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What vitamins can I take to boost my energy?

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Do you feel rundown, slowed down, tired, or fatigued? Read below to find out what vitamins can boost your energy.

Many factors can cause low energy for example, psychological (stress, depression, anxiety), physical (anaemia, an underactive thyroid, leaky gut syndrome, blood sugar imbalance, being overweight or underweight), and lifestyle causes (lack of sleep, dehydration and nutritional deficiencies). 

Moreover, modern life pressures tend to create an obstacle, making you feel like you are trying to find the perfect balance between a healthy diet, exercise, sleep alongside daily demands to meet. 

But which vitamins and minerals boost energy levels?

Iron

Iron is one of the essential minerals to take for energy. It is found in your red blood cells known as haemoglobin. The body uses iron to keep oxygen in your blood and transport it to your tissues.

At the cellular level, iron is used then to make energy and to fuel enzymes. Low levels of iron deprive cells in the body of oxygen.  As a result, one of the most common symptoms of iron deficiency is tiredness. Moreover, some also report low energy alongside weakness, feeling cranky, difficulty concentrating or poor productivity at work.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B, also known as the energy vitamin is vital for energy production and cell metabolism. B vitamins are easily lost from the body because they are water-soluble.  Subsequently, individuals on a weight-loss diet, a course of antibiotics, or abuse alcohol are at a higher risk of having a vitamin B deficiency.

Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2) and Niacin (B3) are required for energy production by metabolising carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A deficiency can result in fatigue and anaemia. Riboflavin works effectively alongside iron, vitamin B6 and folic acid. Vitamin B3 can also be synthesized from tryptophan (an essential amino acid).

Pantothenic acid (B5) and Pyridoxine (B6) also release energy from foods. B6 can aid in regulating anxiety which restores energy within the body. It is to be noted that a B6 deficiency may also result in Vitamin C deficiency.

Cobalamin, commonly known as B12 is essential in converting the food you eat into glucose, which gives energy. Food sources only include animal products (liver and kidney). Therefore, vegetarians and those consuming high amounts of alcohol are advised to take B12 as a supplement.

Vitamin D

A deficiency in Vitamin D can cause weakness and fatigue. The role of vitamin D is to improve the mitochondria’s (organelle found in cells to create ATP, the body’s main source of energy) ability to create ATP. As a result, this improves muscle function as well as more energy production. Studies have found patients taking vitamin D supplements have reported an improvement in fatigue and using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, researchers have seen a significant improvement in mitochondrial function in generating energy.

Magnesium

Magnesium is another essential mineral, necessary for many functions in the body, energy metabolism being one of them. It creates energy by activating ATP.

Under high levels of mental, emotional and physical stress depletes the body of much-needed magnesium. High sodium diets cause a great loss of magnesium in our body. 

Similarly, caffeine also results in loss of this mineral. It contributes to the jittery, hyper-alert feeling after a large consumption of caffeine. Vitamin D deficiency correlates with lower levels of magnesium in our body, as magnesium is essential for vitamin D activation and metabolism. Medication and gastrointestinal diseases can also impair our ability to absorb magnesium.

The body best absorbs magnesium in the form of magnesium citrate. However, magnesium supplements sold in health stores are in fact magnesium oxide. These supplements have an absorption potency as low as 4%. 

Ginseng

Ginseng, an adaptogenic herb has been used in Asia and North America for centuries. It is mostly used to improve cognition, concentration, memory and physical endurance.

A meta-analysis in 2016 conducted on 630 participants concluded that the use of ginseng supplements had the efficacy on fatigue reduction, but not physical performance enhancement (Bach et al., 2016).

Additionally, another randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found participants taking ginseng supplements had significant cognitive improvements, including accuracy in attentional tasks compared to the placebo group (Kennedy et al., 2002).

When choosing supplements, consult with a Nutritionist, Functional Medicine Practitioner or healthcare professional to ensure you are getting the right dosage and strength.

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References:

Magnesium Mineral. The Nutrition Notebook. 2004. Available at: http://www.springboard4health.com/notebook/min_magnesium.html.
Bohn T. Dietary Factors Influencing Magnesium Absorption in Humans. Current Nutrition & Food Science. 2008;4:53-72.
Firoz M, Graber M. Bioavailability of US commercial magnesium preparations. Magnesium Research. 2001; 14: 257-62.
Diamond, T., Y. K. Wong, and T. Golombick. “Effect Of Oral Cholecalciferol 2,000 Versus 5,000 IU On Serum Vitamin D, PTH, Bone And Muscle Strength In Patients With Vitamin D Deficiency.” Osteoporosis International 24.3 (2012): 1101-1105. Web. 28 Aug. 2019.
Bach, Hoang Viet et al. “Efficacy Of Ginseng Supplements On Fatigue And Physical Performance: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Korean Medical Science 31.12 (2016): 1879. Web. 28 Aug. 2019.

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