It’s the middle of the day, and you have no energy. What do you do?
If you’re like the majority of people, you probably reach for coffee, soda, or some other form of caffeine. While caffeine does offer a slight energy boost, it’s probably not the best way to get yourself through the day.
What’s causing your lack of energy may be any number of things, including bad sleeping habits and stress, just to name a few. There’s another thing that many people may be overlooking: Nutrition.
Have you ever given thought to the idea that your lack of energy may be related to your nutrition? The body requires a number of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that all play a role in your energy levels, and most can be gotten from a healthy diet. If eating healthy at every meal feels impossible, there’s good news, too. All of the nutrients you need for energy come in supplement form.
Let’s take a look at them, along with some of the possible causes of your lack of energy.
Possible Causes of Low Energy Levels
For most people, the reason for low energy levels is probably two-fold. Issues with your daily routine is one half, and the other half is nutrition-related. Let’s take a look at some of the possible (and most common) culprits.
Possible Issues with Your Daily Routine
1. You’re not getting enough sleep. We’re all guilty of hitting the snooze button in the morning, but how many times are you hitting it? A 2013 study by the Better Sleep Council found that “Half of Americans (48%) say they don’t get enough sleep, but less than half of them take any one specific action to help them get better sleep” (Source).
For adults, the recommended amount of sleep is six to nine hours a night. Whether you’re close to that or not, there are steps you can take to start sleeping better. Reduce your exposure to blue light (phones, computers, etc) after a certain time in the day. Avoid caffeine after 1pm. Try meditation. Spend some time outdoors before bed. The idea is to relax yourself and help get your body and mind ready for sleep. For other ideas on how to help yourself fall asleep, check out this post.
2. You’re not getting enough exercise. In July 2014, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 25% of adults aren’t active at all (Source). The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of exercise every day. Are you meeting that requirement? (Read about how exercise supports heart health in this post.)
Adding even the smallest of exercise regimens to your daily routine can help improve your sleep quality. As a result, you’ll feel more energized after waking.
3. You’re sitting for too long. This is something a large percentage of adults should take a look at. Researchers at Vanderbilt University conducted a study of 6,300 people in 2008 and published the results in the American Journal of Epidemiology. This study found that the average American spends 55% of waking time (7.7 hours per day) in a sitting posture.
We all sit far too much – that much is clear. But how can that be countered at places such as work? There are some simple ways. Request a standing desk (these sturdy cardboard options from Oristand are affordable and easy to use). Take a walk. Do what you have to to move around during the day. Sitting affects blood flow, which in turn, affects your energy levels. Need some ideas for exercising at your desk? Take a look at this post.
Now let’s check out the nutritional side of things.
Possible Issues with Your Nutrient Intake
The human body requires a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other nutrients on a daily basis to not only produce healthy amounts of energy, but to keep your entire body in good health.
A large amount of people don’t get enough of nutrients like magnesium, calcium, iron, or B vitamins, which can have a real negative effect on overall health. The following are nutrients that, when you’re not getting enough of them, may cause low energy levels.
1. Vitamin B12
B12 is just one of the members of the B-vitamin family, but it’s one of the most important. You can get a good amount of this vitamin if you eat lean animal meat, or if you take a daily multivitamin, but however you do it, be sure you’re getting the daily recommended value. B12 is vital for healthy red blood cell formation, neurological function, proper energy creation, and more.
2. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is a substance found in all of your cells. When you’re younger, your body creates a good amount of it. As you get older, production decreases, and while you may not think it’s a big issue, it can be. CoQ10 is a large part of energy creation at the cellular level, and low amounts may affect your body’s ability to create healthy energy.
Coenzyme Q10 from Source Naturals is a great daily supplement that supports healthy energy levels. It also functions as an antioxidant and promotes heart health as well.
Iron is one of the most important minerals in the human body. Iron is key to healthy red blood cell production and is responsible for giving oxygen to your organ systems. It plays a vital role in healthy growth and development, as well as in healthy energy levels. Low levels are typically characterized by feelings of weakness and fatigue, and regularly low levels of iron may lead to more serious health concerns.
Women typically require more iron than men, and while it’s available through numerous foods in a healthy everyday diet, most women still don’t get the daily recommended value. Proferrin ES from Colorado Biolabs offers a natural form of iron derived from animal sources, and supports your body in a gentler way than other forms.
This amino acid is naturally produced by your body, and while enough is generally produced every day, many people choose to supplement for increased energy. L-carnitine plays a role in energy metabolism, and also provides support for optimal neural health and brain protection.
If you’re looking to add a little extra carnitine into your daily supplement regimen, Acetyl-L-Carnitine from NOW Foods provides 500mg in every easy-to-swallow capsule.
There may be other nutrition issues that you’re unaware of, and if you think that may be the case, it’s always best to speak with your healthcare provider.
5 Other Supplement Options for Healthier Energy Levels
While the nutrients mentioned above are vital to overall health and wellness, there are a few other supplements that may give you a natural energy boost as well. We’ll look at those here.
While iron was mentioned above, it’s here again because this supplement from Terry Naturally provides much more than iron when it comes to supporting healthy energy levels. The formula also contains magnesium, zinc and copper to give you even more of an energy boost.
This product is also vegan-friendly, non-constipating, and easily absorbed without stomach discomfort, thanks to the chelated minerals used in the formula.
This formula from Garden of Life offers whole-food-based vitamins, as well as a blend of adaptogenic herbs to give you an all-natural energy boost without caffeine or other stimulants. Ingredients like ginseng, astragalus, eleuthero and maca work with your body to produce healthy energy levels without a later crash, and a blend of vitamins helps support your overall health.
Clear Energy also helps support stress relief and lessen feelings of fatigue. It contains no preservatives, artificial colors, guarana or caffeine.
If you’re in need of a quick energy boost to get you through the rest of your day, don’t reach for caffeine or other stimulants. Energy Plus from Pure Essence Labs provides you with a burst of clean energy that lasts (and there’s no crash later). Formulated with all-natural and herbal ingredients like organic spirulina, cordyceps, eleuthero and astragalus root, it’s a truly all-natural way to support energy levels.
This supplement is also GMO-free, vegetarian-friendly, and is made without most common food allergens.
Energy can be hard to come by when a busy lifestyle wears you down. This product from Gaia Herbs contains herbal ingredients known to support healthy energy production and deliver a little extra boost when it’s needed.
Ingredients like Korean and Siberian ginseng, licorice root and green tea not only support your energy, but also help your body deal with stress by supporting your adrenal glands as well.
This formula from Natural Stacks is designed to give you the familiar boost from caffeine in a healthier way. Each capsule delivers 100mg of all-natural caffeine from coffee beans, along with 200mg of L-theanine.
The best part? Smart Caffeine won’t give you the jitters and won’t cause cravings or further energy slumps. It’s also made without GMOs, gluten and artificial additives.
What do you use for an energy boost? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave us a comment below!
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