Energy Assessment: Improving the Afternoon Lull

Do You Have a 3pm Caffeine Deficiency?

If only that was the case, how easy and guilt-free would that post-lunch coffee be! Are you someone who is dependent on that afternoon caffeine, or someone who fights that urge as you find yourself in need of an extra push?

But what if it really is super easy to increase your energy? Would you be willing to train your body off of that afternoon treat for the sake of improving your health, from your adrenals and liver function, all the way down the line to your sleep and immune system?

The three things I’m going to offer as easy solutions to look into first:
Water
B vitamins
Blood sugar control

Please allow me to elaborate.

WATER
Reading about water intake is hands down boring, but dehydration is the biggest buzz kill I know of, so I will offer some tips here that you may not have heard before.
The minute you start feeling sluggish in the late morning or early afternoon- ask yourself one question: How much water have I drunk?

I do know from first hand experience how much more difficult this is said than done! When you are struggling to find the brain power to keep you focused, that is when it is hardest to actually remember a question, or my three things listed here.

The solution: Start your morning with a one liter bottle of water sitting in front of you.
Keep drinking it. Make your goal half of it gone by noon, all of it gone by 3pm. This is a minimum- increasing that to a liter and a half is even better.

You don’t care for water you say? No problem- add the juice of a lemon or lime to that liter along with a pinch of salt and/or potassium (salt substitutes available in the super market are ‘potassium chloride’ rather than sodium chloride, and this can be your ‘potassium pinch’). It makes that water taste like something you actually want. The first thing you will notice is how much more hydrating the water will seem to you- and that is because it is!

B VITAMINS:
These are either going to come to you from that incredibly nutritious breakfast and lunch you had that was loaded with veggies, or from a multi vitamin- no shame if that is the case. I’m going to discuss the multi vitamin supplement here for ease-of-use shall we say.

B vitamins are best taken all together (B complex) and with food, otherwise you might feel a tad nauseous from them. So breakfast and lunch are the perfect time to take that multi vitamin that is loaded with good quality B vitamins.

Have you ever noticed how some days you have more energy than others? And you do your little check in and can’t think of any reason why? It could be a toxic load from the night before, disguising itself as something as innocent as one glass of wine. That one glass of wine can be enough to use up all the B’s you had on hand and leave you with a deficit the next morning.

Your liver is a chemical factory, requiring a multitude of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to do its life-saving job. Without proper nutrition those toxins will build up and those toxins will get deposited in your fat and muscle tissue.

Your body does not store B vitamins for the most part (some are in fact stored, like B12 in the liver, but we’re not going to go into that minutia here).

A whopping dose of B vitamins can be the ticket to avoid that 3pm lull.
How do you know how much to take? Good question, but I cannot speak for the hundreds of varieties and combinations out there that you may have.
If it is a one-a-day multi, it is useless. So for that you will want a good 2 or 3 a day, then call me when the bottle is finished for some good ones.
If it is saying the serving size of your multi vitamin is 6 caps a day, now you have my interest piqued as it is probably getting into the realm of better quality. Three of these at lunch would be the place to start. Another three with breakfast is optional and preferred especially if you are hung over or have a stressful job. Stress will eat your B vitamins faster than you can.

I always tell my patients to take the multi vitamins with breakfast and lunch to take advantage of the energy and nutrients they provide your body during the most active times. But also know that you can take a partial dose of a multi vitamin/mineral at night. A little bit, like a quarter dose, is a perfect little amount to help your body do some great rejuvenation during the night, without being energizing enough to keep you awake. (Magnesium for instance, which helps calm you when taken at night, does better with a little B6 on hand).

If you don’t have a multi vitamin and mineral supplement that you or your doctor would consider ‘excellent’, then you should not be taking it. If you don’t actually feel different from taking your multi, then it is probably not a good one, and you need a better one.
They are not all created equal. That will be a future topic.

BLOOD SUGAR CONTROL
Too many of us are on a slippery slope toward diabetes as our bodies struggle to handle the changes which have come on too quickly in our evolutionary development. It may be that the mitochondria of our pancreatic beta cells is actually getting damaged by some yet to be discovered plastic molecule we are all consuming. But short of that, for now, we have to stop the madness of the refined flour products, the agave nectar, the corn syrup, the added sweeteners, and even the low calorie sweeteners. None of this is good for anything except greasing the wheel of ill health.

The quickie lesson for eating to keep the blood sugar in better balance:
Nothing made from any flour – no pasta, bread, crackers, etc.
Include protein and fats (olive oil, nuts, avocado) in each meal
Fill up on veggies: raw (with some cooked if you want) is great.

AND…
If you still find yourself sluggish even after trying the above, it is time to give your doctor a call. You will want to rule out the top three causes of low energy: anemia, thyroid deficiency, adrenal weakness. Don’t attempt this on your own as you will be spinning your wheels in mud.