6 key nutrients for Chronic Fatigue

In this fast-paced world that we live in, we need all the energy that we can get in order to perform our tasks to the best of our ability.  Some of us may feel tired on certain days, due to the lack of sleep from over-working, or adapting to major changes in lifestyles.

However, if you have been feeling extremely tired for an extended period of time, you may be suffering from chronic fatigue.

What is chronic fatigue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition of prolonged and severe tiredness or weariness. People with CFS find it difficult to carry out daily tasks at home or at work, and it occurs most often in people aged 30-50 years old, more often in women than in men, and sometimes in children and adolescents.



Symptoms

Other than feeling fatigued, people with CFS also experience headaches, sore throat, body aches and tender lymph nodes.

CFS is a mitochondrial disease

One of the established causes of chronic fatigue syndrome is due to a mitochondrial dysfunction in the body.

Mitochondria are little powerhouses found in the cells of our body, and their purpose is to convert nutrients into energy. They supply energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is used as an energy currency in all bodily activities.



When there is a reduced supply of ATP as a result of mitochondrial dysfunction, cells will not have sufficient energy to perform optimally, resulting in slower bodily activities which we describe as “fatigue”.

Optimising mitochondrial function with nutrients, can do heaps in improving symptoms of CFS.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral that your mitochondria needs in order to perform optimally. In order to produce new mitochondria, it depends on enzymes that require magnesium as a cofactor. These same enzymes also play a part in the repair of mitochondria, in which it can be damaged due to oxidative stress during intense physical exercises. Without an adequate level of magnesium, your mitochondrial count may be low, and the rate of repair may be slow as well, leading to less energy being produced for your cells to function.

 

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is crucial for keeping mitochondria healthy. It is the primary antioxidant that the human cell provides to protect mitochondria when they are producing energy. When there is a lack of CoQ10, the level of ATP that the mitochondria produce decreases. Certain exposures to chemicals like pesticides or environmental toxins causes an increased need or depletion of CoQ10, causing mitochondrial dysfunction. As we age, our body loses the ability to make important molecules such as CoQ10, hence it is best replenished by supplements.

Acetyl L-Carnitine

Acetyl L-carnitine is a natural derivative of L-carnitine, an amino acid found in red meat and dairy products and in all cells of the human body. L-Carnitine facilitates the transport of fatty acids into mitochondria, which they then convert it into energy.  Acetyl L-carnitine molecules function as a delivery system across cell membranes for their two principal components: L-carnitine molecules and acetyl groups; the latter are vital for chemical reactions involved in numerous cellular metabolic processes. Since it facilitates energy metabolism and acts as an antioxidant, it helps to feed and preserve our mitochondria, reducing the risk of mitochondria dysfunction.

D-ribose

D-ribose is a type of sugar that serves to produce cellular energy. It is involved in the production of ATP and muscle recovery, both of which are impaired in chronic fatigue syndrome. As D-ribose provides the necessary substrate for the production of ATP, it supports the synthesis of it, increasing energy levels in the cells, curbing fatigue due to low ATP levels. Furthermore, it is effective as it is readily absorbed by the body, and it is free from side effects as well.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), is a vital intermediary in energy production. Without sufficient NAD, energy production is slowed and every single cell in the body will go slow. Consuming more protein-rich foods help to supply the amount of vitamin B3 needed for optimum energy production.

Vitamin B12 injections

Another cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is the overproduction of nitric oxide and its oxidant product peroxynitrite, which are released in response to stress. Nitric oxide has a detrimental effect on brain function and pain sensitivity, resulting in muscle weakness, fatigue, and emotional changes. Vitamin B12 helps by removing the levels of nitric oxide in our bodies, reducing the effects of the symptoms in our body. If you have a low level of vitamin B12 in your body, seeking B12 injections can help to alleviate the problem that come with B12 deficiency.

With any intervention, you will need blood testing, and an experienced doctor to read your results accurately.

Book a consult to discuss your energy needs today.

 

How BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken boosts lactation.

Don’t you wish we knew more about the ever famous BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken?  

It’s marketed as a health product, yet is a food substance, comes in a tiny bottle, and seems to be something that only our grandmothers and mothers have been pushing during exam time, pregnancy and lactation, when cartons of it magically appear in my pantry.  

Did it really push my exam grades up?  Did it help me break that track and field national record?  

More importantly, did it contribute to my unstoppable milk supply during breastfeeding and to my quick recovery of strength after delivery?

Well, I’m a fan.  


