Last Updated on September 5, 2023
We all know that the key to having plenty of energy is eating a well-balanced diet and getting the right amount of sleep. Unfortunately, doing this isn’t always possible, especially when you’re managing the demands of a busy life.
Most people turn to coffee for a quick energy fix, but while this works in the short-term, depending on coffee can have long-term consequences. Coffee only provides a short-term energy boost, which means that you’ll continuously be topping up your mug during the day.
In addition to short-term fixes like caffeine, why not look at other supplements that can provide you with a longer-term energy boost? There are many products on the market that claim to boost energy levels, so let’s look at some of them and explain why they work and why they might be a good option for you.
Top 10 Supplements for Boosting Energy
1. Rhodiola Rosea: Enhancing Energy and Alleviating Fatigue
Rhodiola rosea, a herb native to cold, mountainous regions, has long been used as an adaptogen to enhance the body’s ability to cope with stress. This powerful herb has gained attention for its potential in boosting energy levels and alleviating fatigue.
Clinical studies have indicated the effectiveness of rhodiola rosea in reducing both physical and mental fatigue. A meta-analysis that examined the results from 11 studies involving over 500 participants found that rhodiola rosea supplementation can enhance physical performance and ease mental fatigue.
Among these studies, eight indicated positive effects on physical performance and mental fatigue reduction. Moreover, no major safety risks were associated with rhodiola rosea supplementation, showcasing its relatively safe profile.
Another review concluded that rhodiola rosea carried a low risk of side effects and could be beneficial in relieving both physical and mental fatigue.
Notably, rhodiola rosea has shown potential benefits in individuals with depression, a condition often associated with fatigue. Research suggests that rhodiola rosea may help improve energy levels and alleviate fatigue in individuals with depression.
Rhodiola rosea offers a natural approach to enhance the body’s capacity to adapt to stress by alleviating physical and mental fatigue. This adaptogenic herb may play a significant role in improving energy levels and overall well-being.
It is worth noting that while rhodiola rosea is generally considered safe, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions or are taking medications.
2. Vitamin B12: Essential for Energy Production
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, plays a crucial role in energy production within the body. It is an essential nutrient that is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, converting them into energy.
Low levels of vitamin B12 can lead to fatigue and weakness, as the body’s energy production is impaired. There are several factors that can contribute to low levels of vitamin B12, including aging, certain health conditions, and dietary choices.
As we age, our ability to absorb vitamin B12 decreases, which can result in inadequate levels of this vital vitamin. Additionally, individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet may be at a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, as this vitamin is mainly found in animal-based foods.
Furthermore, certain gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 effectively.
Supplementing with vitamin B12 can help combat fatigue and weakness caused by low levels of this essential nutrient. Studies have shown that vitamin B12 supplementation can improve energy levels and overall well-being in individuals with deficiency or marginal levels of this vitamin.
It’s important to note that vitamin B12 supplementation is most effective for individuals who have low levels or deficiency of this vitamin. If your vitamin B12 levels are already adequate, supplementation may not provide additional energy-boosting benefits.
While vitamin B12 supplementation is generally considered safe, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation. They can assess your vitamin B12 levels and guide you on the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.
3. Ashwagandha: A Natural Energy Booster
Ashwagandha, an ancient medicinal herb from Indian Ayurveda, has gained significant attention for its potential to boost energy levels and combat fatigue. Known for its adaptogenic properties, ashwagandha has been used for centuries to help minimize the effects of physical and mental stress.
Numerous studies have explored the effects of ashwagandha on stress reduction and energy enhancement. One study showed that participants who were given ashwagandha demonstrated substantial improvements in their stress and anxiety levels compared to those who didn’t take the herb. Notably, the ashwagandha group experienced a 28% reduction in cortisol levels, a hormone that typically becomes elevated in as a result of stress.
These findings were further supported by a review of several studies looking into ashwagandha’s effects of on anxiety and stress. All of the research indicated that individuals who supplemented with ashwagandha extract performed better on tests measuring fatigue, anxiety and stress levels.
Moreover, ashwagandha has shown promise in alleviating fatigue that results from exercise. Elite cyclists who supplemented with ashwagandha showed a 7% increase in cycling duration compared to those who did not supplement, indicating improved endurance.
One of the benefits of ashwagandha supplementation is that it appears to be safe and well-tolerated, with a low risk of side effects. However, it is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before introducing any new supplements into your routine.
