Maintaining Energy through Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and supplements for energy
Support your energy levels through nutrition
Maintaining energy is a particular skill, coffee is great for that temporary boost, and a little bit can have heart health benefits, but under no circumstances is coffee a feasible way to retain a healthy and balanced energy level throughout the day.
We all know that lull in energy in the afternoon, it is inevitable—and even though you may have had a restful night's sleep, absolutely crushed an invigorating workout, and ate energy boosting foods for breakfast and lunch, you still catch yourself craving an afternoon snooze.
If you are tired of that tiredness, the answer is not another cup of coffee or an energy drink. To be clear: there is nothing wrong with a quick caffeine fix from a cup or two throughout the day. Caffeine is a stimulant for your nervous system, helping you stay alert and focused for a brief period.
Coffee may also support heart health. But one cannot run on caffeine alone. While caffeine may help you stay alert and focused on tasks for the short term, it will not support your body with the energy it needs to fuel you and keep you moving throughout the day.
For that type of maintained support (and to give your metabolism a lease of life), you need a well-balanced diet. That way you can get all the nutrients you need to help your body convert the food you eat into energy day after day. The energy your body needs first starts on your plate.
Although, this is easier said than done, right? While living a fast-paced lifestyle, which most of us do these days, it can prove difficult sometimes to get in a well-balanced meal if you are always on the go. This is where energy-boosting vitamins and minerals can help bridge those nutrient gaps for times when you are feeling a sense of energy deficiency.
How can supplements help with energy?
The usual suspects for energy-boosting are caffeine or sugar, which do give you a quick pep in your step, but will only last for a short instant. Certain vitamins and supplements support your body’s own natural energy production.
Here is what they can do:
Help provide essential nutrition for cellular energy production:
During every millisecond of every single day, the cells in your body are working on countless processes to break down foodstuff like glucose, fats, and amino acids to essential substances that can be either used or stored for energy production.
B-complex vitamins are a family of vitamins that are essential for the cells to produce energy.
Support nourishment of the thyroid gland:
Your thyroid health relates directly to your energy levels. Specific nutrients that are necessary for the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones include the essential minerals iodine and selenium as well as tyrosine, an amino acid.
Encourage a balanced response to stress:
Stress can put the adrenals into "overdrive" mode. Although throwing down all you have got can be exhilarating at times, it also can leave you feeling depleted and eventually, burned out. Certain botanicals are known as "adaptogens" because they help the body adapt and support a balanced response to stress.
What are the best supplements for energy?
There are many different nutrients that support energy production at the cellular level, support a healthy thyroid, and help you stay energized in the face of everyday stress—and each works in separate ways.
So, which of the many nutrients is best for you? Here are our top picks for healthy, long-lasting energy:
CoQ10 for cellular energy
CoQ10 is your body's essential compound for energy production, and it's found at the highest levels in the cell's membranes and is essential for mitochondria function. CoQ10 helps support energy for your organs and tissues, including the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and muscles.
The majority of CoQ10 is produced in your body; however, lesser amounts of this nutrient come from the foods you eat like animal protein (trout and chicken thighs are useful sources), pistachios, extra-virgin olive oil, soybeans, avocado, cauliflower, and broccoli.
Many of these foods can be found in a Mediterranean-based diet, however, if you are experiencing general fatigue or grabbing another cup of coffee, a CoQ10 supplement might be worth considering, for helping support your daily energy production.
It is important to note that CoQ10 is fat-soluble, and is absorbed better when taken with food, so take this energy-boosting nutrient with your morning meal.
CoQ10 is the go-to supplement for athletes who are looking to improve energy levels while fighting exercise-related fatigue. And as levels of CoQ10 fall with aging, incorporating this nutrient into your wellness routine can support your daily energy levels throughout the day.
Not all CoQ10 is the same:
As you research CoQ10 supplements, you will usually see two forms - ubiquinol and ubiquinone. They sound the same, but in one comparison study, ubiquinol CoQ10 had eight times the absorption compared to ubiquinone. And when a nutrient is absorbed better, odds are you will get more of its benefits.
NAD+ to fight fatigue
NAD+ short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide and is a key coenzyme found in every cell of the body. NAD+ is critical for the body's production of ATP, the compound your body uses to create cellular energy. However, as you age, your levels of NAD+ start to decline which leaves you with less energy and more fatigue.
Incorporating NAD+ into your wellness routine not only helps fight fatigue at the cellular level by helping inhibit the age-related decline of NAD+ your body produces but also promotes longevity and supports youthful cognitive function.
Growing new mitochondria with PQQ
PQQ (Pyrroloquinoline quinone) is a water-soluble, vitamin-like compound found in plants, yeast, and certain bacteria.
The rate of aging affects the number of mitochondria we have in our cells, and while CoQ10 is well-known for its ability to enhance mitochondrial function, new research is showing the importance of PQQ for its ability to protect and even create new mitochondria.
By that PQQ may benefit the body by energizing every cell. In fact, the potential benefits of PQQ are so extraordinary, that one of the world’s leading nutritional scientists has called it a "longevity vitamin"!
B vitamins for energy production
General fatigue may impact every part of your daily life. From working at a desk to working out at a gym, healthy energy production is important. So, if you are looking for vitamins for increased energy throughout the day (and to lower stress levels), you will become a believer in the vitamin B family.
But with eight different B vitamins, the question is, which type helps support energy production? Well, the answer is all of them!
- Vitamin B1 – B1 is a water-soluble vitamin (as are all the B vitamins) and is found in fish, whole grains, and nuts which helps provide the energy your body and brain need to make it through the day.
- Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin is an essential B vitamin that also has antioxidant properties. It helps the body convert food (carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins) into necessary compounds for cellular energy.
