Always Tired? Feel Better Today!

Improve Your Cell Health with Intermittent Fasting 

Do you wake up feeling depleted despite clocking in a solid 8 hours of sleep? Has coffee become your lifeline throughout the day? Battling grogginess and struggling to stay focused can make each day feel like an uphill climb. It’s easy to brush this off as just “how things are,” but believe us, it doesn’t have to be this way…

Did you know that?

Tiredness is one of the chief complaints during primary care visits (Stadje et al.,2016; Maisel et al., 2021). In fact, persistent tiredness, deficient levels of energy, and physical weakness that worsens over time are evaluated as a medical condition called fatigue, which affects our physical, mental, and cognitive being, and takes a toll on our work performance, family life, and social relationships (Billones et al., 2021). So, if you are always tired too, you aren’t alone!

Why Are We So Tired? 

The answer may lie deep in our cells. If we zoom into our bodies and focus on the cellular level, mitochondrial dysfunction could be the culprit. Mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to be the root cause of several health conditions including cancer, diabetes, and serious mental disorders. Interestingly, it has also been found to be associated with fatigue. 

Our Mitochondria Create Our Energy

Mitochondria are the power plants of the cells. They transform the carbs and fats we eat and the air we breathe into energy in the form of ATP –  adenosine triphosphate – a vital compound required that our cells and body use to function. Therefore, if we are always tired and feel that we don’t have enough energy, it might indicate that our mitochondria are unhealthy, damaged, or too few in number, and are unable to produce enough energy leading to dwindling levels of energy for our body to function efficiently. In fact, a systematic review of 25 articles identified a potential relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and altered energy production (Filler et al., 2014). 

Oh wait, that is a hint to biohack our energy levels right here! It means all we have to do is to rejuvenate our mitochondria and improve our metabolism, our energy levels, and hence, our health. Let’s delve into the details of how to achieve this!

Restore Your Energy 

Intermittent fasting (IF) or abstaining from food for an extended period of time, is an eating regimen that’s backed by human evolution, as well as studies of the body’s metabolism.

While there exist several protocols, or plans, for intermittent fasting, the simplest is a 16:8 regimen during which we eat for an 8-hour window between 7 AM-3 PM or between 10 AM-6 PM and fast the rest of the day. IF activates an entire host of health-boosting processes in our body and one of them is improved mitochondrial function, which leads to improved energy production (Vasim et al., 2022). 

When we are healthy, we have plenty of healthy mitochondria, but with age or due to stressunhealthy lifestyle, and diseasemitochondria decline in both size and number. Inside the cells, mitochondria alternate between fused (highly interconnected and elongated) and fragmented (larger in number, but smaller in size) forms. 

A healthy dynamics between these fused and fragmented forms signals a vibrant mitochondrial network and body. IF can help keep that mitochondrial plasticity, even as we age. A 2017 Harvard study showed that IF manipulates and maintains the mitochondrial networks to stay in a “youthful state” by promoting this fusion-fission homeostasis (Weir et al., 2017). 

IF for Cellular Housekeeping

Intermittent fasting has also been shown to induce autophagy (meaning “eating of self” in Greek) –  a natural “cellular housekeeping” process where the body recycles and cleans up broken-down cellular machinery when there is not enough energy to sustain it. The process acts as a mitochondrial quality control mechanism as well, driving the damaged and dysfunctional mitochondria toward degradation. (Mehrabani et al., 2020).  

A June 2023 study recruited 25 healthy young men who engaged in a month of Ramadan fasting, an IF model where practitioners consume no food or drink during daylight hours, and found that important autophagy markers were increased among the participants (Erlannga et al., 2023). So, IF helps your body get rid of old and damaged mitochondria to make room for new, healthy mitochondria. The healthy mitochondria create more energy and help you feel more zest for your everyday life.

Improve Your Mitochondria for More Energy

In short, your low energy may be due to old or damaged mitochondria in your cells. IF improves mitochondrial function, promoting the renewal of healthy mitochondria and disposal of damaged ones, resulting in increased energy production and various health benefits.

A recent clinical trial that recruited 30 healthy participants and used IF for 3 months, found significantly improved quality of life and decreased fatigue along with decreased disease-indicating markers among the participants (Anic et al., 2022). Intermittent fasting is a simple and science-backed strategy to wield against fatigue and improve our energy levels, as well as activate a number of other essential health hacks for a better life.

How To Start Today

You can easily start IF today by having your last meal at 6 pm or 8 pm and allowing 16 hours of fasting before your next meal. You may experience tiredness, moodiness, and other symptoms in the beginning. Remember to drink plenty of water while fasting, and be gentle with yourself as your body needs 2-5 days to adapt

Be Patient

Your body will realign to fasting over time. The key to embodying this super hack is to give yourself time with the practice and allow your body and mind to slowly adapt and reintegrate this naturally regenerative approach into your life. When you become used to IF, you will reap many other health benefits as well such as improved memorycreativityfocus, and ultimately revitalized and disease-free body.

With warm regards,

Dr. Chanchal Chauhan

Bringing science-backed research and effective solutions to support your health!

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