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Published on March 15, 2021

Vitamins And Supplements For Energy (The Complete Guide)

Vitamins And Supplements For Energy (The Complete Guide)
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Do you frequently feel tired and lack the necessary energy to get things done?

Some years ago I found that my family and work responsibilities were depleting my energy levels — and were actually putting me at risk of burnout.

I tried eating healthier, exercising, and sleeping more. I felt improvement but I didn’t feel that I had the strength and energy that I used to have.

A friend of mine suggested that I might have a vitamin deficiency. I tried out a few vitamins and supplements, and the difference was night and day. Not only did they help boost my energy but I noticed an increase in my mental and physical well-being.

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about vitamins for energy.

Can Vitamins And Supplements Help?

Vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements can help supply missing nutrients from our diet. Many don’t eat sufficient quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables to get the essential daily nutrients. And even if you do eat an abundance of these foods, you may still not be getting all the nutrients you need.

In 2004, a breakthrough study found that fruits and vegetables have been getting less nutritious as time goes on.[1] Everything from calcium, iron, protein, and vitamin C have been trending downward for years. This is due to the types of vegetables that are being grown today. Modern intensive agricultural methods have reduced the number of nutrients from the soil resulting in fewer vitamins for our bodies.

Instead of eating more fruits and vegetables to fix this issue, you can take vitamins for energy and supplements. Not only can they help balance out your diet, but they can also boost your energy and help you get better sleep at night.

Here are just a few of the reported benefits of taking vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements [2] [3]:

  • Boost immunity
  • Help with digestion and metabolism
  • Help improve cardiovascular health
  • Increase energy levels
  • Improve and maintain reproductive health
  • Strengthen bones and help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis
  • Treat mild to moderate depression

14 Best Vitamins for Energy

Below you’ll find the 14 best energy supplements that can help you get through your day.

1. Multivitamins

Multivitamins can help your memory retention, energy levels, and overall clarity. You’ll be at peak performance when your body is getting the required supplements it needs.

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I recommend you check out our Infuel Focus Boost supplement. It features a proprietary blend of vitamins and essential nutrients that will help increase your energy and help you focus throughout the day. Also, take a look at our article 8 Best Multivitamins For Men, Women And Kids. In terms of the amount to consume, most multivitamins have a recommended dosage of one or two capsules/tablets per day.

2. Omega-3 (fish oil)

Our bodies cannot produce omega-3, so you must get enough omega-3s through the proper food sources or supplements. Omega-3 has many proven health benefits, including treating depression and mental health issues, preventing heart disease and stroke,[4] and protecting eye health.

This is a supplement that I’ve found so helpful that I decided to launch our own Lifehack product. It’s called Infuel Omega-3 Fish Oil and it consists of the perfect blend of fish oil and omega-3 healthy fats with high EPA and DHA content. This supplement directly supports the regular growth and development of the brain, eyes, nervous system as well as maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. If you would prefer to get omega-3 directly from your food, then add plenty of oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and herring) to your diet.

3. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is vital for correct brain function[5] and the synthesis of red blood cells. As vitamin B12 is only available through animal foods, vegans are especially encouraged to supplement their diet. Vitamin B12 can also help with your energy levels by preventing a type of anemia that makes you tired. Low stomach acid can make it harder for your body to absorb B12 as well.

The best foods for boosting your vitamin B12 levels are meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, and some fortified breakfast cereals.

My pick for the best B12 supplements is Doctor’s Best Vegan B12. As well as being suitable for vegetarians and vegans (who are some of the group’s who most need extra vitamin B12), it’s also offered in easy to swallow capsules that contain 15000mcg of vitamin B12.

4. Vitamin C

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, helping your cells be protected from damage done by free radicals. It’s also well-known for its ability to protect against colds,[6] scurvy, and other diseases.

Foods high in Vitamins C are:

  • Lemons
  • Oranges 
  • Kiwis
  • Papayas
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Parsley
  • Peppers

However, if your diet is lacking these types of fresh fruits and veggies, then you might want to consider taking a supplement. The best one I’ve found is made by Nature’s Bounty. Each capsule contains 500mcg that you can take daily and increase your energy production.

