The Doctor Is In: Need a Pick-Me-Up?

tired studentTalking with your doctor isn’t always easy. Whether you are afraid she will judge you, you just don’t feel comfortable sharing the intimate details of your life between the sheets, or you can’t think straight with a speculum between your legs, many people get tight lipped in the doctor’s office. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions.

We thought we’d help and every Thursday our friend Dr. Lissa Rankin will be answering your questions. The ones you couldn’t ask your doctor in person. Just leave your questions in the comments, or send em over to us. (We’ll keep it all anonymous for you.) Dr. Lissa will answer anything – really, anything – about sex and other lady things. Don’t be shy; she’s waiting for ya!

Q: I know it’s pretty typical in college, but I always feel tired and lethargic.  I try to eat as healthy as I can, but even adding nuts and more protein to my diet isn’t working. I was wondering if you had any ideas of things I could do (specific vitamins/things I should be eating) that will help me feel more awake and less foggy on a day to day basis. Thank you.

A: If you’re feeling tired much of the day, you’re not alone. Fatigue and lack of energy are probably the most common reason patients come to see me at CLEAR Center of Health (www.clearcenterofhealth.com), the integrative health center where I work.  Even if the rest of your life is going brilliantly, if you feel tired all the time, it’s enough to sap you of your mojo.

While it may be tempting to grab a triple shot caramel macchiato to get you through, that’s only going to make matters worse. Here are a few natural tips to help you feel more vital.

Tips For Improving Your Energy Levels

Eat a balanced whole foods diet, rich in produce, lean proteins, and whole grains. Cut out additives. Shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store- avoid those mid-sections as much as possible.

Try to get 8 hours of sleep at night. Go to bed earlier and rearrange your schedule to allow your body the rest and rejuvenation it needs to recapture energy.

Take a good multivitamin. If you’re nutritionally depleted, you may feel fatigued.

Exercise regularly. It may seem counterintuitive. After all, how can you exercise when you feel so tired you can barely roll out of bed. But trust me on this one. If you can manage to do it, it works.

Supplement your diet with superfoods. Superfoods, such as sun chlorella (a broken cell walled algae supplement that is like eating loads of veggies in a few little pills), acai berry, and wheat grass, can boost up your nutrition, and with it, your energy.

Avoid caffeine, sugar, high carb foods, alcohol, and nicotine.

Buy a juicer and drink green juice every day. I make mine from cucumber, kale, celery, sprouts, swiss chard, ginger, lemon and jalapeno.  It works miracles- I swear!

If you suffer from anxiety and depression, get help. Working naturally to alter your brain biochemistry can do wonders for your energy (and your mojo!)

If you snore, bring it up with your doc. If you have untreated sleep apnea, you’re not just tired (and keeping your roommates awake), your health may be in danger.

Consider seeing a reputable integrative medicine doctor. While traditional doctors may check your hemoglobin and a TSH, many integrative medicine doctors will do a more thorough medical evaluation, including evaluation of your emotional and mental well-being, as well as testing of your sex hormones, adrenal hormones, blood count, various measures of your thyroid function, and food allergy testing.  You can ask your traditional medical doctor to order these tests. Some docs are up-to-date and on top of current treatment for fatigue.  But more often, you may find some resistance from doctors not familiar with treating some of these conditions.

–Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book, What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in Fall 2010. She invites you to join her Pink online community (www.owningpink.com/forum) or read more of her writing at Owning Pink (www.owningpink.com).

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