Top 10 natural energy supplements
We could all do with a little more energy from time to time - but how many of us reach for something sweet and sugary when that mid-afternoon fatigue sets in? Read on as we examine the top ten natural supplements for a sustained energy boost that won’t harm your long-term health.
Iodine – The metabolism stabiliser
Known as a hormone regulator, consumption of iodine supplements can help to stabilise the metabolism, ideal for calming the body during periods of heightened stress or fatigue.1 Food sources rich in iodine include seafood, seaweed and leafy greens.
Vitamin B12 – The vegan’s best friend
This vitamin is one of the most important when it comes to stimulating energy production in the body.2 Crucially, we can’t produce Vitamin B12 on our own, so it’s essential to make sure we get enough from dietary sources, such as seafood, red meat and dairy. Because of this, supplements may prove especially useful for vegetarians or vegans!
Caffeine – The energy booster
If you’re looking for a quick fix rather than a long-term solution, drinking a cup of tea or coffee will get your metabolism going, as well as supplying you with a short-term energy boost. However, it’s important to note the effect excess caffeine can have on our sleeping pattern, so exercise caution when taking supplements and avoid caffeinated beverages after 3pm to maximise your chances of getting a good night’s rest.
Ginseng – The stress fighter
Great for combating stress, supplements derived from the ginseng plant have been proven to help improve symptoms of chronic fatigue. Participants in a study3 conducted by Korea’s Daejeon University were found to have lower levels of toxins and free radicals in the blood, reporting improved energy levels overall. Similarly to caffeine, ginseng should be taken on an ad-hoc basis, depending on the state of your body’s global energy levels.
D-Ribose – The healthy cell promoter
A natural sugar produced by the body, D-Ribose has been used to treat conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome.4 Other reported benefits include promoting healthy cell functioning, as well as encouraging a strong metabolism, meaning your body gets more bang for your energy buck.
Ginkgo Biloba – The brain stimulator
A powerful antioxidant, this all-natural extract has been shown to increase the production of ATP - also known as the body’s ‘energy currency’ - in brain cells. Studies5 suggest that this can result in greater mental alertness and increased energy levels - great for days when your brain is feeling even more tired than your body!
Melatonin – The sleep regulator
Shockingly, over a quarter of us don’t get enough sleep to remain alert during the day6. If insomnia or lack of sleep is a recurring issue, consider melatonin supplements. This chemical, produced by the pineal gland, is essential for regulating your body clock, with a healthy sleep pattern essential to sustained energy levels throughout the day.
Magnesium – The menopause balancer
If you’re currently experiencing menopause, you might have noticed a drop in your energy levels, as well as changes to your usual sleeping pattern. Studies7 have found that low magnesium levels in postmenopausal women can often result in tiredness or sluggishness, so making sure to include enough magnesium in your diet, whether through supplements or upping your dietary intake via nuts and seeds, is crucially important.
Rhodiola – The oxygen carrier
Rhodiola is an example of what experts term ‘adaptogens’ - the family of herbs and plants that help the body deal with stress.8 In addition to helping with mental focus, rhodiola can help to optimise red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen, leading to better circulation and higher energy levels.
Ginger – The muscle maintainer
If you often experience muscle pain or other physical symptoms of fatigue, consider upping your ginger intake. Studies9 have shown that eating ginger can help with muscle recovery post-workout, so if you’re already looking to improve your energy levels by increasing the amount you exercise, ginger supplements may help with the physical side effects.
2 Laquale, Kathleen M. (2006). B-complex vitamins' role in energy release. In Movement Arts, Health Promotion and Leisure Studies Faculty Publications. Paper 25.