Next to depression and allergies, lack of energy is the third most prevalent health concern in America, affecting 33 million people. In fact, half of the people who come to my clinic complain of exhaustion. Some feel tired when they wake up in the morning. Others experience an energy crisis in the afternoon. Still others have chronic fatigue throughout the day. Through my many years of clinical practice, I’ve seen many cases of fatigue resulting from one or more of the following factors:
• Poor digestion and/or nutrient absorption,
• Immune Dysfunction,
• Sleep Disorders,
Your energy level is a clear indicator of the state of your vitality reserves—your body’s ability to remain healthy and resilient under physical or emotional stress. The good news is that you have more control over these reserves than you realize. Enzyme therapy plays a critical role in restoring physical vitality and energy. In fact, 85 percent of the patients who come to my clinic for help with exhaustion and sleep disorders improve dramatically once they begin enzyme therapy.
Let’s look at some of the common causes of fatigue and how enzymes can help you overcome them to regain your lost energy.
Energy Robber #1: Poor Digestion
People routinely ask me, “How can I be so tired when I’m eating all the right foods?” Well, they may have healthy diets, but if the nutrients aren’t getting into their bodies, they won’t feel young and vital.
If the body must struggle to break down and assimilate foods, healthy eating is a losing battle. What’s more, when undigested food particles leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream, the immune system further depletes your energy reserves by attacking them as “invaders.”
While the reasons for poor digestion vary from person to person—based on individual food choices, eating habits, and nutrient deficiencies—one solution that seems to work for everyone is taking digestive enzymes.
For a long time, the mainstream medical community argued that the body could not absorb and utilize enzymes in supplement form because they couldn’t survive in stomach acid. Although this may be true for enzymes from animal sources, the body can easily utilize enzyme supplements from plant sources.
Once my patients with poor digestion begin taking digestive enzymes, they finally experience the full benefit of the nutrients in their diets. Invariably, they report that they feel more energetic than they have in years. So, if you feel as though you’re running on empty, consider whether poor digestion might be to blame.
Dr. Ellen’s Energy Prescription: Digestive Enzymes
Taking a full spectrum, Ph-balanced vegetarian digestive formula with every meal can do wonders for your energy levels, giving you the ability to fully digest and utilize the nutrients from the wholesome foods you eat. I suggest a product with the following ingredients:
• Amylase (3,000 to 9,000 DU)
• Lipase (150 to 450 LU)
• Cellulase (200 to 600 CU)
• Lactase (75 to 225 ALU)
• Invertase (75 to 300 SU)
• Peptidase (1,000 to 3,000 HUT+)
• Alpha galactosidase (10 to 30 GAIU or 25 to 75 AGSU)
• Glucoamylase (2 to 12 AGU)
• Malt diastase (75 to 300 DP)
Since cooking kills the enzymes naturally present in foods, I also suggest eating as many raw foods as possible. If this is a challenge to you, eat some raw foods every day and choose organic whenever possible. This will give you nonstop energy.
Energy Robber #2: Immune Dysfunction
According to several studies, people with severe fatigue have higher numbers of killer T cells, the white blood cells that fight viruses and other microorganisms. These people also have fewer normal suppressor T cells, another type of white blood cell that stops immune reactions once infectious invaders have been eliminated.
When this suppression mechanism fails, the immune system continues to mount its defense, triggering the release of lymphokines, immune cells that may be responsible for symptoms such as fatigue and muscle aches.
Dr. Ellen’s Prescription for a More Balanced Immune System
One of the main causes of immune system overdrive is food sensitivities (a.k.a., foods you are unable to digest and absorb). When undigested food particles leak through the gut wall into the bloodstream, the immune system depletes your energy reserves by attacking them as “invaders.” Clearing up food sensitivities prevents the reaction that can contribute to immune system hyperactivity and thus prevents fatigue.
One sign of a food sensitivity is an unusual craving for some type of food. For example, in my experience, I have found that many people are carbohydrate intolerant. Because they can’t digest sugars well, they crave sweets.
If you are sensitive to a specific type of food, you can solve your problem by avoiding it. If you are sensitive to a food group, (e.g., if you have a carbohydrate or a fat/protein intolerance), it will help you to take a special enzyme formula to help digest and assimilate those nutrients. You can find these supplements in your local health food store.