5. Vitamin D

Most can get vitamin D through sun exposure. If you work during the night or can’t get outside much, vitamin D deficiency can cause depression, bone pain, fatigue, and muscle weakness. Vitamin D can also an effective treatment for mild anxiety and depression.[7]

If you suffer from long winters with barely any sunshine, you can supplement your vitamin D.

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Foods that are high in vitamin D include oily fish, red meat, eggs, and some fortified fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

If you want to add a vitamin D supplement to your diet, I recommend you check out Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3. Produced in easy-to-swallow soft gels, this non-GMO, gluten, and dairy-free supplement will provide you with 125 MCG (5,000 IU) in each soft gel.

6. Iron

Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the U.S, with almost 10% of all women in the U.S. being deficient in iron. Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body.[8] It’s also an important component of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells. Without enough body, your body will fail to carry red blood cells effectively to your body’s tissues.

Iron deficiency anemia can make you feel weak and tired.

Foods high in iron:

  • red meat
  • beans
  • dried fruit
  • soybean flour
  • liver
  • fortified breakfast cereals

If you’re vegetarian, you won’t need to worry as Solgar’s Gentle Ironis vegetarian friendly. If you aren’t sure if you’re deficient in iron, it’s best to check with a doctor before taking iron supplements. Excessive iron intake[9] can present negative side effects so make sure you require supplementation.

7. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to significantly reduce the fatigue and burnout that come from anxiety and stress.[10] There is also some preliminary evidence that it could help people recover quicker from fatigue caused by exercise.

In a study, it was shown to have a positive increase in fatigue and attention levels.[11] When taken normally, Rhodiola is completely safe.[12] You can’t find any foods as it is an herb, so the only option is to take it in its raw or in a pill form.

When buying a Rhodiola, you want to make sure that it has 3% total rosavins and 1% salidroside. Otherwise, you risk not getting the benefits that Rhodiola has to offer. You can find NOW Supplement’s 500mg tablets here that can help fight fatigue, reduce burnout and help improve your exercise.

8. Coenzyme Q10

This is a compound made by your body and stored in the mitochondria of your cells. The mitochondria are in charge of producing energy, as well as helping to protect your cells from oxidative damage,[13] bacteria, and viruses. It’s important to note that Coenzyme Q10 production decreases as you age. When your cells are not producing energy, you can get fatigued. Thus, older people may benefit more from taking this as a supplement.

Nuts, fish, and meat contain Coq10, but it’s not sufficient enough to increase the Coq10 levels in your body. If you do have normal Coq10 levels, a supplement won’t help increase your energy levels

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I found that Doctor’s Best has a great Coq10 supplement that can help promote energy production and heart health.

9. Vitamin B Complex

B complex vitamins are the building blocks of a healthy body and have a direct impact on your brain function, cell metabolism, and energy levels.[14] Vitamin B complex may help reduce stress and lift your mood. If you’re a vegan, pregnant, or an older adult, you are at higher risk of vitamin b deficiency.

You can find B vitamins in foods such as spinach, milk, cheese, chicken, and fish. If you’re a vegetarian, getting vitamin b complex through your diet can be difficult.

However, if you prefer to guarantee your intake of B vitamins, then I recommend you try Super B Complex by Nature’s Bounty. This high potency one-a-day tablet will ensure your body always has adequate levels of B vitamins.

10. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a powerful herb that has been shown to significantly boost athletic performance by improving lung and heart capacity while also increasing energy levels.[15] It’s not only a great supplement for regular exercisers, but it’s also helpful for people who struggle with fatigue or low energy.

Ashwagandha supplements can also alleviate the fatigue that’s brought on by exercise. Overall, it’s one of the best supplements to give you energy on this list.

Ashwagandha is a great vitamin for energy, check out Ashwagandha by Nature Made. The 125mg capsules are more concentrated than standard ashwagandha extracts and are clinically proven to reduce everyday stress. It’s not certain how much ashwagandha you should take per day, but a good range to stay in is around 500-750mg a day.

