Most of us could use a bit more of it. Some people suffer from a complete lack of it. Athletes burn a lot with activity and we all need it to maintain a sharp mental state. What I’m referring to is energy, and in order to move and think, we need it. Get a little extra “kick” in you workout, recover quicker, and stay more mentally focused with a few natural supplements that can make a big difference in your energy production.
Making Cellular Energy
At the most basic level, we utilize food, water, and oxygen to generate energy. Obviously, getting excellent nutrition is a starting point to having more energy. And minimizing toxic energy draining foods is also important. But beyond the surface, how does the body convert these raw materials into actual energy?
Without delving into complex biochemistry, suffice it to say that every cell in the body is equipped with the ability to make energy. Inside each cell are numerous energy generators called mitochondria. These little power packed units produce the spark that makes everything move. Giving the mitochondria the right fuel and the ideal conditions to operate can improve overall energy.
Enzymes are chemicals that convert one substance into another, and in our body enzymes convert food, water and oxygen into energy. Coenzymes are smaller chemicals that a needed for the bigger enzymes to do their job.
Ubiquitous is to be found everywhere, and Ubiquinol gets its name because it is found everywhere throughout the body. Also know as CoEnzyme Q, or CoQ, this compound is both spark plug and fire hose, being responsible for generating energy and also quenching the oxidative damage caused by energy production.
Inside every mitochondria, CoQ is busy passing electrons down a chain of chemical reactions, all the while generating energy. Since we don’t have an internal battery, we store energy in chemical form, primarily as a chemical called ATP, or adenosine-tri-phosphate. When we need more energy we draw upon the stored ATP.
For CoQ to work, it requires CoEnzyme 1, or activated vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide, or NAHD. Energy is produced by NADH, and stored in the NAHD chemical form, making it a super energizer. It too is a super antioxidant, helping to protect the delicate mitochondria.
The cell membranes that wrap the mitochondria are under constant assault from free radicals that fly out like sparks from a fire due to all this energy production. If mitochondrial membranes are damaged, energy production fails, thus protecting and nourishing these cell membranes is critical to preserving energy capacity.
Detoxification also requires a large amount of energy, and when our body is overloaded with toxins, such as chemicals or heavy metals, then our energy systems suffer due to lack of resources and attention. Impaired detox pathways can compound this problem and many people with chronic fatigue benefit from focusing on avoiding toxins and supporting the detox process.
With aging and the stresses of day-to-day living, our energy systems lose their oomph, and the result is feeling physically and mentally tired. Intense activity, such as athletics, demand more cellular energy. Some people have defective or damaged mitochondrial systems or membranes. Taking a few supplements will often remedy this breakdown in energy production.
Your Energy Boosting Remedy
Think about where we use the most energy… The cells that make up the heart, muscles, and brain are the richest in mitochondria and make the most energy. Most of our cells burn glucose for fuel, from the breakdown of carbohydrates. The heart actually prefers fatty acids for fuel, partly derived from essential fatty acids in our food.
Start you energy boosting strategy with ubiquinol. This natural form of CoQ is 8x better absorbed and reaches a higher peak level with more sustained blood levels than the more familiar ubiquinone. The original and best form available in the US is from the Japanese, called Kaneka. I recommend from 50 to 300mg daily, taken in the morning or spread out in 2-3 doses. For cases of heart failure or serious illness I check CoQ blood levels to insure ideal dosing.
Next, add some fire with NADH. Professor George Birkmayer, MD, PhD, was the first to identify the importance of NADH in cellular development and energy transmissions for all bodily functions and organs. He is a world-renowned biochemical researcher and Medical Director of the Birkmayer Institute for Parkinson’s Therapy. Interestingly, his father is the doctor that revolutionized the treatment of Parkinson’s disease using the drug called L-Dopa, or brand name Sinemet.
NADH is hard to stabilize and Dr Birkmayer developed a patented brand called “ENADA”. I recommend 5 to 20mg daily, either in the morning or split 2-3x throughout the day.
Next add a 5-carbon sugar called D-Ribose, which forms the backbone of ATP. Our body makes D-Ribose, albeit slowly. Adding 5 grams of D-Ribose powder 1-3x/day can help replenish our ATP more quickly.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that helps ferry fatty acids into heart mitochondria where they are burned as fuel. Doses in the 500-1000mg range taken 1-3x/day work well. I especially recommend this for patients with heart problems.
For most people, a healthy diet will provide enough B vitamins, but adding these as a supplement is often helpful. Some people don’t methylate, or activate their B-vitamins, while others have genetic defects in coenzyme systems that can be over-ridden by large dose of B vitamins. Look for the “methyl” form of B12 called methylcobalamin, and folate called 5-MTHF. Magnesium is also usually adequate in the diet, but deficiencies are fairly common, so adding 200-400mg/day makes sense.
Nourish mitochondrial membranes with a supplement called NT Energy Factor. It is a formulation of phospholipids and glycolipids that helps to repair cellular membranes by increasing cell membrane fluidity. By repairing the membranes of the mitochondria, we allow all of our cells to increase their nutrient uptake so that the mitochondria may produce more ATP – the body’s energy fuel.
To increase your energy, get the right nutrients in your diet, get plenty of restorative sleep, and manage your stress. To really get your “mojo” going, consider adding the supplements of cellular energy.
Scott Rollins, MD, is Board Certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement for men and women, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia, weight loss and other complex medical conditions. He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com) and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.com). Call 245-6911 for an appointment or more information.