A hot cup of coffee or tea is the first thing millions of people count on in the morning for an energy boost. Whether you’re gearing up for the day, or pushing through an afternoon crash, caffeine offers a great short-term solution for lack of energy. However, overuse can cause unwanted side effects. While there’s no shortage of caffeinated products on the market promising to amp up your energy, you should know there are healthier options available to help power you through the workday.
Vitamins & Minerals for Energy Support
Sometimes the cause of fatigue may be obvious - like staying up until 2am watching Netflix the night before. But if you consistently feel wiped out and exhausted, it could be a nutrient deficiency.
Vitamins and minerals support and trigger the processes in the body that create energy, and serve as fuel for the body to function at its best. If a deficiency goes unchecked, it not only makes it much harder to get through the day, it can also lead to long-term health consequences.
Check out 4 powerhouses that support energy production and can prevent you from running on fumes:
1) Vitamin B12 & other B vitamins
When thinking about the best vitamins for energy, nothing beats the B’s! The eight B-vitamins contribute to metabolism and help convert the food we eat into glucose our bodies can use for energy. Seven of the B’s play a key role in at least one step of the energy production system within a cell. So, if you have a deficiency, your mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell), cannot generate energy properly.
Vitamin B12 is one of the more popular B vitamins. As you age, your digestive system doesn’t produce as much acid, which can impair your body’s ability to absorb it. Low levels may cause you to feel tired, weak, and experience unwanted weight loss. In addition to nutrient-dense foods, a whole vitamin B-complex supplement can provide the daily recommended B vitamins in a single serving.
When energy hits an all time low, zinc may not be the first mineral you think of. It's far more likely to be recommended for immune health. However, zinc also contributes to energy production.
Enzymes require zinc to ‘activate’ the processes that break food down. All the carbohydrates, fat, and protein that we consume, depend on zinc in order to be turned into energy. Without enough in your diet, you may experience mental lethargy, fatigue, and loss of appetite. A multi-mineral formula that features essential minerals including a pure form of zinc, can be used to support increased energy and total body wellness.
Our body uses magnesium to store ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy source in cells. ATP must be bound to a magnesium ion in order to become active. This simply means that low magnesium levels impair the pathways our mitochondria uses to generate energy. So, it’s not hard to guess what follows - chronic fatigue, tiredness, and inflammation are just a few common symptoms. Too little magnesium causes our bodies to work even harder to keep up with daily demands.
Magnesium deficiency affects nearly everyone. If your diet consists of processed, refined foods, your risk may be even higher. For this reason, most people can benefit by learning how to choose a high-quality magnesium supplement.
4) Vitamin C
It’s no secret that vitamin C is a powerhouse for immune support. But one really important, and often unknown reason that we need vitamin C is for the body’s energy production.
If you find yourself exhausted at the end of most days, it could place extra stress on your endocrine system. Your thyroid and adrenals require lots of vitamin C and are among the organs with the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. The body uses this vitamin to produce the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. When stress levels rise, our bodies require way more vitamin C and power through it very quickly. Since your body can’t make this vitamin or store it in large amounts, the adrenal glands eventually become depleted. Symptoms can include low energy with intermittent “crashes'' throughout the day, brain fog, and body aches.
So, instead of reaching for coffee during the workday, try vitamin C powder in the breakroom or by the water cooler for sustained energy without the crash. Look for formulas that include a high-potency, whole food vitamin C.
With the combination of our high-stress world and nutrient-depleted soil and environment, it has become nearly impossible to rely solely on food to meet all of our needs. In addition to a balanced diet, high-quality supplements can help fill in the nutrient gaps and provide you with the building blocks your body needs for increased energy and optimal health.