HEALTH & WELLNESS
Best supplements: 6 ingredients that recharge your cells
Whether you’re feeling generally run-down or looking for a quick energy boost, there are plenty of dietary supplements out there that promise to recharge your cells.
But do all of them live up to their promise?
Let us help you see through the fog – we’ll take a look at six of the best ingredients out there that can help recharge your cells and support optimal energy levels.
CoQ10, more formally known as coenzyme Q10, is an antioxidant that is both naturally produced by the body and obtained from outside sources like food or supplements. It is absolutely necessary for proper cell function and can be found in almost every cell in the body.
Our cells require CoQ10 to help them produce the energy the body needs to function. The mitochondria in the cells uses the coenzyme to perform a process known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate) synthesis.
ATP is the main source of energy that our cells need to successfully perform their individual functions. CoQ10 also helps support both DNA replication and repair, while helping to fight off the damaging effects of free radicals in the body (which are a natural side effect of the ATP synthesis process).
While the body produces CoQ10 on its own, it must first be converted from its inactive, non-oxidized form, known as ubiquinone, to an oxidized form called ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is more “bioavailable,” meaning it is much easier for the body to use than ubiquinone.
Having enough CoQ10, especially in its active ubiquinol form, can help the body to sustain energy levels while also helping to fight off the damage from both free radicals and the normal aging process.
Unfortunately, CoQ10 levels can naturally decline as we age. Studies have shown that maintaining a steady amount of the coenzyme in the body, whether through CoQ10 supplementation or regularly eating foods that contain CoQ10 like eggs, nuts, whole grains, and fatty fish, may have a real impact on quality of life due to the huge role that CoQ10 plays in overall cellular health.
L-Carnitine, also known as levocarnitine, is a substance that naturally occurs in the body. It is used by the body to help produce the energy it needs to perform all the necessary functions of life. L-Carnitine is derived from an amino acid (organic compounds needed by the body for both growth and functionality), and it is found in almost every cell.
The name actually comes from “carnus,” which means “flesh” in Latin, as the compound was originally isolated from meat. It plays an absolutely critical role in the production of energy in the body, as it transports the long, fatty-acid chains into mitochondria. Once those fatty acids enter the mitochondria, they become oxidized and turned into energy. L-Carnitine also transports any toxic by-products generated in the mitochondria out and away so that they aren’t able to build up and cause cellular problems on accumulation.
Because of those important jobs, L-Carnitine is generally found in large concentrations in both cardiac and skeletal muscle, as these muscles tend to use the most amount of fatty acids for fuel.
Most people are able to naturally make enough of their own L-Carnitine to fuel their bodies as the liver and kidneys create it by combining lysine and methionine (amino acids). However, for those looking to boost their L-Carnitine levels, either to help recharge the cells or due to a medical or genetic reason resulting in a deficiency, the nutrient is found in animal products like meat, poultry, fish, and milk. Generally speaking, the “redder” the meat, the more L-Carnitine it likely has.
For those not too keen on all this red meat, or for those just looking for an easier way to get this vital nutrient, L-Carnitine supplements can play a healthful role in your daily regimen.
In addition to supporting heart health, studies have also suggested that L-Carnitine may help support mental health and mitochondrial health. For a boost in supporting cellular health, L-Carnitine supplements with CoQ10 may be an ideal option.
Magnesium is one of the minerals found in abundance in the body, as it is needed for at least 300 different biochemical reactions. Magnesium is an essential part of nerve and muscle function, the control of blood glucose, and the production of energy, to name a few.
While the mineral is important for our body to produce energy, it is also essential for maintaining a normal sleep schedule. Studies have shown that magnesium may actually help improve sleep quality, which can allow the body to naturally recharge its own cells overnight.
Magnesium can be found naturally in many different foods, including almonds, fish, and whole grains. However, much of the American diet is sadly lacking in magnesium, which can lead to a deficiency, with a whole host of potential symptoms like fatigue, increased anxiety, and frequent migraines. The recommended daily allowance of magnesium is between 310 and 420 milligrams per day (depending on gender and/or age).
Magnesium supplementation is easy enough to add to your daily regimen, and it can also help support your heart health and overall cellular health when paired with L-Carnitine and CoQ10.
While a lot of focus often gets placed on vitamin B12 for its ability to help the cells with their production of energy and the formation of red blood cells, a full B-complex vitamin is often recommended for those looking for a cellular recharge.
B-complex vitamins include not only B12 but also B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), and B9 (folate). Each of these B vitamins plays an important role in not only helping produce energy but also in helping to fight off some of the problems that can cause a lack of energy. They work together to help carry oxygen to the brain, support the myelin sheaths that are located around nerve cells, and help with the production of important mood regulating neurotransmitters like GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.
While many foods are fortified with B vitamins, supplementation may be necessary, especially in those who choose not to eat animal products. Vegans, specifically, are far more likely to be B12 deficient as there are no natural sources of the vitamin that do not include meat or dairy products.
Iron is one of the most important minerals in the body, as it is essential to help oxygen circulate through the bloodstream and into your body. It also helps support a normal functioning immune system. The good news is, iron is found naturally in many different, palatable foods, like green leafy vegetables, beans and red meat. Supplementation is also easy to purchase, although it may lead to constipation if taken in large doses.
Once the body’s iron level returns to normal, iron can help provide the body with all of the oxygen it needs to keep you feeling at your healthiest and most energized.
Finally, one other way to help recharge your cells is with the “sunshine” vitamin. Vitamin D is only finally starting to be more fully understood, and what we do know about the vitamin for sure is that deficiency generally causes fatigue.
The vitamin is also said to help support muscle development, as well as healthy bones. This is especially true when vitamin D is paired with calcium, which works hand in hand to help supporting healthy bone density. With more than 40 per cent of the country potentially deficient in vitamin D, supplementation is usually necessary for most people, as we do not spend sufficient time outside to get enough from the sun. The current daily recommended dose is around 800 international units a day, although a doctor may recommend you take more temporarily if your levels are significantly deficient.
There are some products that are fortified with vitamin D as well, and it can also be found in other natural sources including fatty fishes, such as tuna and salmon. With how potentially ground-breaking this vitamin may turn out to be, it’s a great idea to boost your levels not only to help recharge your cells but also for its possible long-term benefits.
Recharging your cells and helping yourself feel more energized and ready to take on the world is one of the best forms of self-care.
These ingredients, often found in supplements available online, not typically attainable from your local grocery store, also offer a wide range of health benefits ranging from cardiovascular support, to maintaining gastrointestinal health and weight loss support, and even to potential high blood pressure and cholesterol maintenance.
So, whether it means focusing more on eating a healthy diet full of whole foods that naturally contain many of the above ingredients, or taking a supplement to help support your energy levels, don’t let tiredness take over your life. It’s easy to add in multivitamins and make corrections in your nutrition as a first step toward better wellness, even as an older adult.
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