Best Vitamins for Tiredness and Lack of Energy
The body uses carbohydrates, protein and fats to make energy. However, the process of converting these nutrients into fuel requires numerous other substances, such as vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals play a vital role in your energy levels, so we are going to talk about the best vitamins for tiredness and lack of energy.
Vitamins often act as cofactors, meaning they help specific enzymes break food down into smaller molecules. These molecules can then be used by cells to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the body’s primary source of energy. It is produced in specialized cell structures called mitochondria. It is a complex process that requires oxygen, vitamins, minerals and more.
Since vitamins and minerals affect energy production in several ways, not getting enough can lead to physical and mental fatigue. Read on to learn more about the best vitamins for tiredness and lack of energy.
Top 6 Vitamins for Tiredness and Lack of Energy
1. B Vitamins
The B vitamins are a group of eight nutrients with similar functions in the body. Many of them act as cofactors and are essential for releasing energy from food. Others are involved in mitochondrial function, blood health and nervous system activity.
The eight B vitamins are:
- B1 (thiamine).
- B2 (riboflavin).
- B3 (niacin).
- B5 (pantothenic acid).
- B6 (pyridoxine).
- B7 (biotin).
- B9 (folate).
- B12 (cobalamin).
All of these vitamins are involved in energy production in one way or another. However, vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are especially important. They work together closely to maintain cell, blood and nerve health. Not having enough of these vitamins can lead to anemia, with symptoms such as tiredness and weakness.
B vitamin food sources:
- Whole grains.
- Green vegetables.
- Fortified foods.
Note: Vitamin B12 only occurs naturally in animal-based foods. Therefore, vegetarians and vegans may be more likely to experience deficiencies.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another essential vitamin for energy production. It is involved in the synthesis of a chemical called carnitine, which helps transport fatty acids into mitochondria.
Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb iron, which is necessary for transporting oxygen through the blood. Therefore, it is a good idea to consume some vitamin C at the same time as iron-containing foods.
Vitamin C food sources:
- Citrus fruit.
- Leafy greens.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is best known for helping the body to use calcium and keeping the bones strong. However, it also plays a role in mitochondrial function and energy production. Therefore, not getting enough vitamin D can lead to symptoms like muscle fatigue. Low vitamin D levels have also been associated with depression.
Vitamin D sources:
- Sunlight on the skin.
- Oily fish.
- Fish liver oil.
- Egg yolks.
- Some mushrooms.
- Vitamin D-fortified foods.
As we mentioned earlier, iron is necessary for transporting oxygen through the blood. It is a vital component of a protein called hemoglobin that allows oxygen molecules to bind to red blood cells. This allows oxygen to travel from the lungs to the cells of every tissue and organ.
Since oxygen is necessary for ATP production, not getting enough iron can lead to symptoms of low energy and weakness. This is known as iron-deficiency anemia.
Iron food sources:
- Lean meat.
- Kidney beans.
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Magnesium plays a crucial role in the production and use of ATP, acting as a regulator in cellular energy cycles. It is also essential for maintaining nervous system and muscle function. Therefore, fatigue and weakness are among the many symptoms of magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium food sources:
- Leafy greens.
- Whole grains.
- Magnesium-fortified foods.
6. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that the body produces naturally. It has antioxidant effects and is also involved in producing energy from food.
Having reduced coenzyme Q10 levels has been linked with low energy, especially in people with
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia. Therefore, increasing your coenzyme Q10 intake might help combat tiredness.
Some experts believe that it works by protecting mitochondria from oxidative damage, although research is ongoing.
- Oily fish.
- Liver and other organ meats.
- Whole grains.
- Sesame seeds.
The best way to get enough energy-boosting vitamins and minerals is to have a healthy, balanced diet. Eating a variety of foods every day is the best way to achieve this. We have listed some of the best food sources of specific nutrients above.
The Importance of Carbohydrates, Protein and Healthy Fats
It is also essential to consume enough carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, as these are the body’s primary energy sources. With the help of vitamins and minerals, our cells can break these nutrients down and use them as fuel.
Carbohydrates are the most important energy source for most people. However, it is essential to choose these carbohydrates wisely. The body uses refined carbohydrates, like sugar and white flour, very quickly, meaning they do not provide a steady supply of fuel. On the other hand, complex carbs, like whole grains, get broken down much more slowly due to their higher fiber content. Therefore, they provide a longer-lasting and more consistent energy source.
It is also important to eat enough protein every day. Like complex carbs, the body breaks down protein slowly for a steadier release of energy. Fats are a good fuel source too, but be sure to choose healthy options, such as nuts, seeds, oily fish, or avocados.
Some people use substances like sugar and caffeine for a quick energy boost. However, this is not helpful in the long run as they often result in a crash once the effects wear off.
What Causes Consistent Low Energy Levels?
There are many different reasons why someone might experience consistent low energy levels. It can simply be a case of not getting enough sleep or exercise. However, sometimes a more serious issue is to blame.
Not having enough variety in one’s diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies and low energy levels. This might be due to extreme weight loss diets or lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism or veganism. People with eating disorders are also likely to experience low energy due to a lack of nutrition.
Some medical conditions can also cause low energy. For example, Crohn’s disease and colitis can interfere with how the body absorbs certain nutrients. People with heavy periods may be prone to iron-deficiency anemia. Some conditions, such as CFS and fibromyalgia, cause fatigue as a symptom.
When to Seek Medical Help
If you are experiencing unexplained, consistent low energy levels or tiredness, it is important to seek medical help. Your physician will be able to run tests to find out whether you have any conditions or nutritional deficiencies and recommend the most appropriate treatment.
Although vitamin and mineral supplements are widely available, they are not suitable for everyone. Therefore, it is best to receive a proper diagnosis before deciding to take such products.