Energy is what we need in order to move, think, and survive.
Did you know that our brain, despite representing only 2% of our total body weight, uses around 20% of the oxygen and calories we take in?
That’s right! Since the brain has no storage for energy, it requires a constant supply of glucose, a main source of energy for the brain in order to function.
Aside from our brain, other parts of our body and systems need energy too. We burn energy with any kind of physical exertion. A study conducted by Harvard revealed that 30 minutes of walking burns an average of 133 calories, swimming uses around 216 calories, and reading in a chair consumes about 40 calories.
In fact, we also expend energy when in a state of rest or even during sleep! When we sleep, our bodies consume 22 calories every half hour. Calories used during sleep are allocated to automatic bodily functions such as breathing, temperature regulation, circulation, and cellular repair and growth. How interesting, right?
If you’re constantly struggling with low energy levels, we hear you. We’re here to dish on what the best supplements and vitamins for energy are, so sit tight and read on!
Without enough energy to burn when we’re both awake and asleep, our bodies and brains would have difficulty functioning. Insufficient energy levels commonly result in fatigue, a state associated with physical and mental tiredness or weakness.
An imbalance of energy levels can affect your professional, social, and personal life. So it’s super important to ensure you’re getting the energy you need.
The body’s energy-producing process is called cellular respiration. Cell respiration is how we get energy from the food we eat. Cellular respiration takes the nutrients, especially glucose, from what we eat and oxygen we breathe in to produce energy.
There are plenty of processes involved in creating usable energy for our bodies, but they all begin with us eating nutritious foods, the primary source of energy.
To achieve a balanced diet, most adults are encouraged to consume various foods from each of the five food groups — vegetables and legumes, fruits, grains and cereals, lean meat (including eggs, tofu, nuts, etc.), and dairy daily.
Apart from food, it can be equally beneficial to consider taking vitamin and mineral supplements to make sure that your body gets the energy it needs. These supplements can help boost energy necessary for performing day-to-day tasks and enjoying activities such as exercise, work, and spending time with friends and family.
Can energy supplements boost your energy? There are various vitamin supplements in the market that can provide an energy boost. Here are some that you can consider:
Iron is essential to supporting and maintaining energy production. It is a component of specific proteins including haemoglobin, the oxygen transport protein in the red blood cells. This makes iron a vital mineral that helps transport oxygen throughout the body.
Certain foods such as lamb, spinach, tofu, and cashews are high in iron. Although we can get iron from food consumption, it may not be enough. Our bodies only absorb around 18% of iron from a diet that includes animal meat, and even lesser amounts from a vegetarian diet.
Iron absorption can also be affected by the kind of food and drinks we consume, and how we prepare them. For example, only 6% of iron is absorbed by the body from uncooked broccoli while 30% is absorbed from cooked broccoli.
On the other hand, certain foods and drinks may limit your body’s ability to properly absorb iron. Tea, coffee, and wine are some examples of common beverages that may interfere with iron absorption. These everyday beverages contain tannins which bind to iron, making it unabsorbable by the body.
Apart from being more conscious about your diet, a complementary solution would be to get iron from energy supplements. Ideally, you should also pair your iron supplement intake with vitamin C, as it aids in the efficient absorption of iron for boosting energy.
*Iron should only be taken if prescribed by your doctor.
Within the traditional medicinal system of India called Ayurveda, ashwagandha has long been touted for its rejuvenating properties, among a wide array of health benefits. Used as a tonic, stimulant, and astringent, ashwagandha is said to relieve fatigue, fight acute and chronic stress, boost energy levels and improve physical stamina.
Ashwagandha, specifically its root extract, also contains sleep-inducing qualities, whereas the herb’s alkaloids are similarly used as insomnia treatment. This too has energy boosting implications given our body’s need for energy during sleep. During sleep, cellular healing and growth take place to replenish our energy expended in our waking hours, a process necessary for us to feel well-rested and energised for the next day.
Sleep deprivation drastically affects how the body stores energy and controls the availability of energy. Since energy is not properly refuelled when someone lacks sleep, people may end up using as much as one-third more energy than the well-rested person. This inefficient use of energy could result in tiredness, sluggishness, and disengagement as they go through the day. It’s simple proof that sleep really is critical to how you show up each day.
