Most of us don’t seem to get as much rest and relaxation as we need or want. Between work, children, social activities, volunteer work, and other activities in which we are involved, we often find ourselves with little free time. Eventually, this lack of ‘down-time’ can get the better of us, causing us to feel constantly worn out, devoid of energy and in need of an energy boost.
Most dietary supplement ingredients that help support our energy can be classified into one of two general categories, stimulants and metabolic energy support. While stimulant ingredients can give us a quick boost and can be very helpful at times, ingredients that provide metabolic energy support can help give us more long-lasting energy and help us feel less fatigued in the long run.
These ingredients work by supporting several of our normal metabolic processes. Some of the best known ingredients for supporting long-lasting energy include coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), acetyl-L-carnitine, B-vitamins, phenylalanine, tyrosine, Rhodiola rosea, and D-ribose.
Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10, which is also known as ubiquinone, is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound with powerful antioxidant properties. It is also a critical component of mitochondrial energy production. It has been reported that CoQ10 enhances physical performance and reduces feelings of exercise-related fatigue. Additionally, it has been shown that CoQ10 supplementation also reduces feelings of fatigue and morning tiredness in individuals with fibromyalgia.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine. Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid that facilitates the transport and metabolism of long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria for energy generation. Consumption of L-carnitine has been shown to enhance exercise performance by increasing carnitine content and altering energy metabolism in muscle. Additionally, acetyl-L-carnitine has been shown to reduce physical and mental fatigue in elderly individuals and have beneficial effects on fatigue and concentration in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome.
B-Vitamins. B-vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and others) are essential cofactors in cellular metabolism. B-vitamin deficiencies have been linked to chronic fatigue and decreased physical performance. In contrast, it has been suggested that B-vitamins might enhance feelings of natural energy levels. For example, it has been demonstrated that vitamin B12 injections can reduce fatigue and improve overall well-being. Additionally, supplementation with B-vitamins might help improve mental clarity and reduce mental fatigue. In a recent study, individuals taking a multivitamin/multimineral containing B-vitamins, vitamin C, and minerals reported having more physical and mental stamina and greater concentration.
L-Phenylalanine & Tyrosine. Phenylalanine and tyrosine are amino acids that are precursors to dopamine, reduced levels of which have been linked to fatigue during exercise. Recent studies have demonstrated that patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have significantly reduced plasma concentrations of tyrosine. Additionally, it has been reported that primary sclerosing cholangitis patients experiencing fatigue have lower tyrosine levels than patients not experiencing fatigue. A recent animal study also reported that animals with complex fatigue, a combination of physical and mental fatigue, had lower brain levels of phenylalanine and tyrosine.
Rhodiola rosea. Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic plant used in traditional medical systems in Eastern Europe and Asian that has been linked with enhancing work performance and eliminating fatigue, among other multiple benefits. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study demonstrated that an extract of Rhodiola rosea improved physical fitness and mental fatigue in students during an examination period. This same Rhodiola rosea extract was shown to reduce general fatigue in physicians working night duty and in military cadets. A more recent study reported that Rhodiola rosea reduced fatigue and decreased cortisol response to stress in patients with a fatigue syndrome.
D-Ribose. D-ribose is a naturally-occurring pentose sugar and a key building block of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), our body’s cellular energy source. Small pilot studies have reported that consumption of D-ribose might help support feelings of less fatigue and more energy and might help support improvement in energy, mental clarity, and overall well-being.
If you are constantly feeling tired, taking an energy-boosting dietary supplement on a daily basis can be a good start to feeling more energized. While taking an energy supplement that provides a rapid energy boost is a good way to get through an afternoon, taking a supplement that supports overall metabolic energy can provide a better source of ever-lasting energy. In addition to supplementing your diet, getting plenty of sleep, eating right, and exercising often can also help you feel more energized.