Do you feel tired all the time? If so, you're not alone. Too many of us feel sluggish because we consume too many unhealthy foods and drinks. Other lifestyle choices can add to the problem. Over time the problem has gotten worse, according to best-selling author Dr. Steven Gundry who says certain energy traps rob of us our vitality and cause us to feel sick and tired most days, which is a threat to our health.
"Fatigue and tiredness is an epidemic in this country," he told CBN News, "Well over fifty percent of people actually complain of chronic tiredness and that includes Millennials. And that's certainly not our experience in years past."
In his book The Energy Paradox: What to Do When Your Get-Up-and-Go Has Got Up and Gone, Dr. Gundry describes the changes to our modern lifestyle that have led to increased tiredness, moodiness, brain fog, or weight gain.
"Two o'clock in the afternoon all systems seem to go on pause," he explained, "You don't feel like working or doing anything with the kids, want to lie down or reach for an energy bar or some other type of pick me up like a cup of coffee."
Dr. Gundry says the primary cause of our low energy stems from an unhealthy gut. He said too many of us lack the good bacteria, called probiotics, that are necessary to adequately power our bodies. Probiotics can be consumed in a number of ways, such as in supplements, foods like yogurt and kimchi as well as beverages like kombucha.
Additionally, those bacteria need to flourish by eating fiber-rich foods called prebiotics. Prebiotics can be consumed in supplement form and in many fiber-rich foods like fresh vegetables such as asparagus, onions, dandelion greens, and broccoli.
The good bacteria "Actually actually communicate to the energy-producing organelles in all our cells called the mitochondria to make more energy, Dr. Gundry said, "So the probiotics that you manufacture by eating prebiotics literally turbocharges your energy."
Dr. Gundry went on to explain that an unhealthy gut often leaks, thereby further depleting our body's energy reserves.
"If you're tired and fatigued you have leaky gut," he said.
That's the condition where holes develop in the thin lining of the gut, allowing food and proteins to escape. When that happens, it causes an immune reaction, which triggers inflammation, a process that drains huge amounts of our precious energy.
"Inflammation is actually our white blood cells, our immune system, our foot soldiers, if you will, attacking threats that come into our body primarily through the lining of our gut," he said.
Dr. Gundry says unhealthy foods such as sugar and processed foods can harm the gut.
Dr. Gundry says too many medications can also harm the gut, particularly antibiotics.
"Please, please, please try to avoid taking antibiotics for simple things like runny noses or scratchy throats," he said, adding that antibiotics kill virtually all of the bacteria in the gut. Sometimes antibiotics are life-saving drugs that effectively treat deadly bacterial infections. However, too often they are used to treat viral infections and therefore have no effect at all except to destroy the good gut bacteria.
Furthermore, Dr. Gundry warns about eating foods that have been given these drugs.
"Try to avoid eating animals that have been raised with antibiotics with factory farms," he said, "It turns out antibiotics kill off most of the good bugs in our intestines that actually protect us from leaky gut."
"We actually produce ATP, energy, from sunlight exposure," he said.
In order to feel energetic during the day, we need a good night's sleep. However, blue light coming from our electronics can keep us from falling asleep. Dr. Gundry recommends turning them off hours before bedtime or at night, wearing glasses that block the blue light.
Dr. Gundry warns against taking certain heartburn and acid indigestion medications longer than two weeks.
"We now know that these actually stop the energy-producing organelles the mitochondria from working because they interrupt how mitochondria produce energy which is called proton pumping," he said.
More Vitamin D, Better Sleep
Dr. Gundry says people suffering from low energy usually need more Vitamin D. He recommends a 5,000 IU daily supplement and more time outside.