8 of the Best Research-Backed Vitamins for Energy in 2023
Do you ever find yourself struggling to stay awake during the day, no matter how much sleep you get? If so, don’t worry-you’re not alone! Millions of people struggle with fatigue and low energy levels due to lifestyle habits or underlying medical conditions. Fortunately, research has found several vitamins and supplements that can give your energy levels a boost.
In this article, we’ll take a look at eight rigorously researched vitamins for energy that could help revive your sluggish energy reserves. Whether you’re trying to stay energized throughout the day, fuel up after an intense workout, or simply want more pep in your step – these vitamins just might do the trick.
How Could Diet Affect Energy Levels?
Diet is the single most important determinant of your energy levels, but oftentimes, our diets are less than ideal. The most common contributors dietary factors that have an impact on our energy levels include:
- Not eating a wide variety of foods: Consuming a diverse range of foods is essential for maintaining energy levels, as different foods provide various nutrients required for optimal body functioning. A well-balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy, while proteins and fats provide sustained energy. Vitamins and minerals help in energy production and metabolism. A limited food variety may lead to nutritional deficiencies, reducing energy levels and potentially causing fatigue.
- Following fad diets: Fad diets are characterized by short-term, rapid weight loss, typically through drastic food restrictions. They often eliminate or severely limit specific food groups, causing nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. When the body lacks essential nutrients, it cannot produce sufficient energy, leading to fatigue, weakness, and poor concentration. In the long run, these diets may also lead to muscle loss, slowing down metabolism and further reducing energy levels.
- Having digestive tract issues: Digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food intolerances, or celiac disease, can impair the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Malabsorption of nutrients can result in insufficient energy production, causing fatigue, lethargy, and weakness. Ensuring optimal gut health is crucial for maintaining energy levels, and individuals with digestive issues should consult a healthcare professional for guidance on managing their conditions.
- Not consuming enough calories: Calories are the units of energy we obtain from the foods we eat. Consuming an insufficient amount of calories can significantly affect energy levels, as the body does not have enough fuel to function properly. This can lead to fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. It is essential to consume an adequate number of calories based on individual factors such as age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level.
Which Vitamins and Supplements Are Best for Increasing Energy?
Magnesium plays a vital role in enhancing energy levels through its involvement in sleep regulation and ATP activation, as well as muscle and nerve function. As a natural relaxant, magnesium supplements can aid in improving sleep quality by regulating neurotransmitters and maintaining healthy sleep-wake cycles . Adequate sleep is essential for energy restoration and rejuvenation.
Additionally, magnesium is a crucial cofactor for enzymes involved in ATP production and utilization. ATP, the body’s primary energy currency, fuels cellular processes and supports optimal functioning. By promoting restorative sleep and activating ATP, magnesium significantly contributes to improved energy levels and overall well-being.
B Complex Vitamins
The B vitamins, including B-1 (Thiamine), B-2 (Riboflavin), B-3 (Niacin), and B-12, are crucial for maintaining optimal energy levels. These vitamins play essential roles in energy production and metabolism. They are considered some of the best vitamins for energy.
Thiamine is involved in converting nutrients into energy, while Riboflavin facilitates oxygen utilization in energy-producing pathways. Niacin is vital for glycolysis and the Krebs cycle, which generate ATP, the body’s primary energy currency.
Vitamin B-12 supports energy production by aiding in red blood cell formation, ensuring optimal oxygen transport to cells. Thus, these key vitamins work in tandem to enhance energy levels.
Low iron levels are often associated with increased fatigue , as iron is essential to support energy production and oxygen transportation in the body. Iron is a critical component of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to cells throughout the body.
An adequate oxygen supply is necessary for cellular respiration and ATP generation, which directly impacts energy levels.
Consequently, increasing iron intake through diet or using iron supplements can likely improve energy levels by addressing the aforementioned factors.
Caffeine can effectively give you an energy boost and reduce fatigue , currently being the most popular stimulant in the world. Guarana, a plant native to the Amazon basin, is a potent source of caffeine and other stimulants. The caffeine content in guarana stimulates the central nervous system, promoting alertness, focus, and reduced perception of fatigue.