4. CoQ10: Cellular Energy Production and Protection
Coenzyme Q10, commonly referred to as CoQ10, is a crucial compound found in all cells of the body. It plays a vital role in cellular energy production and acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect cells from oxidative damage.
CoQ10 is involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source of cells. As we age or experience certain health conditions, CoQ10 levels in the body may decline, leading to reduced energy production and feelings of fatigue.
Supplementing with CoQ10 can help replenish these levels and support optimal cellular energy production. Studies have shown that CoQ10 supplementation can improve energy levels and reduce fatigue in individuals with low levels of this nutrient.
It’s important to note that while CoQ10 can be obtained from dietary sources such as fish, meat, and nuts, the amounts may not be sufficient to significantly increase CoQ10 levels in the body. Therefore, supplementation may be necessary for individuals with low CoQ10 levels.
Additionally, research suggests that CoQ10 supplementation is safe and well-tolerated in appropriate doses. However, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking medications.
CoQ10 is available in different forms, including ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinol, in particular, has been found to be more efficient in improving CoQ10 levels in older individuals.
5. Iron: Oxygen Transport and Energy Levels
Iron is a vital mineral that plays a crucial role in transporting oxygen throughout the body. It is an essential component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that binds to oxygen and carries it to the tissues and organs.
Inadequate iron levels can lead to a condition called iron deficiency anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, weakness, and decreased energy levels. When there is insufficient iron, the body is unable to produce enough healthy red blood cells, leading to reduced oxygen delivery to the cells and tissues.
Supplementing with iron can help improve energy levels and combat the fatigue associated with iron deficiency anemia. Studies have shown that iron supplementation is effective in restoring iron levels and alleviating symptoms of fatigue.
It’s important to note that iron supplementation should only be utilized under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Iron levels should be properly assessed through blood tests, as excessive iron intake can be harmful, particularly for individuals with conditions like hemochromatosis.
Iron can be obtained from both dietary sources and supplements. Good dietary sources of iron include lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, leafy green vegetables, and fortified cereals. However, individuals with diagnosed iron deficiency anemia may require iron supplements to correct the deficiency.
6. Caffeine And L-Theanine: Balance of Energy and Focus
Caffeine is often consumed for its energizing effects in various forms like coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sodas.
However, some people may choose to limit or avoid caffeine due to potential side effects such as irritability, nervousness, restlessness, and a subsequent energy crash.
Fortunately, combining caffeine with L-theanine as a supplement can help mitigate these concerns.
L-theanine is a natural amino acid found in tea and certain mushrooms. It is believed to promote relaxation without inducing drowsiness.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine can enhance memory, reaction time, decrease fatigue, and mental exhaustion.
These findings collectively suggest that adding L-theanine to your caffeine consumption can provide the same energizing benefits without the undesirable side effects.
While L-theanine is generally well-tolerated, it is advisable to limit caffeine intake to less than 400 mg per day, equivalent to approximately 3-5 cups of coffee.
7. Tyrosine: Mental Function
Tyrosine is an amino acid naturally produced by the body and can be found in protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs, and dairy products.
This amino acid plays a crucial role in the production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals responsible for transmitting messages in the brain.
During mentally and physically demanding activities, neurotransmitter levels may decline, which can negatively impact concentration and energy levels.
Numerous studies have indicated that tyrosine supplements can increase alertness and energy while potentially improving memory and clarity in sleep-deprived individuals.
It’s important to note that tyrosine seems to be most beneficial for individuals with low neurotransmitter levels due to stressful or cognitively demanding situations.
Additionally, the safety of tyrosine supplementation has been well-established.
8. Beetroot Powder: Blood Flow and Oxygen
Beetroot powder is derived from the beetroot vegetable and is rich in nitrate.
Nitrate, similar to L-citrulline, stimulates the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels, promotes increased blood flow, and enhances oxygen delivery.
This improved blood flow and oxygen supply enable the body to generate energy more efficiently, especially during exercise.
Multiple studies suggest that supplementing with beetroot can prolong exercise duration for athletes. In some cases, individuals taking beetroot supplements were able to exercise 25% longer compared to those taking a placebo.
Beetroot’s nitrate content reduces the amount of oxygen needed to sustain exercise at various intensities. This decrease in required oxygen leads to reduced fatigue and enables individuals to exercise for extended periods.
In addition to its exercise-related benefits, beetroot’s nitrate content also has the potential to lower high blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide production in the body.
It is worth noting that while harmless, the pigments in beetroot may cause red staining of urine or stool.
