Looking to discover the best supplements to boost your energy and fight off fatigue? We hear from burnout expert and nutritional therapist Rosie Millen, who explores the use of supplements when looking to increase your energy levels…
Who thinks the supplement industry is a minefield? Yup, me too. My aim is to help you identify whether you need supplements to boost your energy and fight fatigue and how to approach them effectively.
They are supplements to the diet, meaning you should be able to get most of the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet alone. However, since modern living can take its toll on the levels of some nutrients in your tissues, then supplementation – if used correctly – can be effective.
The first thing I always look at is the blood. If you are lacking in energy, book an appointment with your doctor to test your levels of iron, vitamin B12, vitamin D and thyroid hormones.
Which vitamins and minerals boost energy and fight fatigue?
Iron is part of haemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the bloodstream to all the organs in the body. If you are lacking in iron, you are likely to feel fatigued, dizzy, weak, have headaches, have cold hands and feet, suffer shortness of breath (even after walking up some stairs), difficulty concentrating, hair loss, brittle nails and pale skin.
Before you start to supplement with iron, get your levels tested as too much in the body can lead to haemochromatosis, which can kill you. If your iron levels are low, eat more iron-rich foods, such as red meat, fish, beans, tofu, eggs and green, leafy vegetables.
You can also take iron supplements, but make sure the iron is chelated. Chelated iron has been chemically altered to allow it to pass through the digestive tract. Non-chelated iron can cause constipation.
Vitamin C also massively helps the absorption of iron. Good choices of vitamin C include strawberries, oranges, blueberries, red peppers, tomatoes and butternut squash.
Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins for promoting energy. This is because it’s involved in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is vital for energy transfer within cells. If you are lacking in B12 you may feel tired, weak, light-headed, have a shortness of breath and pale skin.
Your body cannot produce B12, which is why you have to ingest it. It is found in beef, chicken, trout, salmon, tuna and eggs, as well as fortified cereals. You can also get injections of B12 or you can take supplements to boost your levels (and your energy, but have a blood test first to check whether you are deficient.
Vitamin D acts more like a hormone and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it. It’s required for regulating calcium, building healthy bones, strengthening the immune system and reducing inflammation.
How do you tell if you’re lacking vitamin D? My top four signs and symptoms are: fatigue and tiredness, getting sick often, weak bones, and depression. Getting vitamin D from your food is hard as few foods contain significant amounts, so supplements are more effective.
If supplementing, choose vitamin D3, which is the active form. A daily vitamin D intake of 1,000-4,000 IU or 25-100mcg should be enough for most people.
Can adaptogens boost energy levels?
Alongside topping up levels of essential vitamins and minerals, adaptogens can also aid in the reduction of fatigue. Used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, adaptogens are clever plants that offer a range of wellbeing benefits. In particular, research has shown that they are able to ‘adapt’ to your body’s needs, and strengthen its reactions to any stresses that may arise. In turn, this can help us to cope with stress and boost our energy levels.
7 best supplements to fight fatigue
Increase your energy levels and fight fatigue the natural way, with these super supplements, powered by herbs, adaptogens, vitamins and minerals…
Surya Prana Nutrition Organic KSM-66 Ashwagandha & Ginger capsules rejuvenate your mind and body with adaptogenic herb ashwagandha, which modulates your stress response to leave you with renewed stamina and strength. The ginger enhances fat-burning to also help you feel less sluggish and more energetic.
Puresport Boost Capsules have a naturally stimulating mix of nootropic brain boosters and adaptogens. The blend works synergistically to heighten natural energy levels, support mood and help fight fatigue. Includes the uplifting nootropic and adaptogenic mushrooms lion’s mane and chaga, plus revitalising ginseng and ginkgo biloba to put a spring in your step.
No Ordinary Moments Moksha gives you an energy buzz without the caffeine crash. Packed with anti-inflammatory adaptogens and mushrooms, this decaf coffee peps you up with medicinal mushroom cordyceps for physical stamina and endurance, plus there’s lion’s mane mushroom to wake-up your brain. It also contains cacao, which gently stimulates body and mind due to the alkaloid theobromine, while the adaptogen maca downregulates stress so you feel ready for anything.
Bio-Synergy Matcha Green Tea Powder is a super-concentrated matcha tea powder that ramps-up energy due to high levels of the amino acid L-theanine, which increases focus and alertness. It contains about 10 times more polyphenols, chlorophyll, vitamins and minerals than regular green tea, plus a small amount of naturally occurring caffeine to boost your metabolism.
Spatone Daily Iron Shots are natural, iron-rich water shots sourced from Snowdonia in North Wales. If you’re low in iron, you will feel fatigued, and a deficiency can be the result from dietary choices, such as not eating red meat, or malabsorption of nutrients due to poor gut health. These shots replenish iron so you feel re-energised. The apple-flavoured water, with added vitamin C, is highly bioavailable and gentle on the stomach. One serving provides your daily iron dose.
Aduna Baobab Superfruit Powder zaps fatigue with a steady and sustained energy release of fibre throughout the day. It also slows down the release of sugars in your bloodstream, preventing spikes and crashes that can leave you feeling exhausted. Nutrient-dense baobab fruit is rich in vitamin C, which helps with the absorption of energy-enhancing iron from food or supplements. Sprinkle on your cereal or blend into drinks.
ivboost MitoAge Cell NAD Energy Capsules help you metabolise energy from food and protects cells from oxidative stress, giving you an extra spring in your step. They contain NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a coenzyme that helps produce energy to fuel the cells in your body. Natural levels of NAD dip as you get older, leading to fatigue and muscle loss.
What is NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide)?
NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a powerhouse molecule that fuels every cell in your body. It gives you the energy to perform
everyday functions, such as walking, exercising and thinking. As you get older, levels can drop, leading to fatigue. It’s also key to DNA repair, meaning it may slow cellular aging. Supplementation could help boost energy and vitality, as well as keep your body functioning optimally as
you get older.
Rosie Millen studied at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and graduated in 2010. In 2014, she was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Her book, Burnout’s A B*tch! (£20), is out now.