Whether it’s the long hours of work adding up, another terrible night’s sleep, indulging in the wrong foods, or staying out too late, the mixture of poor diet and lifestyle create a perfect cocktail for low energy. Diet and lifestyle go a long way in terms of fighting fatigue, but despite our best efforts to exercise daily, eat right, and sleep well, our busy lifestyles and modern society demand a lot of us daily, energetically, and deplete our bodies on a cellular level.
Sure caffeine and other stimulants may help to give an immediate boost, but they do nothing for the long term, send our energy levels crashing hours later, and may actually disrupt the balance of the endocrine system and make us reliant on their effects. Though it may be possible to create the perfectly balanced diet and lifestyle to ensure we are consuming the essential nutrients needed to combat daily stresses of the hustle and bustle, we are only human and are likely to need a little extra boost. Here are 7 all-natural supplements proven to help improve your energy levels on a cellular level.
*Be sure you have ruled out any medical causes of fatigue before supplementing and consult your doctor to discuss any drug interactions or potential side effects.
*A healthy lifestyle and diet do significantly affect our energy levels, so remember to ensure you are consuming a rainbow of nutrients from your diet, stay hydrated with high quality water, and get those endorphins pumping through your system with daily movement.
Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, long used in Ayurvedic medicine that has powerful benefit to the body’s adrenal function and energy levels. When our bodies are chronically stressed, tired, or overworked, our adrenal glands may function less than optimally, leading to adrenal fatigue, hormonal and endocrine issues, additional stress or moodiness, and of course low energy. Ashwagandha has been shown to not only support the adrenal glands and balance cortisol levels, but increase overall energy as well and improve endurance.
B12 is an essential nutrient needed for nearly every bodily function and energy production. It plays a key role in the the formation of new red blood cells, maintains normal function of the nervous system, and supports the heart, bones, and brain. Low levels can cause serious damage to the nervous system and some of the early signs of deficiency are chronic fatigue, moodiness, and even dementia-like traits. Because the body cannot produce it on its own and it’s also scarce in our food system, it is advised for those with low levels or absorption issues to take a B12 supplement.
Normal values are said to be in the range of 200 ng/L - 900 ng/L, however those with levels in the range of even 500 ng/L may still experience symptoms of low energy or lethargy. The best food sources of B12 are clams, oysters, shellfish, red meat, eggs, fortified cereal grains, and nutritional yeast. There are also different forms of B12, though methylcobalamin is said to be better absorbed than other forms.
Like ashwagandha, ginseng has been used for millennia as an adaptogenic, energy-boosting supplement. Over time, ginseng is said to reduce stress and anxiety, relieve chronic fatigue and provide increased energy support. Both American Ginseng and Asian Ginseng provide similar benefit, although it should be noted that ginseng, in general, varies drastically in quality and should be purchased from a reputable source. Ginseng is not without potential side effects and a doctor should be consulted to avoid any possible issues or drug interactions.
Iodine is an essential mineral needed for the formation and function of the thyroid gland and thyroid hormone, as well as cognitive function, yet, many people are deficient in it. Those who have difficulty losing weight, have consistently cold hands and feet, brittle or balding hair, constipation, depression and low energy levels may also be deficient in this mineral.
Natural iodine sources include seafood, especially saltwater fish, and seaweeds. It may also be supplemented with bioavailable nascent iodine.
Some healthy foods may block the utilization of iodine, especially when eaten raw. If you have a low functioning thyroid, it is advised to avoid large amounts of raw cabbage and kale, as well as spinach.
Is lack of sleep the root of your fatigue? Is your bedroom still light despite the curtains being drawn, or do you spend long hours on the computer or phone before bed? Melatonin, a very light-sensitive hormone is responsible, in part, for our quality of sleep. Stress, lifestyle, light, and other factors, may disrupt its production, affect our metabolism and metabolic processes, leaving us drained and unrested come morning.
If you are not sleeping well, have insomnia, or awake feeling unrested, try to minimize as much light in your bedroom at night as possible. Do your best to stay away from blue light from computers, tablets, and iphones. If you still are having trouble sleeping or don’t feel rested, start with a very low dose of .5 milligrams of melatonin and work up from there each night until you find your ideal dosage. Too much may have the opposite effect and leave you feeling tired, depressed, or hung over.
This adaptogenic root, also known as arctic root or golden root, can significantly reduce the way the body responds to stress, both mentally and physically. When taken regularly, rhodiola may actually improve physical performance and reduce fatigue, improve cognitive function and boost the mood as well. Though it is still unknown how exactly the herb works on a chemical level, we do know that it helps to maintain serotonin levels.
Rhodiola can be sourced in an extracted form and can safely be taken 1-2 times a day for help with fatigue, stress, trouble concentrating, and mild depression. It is advised to take it earlier in the day in case it causes insomnia.
On a basic level, this non-essential amino acid is necessary for the creation of DNA and RNA. Glycine is also one of the main components of collagen, helps to regulate the blood sugar and distributes glucose for energy throughout the body. It has many potential benefits, from regulating moods, enhancing metabolic function, treating hypoglycemia, and relieving chronic fatigue.
Though your body can make glycine, it can be supplemented with natural sources from meat, fish, and dairy, as well as soybeans, kale, spinach, cabbage, pumpkin, cucumber, beans, and bananas. It can also be sourced in an extracted crystalline form.