9. Citrulline: Nutrient Delivery
Citrulline promotes the increase of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it relaxes and widens the inner muscles of blood vessels. This ultimately improves circulation.
Enhanced circulation enables blood, oxygen, and nutrients to efficiently reach every part of the body. Yet, restricted production of nitric oxide can result in physical weakness and reduced energy levels.
As a precursor to nitric oxide, citrulline supplements can potentially boost energy levels by increasing the availability of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s cells.
Citrulline also helps in the elimination of ammonia from the body through its involvement in the urea cycle. Ammonia production during intense exercise is a leading cause of fatigue. By reducing fatigue, citrulline enables individuals to exercise for longer periods of time.
One study showed that participants who supplemented with citrulline completed a cycling test 1.5% faster than those who did not. Those participants who took citrulline also experienced less fatigue and faster recovery. Another study showed that citrulline supplementation increased exercise duration by 12% and intensity by 7%, compared to a placebo.
Importantly, citrulline has been established as safe, even in high doses.
10. Magnesium: Optimal Nerve and Muscle Function
Magnesium plays a crucial role in the regulation of muscle and nerve function, alongside various other important functions in the body. As an electrolyte, similar to potassium, sodium, calcium, and chloride, it contributes to facilitating communication among tissues and organs.
Think of electrolytes as electric poles with connecting wires—a current flows between the poles, enabling communication to occur. Similarly, electrolytes act as the current that helps transmit messages from your brain to different parts of your body, like when you want your bicep to pick something up. When there is a deficiency in electrolytes, particularly magnesium, it can lead to muscle cramping and weakness.
In addition to these symptoms, magnesium deficiency may manifest as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Specific individuals who are at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency include those with type 2 diabetes, long-term alcohol use disorder, or gastrointestinal diseases like celiac disease.
To ensure an adequate intake of magnesium, include foods rich in this essential mineral in your diet. Dark leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, milk, yogurt, and fortified cereals are excellent sources to consider.
The recommended daily magnesium intake varies based on gender and life stage. Women typically require 310-320 milligrams, while men need 400-420 milligrams. Pregnant individuals should aim for 350-360 milligrams, and breastfeeding individuals should strive for 310-320 milligrams.
11. Creatine: Boosting Energy Stores
Creatine is a natural compound found in red meat, pork, poultry, and fish. It serves as a quick energy source for your body. When your body uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for energy, it loses a phosphate group and becomes adenosine diphosphate (ADP).
In situations where your body needs rapid energy, creatine donates its phosphate to ADP, converting it back to ATP. This replenishes your energy levels and supports high-intensity, short-duration exercises like sprints, jumps, and weightlifting.
Studies have shown that creatine supplements can improve bench press strength by 5%, leading to a 10-pound increase for someone who can already lift 200 pounds (91 kg) (38). Additionally, older adults who took creatine gained 3.1 pounds (1.4 kg) of lean muscle mass compared to those who did not.
These improvements in strength and muscle size are attributed to the increased energy supply, allowing individuals to train harder and longer.
See Also: Can You Take Creatine Before Bed?
12. Melatonin: Sleep and Energy Regulation
Melatonin, a natural hormone produced by the body, plays a critical role in regulating sleep-wake cycles. It helps signal to the body that it is time to rest and promotes quality sleep. However, melatonin also has implications for energy regulation.
Insomnia, a common sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, can have a significant impact on energy levels. Supplementing with melatonin has shown promise in alleviating insomnia and improving sleep quality, leading to increased alertness and decreased fatigue.
For individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome, melatonin supplementation has been found to improve concentration, boost energy levels, and reduce fatigue. It can be an effective addition to a comprehensive strategy for managing this challenging condition.
Interestingly, reduced melatonin production has been associated with several conditions, including aging, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure. While research is ongoing, it is currently unclear whether supplementing with melatonin can directly reduce fatigue in these specific conditions.
Melatonin supplements are generally considered safe and well-tolerated. They do not cause the body to produce less melatonin, and withdrawal or dependence risks are minimal.
It’s important to note that melatonin should be used responsibly and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. The recommended dosage and timing may vary depending on individual needs and sleep issues.
There are many supplements on the market claiming to boost energy levels. Many of these supplements work by addressing existing deficiencies, while others work by improving blood flow or helping your body cope with stress.
These supplements are designed to provide short-term energy boosts to help with acute fatigue. If you experience chronic fatigue, speak to your physician, since it is a common symptom for some serious conditions.
See Also: The Best Energy-Boosting Vitamins