An Energized Blog

How to Get the Extra Energy You Need

A lot of people wish for extra hours in the day because that would be the only way for them to tackle everything on their “to do” lists. Others wish for a way to increase their energy in order to manage the things they need to get done as well. While you cannot add hours to the clock, you can enhance your energy in safe and effective ways through the use of energy supplements.

Why not just drink a jumbo cup of coffee? While this does provide a short term solution to a lack of energy, a sudden burst of caffeine in the bloodstream gives the inevitable “crash” that follows the body’s use of that caffeine too. So, you might help yourself to get through that long conference call in the afternoon, but by the time you sit in rush hour traffic you are more tired than ever.

A caffeine-based energy supplement, on the other hand, would give you a time released boost of energy that would take you through the most challenging moments of the day and well into your “down time”. This would be a fantastic method to use in order to ensure that you remained energized through the work day, and also had enough left over to get in a workout, some time playing with your kids, or to just get your “to do” list finished in a single day rather than stretched out over two or three.

There are a lot of caffeine-free energy supplements as well, and these are great for people who find that they don’t like the effects that strong amounts of caffeine might have on them. Most of these formulations are herbal and come as sugar-free and totally safe supplements that will also give someone a consistent amount of energy to get them through their entire day.

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How to Increase Your Energy with Supplements

If you have followed all of the most common recommendations for boosting energy and still feel yourself starting to fade at the same time each day, you may need to consider using some supplements to give your metabolism a bit of help.

Fortunately, there are plenty of all natural supplements that can facilitate your bodily functions and increase your energy without all kinds of artificial stimulation. Consider that many people use energy-specific supplements, but the packaging often indicates that they are just consuming a chemical concoction that offers them the same amount of caffeine that they might find in a cup of coffee. Alternately, they might see that the supplement is full of sugar and not much more.

This means that it is best to know what kind of vitamin and mineral supplements might help you to get a boost in energy during times when you are most fatigued. Many people already know that the “B” vitamins are fantastic for perking you up, but most don’t know exactly how these supplements work.

Basically, the B vitamins are going to break down sugar and fat in a very effective manner, and this converts them to energy which is used and flushed away by the body. The B vitamins are also excellent for muscle building, so anyone who is combining exercise with a weight loss regimen will definitely want to add B vitamin supplements to their day. Magnesium is also an essential for energy boosting, and helps with converting sugar to energy as well.

This means that a good supplement designed to improve or enhance energy levels should contain ample amounts of the B vitamins along with magnesium. The ultimate supplement, however, might also deliver some high-quality protein in the form of liver powder as well. This is going to really improve the individual’s ability to build up muscle and remain totally energized.

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Natural Ways to Boost Your Energy Level

Boosting your daily energy level is not only quick and easy, but very healthy for the body in the long run. Energy level increases are normally followed by improvements in concentration, focus, motivation and memory. The general idea is to avoid sugary foods and caffeine that may provide a quick boost, but are usually followed by an equally quick and severe crash. These are not only inefficient and counterproductive, but also, at least potentially, unhealthy. What is most important is to shift your diet so that the intake of foods and supplements serve to break down the sugars and fats in your body most efficiently.

Liver powder is likely the best energy booster you can find. In general, Argentine cattle livers are the best due to their diet and free-range lifestyle. Often, liver powder is found in B-vitamin supplements, and both together make a powerful energy booster that lasts throughout the day and contains no later crash. Both liver powder and all B-vitamins break down sugars and fats in the body with a great deal of efficiency. They also build muscle and reduce fat. If you combine this with exercise, your energy levels will soar.

If you are struggling with lethargy and fatigue, you might want to increase your intake of magnesium. This element is central to breaking down glucose sugars in the body efficiently and transferring that substance into energy. Magnesium deficiencies can lead to high heart rates, since the body is not using its energy efficiently, but consuming more oxygen than normal for routine tasks. This element is found in all nuts, grains and fish (Bouchez, 2005)

While it seems obvious, dehydration is a major cause of lethargy and exhaustion. Thirst can be confused with hunger, or lethargy might be itself a sign of dehydration. With the heavy coffee and alcohol intake in the U.S., not to mention the salt intake, dehydration is a very common condition, up to 80% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Regular intake of water (both by drinking and eating such foods as tomatoes and grapes) is necessary for the smooth function of the body and the efficient burning of sugars and fats into the body’s fuels. Alcohol and salt should be cut out as much as possible to avoid dehydration. If you are hungry, try a large glass of water or a bunch of grapes first, since thirst often feels like hunger (Diagnose, 2010).

