It’s well known that in order to maintain energy levels and good health, all that’s required is a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting a good night’s sleep. However, in some cases, it’s difficult to maintain such a routine considering the other priorities of day-to-day life. Whether it’s caring for small children or having a busy work schedule, it can become exhausting to balance everything in one go. Luckily, there are several supplements that can help to boost your energy and keep you going throughout the day. Here are a few to consider:
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound that’s produced naturally in the body. It acts as an antioxidant and is vital for energy production in cells. Your levels of coenzyme Q10 tend to decrease as you get older, contributing to fatigue. Low levels of coenzyme 10 are also associated with health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Coenzyme Q10 is found naturally in foods such as fish and meat, but it is difficult to get enough from the diet to significantly increase circulating CoQ10 levels. This is why supplements are an ideal alternative to boost energy and reduce fatigue.
Vitamin B12 contributes to fatty acid synthesis and energy production in cells. It’s also needed to make red blood cells, and having a Vitamin B12 deficiency can mean you do not produce enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around the body. This leads to a form of anaemia which makes you extremely tired and fatigued, so if symptoms persist do see your doctor. Vitamin B12 is mainly found in meat, fish and dairy products which makes it difficult for people following a plant-based diet to consume enough on a regular basis. Adults over 50 are also at risk of having a vitamin B12 deficiency as adults who tend to get older have difficulty absorbing B12 from food. This is mainly down to producing less stomach acid and less of a special protein (instrinsic factor) needed to absorb vitamin B12 in the small intestines. While vitamin B12 supplements are available to prevent B12 deficiency, those with an inability to absorb B12 will need to obtain it via sub-lingual absorption (under the tongue) or may require injections.
You may have heard of many people using creatine as a supplement in the gym to get a quick energy boost. It works via ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is your cells’ main source of energy. During energy production, ATP loses a phosphate ion and is converted into ADP ( adenosine diphosphate). Creatine is readily converted to phosphocreatine and can replenish phosphate stores to help turn ADP back into ATP. Creatine supplements are commonly used in sports that require high energy for a short duration such as 100m sprints, shot put and weightlifting. Creatine supplements also contribute to increase muscle strength and size as the energy helps individuals to train harder for longer.
Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in sleep, with levels increasing at night and dropping in the morning, essentially telling your body when it’s time to sleep and wake up. How much light your body receives contributes to how much melatonin your body makes. In some countries, melatonin supplements are used by those who suffer from insomnia to help fall asleep and stay asleep. In the UK, melatonin is a prescription only drug that is licensed for the short-term treatment of insomnia characterised by poor quality of sleep in people aged 55 or over. If you suffer from insomnia and feel exhausted and extremely tired due to the lack of sleep your doctor can advise if melatonin is likely to help you. Click here to find out how to boost melatonin hormone levels naturally.
You need iron to produce haemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen around the body to vital organs such as the heart and tissues. If you have an iron deficiency, low haemoglobin levels mean your cells receive too little oxygen for energy production, leading to symptoms that include weakness and fatigue. The causes of iron deficiency include:
- Pregnancy: In order to support fetal growth, pregnant women require more iron and may develop anaemia as a result.
- Loss of blood: As the majority of iron is found in your blood, blood loss (eg form heavy periods) can lead to iron depletion.
- Lack of iron in the diet: The majority of iron comes from meats and seafood, which provide iron in the most readily absorbed haem form (bound to protein). Plant-base foods provide iron in mineral forms (ferric and ferrous iron) which are less readily absorbed. People who avoid all animal-based foods by following a vegan diet are therefore at higher risk of iron deficiency than those eating an omnivore diet
Iron supplements can help to reduce the chance of iron deficiency and decrease fatigue. Just be wary that there can be health risks involved with taking iron supplements excessively, so consult with a doctor first.
Tyrosine is an amino acid that is produced naturally in the body and helps to improve mental functions in the body. Tyrosine is needed to produce neurotransmitters – chemicals involved in transporting messages in the brain. Low tyrosine levels have been identified in people with chronic fatigue. Low tyrosine levels may also play a role in declining production of neurotransmitters with age, leading to a decrease in energy levels and a struggle to concentrate. Tyrosine is found in foods such as chicken, eggs and other high-protein foods. Tyrosine supplements can also help to increase alertness and replenish energy levels over time.
As you get older, it’s common for energy levels to fall. There are many things you can do to help overcome this, including consuming a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep and engaging with regular exercise. This can be hard to manage for some, however, in which case, supplements are an alternative to provide your body with the nutrients and vitamins it may be lacking.
Do consult your doctor before taking supplements if fatigue is persistent or severe to rule out medical conditions that may need treatment.
Author: Jamie Costello is a student based in Manchester, studying for his Bachelor of Honours degree in Nutritional Sciences (BSc). Currently, in this year’s module, he’s required to create a portfolio to showcase his knowledge of the course, alongside continuing this current studies.