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What are the Best Vitamins for Energy and Metabolism?

You're smart. You know that you can't load up on caffeine all the time -- you need the best vitamins for energy too. If your energy levels are consistently low, you may be lacking some essential vitamins and nutrients. Chronic low energy levels are common. Up to 10% of working-age men and 16% of women report feeling either very tired or exhausted at some point in the last three months. (1) Give these energy supplements and vitamins a try to reduce overall tiredness and boost your mental and physical performance!  

9 of the Best Vitamins for Energy and Metabolism

vitamins and supplements
Many people don't realize that low levels of essential vitamins and minerals are the culprit behind their lack of energy. Don't reach for an energy drink loaded with sugar and dangerous chemicals. Which best vitamins for energy are missing from your diet? If you don't take a multivitamin, now is the time to start!  

1. Vitamin D

Did you know that vitamin D functions more like a hormone than a vitamin? Every cell in your body needs vitamin D, but it's particularly necessary for bones and mental health. Some bad news: between 42% and 82% of the US population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency, and it's nearly impossible to get enough through food sources. (2) Low vitamin D levels lead to depression and chronic fatigue. (3) Your body uses sunlight to create vitamin D. Look for mushrooms treated with UV lights to boost your intake and consider adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet.  

2. B Vitamins

food rich in vitamin B12
B vitamins like vitamin B12, niacin, biotin, and vitamin B6 all function as energy boosters and are essential to mental health. (4) Older adults have trouble absorbing B vitamins through food, and everyone could probably stand to add a B complex to their routine. Many cereals and whole grains include various B vitamins, but vitamin B12 is another mineral difficult to come by through food sources alone, so vitamin B12 deficiencies are common.  

3. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 or coq10 helps your cells generate energy, and it's essential for skin health. Your body can produce coq10 on its own, but it decreases with age. That's why you see coq10 in so many anti-aging products. (5) Low coq10 levels put older adults at risk for heart disease, memory loss, and skin damage. Coenzyme Q10 can also boost exercise performance.  

4. Iron

food rich in iron
You shouldn't take an iron supplement unless bloodwork shows that you're suffering from an iron deficiency because too much iron can be dangerous. However, iron deficiency anemia is common, affecting three million people every year. Since iron is found in red meat, vegetarians should consider routine bloodwork to monitor their iron levels. Symptoms include heart palpitations, low energy production, low red blood cells, and brittle nails.  

5. Amino Acids

Your body needs nine essential amino acids that it cannot produce on its own. Other amino acids are non-essential or conditionally essential. Even if you're missing a single essential amino acid or two, this could impact your energy levels because amino acids help your body process protein and convert it into energy.  

6. Vitamin C

vitamin c
Low vitamin C levels aren't common, but adding a supplement to your diet can boost energy. Your skin, hair, brain, and immune system all need vitamin C, so low levels can wreak havoc on your energy production and mental health. Although it's easy to get enough vitamin c through food sources, conditions like alcoholism and digestive disorders can interfere with your body's ability to absorb this vital nutrient.  

7. Cordyceps

Cordyceps are a powerful medicinal mushroom, traditionally used for energy and endurance. As an energy supplement, cordyceps stimulate ATP production inside your body, which is what every cell in your body uses to produce energy. (6) Cordyceps can also boost oxygen uptake and improve physical performance. You can find cordyceps in powdered form to easily include in your smoothies and other recipes.  

8. Adaptogens

Adaptogens are special herbal substances that protect the body against physical and mental stress. The USSR, China, and India have all conducted extensive medical research into how adaptogens affect the body. (7) Adaptogens each impact energy levels in different ways. They work to reduce cortisol levels while improving energy, so not only do you feel energized, but you also feel calm. Common adaptogens include medicinal mushrooms, rhodiola rosea, and ashwagandha.  

9. Creatine

Creatine is an amino acid typically found in red meat and other meat sources so anyone on a vegan diet is particularly at risk for low creatine levels. Your muscles store creatine, and it's common for people to take this supplement to boost their energy production during exercise and improve muscle mass. (8) Studies show that creatine is also beneficial for supporting brain health and improving memory. Since creatine is generally safe with minimal side effects it might be a good choice to add to your regime.  

10. Ginseng

Ginseng is technically another adaptogen, but it's so popular we had to include it in its own category. A staple in traditional Chinese medicine, ginseng comes in multiple forms. Not only can ginseng boost energy levels, but it can also lower blood sugar and provide anti-inflammatory effects. (9)  

Don't Rely on the Best Vitamins for Energy to Do All the Work

healthy lifestyle
First things first: Get your essential vitamins and minerals in order before expanding to energy supplements. In many cases, low levels of things like vitamin D or vitamin B12 can lead to chronically low energy levels. It's equally important to build a lifestyle to increase energy as well. Follow these general tips.
  • Get enough sleep and practice good sleep hygiene.
  • Squeeze in some physical activity every day.
  • Get your hormones and thyroid checked for imbalances.
  • Take measures to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Take a multivitamin.

The Bottom Line

While it's important to build an energy-boosting lifestyle and get enough vital nutrients, sometimes you just need an extra push. These best vitamins for energy and other supplements can help you reach maximum energy production and push your physical and mental performance to new heights!
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