9 min

Poor Metabolic Health: Why am I always tired?

Low energy levels and fatigue

Are you someone for whom constant low energy and feelings of fatigue have become the norm?

Is having low energy and lack of motivation starting to impact the quality of your work and family life?

Have you been trying everything you can to boost your energy levels with over the counter medications, or supplements but can’t work out what causes fatigue?

You are more likely suffering from low energy and fatigue due to POOR conversion of the food you eat into energy which prevents it from being delivered into your cells to create Mitochondria.


In our busy lives, it can be very easy to attribute low energy levels or chronic fatigue to a host of common factors such as stress, mental health issues, hormones and the everyday pressures of work or home life.

And whilst it’s true that these things can hold an influence over how we feel within ourselves, the presence of constant low energy levels or severe fatigue may in fact be a clue or symptom of poor metabolic health.

If you have been managing chronic tiredness, this indicates an underlying imbalance within our main metabolic pathways.

What is the impact of low energy and fatigue?

With that in mind, if you have been experiencing fatigue and unrelenting exhaustion for over two or more years with the use of quick energy foods, over-the-counter medication or supplements, then your metabolic pathways are likely struggling to utilise the energy and absorb the nutrients from the food you eat and dispose of toxins properly.

When you feel fatigued and exhausted the natural reaction is to get a quick fix of energy from caffeine or sugary snacks such as cake, biscuits or chocolate. However, these foods will further imbalance your blood sugars and will make you feel worse in about an hour.

The feelings of fatigue can become a vicious cycle. When you choose to eat sugary foods or starchy carbohydrates to help you feel more alert in reality, these foods are the underlying cause of your depleting energy levels.

Due to the quality of the food choices, your metabolic pathways cannot recognise the food as a natural ingredient. The liver will deem it as toxic and store in your fat cells, rather than deliver it to the cells for energy.

I’m Jen Adams, a functional personal nutritional therapist and my purpose is to teach those who want to learn how to improve their metabolic health for energy, vitality, and wealth and to better understand how their food and lifestyle choices affect every part of their life.

In this series of articles about the symptoms of poor metabolic health, you’ll understand the importance of how you feel and what you can see when you look in the mirror as contributory factors to your metabolic health.

Identifying your everyday symptoms as clues to various underlying systemic imbalances will help you to enhance your future metabolic health and reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune diseases, inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

Learn more about the consequences of poor metabolic health…

If you only treat these symptoms with medicine alone for more than two years, without any nutrition and lifestyle intervention, your metabolic pathways will begin to fail, and your symptoms may develop into a systemic imbalance in your metabolic health.

Your metabolic health is incredibly important and fundamentally everyday symptoms related to an imbalance or malfunction relating to either one of in part all three of functional metabolic pathways: Delivery of energy to your cells, detoxification of toxins and absorption or deficiency of raw ingredients.

What is the cause of low energy and fatigue?

One of the main causes of this common symptom is due to poor conversion of the energy from the food you eat into your cells to create Mitochondria.

Mitochondria is the powerhouse of every cell in your body, and if they are not getting the energy they require, you will feel fatigue symptoms.

It may not come as a surprise to you that a poor diet, too much alcohol, too much caffeine and a lack of a good night’s sleep can have a major impact on how your body functions and how you feel as a result.

The mitochondria often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell, are crucial to the production of energy.

When it performs its job properly, it generates most of the adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, found in our bodies.

ATP is produced via a process known as oxidative phosphorylation, which can only be made possible when nutrients find their way into the mitochondria.

When we make poor dietary choices or fail to stick to a nutrient-rich diet, the mitochondria are unable to function as they should. The result? Lack of delivery of energy to cells results in feelings of constant low energy and extreme fatigue.

What are the consequences of poor mitochondria?

People with poor mitochondrial may experience gut dysbiosis, diabetes, and/or liver and kidney problems.

For example, a study recently published in 2021 found that people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) were more likely to have mitochondrial dysfunction.

In another study, researchers discovered that people with type 2 diabetes were even more likely to have mitochondrial disorders.

These two studies suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may play a role in the development of both NAFLD and type 2 diabetes.

If you’re struggling with low energy and fatigue symptoms, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.

However, if you are otherwise healthy, there are some things you can do to support your mitochondria and improve your energy levels.

  • Eat a nutrient-rich diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
  • Avoid processed foods, sugar, and refined carbs as much as possible.
  • Get regular exercise to help improve mitochondrial function.
  • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night.
  • Consider taking a vitamin B complex supplement, as B vitamins are essential for energy production.
  • Try using adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha or Rhodiola to help your body better deal with stress.

The long term effects of poor mitochondria are that the constant low energy and fatigue can interfere with our ability to complete simple tasks and result in excessive daytime sleepiness.

By either not eating enough of the right foods or junk foods regularly, you will become deficient in essential nutrients and your body will struggle to keep a good metabolism.

When this happens, instead of relying on mitochondria to create energy, your body will break down muscle mass to make up for what is missing.

As a result, problems with fatigue typically ensue, leading to constant low energy levels and fatigue that will have a draining effect on both your physical and mental health.

In summary, when suffering from low energy and chronic fatigue, the quality of your food impacts the ability to generate sustained energy throughout the day.

Consuming a diet rich in whole foods, and reducing processed foods, alcohol and caffeine will help to improve the creation and function of the mitochondria.

This in turn will lead to improved energy levels, better sleep, the energy to do regular exercise and an overall feeling of wellness.

The long term consequences of poor delivery of energy to create mitochondria relate to poor metabolic health which if left untreated could lead to various medical conditions such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease and an underactive thyroid.

If you are struggling with low energy and fatigue and want to lose weight, start exercising regularly to improve your mental health and get enough sleep to wake up feeling refreshed then please look at ways to improve your metabolic health rather than a quick sugar fix or caffeinated drinks to get you through the next hour.

In conclusion, the best way to improve energy levels is to focus on balancing your blood sugars, cleansing your liver and improving your gut microbiome.

This will enable you to help regulate your insulin sensitivity, deliver energy to your cells, detoxify toxins that disrupt your metabolism, and create beneficial bacteria to reduce inflammation, improving your overall metabolic health.

Your lack of motivation and low energy levels are related to what you ate yesterday NOT what you NEED today. Breaking the vicious cycle is easy to do by changing what you eat next, reducing the bouts of fatigue.

What’s next? What is your metabolic health age – use the online Metabolic Age Calculator and answer a few simple health and lifestyle questions. It takes a few minutes, but it could help you change how you manage your energy levels forever.

If your Metabolic Health Age is equivalent to or lower than your actual age, then that is great news! This means your blood sugar levels, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure and waist circumference are potentially all within an ideal range.

However if your Metabolic Health Age is more than 10 years of your actual age, and you are struggling with low energy and fatigue you could be prone to some or all of these conditions as these are all markers that directly relate to your risk of insulin resistance, fatty liver, dysbiosis, high cholesterol and blood pressure.


This article is part of my WHY series to help you to identify the symptoms of poor metabolic health. Do you often ask yourself any of these…


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