Caffeine is not always recommended, but if taken, it should be taken with a great amount of milk. This will turn the coffee into a protein drink that will use the caffeine very efficiently and mitigate the nature of the crash (Bouchez, 2009). Protein is an excellent form of energy. Coffee should never be drunk black for the same reasons as refined sugar should be avoided—quick boost, quick crash.

The biggest issues in boosting one’s energy is to reintroduce your system to natural forms of energy. This includes altering your diet, increasing your exercise level, and rejecting all quick fixes. Energy drinks should be avoided since most of them contain caffeine or some variant thereof. Instead, buy Ginkgo powders, Green teas and take a regular B-supplement. Natural forms of energy are better for you and burn fat very effectively. Avoid fast foods and alcohol, while increasing your water intake. The effects can become dramatic, and you will be a healthier person.

References:

Bouchez, Colleen (2005) “Top 10 Ways to Boost Your Energy.” WebMD,         (women.webmd.com/features/10-energy-boosters)

“Dehydration, an Overview” (2010) Diagnose Me, (diagnose-me.com/cond/C5223.html)

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Why Crash Dieting Is Ruining Your Metabolism & Health

When you first start a crash diet – and literally stop eating – you might notice that you lose a fair amount of weight, but the ugly truth is that the weight you are losing is mostly water and muscle mass. Body fat is notoriously difficult to get rid of because it’s difficult to break down, when your body doesn’t have enough energy coming in from food it will automatically start using energy stored in your muscles – you are effectively turning yourself in to a globule of fat!

Your body is a remarkable piece of machinery and one of the most advanced chemical factories on Earth. It is also extremely efficient which is not good news if you plan on losing weight by simply eating less. If you can’t understand why you are putting on weight or not losing any weight then the first thing many people try to do is reduce what they eat.

The problem with simply reducing your food intake is that your body will soon realize that it is getting less food and as a result your metabolism will slow down to compensate and when you start eating normally again (which invariably happens on a crash diet) you’ll find that you end up putting on even more weight than before.

Unfortunately for us humans the only thing we’re addicted to slightly less than a death by chocolate cake is an instant gratification quick fix solution to our weight loss problem. A diet plan which promises to shed 5 pounds a week is always going to sound more attractive than a diet which has been meticulously researched and proven to reduce your weight in a healthy way over a period of months.

You might even think that doing a crash diet and severely restricting your calorie intake will have no long term impact on your health, but unfortunately it has cost some people their lives. If your body doesn’t have enough energy to burn it places enormous strain on your internal organs as they struggle to function without the vitamins and minerals that they require, the strain can be so intense that it can actually lead to organ and heart failure.

It can be very tough sometimes to stick to a long term, healthy weight loss plan, especially if a big event like a beach holiday or wedding is coming up, but following a crash course diet will wreak havoc with your metabolism and could cause you to put on even more weight than when you started as your body is used to processing less food and if it suddenly gets inundated with calories it will attempt to grab all of them and store it as fat.

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Finding the Right Weight Loss Programs

Losing weight is never an easy process because it often means cutting back on the food that we enjoy the most and finding the time to be more active in our already busy schedules. Once you have made the conscious decision to lose weight it needs to be swiftly followed up by a plan of action or a weight loss program. They say that failing to plan is planning to fail, if you don’t plan out exactly how you will lose weight then chances are it will never happen because you have got nothing to stick to.

A healthy weight loss program is one that involves a balanced diet that contains plenty of fruit and veg and is low in saturated fats (anything that is fried) and refined sugar (sweets, cakes, soft drinks), an exercise regime (even 30 minutes of walking per day is suitable if you are just starting out) and a support network of other people who also want to lose weight.

