3 Vitamins and Supplements that Improve Your Energy
I'm sure you've been told about the importance of eating a balanced diet, regularly exercising, and sleeping. The problem is, we all live busy lives and we can't always follow a strict diet and exercise program.
That is where supplements come in. Providing yourself with some natural vitamins and supplements can help to give you the energy you desire. Here are 3 to get you started:
1. Ashwagandha: Many of us look to the ancient medical systems of India to provide some natural healing in our lives. Ashwagandha is considered to be one of the most important herbs in ancient Indian medical systems.
- Ashwagandha has shown to enhance the ability of your body to resist physical and mental stress.
- According to one study, when people were given ashwagandha, their levels of stress and anxiety were improved significantly compared to the placebo group. They also experienced a boost in cortisol of 28%, which is significant considering cortisol is a stress relieving hormone1.
- Five other studies look to the effects of ashwagandha on the stress and anxiety that all of us feel. In all of those studies, individuals who took an extract of ashwagandha had less stress and anxiety as well as less fatigue2.
- According to that research, it may also be possible that using ashwagandha can help with fatigue that goes along with exercise.
- Elite cyclists were also involved in a study in which they took ashwagandha to see how it would affect their performance. Compared to the placebo group, they were able to spend about 7% longer in the saddle3.
2. Vitamin B12: You should never overlook the B vitamins when it comes to supplements for your health. Vitamin B12 is an important part of those vitamin supplements because it is responsible for producing energy from the food you eat.
- Vitamin B12 also keeps your blood cells and nerves healthy, reducing your risk for anemia that could leave you drained4.
- Most people were able to get vitamin B12 through eating animal proteins as well as some plant-based forms. A number of foods are also fortified with B12 and that helps many people living in the United States to meet the daily suggested intake. A combination of supplement and eating foods rich in B12 is the key to success.
- A vitamin B12 deficiency may be evident in certain areas of the population. Those individuals may not be able to absorb the B12 that is needed. Typically, they are given B12 supplements to help boost their levels.
Some of the people who are at risk include the following:
- Vegans: Since we get much of the vitamin B12 from animal products, vegetarians and vegans risk being deficient in B125.
- Older Adults: Up to 30% of adults over the age of 50 are not able to properly absorb vitamin B12 when they get it in their diet. It may be due to a lack of stomach acids or proteins that are associated with the absorption of that vitamin6.
- G.I. Tract Disorder Sufferers: Any condition that affects the gastrointestinal tract may interfere with your ability to absorb vitamin B12. This includes celiac disease and Crohn's disease7.
3. Melatonin: Your body naturally produces melatonin. The hormone is associated with your sleep and wake cycle, known as your circadian rhythm. Your body produces and releases melatonin according to the time of day. You have more in the evening and less in the morning.
- It may be necessary to supplement with melatonin if you have insomnia. It's not surprising if you do, as it affects about three out of 10 adults worldwide8.
- If you have chronic insomnia, you may have a lack of energy and feel tired all of the time. Symptoms include having a problem falling or staying asleep, waking up early unexpectedly or not having a quality night of sleep8.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome is one of the conditions that may benefit from using melatonin supplements. According to some studies, melatonin can improve your energy level and concentration while at the same time, reducing fatigue9.
- Most experts consider melatonin supplements to be a safe alternative as they don't cause your body to produce less melatonin and you don't experience withdrawal or dependence after using them for an extended period of time10.
References: 1. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults, 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022 2. An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), 2014 Dec 1; 20(12): 901–908 3. Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists, 2012 Oct-Dec; 3(4): 209–214 4. National Institute of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B12 5. Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation, 2016 Dec; 8(12): 767 6. Vitamin B12 and older adults, 2016 Nov 30. 7. The National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vitamin B12 Deficiency (Cobalamin) 8. Insomnia: Definition, Prevalence, Etiology, and Consequences, 2007 Aug 15; 3(5 Suppl): S7–S10 9. Insomnia: Influence of melatonin on fatigue severity in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and late melatonin secretion, 12 January 2006 10. 108: Melatonin for Treatment of Sleep Disorders: Summary, November 2004