamins, zinc and Co enzyme Q10.
So your goal is to get as many of these nutrients as you can into your diet every day.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals you need and is very quickly depleted if you are doing a lot of exercise or if you are stressed or anxious. You can get magnesium from leafy greens so bring on the ‘bowl of goodness’ salads (throw anything and everything that is healthy and delicious into a bowl) and add baby spinach to anything that you can. Grains such as quinoa and brown rice are also sugar rich in magnesium and these are really easy to incorporate into the diet.
If you are supplementing with magnesium then stay away from the magnesium oxide form as you hardly absorb it. Look for magnesium citrate, amino acid chelate, aspartate, bisglycinate and orotate forms instead. You might need 400-600mg of elemental magnesium to get your levels up and then drop down to around 200mg per day for maintenance.
B vitamins come from a variety of foods, so here is a list to give you an idea of what you need to be eating. For those of you that are vegan, you run the risk of being low in vitamin B12 as it is only found in animal proteins so you may need to look into supplementation.
Vitamin B1 – Legumes, liver, nuts, whole grains, wheat germ
Vitamin B2 – Avocado, beans, currants, eggs, dairy, sprouts, whole grain
Vitamin B3 – Salmon, sardines, sunflower seeds, almonds, chicken, eggs
Vitamin B5 – Avocado, beans, eggs, green vegetables, mushrooms, oranges, sweet potato, whole grain
Vitamin B6 – Brewer’s yeast, chicken, eggs, legumes, mackerel, oatmeal, salmon, tuna, walnuts
Vitamin B9 – Eggs, green leafy vegetables, lentils
Vitamin B12 –Meat, oysters, salmon, sardines, herring, clams, eggs
Zinc is mainly found in red meat and shellfish but can also be found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds so add these to every meal you can along with your baby spinach.
Co enzyme Q 10 is another very important nutrient that is also needed inside your mitochondria to produce energy. Your body naturally produces CoQ10 but production can diminish as you age. CoQ10 is found in liver and beef, sardines and mackerel as well as nuts, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower. You can also look into supplementation.
CoQ10 is great at reducing oxidative stress and has the ability to repair your mitochondria so if you have been suffering from long term fatigue this is a supplement that may be of benefit.
So if you want to improve your energy levels then think about these little powerhouses and focus on eating a nutrient dense diet that will provide magnesium, B vitamins, zinc and Co Enzyme Q10.
If you are stuck with your diet and need some guidance and inspiration then have a look at my Nourish and Thrive nutrition program.