However, you should avoid a weight loss program that encourages you to take a severely restricted calorie intake or recommends high levels of exercise to ‘burn the fat’, especially if you are not in a great shape to begin with. It is nearly always best to consult your physician before undertaking a weight loss program and discussing with them the benefits and drawbacks of what you plan to do – they might even ask you to limit the amount of exercise you do when you first start out.

When planning your healthy weight loss diet program there are many options you can choose from such as a low fat diet, a high protein diet, a fixed menu diet or a points based diet. Since everyone is different, it’s very difficult to say which diet is the best for you. A low fat diet works very well, but can cause problems for people who are extremely overweight, similarly a high protein diet can put your body under stress because you are not eating enough carbs, fixed menu diets can be very easy to follow but are often uninspiring and definitely not suitable for someone who likes to socialize a lot and a points based program involves lots of deliberation in the supermarket and restaurants on what you can and can’t buy to eat.

There are many weight loss clubs and organizations such as Weight Watchers who will help you build a unique weight loss program and provide you with the support and encouragement required to see it through. The regular meetings and ‘weigh ins’ help provide that extra motivation and some people excel when they have specific targets to meet.

Obviously some people prefer a more private weight loss program and using the Internet and plethora of books and guides available it’s very easy to construct your own diet plan, exercise plan and even create an online journal or post in a forum under a pseudonym to receive support and encouragement from others.

Checkout Appress – The Appetite Suppressant.

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A Love Affair with Caffeine

Americans love caffeine. According to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation, 43% of Americans consume caffeine on a daily basis. For most people, consuming caffeine is a way to get a boost of energy that will help them get through their day. This energy boost may come in the form of coffee, tea, soda, an energy drink or capsules. When 7 to 8 hours of sleep is not a possibility – which it isn’t for most of us – caffeine consumption can be an excellent solution. But what happens when you can’t get your hands on the caffeine your body craves? How do you get through the day? Luckily, there are a few solutions.

When caffeine is not an option, the best thing to do is sleep for 10 to 15 minutes. These little power naps allow your body to recharge. However, not everyone has an opportunity to take a power nap during the day. If you fall into that category, consider drinking a lot of water. When your body is hydrated, you will have more energy. Gatorade and soda are also options. They both contain sugar, which might not provide as much of a boost as caffeine, but it will provide a boost, nonetheless. Also consider drinking orange juice. This won’t only give you energy, but there are several other health benefits as well, including a high volume of antioxidants and Vitamin C.

If you consume caffeine regularly and you go a day without it, you might suffer from a caffeine headache. These headaches are caused by the increased velocity of blood flow when caffeine is absent from your system. This means that regular headache medication won’t be very effective. Your best approach is to take Excedrin, which contains caffeine. If you can’t get your hands on Excedrin, try drinking peppermint tea or getting a massage. Both approaches are often effective when dealing with caffeine headaches.

Caffeine headaches are nothing to worry about. In other words, they aren’t going to have any long term effects. Caffeine is one of the few substances on the planet that offers instant gratification – it only takes minutes to feel a boost of energy after consumption. This boost of energy also lasts a long time. After six hours, half of the caffeine consumed is still in your system. Some people have also reported a happier mood after consuming caffeine. Overall, the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives.

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Caffeine Withdrawal – Why It Causes Those Nasty Headaches

Have you ever told yourself you’re going to kick the caffeine habit for good, only to put down that cup of java or refreshing cola and trade it in for a splitting headache? There’s a reason prying your hand off that mug isn’t as easy as you might have thought. Learn more about caffeine withdrawal and why it causes those nasty headaches.

Adenosine – The Caffeine – Blood Pressure Connection

There’s a reason a long-time coffee, tea or cola drinker has difficulty giving it up. Caffeine is a naturally addictive stimulant, which is enough to cause a withdrawal headache on its own. However, the deeper reason behind the sudden headache caused by caffeine withdrawal has a lot to do with blood pressure.

The human body produces a chemical called adenosine, which causes blood vessels to dilate and blood pressure to lower. Ordinarily, the body does not have any negative response to this natural dilation.

