One of the most common concerns my patients ask me about is their low energy. There can be many causes, but drinking more coffee and stimulants is not the right solution for most. From the perspective of a naturopathic doctor, there are many factors that can drain your reserves; in this article you’ll learn the top causes and solutions for your energy.

Top Causes of Low Energy

1. Poor diet and digestion

If you eat and digest poorly, your energy will be low. This is because your ‘inputs’ into your body are inadequate. For instance, if you commonly get bloating after your meals, it’s a sign you’re not digesting and therefore not absorbing the nutrients from your meal, even if you’re eating healthy. You have to fix why the bloating is there. It may be from excess bacteria in your stomach, weak digestive organs, too much water/fluids with your meals, etc. Sometimes it’s simple, like eating too fast or too much. Also, if you choose excessive sugary, fatty and starchy foods, or foods that cause an intolerance reaction, this can be a burden on your digestion and leave you with low energy after meals.

2. Nutritional deficiency

Specific nutrients are commonly low in people with low energy. The top culprits are iron and vitamin B12. Other suspects are magnesium and folate (vitamin B9). Get tested to see what’s low and then take the proper supplement or nutrient injection accordingly. A common reason for persistent low iron is gluten or dairy intolerance/sensitivity. Common reasons for low vitamin B12 are vegetarian diet, low digestive fluid production and pernicious anemia. A good multivitamin will help though it’s still important to get tested.

3. Obesity and inadequate exercise

Just lugging all that extra weight around is draining. Work on making some changes in your lifestyle and diet to get your body in a better state of balance…the rewards come back to you. A regular exercise program can do the trick; if you’re not sure if you can handle the exercise, see your doctor for a check-up. Start gentle and slow like with daily walking or swimming or treadmill. As you get more conditioned you will notice your clothes will fit better/looser, you’ll feel better with more stamina and reliable energy and people will give you positive comments, it’s a great feeling when you’re more in control of your health.

4. Poor sleep

This is usually not very complicated. Your body needs rest, especially with all the demands you put it through – work, school, kids, grand-kids, extra activities and commitments. Set the number of hours you will put aside for sleep, say eight hours and stick to it. Make sure you do what needs to be done before you sleep. Whatever hasn’t been completed, make note of it so you can complete it the next day. For those who don’t sleep well, try relaxation breathing and visualization exercises before sleep. Other herbal teas and supplements can help such as chamomile, valerian, passionflower, etc. Speak to a qualified herbalist or naturopathic doctor for extra guidance.5

5. Stress

This can be the root cause of your low energy. We tend to carry a lot on our minds and hearts over the course of a typical day. We also tend to put ourselves down with our negative self talk. Try to shift your perspective towards your life, work and self, to one that is more supportive, kind, nurturing. Treat yourself well (I don’t mean more sweet treats): ensure proper exercise and sleep and eating. Make time for relaxation and self-reflection…perhaps its learning meditation or being regular in your religious practice.

Other factors that drain energy include diabetes, toxicity and an overall lack of inspiration in your life. These areas need to be addressed and can be significant for your specific situation. Seek help from your primary health practitioner to screen or treat these situations properly and your energy will benefit.

About the Author

Rahim Habib is a registered naturopathic doctor with over 15 years of experience in general family practice. He has a special interest in helping patients comprehensively detoxifying their bodies for preventative and therapeutic benefit. He also has a special interest in children’s health, assisting kids in their learning and behavioural health with conditions such as ADHD, Autism spectrum, asthma, allergies and childhood obesity. He also helps adults with chronic conditions, such as thyroid disorders, infertility, inflammation, obesity, autoimmunity, dementia and cancer care. He is the director of the Four Seasons Naturopathic Clinic for Detoxification and Healing and can be reached at 905-597-7201 or