Energy Robber #3: Sleep Disorders
A good night’s sleep is essential for optimal energy yet, according to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 50 percent of Americans have insomnia at least a few nights a week. When people don’t get adequate rest, they rely on artificial stimulants such as caffeine or sugar to sustain them throughout the day. In the meantime, they run up an unhealthy, potentially dangerous sleep deficit.
Not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep a night. Generally, if you’re able to wake up on time without an alarm clock, you’re getting enough rest. If even an alarm clock can’t rouse you, you probably aren’t sleeping as much as you should.
Stress and environmental factors such as noise and light certainly interfere with our natural sleep cycles. So, too, can poor digestion and impaired liver detoxification.
The liver and its enzymes are responsible for removing toxins from the blood and eliminating them from the body. In the absence of adequate nutritional support, due to poor digestion, the liver must work even harder to clear out the toxins. Eventually, it may not be able to keep up. When toxins remain in the body, they deplete energy levels as well.
Dr. Ellen’s Sleep-enhancing Enzyme Formula
Take one capsule of a sleep-enhancing enzyme formula 1 hour before bedtime, plus another capsule right at bedtime. The safe and non-addictive ingredients in this formula promote sound, restorative sleep without causing daytime drowsiness. If your sleep is not restful, take at least one of these ingredients, along with a full-spectrum digestive enzyme to help with assimilation. If you have severe insomnia, I recommend taking all of the primary ingredients with a digestive enzyme.
• Valerian root extract (200 to 400 milligrams).
• Passionflower root extract (120 to 240 milligrams).
• Oat straw extract (30 to 60 milligrams).
• Magnesium asparate (60 to 120 milligrams).
• Calcium citrate (30 to 60 milligrams).
Energy Robber #4: Hypothyroidism
The thyroid gland is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolism. For this reason, imbalances in thyroid hormones can have a profound effect on your energy levels. These imbalances can result from many factors, including nutrient deficiencies (especially of vitamin A, riboflavin, and selenium), enzyme dysfunction, chronic stress, and even aging.
Among thyroid disorders, hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) is the number one contributor to fatigue. Physicians often overlook this condition because so many cases are sub-clinical, meaning that although patients have hypothyroidism, their laboratory tests come back normal.
Sometimes hypothyroidism coexists with other hormonal conditions. For example, a person with low levels of adrenal or sex hormones may also be deficient in thyroid hormone. In a case like this, getting a proper diagnosis is critical, since it will determine the appropriate course of treatment.
Hypothyroidism isn’t the only thyroid disorder that depletes energy reserves. If fatigue occurs in conjunction with chronic insomnia, nervousness, and weight loss, the problem may be hyperthyroidism—too much thyroid hormone rather than too little.
Dr. Ellen’s Thyroid Prescription
If you suspect you have thyroid problems, it is important that you receive a complete evaluation from your doctor and take whatever thyroid medication he or she recommends. As an adjunct, I have found the following formula—combined with limiting stress, regular exercise, a healthy organic diet, and plenty of rest—to be helpful in providing thyroid support. And it will not interfere with your medication. Remember to take this formula with a full-spectrum digestive enzyme to enhance absorption of the ingredients.
• Protease (40,000 to 80,000 HUT)
• Chromium (from Chromium Picolinate) (200 to 400 mcg.)
• Alpha-Lipoic Acid (20 to 40 mg.)
• Green Tea Leaf extract (standardized to contain 70% catechins) (200 to 400 mg.)
• Bladderwrack Kelp extract (10:1) (60 to 300 mg.)
• Guggulipids extract (standardized to contain 10% guggulsterone) (60 to 120 mg.)
Plus one or more of the following:
• Banaba Leaf extract (standardized to contain 1% corosolic acid) (64-128 mg.)
• Rhodiola Rosea Root extract (standardized to contain 3% rosavins) (60-120 mg.)
• Gymnema Leaf extract (standardized to contain 75% gymnemic acid) (88-176 mg.)
Reclaiming Energy—and Your Life
Enzyme therapy—along with eating nutritionally, getting plenty of rest, and limiting stress—can increase your health and energy levels exponentially. Enzymes, nature’s “micro-miracles,” can help you move beyond fatigue and discover greater pleasure, passion, and productivity for life.
Dr. Ellen W. Cutler is the nation’s leading authority on enzyme therapy and the founder of BioSET, an innovative healing system that combines the use of enzyme supplements with other complementary medicine disciplines to treat a variety of chronic illnesses. She is the author of The Food Allergy Cure and MicroMiracles: Discover the Healing Power of Enzymes, among other books. For more information, visit www.bioset.net.