“Why am I always tired with no energy?” my friend asked me again last week. “And what vitamins give you energy? Is there anything natural I can do to change this?”
One day of fatigue leads to another. She’s struggled with it for years. And now she’s starting to feel like it’s an epidemic.
For some of us, low-energy days happen now and again.
But my friend’s not alone in her daily fatigue battle.
Do you wake up tired every morning? Even after a great night’s sleep?
Or do you feel like you always need a nap by lunchtime? Or feel exhausted by the end of the day?
Answering yes to these questions actually puts you in the majority according to a recent survey in the US. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine commissioned a survey of over 2,000 people in March. 2023. The results indicate 81% of women and 74% of men feel sleepiness affects their daily activities. And 32% of women and 21% of men rarely or never wake up feeling rested.
Let’s dive into natural ways you can boost your energy. Whether it’s vitamins, supplements, or lifestyle changes, you don’t have to rely on caffeine or other stimulants to give you the boost you need.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this article:
- What creates energy in the body?
- How to protect your energy as you age.
- Does exercise affect my daily energy level?
- What vitamins give you energy? Plus supplements and nutrients every body needs.
- Other natural ways to increase energy.
What creates energy in the body?
I recently spoke with Dr. Kate Rhéaume, a graduate and former faculty member of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She authored the best-selling book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life.
We were discussing how to manage your energy on the Holistic Navigator podcast.
Listen to the entire energy episode on The Holistic Navigator Podcast where we cover what vitamins give you energy, sleep, stress, and more.
Dr. Rhéaume firmly believes we can optimize our energy in the mornings and throughout the day without stimulants.
We can optimize our energy in the mornings and throughout the day without stimulants. - Dr. Kate Rhéaume. Click To Tweet
The power is in our hands even when we don’t have the best sleep.
Energy Production in the Body
Our body produces energy through our mitochondria, a membrane-bound part of our cells. Dr. Rhéaume considers these power houses the energy-producing centers in our cells. “The mitochondria are the batteries of the body,” she says.The mitochondria are the batteries of the body. - Dr. Kate Rhéaume Click To Tweet
They generate large numbers of adenosine triphosphate or ATP. And if you think you’ve heard that word before, you’re probably right. ATP powers most processes IN our cells, as well as powering our body’s mechanical movement, like using our muscles.
Over time, our mitochondria are prone to damage by free radicals. And that’s why our bodies renew the mitochondria in our cells every 2 – 3 months.
The problem is, our production of new mitochondria decreases as we age…unless we do something to protect and feed them.
After reading the well-researched book Tripping Over the Truth, I personally believe mitochondrial dysfunction is related to the growth and spread of many cancers in our bodies.
How to Protect Your Energy as you age
Because our mitochondria fuel our energy, a decrease in mitochondria can lower how much energy we feel like we have to participate in our daily activities. On top of that, the reduction in ATP-producing capacity causes us to lose muscle mass as we age.
So, how do we stop the decline of mitchondria in order to keep our ATP-producing (aka energy-producing) capacity as high as possible?
Specifically endurance and resistance training activities increase our mitochondrial function in our skeletal muscle. Our goal is to maintain as much muscle mass as possible as we age. This protects against the loss of mitochondrial function. And thus, keeps our energy high.
Nutrients, Supplements & Vitamins for Energy.
There are many nutrients we need to protect our mitochondria. Some nutrients help feed the mitochondria and allow for mitochondrial biogenesis. That just means their ability to self-renew and clean out the damaged mtDNA.
In many instances, we can add these nutrients to our diet. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to eat the total number of these nutrients you’ll need in order to fully protect your mitochondria. Here well discuss specific nutrients we can add to our diet through supplements. In other words, what vitamins give you energy.
- Antioxidants: The National Institute of Health published a study on Parkinson’s disease in 2020. They showed that antioxidants can reduce ROS, a subset of free radicals that damage our mitochondria. Some great examples of vitamins that are antioxidants include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K.
- PQQ: We find this antioxidant in almost every food. But studies are showing it’s much more than an antioxidant. It stimulates the production of fresh and new mitochondria. And it regenerates neurons at the same rate as exercise in clinical trials. But again, it’s difficult to get enough PQQ from our American diets. Dr. Rhéaume believes PQQ might be the top nutrient to support mitochondria renewal and repair.
- Coenzyme Q10: Another antioxidant powerhouse, Coenzyme Q10 helps throw and catch electrons to keep our mitochondria from free radical damage.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine: This chemical actually feeds our mitochondria. It’s been shown to reduct fatigue and cognitive decline. It works to shuttle fatty acids into the mitochondria to produce more energy. As a matter of fact, an Italian study on centenarians between the ages of 100 and 106 actually showed supplementation improved their exercise capacity and energy. Which just shows, you’re never too old to get the benefits from diet and supplementation improvements.
Note: I’ve also found Acetyl-L-Carnitine helps with fat burning. And studies like this NIH publication back me up.
Try Our PQQ-10 20mg CoQ10 200mg
A Little More About PQQ and Coenzyme Q10
I like to liken Coenzyme Q10 to having a wood burning fire in your carpeted house without a screen. The fire pops sparks onto the carpeted floor, and you end up with burn marks. When you add a screen, you protect your carpet. Coenzyme Q10 acts as a screen.
Dr. Rheaume suggests PQQ and Coenzyme Q10 work best when taken together. And she recommends 20 mg of PQQ and 100mg – 200 mg per day of CoQ10, especially for those over age 50.
These antioxidants are fat soluble. And that usually means you should take them while eating some sort of fat in your food. However, these days, if fat soluble nutrients come in a softgel form, it’s not as important to eat fat when you take them to fully absorb them.
Need an easy way to find PQQ and CoQ10?
Life Extensions, Solaray, and Natural Factors all provide combo supplements of these two powerhouse antioxidants.
One final word on what vitamins give you energy.
We’ve discussed many vitamins and supplements that can aid in boosting energy. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention two other natural ways to increase our body’s ability to maintain energy levels through the day. We all know that lack of sleep and chronic stress have a significant effect on our energy levels. If you’ve known me for long, you know I have chronic insomnia. And I’ve been working for years to put together a sleep tool kit that helps me get the most out of every night of sleep.
Stress affects our ability to rest well.
If you need help with getting more sleep, check out our full sleep guide here.
The Bottom Line on Increasing Your Energy Naturally.
My friend that I mentioned at the beginning of the article feels constant fatigue. But she doesn’t have to live with low energy levels every day. And neither do you. I mean that even if you’re over 50 years old. Don’t settle for feeling constant fatigue.
Between our tools for sleep, and these tips for increasing your energy naturally, you might be able to boost your energy on your own. But if you need help, our nutrition experts are here to help you find out how to live your best life. You deserve to feel great at any age. And we’re here to help you do that the natural way!