Let’s Get Moving! Energize Your Body with These Important Nutrients
Written by Mariesette Zeyl, ND, former Nutritional Consultant at Invite Health
Do you remember your childhood days – waking up in the morning full of vibrant energy, ready to take on the world? Wouldn’t it be nice to feel this way again? As adults, it is all too common to get up out of bed feeling groggy and just plain crummy. You head straight to a coffee shop for your morning cup, and then spend the rest of the day sitting at the office After a full day at work, you return home and eat a bunch of not-so-healthy food while watching TV, sitting on the couch, and probably feeling just as tired as you did in the morning.
What does having Low Energy/Fatigue really mean?
Low energy or fatigue is not considered a condition in itself, but a symptom associated with a number of health conditions such diabetes, hypothyroidism, poor circulation, anemia/iron deficiency, allergies, depression, stress and even poor dietary habits. Ultimately, what is responsible for how much energy your body produces is your metabolism. As we age, our daily lifestyle activities do not tend to promote a healthy metabolism. Cellular metabolism is controlled by the powerhouses of the trillions of cells in your body, also known as the mitochondria. The main fuel source for energy production are fatty acids, but they are only able to cross the mitochondrial membrane with help from certain nutrients.
What nutrients are critical for healthy energy and metabolism?
Acetyl-l-Carnitine (ALCAR) plays an important role in transporting energy by shuttling fatty acids directly across into the mitochondria to be burned as energy. Supplementation of ALCAR has a powerful antioxidative ability to improve energy metabolism and reduce both mental and physical fatigue.1
Alpha-Lipoic-Acid (ALA) is also a cellular metabolism nutrient. Aside from being the most powerful and versatile of antioxidants, it enhances energy levels. Research indicates ALA can improve energy production and homeostasis, stress response, and reverse energy decline associated with aging.2
A vitamin B-Complex is a combination of all of the B vitamins. They are needed to fight off fatigue and for normal brain function, hormone production and conversion of fats, carbohydrates and protein into energy. Specifically, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is the activated form of the B3 vitamin niacin, which is essential to any living cell’s energy production. NADH is directly responsible for the release of energy within the mitochondria. It is also a powerful antioxidant. With more than one million Americans suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)3, studies in the management of CFS reported significant reduction in patients’ perception of fatigue with NADH.4 During exercise, NADH was shown to improve endurance and showed lower oxidative stress.5
CoenzymeQ10 (CoQ10, in the active form of Ubiquinol) is an essential nutrient for cellular metabolism. It is typically known for its heart health benefits, but it is essential to creating the spark that ignites the creation of energy. Ubiquinol also acts as a powerful antioxidant as it neutralizes free radicals inside the cell. If you are taking a statin drug, it depletes your body of Ubiquinol, so it can be beneficial to supplement with this invaluable energy creator. In a double-blind, controlled study, Ubiquinol supplementation significantly enhanced peak power production,/u> among athletes.6 Another study found that Ubiquinol improved chronic fatigue symptoms in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.7
Supplementing daily with ALCAR, CoQ10 as Ubiquinol, ALA, a B-complex and NADH are your keys to energizing your body at the cellular level. Other important things to consider when it comes to achieving optimal energy and banishing fatigue are to increase your water intake; even when you are a little bit dehydrated, that can result in feeling tired. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol, white flour products and processed foods – these are known as energy robbers. Include more nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, especially green leafy vegetables or a greens powder8, which can increase vitality and energy. Last but not least, get regular exercise and adequate rest.
1 Jia, R. et al. Effects of dietary α-lipoic acid, acetyl-l-carnitine, and sex on antioxidative ability, energy and lipid metabolism. Poult Sci. 2014 Nov;93(11):2809-17. doi: 10.3382/ps.2014-03921. Epub 2014 Sep 19.
2 Wagner, AE. Et al. A combination of lipoic acid plus coenzyme Q10 induces master switch of energy metabolism. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:835970. doi: 10.1155/2012/835970. Epub 2012 May 9.
3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. http://www.cdc.gov/cfs/causes/risk-groups.html 2013 Feb 14.
4 Castro-Marrero, J. et al. Effect of coenzymeQ10 plus nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide supplementation – A randomized, controlled, double-bind trial. Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul 17. pii: S0261-5614(15)00189-2. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.07.010.
5 Mach, J. et al. The effect of antioxidation supplementation on fatigue during exercise: potential role for NAD+(H). Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):319-29. doi: 10.3390/nu2030319. Epub 2010 Mar 10.
6 Alf, D. et al. Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Apr 29;10:24. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-24. eCollection 2013.
7 Miyamae, T. et al. Increased oxidative stress and coenzyme Q10 deficeincy in juvenile fibromyalgia. Redox Rep. 2013;18(1):12-9. doi: 10.1179/1351000212Y.0000000036.
8 Boon, H., Clitheroe, J. and Forte T. Effects of greens+: a randomized, controlled trial. Can J Diet Pract Res. 2004 Summer;65(2):66-71.