Ashwagandha, specifically the leaves and roots, is typically consumed in powder form. The powder can then be mixed with water, ghee (or clarified butter), or honey. However you choose to consume ashwagandha, be it in its powdered form or as a synthesised energy supplement, this herb can provide energy-boosting benefits to both your mind and body.
Magnesium assists with the breakdown of glucose, essential for maintaining our energy levels.
This essential mineral is naturally present in plenty of foods—almonds, pumpkin seeds, soy milk, whole wheat bread, avocado, milk, and more. A high-fat diet may interfere with magnesium absorption, so having a low-fat diet is key to getting enough magnesium to boost energy.
And even though magnesium is found in both animal and plant products, you may still not be getting enough of it. For example, in Australia, one out of three people don’t get enough of their daily magnesium requirement.
A magnesium deficiency and its associated lack of energy are becoming an increasingly common problem. This is due to the consumption of too many processed foods rather than whole foods, combined with other lifestyle factors. Certain groups are also at higher risk of magnesium deficiency, such as those who have alcoholism and / or are advanced in age.
If you have any trouble adjusting your diet to contain more magnesium-rich foods, you can consider a vitamin subscription pack containing magnesium supplements. Vitable’s Magnesium citrate is a type of magnesium that is highly bioavailable, and helps maintain energy production in the body.
B complex vitamins are often grouped together because in most cases, each B vitamin plays a key role. Consuming them together may enhance their health benefits, inclusive of energy boosting effects.
B complex vitamins support energy production through their involvement in the energy-producing metabolic pathways for fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. In addition, B vitamins are also involved in storing and releasing energy in the body’s cells. For example, vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6 all play a role in cellular energy production.
Another B complex vitamin that contributes to boosting energy is B12. Vitamin B12 aids in the production of red blood cells, repair of body tissue, and nerve health, all of which play a part in making us feel energised throughout the day.
While getting enough vitamin B12 is possible for vegetarians and vegans, these individuals may be at higher risk of B vitamin deficiency due to a more limited choice of foods rich in the vitamin. As such, having some B complex vitamins for energy can help, as long as they contain B12 or cyanocobalamin.
Acetyl L-carnitine or ALC is the acetylated and bioavailable form of L-carnitine. This vitamin supports energy production.
Apart from playing a major role in the production of energy, research has revealed that ALC can maintain healthy energy levels and decrease oxidative stress. ALC is also better tolerated by those who experience chronic fatigue.
Certain animal foods and animal byproducts make excellent sources of carnitine, such as beef steak, cod, chicken breast, and whole milk. However, ALC, which is available as a vitamin supplement for energy, is more bioavailable than L-carnitine. This key characteristic helps the body absorb the nutrients faster.
Vitamin C supports energy production by aiding in the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria to create energy. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, and the body does not store it. To maintain adequate levels of vitamin C, people need to consume food that contains it every day. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid also helps boost iron absorption, which is also an essential energy booster.
Despite vitamin C’s many health benefits, our bodies cannot naturally produce it. Fortunately, plenty of readily available fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C. This includes oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, lemons, and berries. It is highly recommended to consume these foods raw or lightly cooked at most, then eat them as soon as they’re sliced. This is because food preparation, including cutting, heating, and cooking, affect the efficacy of the vitamin C they contain.
Consider incorporating vitamin C as an energy supplement in your daily diet as it is a nutrient that supports and fortifies your immune system. There are plenty of energy-boosting supplements that contain vitamin C, but to fortify your immune system, you can include other natural antioxidants to complement its effects, such as rosehip, vitamin E, vitamin A, or beta-carotene.
If you don’t know where to start, why not take up a subscription with Vitable? All you have to do is complete a short online quiz, and you’ll get a vitamin combination personalised to your unique health needs (from over 1.2 million possible combinations) — how amazing is that!
Get home-compostable daily packs delivered straight to your doorstep monthly for fuss-free ease in getting your supplement intake sorted. Made from premium quality ingredients backed by science and proudly made in Australia, there’s no reason to say no to Vitable. Get your custom vitamin packs today so you can give your body the nutrients it needs.
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.