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Life Extension Magazine Winter Edition 2013-2014
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Safely Boost Your Energy Reserves

By Margaret Powell
Safely Boost Your Energy Reserves

Tired of being tired all the time?

Aging people often suffer from diminished energy and persistent tiredness.1 But contrary to popular belief, mental and physical fatigue are not always natural products of growing older.

The causes of fatigue can be difficult to pinpoint—and therefore, challenging to treat. As a result, many people reach for stimulants, usually in the form of caffeine or energy drinks to artificially boost their energy levels.2 These options may work for the short-term, but they don’t create natural energy in your body; they temporarily squeeze adrenaline from your cells creating a larger energy deficit later on.3

However, you don’t have to resort to stimulants to replenish your body’s energy stores. Two traditional Chinese medicine ingredients have been found to work at the cellular level to boost your body’s own natural energy source called ATP. 4,5

The potent medicinal mushroom called cordyceps and ginseng root provide sustainable energy by utilizing your body’s own energy resources.4,5

Whatever the source of your fatigue—mental, emotional, physical, stress, or other—these two compounds can boost ATP levels and help you maintain optimal energy despite the passage of time.

Recharge Your Body’s Batteries

Recharge Your Body’s Batteries  

Your body is loaded with cells that contain mitochondria that make the vital energy molecule known as ATP.6 Think of ATP as the tiny “batteries” that our bodies use to store and move energy.

Fatigue and exhaustion are the direct result of insufficient ATP.7 Over time, our lack of energy is not simply due to “aging” but rather an indication that we are running low on ATP.8

The good news is that you can restore youthful ATP levels throughout your body with a pair of time-tested natural ingredients. The medicinal mushroom Cordyceps sinensis and the root of the ginseng plant (Panax ginseng) have been proven to boost energy by ramping up ATP production.4,5

In addition to increasing ATP production, cordyceps enhances our ability to burn fuel more efficiently and store its energy as ATP, and ginseng supports ATP production at the much higher levels possible when oxygen is available, as in a long-distance run or a prolonged, mentally challenging task.9,10

Nature’s Energy Boosters

Cordyceps sinensis is considered one of the most valuable medicinal mushrooms in China due to its rarity and valuable health benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps has been used for everything from cancer prevention to metabolic modulation and energy production.11,12 Now, science has uncovered how cordyceps enhances energy levels in three ways:

  1. By raising ATP levels , even under stressful conditions that would typically produce fatigue. For example, in animals with iron deficiency anemia (a common cause of fatigue in humans), cordyceps boosted ATP levels and blood flow.4
  2. By lowering levels of lactic acid , the substance that produces fatigue in over-stressed muscles.9 This has direct bearing on exercise capacity. Studies show that when mice are supplemented with cordyceps, they can increase swimming time by 20% to as much as 94%.9,13,14
  3. By increasing insulin sensitivity,15,16 the more sensitive your cells are to insulin, the faster and more completely they take up sugar from your blood. In the short-term, this gives your cells access to more energy, and in the long-term, this lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.

Panax ginseng is an important adaptagenic herb that has long been used to boost energy and reduce feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.17-20 Now, studies show that ginseng produces these effects by increasing ATP production in the mitochondria.5,21 Ginseng also activates multiple enzymes in the so-called tricarboxylic acid cycle (or Krebs cycle), enabling mitochondria to extract maximum energy (in the form of ATP) from their glucose fuel in the presence of oxygen.10

As a result of their ability to enhance the body’s own energy production, studies have demonstrated the ability of cordyceps and Panax ginseng to enhance physical and mental energy.4,5,9,13,14,17-19 As you’ll soon read, scientists have developed a method to enable far more ginseng to be absorbed into your bloodstream than ever before!