- Vitamin B3 (or niacin) – is another B vitamin with antioxidant activity. Remember NAD+? Well, niacin is the precursor B vitamin essential to produce this key energy-supportive compound. It also is required for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins (as well as alcohol) and helps support blood flow throughout the body.
- Vitamin B5 – B5 works in tandem with other B vitamins to convert the food you eat into energy. It also is essential to produce an enzyme known as coenzyme A (CoA), which plays a key role in neurotransmitter and hormone production.
- Vitamin B6 – Most commonly found in energy drinks or pre-workout drinks, vitamin B6 helps convert proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into glucose, giving your body energy it can use to fuel your day (or workout). The active form of B6, known as pyridoxal-5-phosphate, is essential for the production of amino acids, neurotransmitters, and hemoglobin, which carries oxygen on red blood cells.
- Vitamin B7 – Biotin (also known as vitamin B7) is another important B vitamin that helps your body break down the food you eat into energy. And if you are not eating enough biotin-rich foods like meat, eggs, seeds, nuts, and veggies, a biotin supplement can help support healthy levels. Disclaimer: if you extensively use raw egg whites as a workout protein supplement, you could become deficient in essential vitamin B7!
- Vitamin B9 – This B vitamin, more commonly referred to as folate, is important in red blood cell formation, DNA synthesis and methylation, and healthy cellular division.
- Vitamin B12 – Need a pick-me-up in a pinch? This leads many people to reach for vitamin B12, a key player in energy and neurotransmitter production. In fact, most mass-marketed "energy shots" that you can find about anywhere primarily consist of vitamin B12. Why not go for convenience and take a vitamin B12 supplement instead?
Other energizing nutrients
- BCAAs to get into "beast mode"
If you are looking to make significant "gains" in the gym or get an extra jolt of endurance throughout your workout, it is time to try branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs are the building blocks for protein synthesis — a key component of muscle tissue that helps your muscles recover after you work up an intense sweat.
Besides helping support lean muscle mass, BCAAs can help improve your performance throughout your workout. It is important to note, however, this is not the type of energy you would expect from an "energy drink" or drink containing caffeine.
The benefits of BCAAs occur below the surface as these amino acids help you power through your workout by helping to protect existing muscles, build new muscles, and inhibit muscle fatigue.
- L-theanine... so stress will not get the upper hand.
Feeling frazzled? L-theanine might be the nutrient for you. L-theanine is a compound found in green tea, and is well known for its ability to relieve subjective stress. However, if you are looking for a little less R&R and a little more energy, kick things up a notch by combining l-theanine with caffeine.
- Ginseng: Try this ancient Asian herb.
You do not have to travel to China to enjoy the energy-boosting benefits of the popular herb ginseng. Ginseng is an adaptogen herb that not only helps promote healthy energy production but also supports your body's ability to manage stress. In fact, a recent study of 21 men and 69 women found that ginseng shows positive results in helping people fight general fatigue.
A bonus? It promotes the levels of glutathione, a key antioxidant for natural detoxification processes.
- Rhodiola rosea for a rosy outlook
Support your body's physical and mental energy with another adaptogenic herb native to mountainous regions in Europe and Asia, Rhodiola rosea. This powerful herb boasts a boatload of benefits like helping to decrease stress, fight fatigue, maintain brain function and even improve exercise performance.
Human studies suggest rhodiola may positively impact both physical and mental performance. So, if you are looking for a vitamin that can support your mind and body all day long, a rhodiola supplement is for you. It can help when you are lacking on crucial snooze time– so try it if your coffee is not working or if you are looking for a caffeine-free boost!
- Taurine to power through your workouts
Want to get the energy-boosting benefits of popular energy drinks without all the extra additives and chemicals? It is time to try taurine. Taurine is the go-to supplement for those looking to break a sweat at the gym and make some significant gains (or shed some pounds) as it helps increase endurance, supports exercise recovery, and helps promote strength and power.
- L-tyrosine to help energize your brain
L-tyrosine is a popular vitamin for those looking to enhance cognitive function. While this nutrient can be found in foods like cheese, chicken, turkey, fish, and other high-protein foods, higher doses are necessary for those looking to support mental performance.
L-tyrosine has even been shown to help facilitate deep thinking! For those experiencing sleep deficiency, supplementing with a single dose of l-tyrosine helps those who lost a night's sleep to perform better on a task requiring brain and motor function and vigilance the next day.
- Ashwagandha for energy, stress management, and more
Ashwagandha has been gaining commercial popularity in recent years – and for good reason! Thanks to its benefits like supporting stress management, increasing energy levels, and encouraging cognitive function, this herb just about does it all.
- French oak wood to fight fatigue and maintain energy levels
French oak wood extract helps relieve the effects caused by general fatigue. Researchers found that this french oak wood extract helps encouraged energy levels, reduce weakness, promote healthy refreshing sleep, support a positive mood, and help relieve discomfort in the head, joints, and muscles.
Ready, set, go...go...go!
Still not sure which energy vitamins and supplement are right for you?
- Book an expert and get help to find an energy-supporting nutrient that addresses your individual health and wellness goals.
- Of course, it is important to note that vitamins and minerals that support healthy energy levels will only get you so far.
- You will also need to pay careful attention to your diet as well as get a restful sleep night after night.
- Getting regular physical activity also can help you be more alert during the day.
Read more blog posts:
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- Calderón-Ospina, Carlos Alberto et al. "B Vitamins in the nervous system: Current knowledge of the biochemical modes of action and synergies of thiamine, pyridoxine, and cobalamin." CNS Neurosci Ther., January 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6930825/
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