Sick of feeling like you barely have enough energy to get through the day? You’re not alone. Busy schedules and non-stop activities leave many people feeling depleted on a daily basis and looking for a way to find some extra energy, usually in the form of sugary energy drinks that give you a short-term pick-me-up before the inevitable crash back to feeling a lack of energy.
If you’re considering taking an energy supplement, step away from the caffeine and the jitters it comes with. The best energy supplements may surprise you!
What are examples of popular energy supplements?
The best energy supplements vary slightly from person to person, as each supplement works differently and is designed to address loss of energy in specific areas. However, there are a few energy supplements that are likely to help most individuals no matter what the cause of their energy depletion may be, especially since the dietary supplements that made it to this list fight fatigue with natural energy boosting strategies to kick tiredness to the curb.
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 is a substance that’s found naturally in almost all of the cells of the body. It is a naturally occurring antioxidant that’s produced in the cells by the mitochondria. Mitochondria are responsible for producing the energy by converting the food we eat and the air we breathe into energy in the form of a substance called ATP. During this process, the body produces free radicals as a byproduct. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that can neutralize excess free radicals and help prevent them from being able to cause damage to the cellular membranes, cellular proteins and DNA. Problems can arise when the balance between them is out of kilter.
As we age, levels of CoQ10 in the body can begin to decline, and free radicals are able to cause more damage. As a result, the cells start spending energy trying to repair damage caused by free radicals. People may begin to experience fatigue as a result of oxidative stress, which occurs as a result of excess free radicals, reduced cellular energy and diminished cellular repair.
Taking CoQ10 supplements should support regular cellular energy levels and help to maintain those regular energy levels in people even as they age, however absorption is always an issue. Instead you want to look for an advanced form such as MitoQ, which has been formulated to deliver an enhanced form of CoQ10 directly to where it’s needed most, deep within your cells and inside your mitochondria.
If you'd prefer to get CoQ10 from your diet, the food source with the highest levels of CoQ10 is organ meat – hope you like liver and onions (you’ll need to eat a LOT)!
The B vitamin complex, especially vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, are also part of the process of cellular respiration. Vitamin B12 deficiencies make people more likely to experience a red blood cell deficiency, which can cause weakness and fatigue, and a decline in energy levels.
Vitamin B12 is found in many types of animal protein, including meat, fish and dairy products, but vegetarians and vegans can be at an increased risk of vitamin B12 deficiency since they don’t consume animal proteins. Additionally, older adults over age 50 and people with gastrointestinal disorders are more likely to have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 with food.
Vitamin B12 supplements could improve energy levels if you are vitamin B12 deficient, but it has not been shown to increase energy levels in people with adequate levels of B12.
Ashwagandha is a nootropic adaptogen that has been used as a medicinal herb in Indian Ayurvedic Medicine for thousands of years to help improve energy. People who take it report feelings of increased energy and alleviated stress. It is believed that ashwagandha works by lowering the body’s perceived level of stress and restlessness by reducing levels of cortisol, a hormone that is increased as a result of stress. Lower levels of stress and restlessness appear to correspond to a boost in energy levels, particularly when it comes to mental burnout.
As we mentioned earlier in our quick explanation about ATP (adenosine triphosphate), it’s the main source of fuel for the cells, and in turn, the body. As the body uses ATP, it begins to break down and becomes ADP (adenosine diphosphate) when it loses a phosphate group. Creatine contains phosphate of its own and can give its phosphate to ADP, allowing it to become ATP to be used by the body for energy again. Improving the fuel that goes into cells can have some pre-workout energy benefits.
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world, with an estimated 50 percent of the global population deficient in vitamin D. People who are older, have darker skin, receive less sun exposure, or are obese are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which can contribute to low energy levels. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to feelings of emotional unwellness or mental tension, which can often be tiring and cause low energy levels as well. People with vitamin D deficiency who take a vitamin D supplement report significantly improved emotional and mental health, which in turn can bring feelings of increased energy. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, taking a vitamin D supplement may help improve your overall energy levels.
What is the best supplement for energy?
Each person’s needs are different, so the best supplement for energy may vary depending on a person’s particular nutritional deficiencies and needs.
However, overall, CoQ10 is the best supplement for most people when it comes to supporting energy production and regular energy levels. This is because all people need CoQ10 in adequate levels in order to maintain the necessary amount of cellular energy, and most people see a decline in CoQ10 as they age. Recognizing this inevitability, it makes sense to start using a CoQ10 supplement to help support regular energy levels and improve cellular energy processes.
However, not just any CoQ10 supplement will do. Scientists have recognized the need for a CoQ10 supplement for decades, but they were not able to formulate the supplement in a way that allowed it to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane. It wasn’t until the 1990s, when our scientists in New Zealand made a breakthrough.
They created MitoQ, the first CoQ10 supplement that can effectively penetrate the mitochondrial membrane. MitoQ consists of a shortened CoQ10 molecule that is small enough to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane and is positively charged so that the negatively charged mitochondria are drawn to it.
MitoQ is actually absorbed into the mitochondria up to 1000 more effectively than other CoQ10 supplements, which means it can be taken at a much lower dose. People who take MitoQ are helping to maintain healthy cellular energy levels and are able to maintain those healthy levels over time, even as they age. In addition to taking an energy supplement like MitoQ, other lifestyle changes can also help provide increased energy.
What else can I do to increase my energy level?
It can be challenging to make lifestyle changes when you’re exhausted, but trust us, the inconvenient side effects of transitioning to a healthier lifestyle will seem like nothing compared to the boost in wellness you'll be able to achieve! Try making these three changes in order to improve your energy levels.
Go to bed
If going to bed on time doesn’t sound like such a groundbreaking idea to get more energy, that’s because it isn’t. However, most people don’t get enough rest each night and then try to make up for it on the weekend. A study by Harvard Medical School shows that there’s no way to catch up on lost sleep, which means it’s essential that you dedicate the proper amount of time to sleep each night if you want to have enough energy to make it through the day. Actually, sleeping as long as you're supposed to can help improve brain function, mental performance, physical performance and even weight loss.
The last thing you want to do when you’re chronically fatigued is exercise, but low energy levels can actually be improved by exercise performed regularly at a low to moderate intensity. A 2008 study conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia found that inactive people with low energy levels were able to increase their energy levels by up to 20 percent and decrease fatigue by up to 65 percent when they performed low to moderate-intensity exercise on a regular basis. The best way to use exercise to boost energy is to perform something at a low to moderate intensity, like a brisk walk, rather than hitting the gym for a heavy lifting session, which is likely to make you more tired.
Eat a balanced diet
It’s the advice no one wants to hear, but what you eat makes a big difference in terms of providing the energy your body needs. Eating a balanced diet full of whole foods like lean protein sources, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables provides the quality fuel that your body needs to stay running efficiently to produce the energy it needs, and it also helps avoid the blood sugar spikes and crashes caused by junk food and processed food.
Reviewed by: Asha Hira/ BPharm