Boost Your Physical Energy

Boost Your Physical Energy

In an impressive human study, 20 healthy adults age 50-75 years were supplemented with 333 mg of cordyceps extract three times a day for 12 weeks, or a placebo.22 At the beginning and conclusion of the study each participant performed exercise testing on a stationary bicycle to maximal levels. By the end of the study period, the subjects taking cordyceps had a 10.5% improvement in the time until they experienced muscle fatigue, and their ability to work out until they were “out of breath” increased by 8.5%.22 The placebo patients not taking cordyceps showed a worsening of both fatigue and ventilation status.

Along with cordyceps, ginseng has been found to enhance physical energy as well. In the laboratory, rats treated with a single dose of energy-boosting ginseng increased the time they could run on a treadmill by 132%. After 7 days they had increased by 179%.23 Multiple studies now confirm that ginseng used alone or in combination prolongs aerobic exercise endurance of even untrained rats and mice.20,24-26

Restore Your Mental Energy

Restore Your Mental Energy  

People with depression often lack the energy to do anything. In this case, the fatigue is mental rather than physical, yet just as debilitating. In fact, recent studies have confirmed that in people suffering from major depression, their brain levels of ATP are low—direct confirmation of that “blah” feeling and lack of motivation that so many people with depression report.27-29 By restoring ATP levels, the brain is able to function at a higher level.27

Among other mental benefits, ginseng produces improvements in levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA.30 Unlike prescription drugs like Valium® and Xanax®, which alleviate anxiety by fooling your body into thinking it has more GABA, ginseng increases levels of your body’s own GABA, producing a more natural sense of calmness and healthier sleep.30,31

One study found that a single 200 mg dose of a standardized ginseng extract significantly reduced mental fatigue while improving cognitive performance on mental arithmetic tasks in a group of healthy volunteers.32

In a subsequent study, researchers gave healthy volunteers either 200 mg of ginseng extract, or a placebo, immediately followed first by a series of cognitively demanding tasks. Thirty minutes later they gave the volunteers either 25 grams (nearly an ounce) of glucose or a placebo.33 As to be expected, both ginseng and glucose improved performance on arithmetic and reduced feelings of fatigue. However, because ginseng lowered blood sugar, while the glucose raised it, the researchers concluded that ginseng was vastly superior to sugar as an energy-boosting supplement.

And in still another study, healthy young adults taking 400 mg/day of a standardized ginseng extract for 8 days improved working memory and feelings of calmness, compared with placebo recipients.34

Enhanced Absorption — For Even Better Results

Ginseng has numerous health benefits, but it is poorly absorbed from the digestive tract in its native form. Most forms of ginseng require fermentation in the human intestine before they can be absorbed.35-37

Now, scientific innovation has brought us an advanced formulation of ginseng that naturally ferments premium Panax ginseng, a process which has been shown to increase absorption of the active compounds of ginseng (ginsenosides) by more than 15-fold.38

Innovative research demonstrates the utility of fermenting premium ginseng in customized fermenters.39 Studies in humans reveal that, compared with standard ginseng extracts, the GS15-4 form of fermented ginseng extract is absorbed 15.5 times as much in 24 hours, achieves a 27-fold higher peak concentration in blood, and reaches that peak in roughly a quarter of the time (3.29 vs. 12.04 hours).38

Summary

Low energy levels and fatigue plague millions of Americans, especially as we age.1,40 While fatigue has many different physical and mental causes, it ultimately comes down to insufficient levels of ATP, the tiny molecular batteries our bodies use to store and transport energy.7,40

Mainstream medicine and popular culture have conspired to produce a toxic response to fatigue in the form of stimulant drugs or caffeine/sugar combinations that have potentially addictive, and even fatal, adverse effects.41

Both cordyceps and ginseng have hundreds of years’ worth of proven energy-boosting benefits without addictive or toxic potential.11,12,17-20 Both supplements are now known to act by raising ATP levels, making more energy available to brain, muscle, and other vital organs, restoring more youthful energy levels.4,5

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.

References

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