We live in an increasingly fast-paced world today. Time to rest and recalibrate oneself is difficult to fit into today's busy schedules. This has opened up large possibilities of over-exerting oneself and developing fatigue. Over time such fatigue can accumulate, leading to a general state of tiredness and lack of energy.
Being in such a constant state of tiredness can hamper one’s cognitive and physical abilities. This can swiftly progress to chronic fatigue, hampering every facet of your life.
If you notice such a progression of fatigue setting in over a period of time, it is time to take steps to remedy the situation. Identifying the root cause of fatigue can help you formulate a strategy to combat it.
One of the causes of general tiredness and lack of energy is the deficiency of certain nutrients. Lack of a balanced diet can lead to such deficiencies.
In this article, we look at certain nutrients you can supplement with to combat tiredness and increase energy levels.
Causes of lack of energy and tiredness
Now, let's discuss the causes of the lack of energy and tiredness:
i). Poor diet and dehydration:
A diet high in processed food, sugar, saturated fats, and preservatives can spike your sugar level without offering much nutrition. This leads to a sugar crash which can leave you feeling fatigued.
Furthermore, a lack of adequate nutrients in your diet can hamper your body's functioning optimally. Similarly, dehydration can cause a feeling of lethargy.
Therefore, consuming a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients and drinking adequate amounts of water is important.
ii). Lack of sleep:
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most underrated factors determining good health. The body needs 7-9 hours of sleep every night to recover from the toils faced and be prepared for the next day.
A general lack of sleep, and poor sleep cycles, can lead to a general feeling of sluggishness throughout the day. Furthermore, it can contribute to an increase in stress levels and may also contribute to fat retention in the body.
iii). Underlying medical conditions:
An existing medical condition, like anemia, thyroid disorders, and sleep apnea, can cause fatigue. It is advisable to undergo a full health check-up regularly to detect such health conditions immediately.
iv). Chronic stress:
Chronic stress can lead to burnout and excessive fatigue. It is a condition that can take a toll on your physical as well as mental health. It is advisable to practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises to help manage stress levels.
v). Sedentary lifestyle:
Leading a lifestyle lacking adequate physical activity can reduce energy levels over time. Over time it leads to slower metabolism and a lack of an active mental state.
Nutrients for boosting energy and reducing tiredness
Vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can help combat fatigue and increase energy levels. Some of these nutrients can be taken as supplements to combat chronic fatigue. Some of the best vitamins for tiredness and lack of energy include the following –
Caffeine, found in coffee, is a stimulant that can boost energy levels and reduce tiredness. Caffeine blocks a neurotransmitter called adenosine that promotes sleep.
Caffeine can boost cognitive energy levels and improve memory, attention, and reflexes. It is also a widely adopted pre-workout taken to boost physical activity performance.
However, it is to be noted that excessive consumption of caffeine, especially later in the day, can affect sleep. Treating your fatigue with caffeine is not advisable if the underlying cause is a lack of sleep.
You can naturally consume caffeine through coffee. Having black coffee is the ideal way to add caffeine to your diet.
Caffeine is also available as an added ingredient in various multivitamins and pre-workouts. A daily consumption of 400mg of caffeine is considered safe for adults.
2. B vitamins:
B vitamins are vital in the process of energy production in the body. They are essential in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. All 8 B vitamins perform different functions, which cumulatively increase the energy levels in the body.
Another notable B vitamin is B6, which is involved in producing neurotransmitters crucial for brain function and mood regulation.
Some natural sources of B vitamins are salmon, leafy greens, organ meats, eggs, legumes, and milk. Additionally, supplementation is an option, especially for vegans who want to add vitamin B12 to their diet.
Some especially important B vitamins are –
Vitamin B12 is especially vital as it is essential for producing red blood cells and transporting oxygen throughout the body. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause fatigue and weakness.
Moreover, this vitamin is found in animal sources like meat, fish, and dairy. The RDA for vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day.
Vitamin B6 helps the body convert food into energy and is important for the proper functioning of the nervous system.
It is also involved in the production of neurotransmitters that are crucial for brain function and mood regulation. Vitamin B6 is found in poultry, fish, whole grains, and bananas. The RDA for vitamin B6 is between 1.5 to 2mg per day.
Vitamin B9, or folate, is essential in producing red blood cells. It is also vital in generating DNA. A deficiency of this vitamin can be a cause of fatigue.
Some rich sources of folate are leafy green vegetables and legumes. The RDA for vitamin B9 is 400mcg for adult men and between 500-600mcg for women.
3. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin crucial for an optimal immune system. It can reduce fatigue by fighting inflammation in the body. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and can help combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Citrus fruits, tomatoes, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables, potatoes, and bell peppers, are some natural sources of vitamin C. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin C is 90mg and 75mg every day for adult men and women, respectively.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports energy metabolism in the body and reduces fatigue.
Magnesium is involved in the body's production and storage of energy and is a cofactor of enzymes involved in metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). It also helps with muscle relaxation.
Some sources of magnesium are pumpkin seeds, nuts, soy, and spinach. The RDA for magnesium is 400-420mg and 310-320mg daily for adult men and women, respectively.
Iron is an essential nutrient that makes up hemoglobin in the blood. It is crucial in carrying oxygen to different parts of the body. Low levels of iron can cause fatigue in the body.
Red meats, poultry, shellfish, eggs, beans, and dried fruit, are some rich dietary sources of iron. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iron is 8mg and 18mg daily for men and women, respectively.
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a natural compound in the body that is crucial in producing ATP in the mitochondria. Supplementation can lead to higher energy levels and lower recovery time.
Some dietary sources of CoQ10 are red meat, organic meat, fatty fish, legumes, nuts, and broccoli. However, the amount of CoQ10 you can absorb from the diet might not be enough, and supplementation might be required.
There is a prescribed RDA for CoQ10. However, as per the consensus of healthcare providers, the dosage can be between 30-200mg daily, with a median dosage of 90mg.
Creatine is a natural compound found in muscles and is essential in the production of ATP, which is the body's primary energy source. It helps store energy in the muscles and also helps to reduce muscle fatigue.
It is a proven supplement for boosting performance in physical activities and can lead to a general sense of increased energy levels. Creatine doesn’t have an RDA. The generally accepted dosage is 12-20 grams per day.
Creatine is naturally present in red meat, fish, and eggs. However, the quantity available in dietary sources is low compared to supplements. Therefore, supplementation might be the best option to boost creatine levels.
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that helps the body produce nitric acid. Nitric acid can help relax blood vessels leading to better blood circulation and distribution of nutrients throughout the body.
It has been observed to boost performance in physical activity by reducing recovery time and increasing available energy.
Citrulline can also be metabolized by the body into arginine, a popular ingredient in pre-workout due to its ability to increase energy availability for physical activity.
Some dietary sources of citrulline are squash, pumpkin, watermelon, bitter gourd, chickpeas, cucumber, and musk melon. There is no official RDA for citrulline. However, current research suggests that 6-8 gms of citrulline supplementation per day is ideal.
Importance of a balanced diet
The impact of a regular well, balanced diet consisting of various food groups and prepared from fresh ingredients cannot be understated.
Such a diet can provide adequate nutrients the body requires, leading to optimal function. This ensures a strong immune system, consistent energy levels, and a good metabolism rate.
However, consistently having a well-balanced diet is difficult today and might not be feasible. In such cases, supplementation of essential nutrients can be helpful.
Consult your healthcare provider to identify the specific nutrient deficiencies you may be facing and address them with supplementation. In case of multiple deficiencies, multivitamins may be an option.
It is often said that food is medicine. Fixing your diet can help you fix your body and combat various health conditions. However, you may be facing health conditions despite having a nutritious diet.
In such cases, consult your healthcare provider and identify the root cause of your fatigue and lack of energy. Identifying the root cause can help you correct your diet, lifestyle, or medication to address the issue at the source.
Q: What are the causes of low energy levels and fatigue?
A: Low energy levels can be caused by various factors and are often due to a combination of different factors. These factors include a poor diet, dehydration, poor sleep cycle, underlying medical conditions, a sedentary lifestyle, and chronic stress.
Q: Is supplementation necessary to combat chronic fatigue?
A: Supplementation is not a necessity to boost energy levels. The mode of treatment depends on the underlying cause behind fatigue. In the case of dietary causes, it can be fixed by following a nutritious well, balanced diet. However, it might not be feasible for everyone to meet adequate nutrient requirements through diet. Supplementation can help bridge this gap.
Q: Is fixing your diet enough to combat chronic fatigue and boost energy levels?
A: To treat chronic fatigue effectively, the underlying cause needs to be identified. If the cause of fatigue is a poor diet or lack of nutrients, it might be possible to combat it by fixing your diet. Following a well-balanced diet consisting of different food groups sourced from fresh ingredients can combat issues arising from a poor diet.
Q: What are the things to consider when buying health supplements?
A: Health supplements are unregulated by FDA and therefore warrant caution on the part of the consumers. Adequate research needs to be done regarding the ingredients present in the supplementation. It is further recommended that reliable manufacturers with a good reputation are selected. Some products come with a certification from independent agencies that can help establish the authenticity of the ingredients.