Additionally, it enhances the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which contribute to improved mood and heightened cognitive function.
Ginkgo biloba, a traditional herbal remedy used for thousands of years, is believed to support energy levels and alertness by enhancing blood flow to the brain. Improved cerebral blood flow ensures the efficient delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen, contributing to optimal brain function and energy production. Additionally, ginkgo biloba exhibits strong antioxidant properties, helping to neutralize free radicals and protect brain cells from oxidative damage. Its antioxidant effects have been associated with antidepressant-like benefits , as it may support balanced neurotransmitter levels and promote overall mental well-being.
Creatine is among the most extensively researched supplements, with numerous studies highlighting its potential health benefits and ability to enhance athletic performance. It is a naturally occurring compound found primarily in muscle cells, where it plays a vital role in energy metabolism. Creatine acts as a phosphate donor, helping regenerate adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s primary energy currency.
During high-intensity activities or periods of energy demand, ATP is rapidly depleted. Creatine, in the form of phosphocreatine, donates its phosphate group to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), converting it back to ATP. This process helps maintain adequate ATP levels, allowing you to produce energy for enhanced performance in high-intensity, short-duration exercises.
Supplementing with creatine has been shown to increase intramuscular phosphocreatine stores, further supporting the ATP regeneration process. As a result, athletes and fitness enthusiasts can experience improved energy levels, reduced fatigue, and increased power output during exercise. Dietary supplements with creatine have also been associated with other potential benefits, such as promoting muscle growth, supporting cognitive function, and improving recovery.
Bacopa monnieri, an adaptogenic herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, may contribute to increased energy levels through several mechanisms. It is known for its cognitive-enhancing effects, which can indirectly influence energy levels by promoting mental clarity, focus, and alertness.
Bacopa monnieri’s adaptogenic properties help the body adapt to stress and maintain physiological balance, potentially helping fight fatigue and enhancing overall vitality. Additionally, it supports neurotransmitter function, including the modulation of serotonin and dopamine levels, which can improve mood and motivation.
Vitamin D has shown the potential for reducing symptoms of fatigue, although this might be under specific conditions. Nevertheless, avoiding a vitamin D deficiency is a good way to mitigate this issue.
How Else Can I Increase Energy Levels?
Using energy supplements and vitamins for energy is not the means to an end when it comes to a long-term energy-fix, but rather, it requires a comprehensive approach to diet and lifestyle. Vitamins and supplements can help, but you would be well served to work on these:
- Follow a healthy diet with a wide variety of nutritional foods: Consuming a balanced diet rich in whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats, ensures adequate nutrient intake, which is vital for energy production and overall health. A diverse diet provides essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients that support optimal body functioning.
- Movement: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walks, stretching, or other forms of exercise, can boost energy levels by stimulating circulation, helping transport oxygen to cells, and enhancing mood. Additionally, regular exercise can help regulate sleep patterns, further contributing to improved energy levels.
- Get plenty of sleep: Prioritizing sleep is crucial for maintaining energy levels, as adequate rest allows the body to recover and rejuvenate. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night, establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine to promote restful sleep. People who have difficulty falling asleep are much more likely to experience physical fatigue and need a supplement that boosts energy.
- Drink water: Staying well-hydrated is essential for energy levels, as dehydration can lead to fatigue and reduced mental clarity. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily, or more if you are physically active or live in a hot climate. Adding trace minerals to your water can help improve essential mineral intake, further supporting energy production and overall health.
In closing, it is important to recognize that there is not one single answer to how we can increase our energy levels. Eating a balanced diet and making sure that you get enough sleep are two of the most important ways to boost energy levels. Additionally, taking the right vitamins and supplements may be beneficial for some individuals. However, make sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any supplementation plan. Everyone has individual needs so it is wise to work with a nutritionist and/or doctor who can customize a plan specifically for you. With appropriate measures taken in combination with lifestyle adjustments such as regular physical activity and adequate rest, it is possible to experience improved energy levels in 2023 and beyond!
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Dr. Linnea Passaler
Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.