There’s a lot of talk about an energy crisis, including electricity and gas, but little about the nation’s general lack of physical energy. People who deal with stress, such as recovery from addiction and everyday life, are constantly looking for ways to boost energy. How else do you explain the success of massive coffee shop chains?
We all know that quick fixes have consequences. Drinking coffee all day leads to elevated blood pressure, and since coffee is a diuretic, it can also cause you to lose many important nutrients through urination. Eating processed sugar, like donuts and candy bars, provides a short-lived lift, followed by a letdown that sets us up for erratic highs and lows, mood swings and more feelings of exhaustion.
There are a number of healthy ways to get energy without negative consequences. The only problem with these, is that you may need to wait a week or two to see results. The payoff is that these results will be more long-lasting and stable, and will help you to build up your energy in a more natural way, rather than with a jolt followed by a droop.
You probably already guessed one energy booster – vitamins. Vitamins A, B complex, C and E are the main ones. Strive for around 10,000 IU of vitamin A, 400 800 IU of vitamin E and 2,000 mg of vitamin C. Complex B vitamins include at least riboflavin, folic acid, and thiamine. Vitamin B-12 in particular is known to be an energy booster. If you’re a vegetarian or have been avoiding meat, you may need extra B-12. Your B complex should have around 50 to 150 mg for each B vitamin, except for B-12, which can be taken in quantities up to 2000 mcg (micrograms) daily.
Another important type of supplement for enhanced energy includes substances that the body makes naturally for energy production. One is NADH (Nicotinamide Adenine Finucleotide), a coenzyme naturally occurring in food. It has a major role in the process by which cells convert food into energy. It’s been used to treat chronic fatigue. Another supplement that naturally occurs on the body is Co-enzyme Q10, commonly called CoQ10. The body produces this as part of the normal metabolic function, but as we age, we produce a lot less. CoQ10 supplies energy directly to muscles to combat fatigue, and supplies energy to the heart muscle for cardiovascular health. Another substance is L-Carnitine, an amino acid that sends energy to the heart. L-Carnitine is often recommended to treat chronic fatigue syndrome. Another good supplement, 5-HTP, is a form of L-tryptophan, an amino acid that helps improve mood and sleep. Sleep and a good mood can have a huge effect on energy levels.
There are a variety of herbs that build energy, such as Schizandra, a Chinese herb to help combat fatigue and stress. Ginseng is another herb used in Asian medicine and is known as an adaptogen, a substance that helps the body adapt to stress without over-stimulating it. Schizandra and Ginseng are both available as a bottled supplement.
Diet also plays an important role in increasing energy. Generally, the body has more energy if we avoid processed sugar and processed foods and instead use complex carbohydrates found in whole foods. This means rice, whole grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables as opposed to candy bars and fast food. In addition, try eating smaller meals as your body expels less energy to digest them. If needed, snack on a piece of fruit.
Vitamins, herbs, nutrition, and exercise are all important in increasing and maintaining energy. If you’re doing all the right things and you still feel bogged down, it might be time to rule out other causes. Check to see your fatigue is not the result of a serious underlying condition, such as chronic fatigue or low thyroid functioning. See your physician or health practitioner and talk about undertaking a detoxification diet or a fast to clear your body of old toxins, viruses, or parasites that may be zapping your energy.