Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg containing a wide range of micronutrients is really important for staying fit and healthy. However, if you’re going through a particularly energy demanding period and constantly fighting fatigue, supplementing certain vitamins may help improve your day-to-day performance.
So, this winter fight fatigue with our top vitamins to boost your energy.
Iron is crucial for your body’s energy production. Iron is needed to produce enough haemoglobin – a substance that carries oxygen in your red blood cells, and so a lack of iron can cause fatigue.
In a study investigating iron supplementation and fatigue in women, those supplementing iron pills reduced fatigue 18.9% more than those receiving a placebo.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may be particularly susceptible to iron deficiency as red meat and liver are great sources. Other dietary sources include beans, nuts, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereal.
Iron pills should be taken with caution as they are not safe for people with certain medical conditions such as irritable bowel conditions. Always check with your GP before supplementing.
2. Folic Acid
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is one of the 8 b-vitamins. It helps the body make red blood cells containing mitochondria, which is where your body’s energy is produced.
Your body cannot produce folic acid so it must be part of your diet. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, sprouts, peas, chick peas, kidney beans, liver and some breakfast cereals. If you don’t eat many of these foods, supplementation may be worthwhile.
Folic acid is also strongly recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy to help with the baby’s development. Folic acid can be combined with iron to help treat iron deficiency anaemia.
Magnesium is a key mineral required for the metabolism of foods, which allow our bodies to produce energy. During exercise, magnesium plays a role in oxygen uptake by our muscles and there have been reports of magnesium supplementation improving strength and exercise performance.
Magnesium may also help to improve sleep, which is crucial for our daily energy levels and preventing fatigue. A 5 year follow study showed that women consuming more magnesium in their diet were less likely to fall asleep during the day. Supplementing magnesium has also been shown to improve sleep in elderly people suffering from insomnia.
Dietary sources of magnesium include leafy greens like spinach, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. Magnesium is often lacking in the diet and the US Institute of Medicine recommend 320mg/d of magnesium.
4. Vitamin D
Our body’s predominant source of vitamin D is from sunlight where it is absorbed in the skin and eventually converted into its biologically active compound in the body. Due to a lack of sunlight during the winter and dietary sources being scarce, most people are deficient in vitamin D.
Supplementing your diet with vitamin D can also reduce fatigue, which is definitely helpful during the winter slump.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant found in a range of fruit of vegetables and is essential for the synthesis of carnitine. Carnitine is a key compound in energy metabolism as it allows fatty acids to enter the mitochondria and eventually produce ATP.
Vitamin C also allows the transport and absorption of iron. Definitely a supplement worth trying.
Calcium is a mineral which plays a key role in fatty acid metabolism and the regulation of ATP (andesine triphosphate) production. It is also essential for skeletal muscle contraction, which means deficiency may result in decreased performance at the gym.
Dietary sources of calcium include milk, cheese, yoghurt, tofu, sardines and whey protein powder. If you have a dairy intolerance and struggle to get enough calcium on board, supplementing calcium can be really beneficial.
7. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant which is naturally produced by your body. CoQ10 is found in meat, fish and nuts. Levels of CoQ10 decrease as you get older and may mean supplementation is needed.
CoQ10 is needed for your body’s energy production which is why it’s found in higher concentrations in organs requiring large amounts of energy - the brain, heart and kidneys.
CoQ10 is involved in the process of making ATP, which is used to carry out all your body’s functions. CoQ10 has also been shown to improve performance and recovery of exercise which causes fatigue. So supplementing with this could get you over that plateau in the gym.
B12 plays a key role in your body’s energy production, specifically in the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids. Essentially, B12 allows our bodies to break down food into energy.
As with folic acid, our body cannot produce its own B12 and it has been consumed in the diet. This means it can be low in vegetarians or vegans as dietary sources are mainly animal based (meat, poultry, etc).
If you are deficient in B12, there is evidence to show that your energy levels may be increased.
9. B-vitamin complex
The most familiar B-vitamins are probably B6 and B12 but there are 8 different B-vitamins. Whilst B12 and folic acid may play the biggest part in energy production, it has been suggested that deficiency in any of the B vitamins may result in fatigue.
The MyProtein B-vitamin complex contains a blend of all 8 B vitamins in one convenient capsule.
A multivitamin can be an easy, convenient way to include a range of important vitamins in one capsule. The multivitamin available at MyProtein contains a range of the vitamins listed in this article including calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
And if you fancy making your daily vitamin a little tastier so you never forget to take it, our Strawberry multivitamin gummies are the way to go.
Take home message:
Eating a diverse diet with a range of micronutrients will help to keep your energy levels up. You may well be able to do this by eating a range of healthy meats, fruits and vegetables. However, if you are currently fighting fatigue or need to eliminate certain foods from your diet, adding additional vitamins supplements may help with your body’s energy production, helping to you to reduce fatigue and improve performance.
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