However, when caffeine is added for extended periods of time and then abruptly withdrawn, it causes blood vessels to become painful dilated, leading to a caffeine withdrawal headache.

Caffeine – Headache Cause and Cure

This is why caffeine is included in so many headache remedies, because it causes dilated blood vessels to constrict and reduce discomfort. The problem is, using it to treat a headache is one of the major causes of dependence.

According to a research study done by John Hopkins School of Medicine, caffeine changes the way adenosine affects the brain. Ordinarily, it inhibits the communication between one nerve cell and another. Since caffeine is structurally similar to adenosine, it fools the body by binding itself to receptors usually reserved for the naturally-occurring chemical. This causes the stimulant effect.

During one study, rats were fed a small amount of caffeine equivalent to one cup of coffee for an ordinary adult. It was then abruptly withdrawn and blood pressure dropped plummeted. The hypothesis is that when caffeine is taken into the body at regular intervals, adenosine is blocked, causing the body to produce much more of it than it should. Sudden withdrawal of the stimulant causes a flood of it to enter the body and cause an adenosine-induced headache.

When cutting caffeine from the diet, it is best to do so gradually to avoid withdrawal headaches and other withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, shakiness and nausea.

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Creative Strategies to Survive a Day Without Caffeine

At first blush, caffeine seems harmless enough. After all, this common substance is found everywhere, from your morning cup of coffee and your favorite soft drink to that delicious chocolate bar. But even though caffeine is everywhere, it is not necessarily good for you. Caffeine can be habit forming, and potentially dangerous as well. If you have high blood pressure, for instance, all that extra caffeine could push your blood pressure up even further, increasing your odds of suffering a life-altering heart attack or stroke. Caffeine can also be addictive, and you can suffer real physical problems, including severe headaches, when cutting it out of your diet.

Unfortunately, weaning yourself off of caffeine can be a difficult process, especially if you are a heavy consumer of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. In order to be successful, you need to have a solid strategy in place for overcoming the cravings that could otherwise wreck your well intentioned plan.

Make Smart Substitutions

Consuming large quantities of caffeine is a habit, much the same way that morning cigarette is for smokers. If you are to make it through day one without any caffeine, you need to start making smart substitutions and changes in your daily routine. You can start with something as simple as substitution decaffeinated coffee for the full test variety when you start your day. Continue to make those substitutions as you drink coffee throughout the day, and soon you will lower your blood levels of caffeine and help to wean your body off the stuff.

It may be helpful to take a few over the counter pain pills when you start weaning yourself off caffeine. Removing caffeine from your daily diet will have an impact on your blood vessels, especially those in your head. When those blood vessels contract, you can end up with a wicked headache. In fact, a withdrawal headache is one of the classic symptoms indicating that you need to lower your caffeine consumption.  Taking a few pain pills before you start weaning your body off caffeine can reduce your discomfort and increase our chances of seeing the change through to the end.

Watch for Hidden Caffeine

While your morning coffee might be the most obvious source of caffeine, chances are it is not your only source. Making it through the day without caffeine means looking for less obvious sources of this ubiquitous drug. If you enjoy soft drinks on a regular basis, you are probably consuming more caffeine than you might guess. Substituting caffeine free soft drinks for the regular variety is a good way to lower your caffeine consumption and wean your body off this popular stimulant.

Even your favorite candy bar can be a source of caffeine, so you will need to monitor your consumption carefully. When you shop for your favorite chocolate, check the label for the caffeine content and choose the candy with the lowest possible amount of the substance. The caffeine content of chocolate is low compared to coffee and even soft drinks, but it can still be a concern as you try to break free of your caffeine habit.

As with so many other habits, that first day without caffeine is likely to be the most difficult. Keep telling yourself that if you can make it through that first day the remainder of the days will be that much easier.

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Does Caffeine Stunt Growth?

Caffeinated soft drinks are a popular beverage choice among kids these days. A recent study showed that children between the ages of eight and twelve get the caffeine equivalent of three-and-a-half sodas on a daily basis. Some parents are concerned that this could affect their growth. Does caffeine stunt growth?

Does Caffeine Stunt Growth?

