Amping Up Your Battery with Vitamin Supplementation
There’s 24 hours in every day, and for most of us that’s divided into three 8-hour segments. If you’re a working man or woman, 2 of those 3 eight-hour blocks are typically spoken for - one for the workday, and one for your night’s sleep in preparation for the next day.
And so that leaves just one 8-hour block for doing anything that’s not related to earning a living or getting the rest you need, and that can be very true for anyone who’s trying to be more committed to physical fitness and / or training.
A common complaint these days is that after the work day, it’s difficult to have enough energy to make good use of this limited period of time before we need to start preparing for sleep. There are ways to increase your energy levels, but let’s start at looking at it from a simple bio-functional perspective.
Your energy levels should be the sum of the following equation:
A sufficient level of exercise (most of you reading this publication are likely keeping up this end of the bargain)
Eating a sufficient level of natural, organic food
That of course is an ideal scenario, but with the way many of us live lives that are the furthest thing from ‘normal’ it is not always so simple. First and foremost, try your best to sleep well (and enough), be active, and eat a healthy diet comprised of majority of healthy foods. Then you can move to looking into what vitamins will help to improve energy levels, and determining whether iodine supplements and any combination of others is your ideal mix, or perhaps it’s a different course of supplements altogether.
That can be a deep and varied topic for sure, but there a few basic ones that are fairly reliable for amping up your battery and making better use of your non-working and non-sleeping hours.
Let’s have a look at them.
Definitely consider taking an iodine supplement.
Metabolism is regulated by hormones, and our unique physiologies dictate both our hormonal levels and how effectively they initiate the release of the biochemicals that promote energy creation. Iodine is a key contributor here, as it is used by the thyroid to form triiodothyronine (aka T3) and and thyroxine (T4). T3 and T4 are responsible for regulating all other hormones, and as such they really need to be consistent in their supply for your thyroid to do its job.
Foods that are good for iodine include seafood, sea vegetables like dulse and seaweed among others, and dark leafy green vegetables like kale etc. Alternatively, you can supplement with bioavailable supplements like colloidal or nascent iodine, or a synthetic version like Detoxadine.
Don’t handicap your thyroid! Make sure it’s fuelled to operate at peak capacity and you’ll find that you’re much more charged up.
2. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is in big-time demand for every cell in the human body, and every one of them is clamouring for it because it’s necessary for energy metabolism. In the bigger picture, the entire cellular energy creation process is dependent on vitamin B12 being in ready supply. Your body, however, doesn’t create B12 on its own. It must import it via your diet. These days many people’s diets aren’t providing it in sufficient quantities, whether that’s based on voluntary meal choices and / or lower nutritional quality foods. Typically it’s a combination of both these days.
If your aim is to acquire more of it through foods then clams, mussels, red meat, and dairy are good choices. And then as far as additional supplementation is concerned, choose a methylcobalamin or adenosylcobalamin B12 and take it in a dosage and method that adheres to the suggestions given on the packaging.
Magnesium is known as the great relaxer, and we’ll start this section by saying that being more relaxed promotes sleeping better. Which will of course provide you with more energy.
It’s also conducive to a healthy heart, an active brain, and proper muscle and nerve function. More specific to its role in the energy production process, however, is the way it activates ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and maintains mitochondrial health. Low magnesium levels can directly contribute to low energy, and for some people it can be a real struggle to complete basic physical tasks.
Dietary sources of magnesium? Consider raw spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, beans, avocados, and quinoa. For supplementation, keep in mind that certain people’s physiologies mean that a magnesium chelate may be more suitable than a magnesium citrate. (Citrates are the most common type of magnesium, with others being magnesium oxide, magnesium chloride, sulfate, and others). Typically this determination can be made with the help of qualified health professional.
4. Panax Ginseng
This root derivative supplement serves as an adaptogen, which means it supports the body’s natural response to anxiety, stress, and - most notably for this subject - your physical exertion threshold and how well you recover from intense physical activity.
According to Rochelle Pelech, health consultant at Vitamins Canada, a recent study of patients who were suffering from idiopathic chronic fatigue is particularly indicative of how panax ginseng works to increase your life energy levels. It found these individuals - after supplementing with panax ginseng over an established period of time - experienced major improvement in cognitive function and had lower levels of toxins and free radicals in their blood.
More simply, these patients reported experiencing increased energy levels that were, in some cases, “night and day” better than they were previously. Panax Ginseng is especially highly-recommended as it widely available and is generally a supplement that features a very pure constituency.
Most people will know melatonin to be an effective sleep promotion supplement, and in fact your body is wired to produce it with the natural onset of darkness each day. Problem is, we enjoy a whole host of modern technologies and amenities - including electricity most notably - that allow us to experience lighting long after the sun has set. That’s not necessarily detrimental in the big picture of life (and productivity) but when it comes to improving circadian rhythm for active people, it’s definitely an issue.
Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland at the base of your brain, and it then proceeds to influence energy metabolism. Inadequate melatonin levels can lead to fatigue and accelerated brain aging, and research also indicates melatonin levels similarly play a role in gene activation and the extent to which those active genes facilitate overall health.
If your sleep is inconsistent, the resulting melatonin imbalance may disrupt energy levels, blood sugar, or promote weight gain. As active lifestyle enthusiasts, naturally all of those are going to be an immediate concern for us. Find a quality melatonin supplement and take it as directed, ideally within 30 minutes of your intended bedtime.
6. Gingko Biloba
This health supplement is named after the type of tree from which it’s derived. Ginkgo is renowned for its powerful antioxidant activity and for improving blood flow. More to the interest of boosting energy though, it also improves mitochondrial respiration and ATP (cellular energy) production in brain cells.
As a result, this supplementation method promotes efficient metabolic activity at the cellular level, which leads to more effective protection of the cells and overall promotion of health and longevity. Which in turn leads to more activity, more energy and so on and so forth. It’s a very positive cycle, and Gingko supplements can help you along.
As mentioned, this is a very expansive subject matter area and there a whole host of different supplements that could be beneficial for you. The 6 detailed above were chosen for this article because generally they are energy boosting supplements that work for most people. If you find that you’re drained far too earlier or frequently that what you consider to be normal, they may be something to consider. Hopefully before long you’ll be back to going as hard as you’re inclined to.
If you are interested in setting up a custom supplement program, please visit our Supplement Consults Page for more info!
Amy Trotter is a certified Naturopath from Vancouver, BC