As an integrative medicine doctor I have a clinical and academic interest in micronutrients, macronutrients as well as the energetic effects of food on the body.  


And as a mummy, as many of you are, I have a natural interest in nourishing my kids and myself to be able to be my best for them.  

These two reasons push me to dig deep into the science and history behind traditional nourishing foods, and it is my pleasure to share this information with all of you who have your own families to care for.

I have found BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken to be useful in my healing plans, and even more so in my specialty areas of keeping mummies well and thriving during the perinatal period (trying to conceive, pregnancy, delivery and lactation).   

Thanks to a growing library of scientific research, we certainly know a few more facts about it now.  

Let’s dive in!

The origins of Brand’s Essence of Chicken

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Many think it has origins in Asia as this is where it really thrived as a health product but really it originated in the United Kingdom.  

This concoction was created by Royal Chef, Mr Henderson William Brand to restore the health of King George IV who ruled in the early 19th century.  

It was made to be a broth that was easily digested that would nourish the body.  This is effective when illness has set in and appetite is not great. 

We could cook this ourselves and there are recipes available online, but truth be told, the convenience really helps, as not many of us employ royal chefs in our household.  


How is BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken made?

The chickens are kept in a hygienic enclosed area, given the basic space to roam and stretch its wings.  The essence is stated free of antibiotic residue and added hormones, and is certified halal.

The chickens are kept in a hygienic enclosed area, given the basic space to roam and stretch its wings.

The essence is stated free of antibiotic residue and the added hormones is certified halal.

BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken is produced via a water extraction process from chicken meat for several hours under high-temperature, followed by centrifugation to remove fat and cholesterol, vacuum concentration, and sterilization by high temperature and pressure before bottling.

A little caramel is added for colour and no preservatives are used.

Image by  Sassy Mama

Image by Sassy Mama

Because of this extraction process, the amino and proteins extracted from the chicken have been shown to be up to four times as concentrated when compared to a homemade chicken soup.

I personally enjoy making a homemade chicken soup and then pouring a bottle of chicken essence into it to boost its nutritional value for my family.  

Other more convenient ways are to simply drink it as a warm or cool shot of aminos.


What are the nutritional ingredients in BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken?

The key ingredients in a 68ml bottle of BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken is a unique composition of a total of 6 grams of protein in the form of free form, easily digestible peptides and essential amino acids.

In terms of total amino acid content, the three most abundant amino acids in BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken are glutamic acid (917mg/100g), glycine (773mg/100g) and arginine (581mg/100g).

It also contains di-peptides β-alanyl-L-histidine (carnosine) and β-alanyl-3-methyl-L-histidine(anserine).

There is no fat, cholesterol, and is low in sodium.

Peptides like carnosine and anserine have anti-oxidant and brain-protective effects while amino acids like glutamine, arginine, histidine, tyrosine and branched chain amino acids are building blocks of proteins and play a crucial role in regulating key metabolic pathways.

Not many people know about the uses of amino acids, apart from it’s use as a protein in body building, but used in a holistic regime aminos can therapeutically boost key neurotransmitter production, and aid in gut healing.  

Specific to lactation it provides the key raw materials in the manufacture of what makes a good quality colostrum, full of immune factors.

TCM perspective


According to the four natures and five flavours, chicken is warming and sweet (tonifying).  It warms the speed and stomach systems, and tonifies Qi. This makes it a good nourishing essence, perfect for new mums who have given their all to their babies during pregnancy, and through breastfeeding.


Two key breastfeeding studies

Milk content:

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Consuming BRAND’® Essence of Chicken regularly resulted in having higher concentration levels of Lactoferrin, Epidermal Growth Factor and Transforming Growth Factor which enhances the quality of breast milk.

Lactoferrin, Epidermal Growth Factor and Transforming Growth Factor are essential for the development and immunity for babies

Milk volume:

BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken has also been found to be superior to the prevailing lactation soup recipe, in increasing volume of breastmilk.  


Therefore to target lactation, I would start drinking BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken three times daily from week 37, where milk is already beginning to form in the body, and continue its use post delivery, in combination with nourishing confinement food.

This will result in large volumes of highly nutritious milk.  


References

Konagai C, et al. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2013; 77(1):178–181.

Soong YY, et al. Br J Nutri 2015; 114(11):1845–1851.

Sun L, et al. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2015; 66(8):931–935.c

Chan L, et al. Medicine 2016; Vol 95 (19)

Li XM et al. Chin J Pract Gynecol Obstet 1997;13:295-296.