11. Melatonin

Proper sleep is vital for our overall health and well-being. If you struggle getting proper rest each night, you may want to try taking a melatonin supplement. Melatonin (which is a hormone) can regulate your body’s sleep-wake cycles,[16] helping to give you the perfect night’s sleep.

Foods that include melatonin include fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds.

If you want to take extra melatonin in supplement form, then I recommend you try Natrol’s Melatonin Time Release. They provide an initial dosage of melatonin to help you fall asleep fast, then they slowly release additional melatonin throughout the night to help you stay asleep.

12. Citrulline

Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that offers some fantastic health benefits, including increasing blood flow, improving cardiac function, boosting your immune system,[17] and enhancing cognition and brain function.

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This non-essential amino acid can be found in foods such as watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, bitter melons, and gourds. If you want a high-quality and high-potency supplement, then go for Source Natural’s L-Citrulline.

13. Creatine

Creatine is a natural supplement used to help build muscle mass and improve athletic performance. It can also reduce fatigue and tiredness.[18] Creatine is one of the most common supplements for bodybuilders.

Fish, meat, and other animal products such as dairy are all foods rich in creatine.

However, if you want to boost your creatine levels, then check out Optimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine Monohydrate Capsules. It offers 2.5 grams of pure creatine monohydrate per 2-capsule serving. They also have zero calories and carbohydrates. Best taken with a meal.

14. L-theanine With Caffeine

Taken as a supplement, the combination of L-theanine and caffeine will help improve your mood and cognitive performance.[19] It will also improve your alertness and ability to focus on tasks.

SR’s L-Theanine & Caffeine helps support energy, as well as mental focus and cognitive performance without the crashes and jitters associated with popular energy drinks. If you can’t find L-theanine with caffeine, you can take L-theanine and drink it with coffee.

Your Body Will Thank You!

My experience along with that of millions of people worldwide is that supplementing with vitamins, minerals, and herbs can definitely help increase your overall health and well-being. It can also give your energy levels a significant boost.

If you’re currently feeling low on energy, try adding a few of the supplements I’ve recommended to your daily diet. I’m confident you’ll quickly see a tangible and positive difference.

Featured photo credit: Nastya Dulhiier via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

Can’t Focus? The Mistake You’re Making and How to Focus Better A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success 17 Traits That Make a Successful Person Stand out from the Crowd What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It How to Think Critically: 5 Powerful Techniques

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1 Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better 2 What Is the Best Time to Take Your Vitamins? 3 Do Vitamins and Supplements Help With Energy? 4 7 Ways Regular Exercise Boosts Your Mood And Energy 5 How To Take a Cold Shower For the Best Health Benefits

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Published on July 15, 2021

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better

Shift Work Disorder: 17 Ways to Manage it Better
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Are you having trouble sleeping? Or do you feel like you can barely stay awake when you need to? Are you left tired and irritable, lacking the joy and motivation that life once brought? If these complaints are tied to your long or rotating work schedule, you may be suffering from shift work disorder—a common ailment among professions with schedules outside the typical 9 am to 6 pm range.[1]

Why does it matter? Let’s be honest—being tired stinks. It feels terrible and leaves you vulnerable to many health risks that well-rested people aren’t as susceptible to. Not only that, but it can also wreak havoc on your relationships and quality of life.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to help manage this, and you can start trying them out today! Some of the solutions may not be what you expect. For instance, you might have linked improved sleep to exercise, but did you know that being compassionate with yourself can also have an impact?

Who Are Affected by Shift Work Disorder?

Twenty-five million people are shift workers in the country, so you are far from alone if you are struggling with this. Shift work disorder is a condition frequently affecting anyone who works a job where their schedule is outside standard business hours. Nurses, police officers, firefighters, and factory workers are common examples of professions with schedules that rotate around the clock.

Rotating shifts naturally leads to a change in one’s schedule, including sleep. As your sleep schedule becomes more chaotic, your body is unable to adjust and regulate itself and can result in having difficulty falling or staying asleep. This inevitably leads to less sleep, which is where some big problems can arise.

What Are the Symptoms?

Sleep is one of the most important (and underrated) aspects of our lives. Enough sleep and good quality sleep are critical to our emotional, mental, and physical health.

