Energy spans multiple fields of science… and in terms of Nutrition, is a complex and fascinating area.
To make our energy, the foods that we eat have to be broken down from the basic macronutrients, that are carbohydrates, fats and proteins into fuel that we can utilise. Our bodies will favour carbohydrates as a source of energy which is part of the reason that we crave specific foods, as these convert quickly to sugar and provide a quick supply of energy when we need it. However, such cravings may further exacerbate an energy related problem as it is actually our proteins and fats that will sustain blood sugar balance and in turn, sustain our energy for longer.
All macronutrients are broken down into two complex cycles, the Krebs cycle and the Electron Transport Chain, which then require an adequate supply of micronutrients to work efficiently such as B vitamins, magnesium and CoQ10. This process happens in the mitochrondria of our cells, the tiny energy powerhouses that produce our Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP for short which is our body’s energy currency. Naturally, these mitochrondria are much more densely populated in cells that require more energy such as muscles and the brain.
There are many factors that can make this process inefficient over time, first and foremost, not getting a supply of the right nutrients to nourish these little powerhouses sufficiently. We then need to metabolise and convert these nutrients so they can be transported to the cell which relies on our gut bacteria or microbiome. There are also things that can inhibit this process despite having these nutrients available, such as heavy metals and also electromagnetic disruptions to our environment.
Our cellular transfer is also important here, which means the right ingredients such as glucose are allowed into the cell, and waste products are allowed out. These tiny cellular exchanges can lose efficiency over time and need to be supported and nourished with the right nutrients and lifestyle factors to reactivate them. Where this is allowed to continue, it results in higher levels of free circulating glucose in the bloodstream which in itself creates further secondary concerns such as weight management issues, cardiovascular problems, inflammatory responses and skin issues.
Some of the main areas we work in when it comes to optimising energy production are:
Iron deficiency anaemia
Genetic mitochondrial conditions
Poor sleep quality
Type 2 Diabetes
During a Nutritional Therapy consultation, we work using a Functional Medicine Framework to look at the root cause as to reasons why we are not producing sufficient energy currency. This is unique to each and every person that we work with. We then provide clear advice on specific scientific nutritional interventions and co-create a workable plan for the patient.
We may also look at Functional testing here are primarily use the Optimal Nutrition Evaluation or for an even more detailed analysis, the Nutreval test which both in an depth look at the cycles of energy metabolism and the analytes that may inhibit optimal production. We may also look at specific single nutrients relating to energy such as iron, specific B vitamins and magnesium.
There is no one size fits all approach and we help to educate and create a workable plan with the simplest of interventions to make the most positive impact on your health.