Caffeine isn’t good for kids, but there’s little evidence that caffeine stunts growth. On the other hand, this issue hasn’t been thoroughly researched. The only study looking at growth, bone density and caffeine was published in the American College of Nutrition in 1998. It showed that caffeine didn’t affect height or bone density in girls between ages twelve and eighteen.

On the other hand, there has been concern that caffeine could increase the risk of osteoporosis in adults. One study showed that for every cup of caffeinated coffee a person drinks, about 5 additional milligrams of calcium are lost in the urine, but this is a very small amount that could be easily replaced through diet by simply adding milk to the coffee.

Although research has been conflicting, most studies don’t support the idea that caffeine negatively affects bone density, much less growth in children. Still, this question hasn’t been completely resolved, so coffee drinkers should be sure they get an adequate amount of calcium in their diet.

Even though there’s no evidence that caffeine stunts growth, a recent study showed that caffeine causes kids to sleep less at night, which can affect their school performance during the day. It also raises blood pressure in children and can cause nervousness and anxiety, which makes it hard to concentrate in class. Most kids do better without the additional stimulation of caffeine.

Does Caffeine Stunt Growth: The Bottom Line?

There’s no evidence that caffeine stunts growth, but kids are better off without caffeinated soft drinks. Caffeine has no nutritional value and no real benefits for a child – it only leads to sleep problems, nervousness and problems concentrating in class. Don’t let your child become a soft drink or energy drink junkie. Steer them towards caffeine-free alternatives.

References:

Journal of the American College of Nutrition. “Dietary Caffeine Intake Is Not Correlated with Adolescent Bone Gain”

The Coffee Science Information Center. “Coffee, Caffeine, Calcium Balance and Bone Health”

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How Much Caffeine is Safe?

Caffeine is a stimulant that revs up the nervous system, raises blood pressure and stimulates the heart. Caffeine is a drug, and like other drugs and medications, you can get too much caffeine, although you might not know it the way some early risers guzzle umpteen cups of coffee to wake up. How much caffeine is safe?

How Much Caffeine is Safe?

According to the Prescriber’s Letter, a guide for physicians, the average adult who has no medical problems can safely tolerate up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. This sounds like a lot until you consider that a single cup of brewed coffee has up to 120 milligrams of caffeine. Thus, 3 ½ cups of coffee would be the limit for adults who aren’t getting caffeine from other sources.

The problem is most people get caffeine from beverages such as tea, soft drinks, coffee and even some medications, although the amounts of caffeine in these sources is lower. Then there’s the problem of energy drinks. Some energy drinks have caffeine contents of up to 300 milligrams. Drink a single serving of an energy drink and a cup of coffee in the same day, and you’re over the recommended limit.

What Are the Effects of Too Much Caffeine?

Every organ system in the body is affected by too much caffeine. Most people are familiar with the shakiness, jitters, anxiety, hyperactivity and insomnia a few cups of coffee bring on. Too much caffeine also causes nausea, flushing and headache. The heart speeds up and some people experience irregular heart rhythms and premature contractions of the heart. When caffeine levels are very high, some people become very agitated and experience hallucination or seizures. There’s a good reason why caffeine is classified as a drug.

When a person gets too much caffeine, other things happen behind the scenes. Overindulging in caffeine causes levels of hormones called catecholamines, including adrenalin, to increase in the bloodstream. This leads to an increase in blood pressure, more production of glucose by the liver and changes in the digestive tract including increased secretion of stomach acid.  No wonder doctors urge people with conditions such as stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes to watch how much caffeine they take in.

How Much Caffeine is Safe: The Bottom Line?

Most healthy adults can tolerate up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, but sensitivity to caffeine varies. Some people experience unpleasant symptoms at much lower doses, especially if they’re not regular coffee drinkers. People who have heart disease, peptic ulcer disease, digestive issues, high blood pressure or diabetes should talk to their doctor before consuming caffeine. Tea and instant coffee are usually significantly lower in caffeine than brewed coffee, so consider switching to these if you’re trying to cut back.

References:

Prescriber’s Letter. January 2011. Volume 18, No.l  Medscape.com. “Caffeine Intoxication and Addiction”

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