Insufficient sleep can lead to a significantly increased risk of physical health problems, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Mentally, being tired contributes to having scattered concentration, difficulty processing information, and being more likely to make mistakes or have an accident. Emotionally, the fallout of being chronically exhausted is linked to poor emotional regulation including being irritated more quickly, as well as an increased likelihood of developing anxiety and depression.[2]

Any of this sound familiar? If so, keep reading for some scientifically-based tips to help you manage your sleep better and get your life back.

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17 Ways to Manage Shift Work Disorder Better

Quality sleep, or the lack thereof, impacts us physically, mentally, and emotionally. The most impactful plan of attack against shift work disorder and to regain quality sleep must also reflect that.

I suggest reading through all of the tips and formulating a plan based on what you think will work for you. Start by trying out one thing and build from there as you are able. Remember to construct a plan that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Let’s start in the most obvious place first:

Your Job

1. Make Your Schedule the Best It Can Be

Randomly rotating shifts has been found to have the worst impact on our health.[3] If you have to rotate your schedule, request to rotate shifts in a clockwise fashion.

For example: work the day shift, rotate to the nights, then to the early morning shift, then start back on the day shift. Sounds silly? It’s not. Studies show that our bodies more easily adjust to changes in schedule when completed in a clockwise manner.[4] This is because of something called our circadian rhythm—24-hour cycles that are part of the body’s internal clock that carry out essential functions. The most commonly known of these is sleep. It has been discovered that our circadian rhythm adjusts forward more easily than it does backward.

2. Speak to Your Manager About Keeping Your Workplace Bright

Special lights have been designed to assist with circadian rhythm. It turns out that absorbing bright light that is most similar to sunlight can positively impact regulating our circadian rhythm.[5]

3. Avoid a Long Commute to and From Work

Having a long drive home after working a rotating shift is statistically not in your best interest. It’s been shown that fatigued/sleepy employees are 70% more likely to have a workplace accident and 33% more likely to be involved in a traffic accident.[6]

To avoid putting yourself at risk by driving when you’re not at your best, catch a nap before leaving work, pull over to sleep, or stay at a friend’s house nearby.

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4. Speak to Your Manager About Your Concerns

Many companies that operate around the clock are willing and able to make accommodations to those working alternative shifts. Whether it’s helping you find a schedule that works best for you or connecting you with other programs designed to support your well-being, being in good communication with your employer is to everyone’s benefit.

Sleep Attitudes and Environment

5. Change Your Perspective and Start Prioritizing Sleep

Here’s the deal: despite some pretty well-known dangerous effects of not getting enough sleep, somewhere along the line, our society began to think of sleep as a luxury. Some even consider it a badge of honor to “power through” without much (or any) sleep. People have been made to feel embarrassed or lazy if they get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Here’s the bottom line: sleep is not a luxury.

Let me repeat that—sleep is not a luxury, and getting a consistent and healthy amount does not make you a slacker. Sleep is actually when our body does a lot of repair work on itself—blood vessels, muscles, and other organs. Sleep also boosts our immunity.

If we could help people feel as proud about sleeping as we do about them working out regularly or sticking to a healthy diet, people might be a lot healthier.

6. Make Your Sleep Space as Conducive to Rest as Possible

This means tweaking your environment so it’s as enticing as possible for your body to go to sleep. Keep the room dark using blackout blinds, reduce the temperature (our body rests best when slightly cool), limit interruptions (phone calls, visitors, noise), and remove electronic devices.[7]

Set yourself up for success by supporting yourself through your surroundings. If you wanted to lose weight, you wouldn’t frequently surround yourself with cookies, cake, and ice cream, right? Same idea here.

Personal Habits and Choices

7. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule as Closely as Possible—on Workdays and Days Off

This is obviously difficult when your schedule changes on the regular, but the more consistent you can keep your bedtime, the easier time your body has getting to sleep and staying that way.[8]

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8. Allow Yourself Time to Catch Up on Sleep

Having enough days off to rest and recuperate is an important aspect of protecting your health. You wouldn’t expect to be able to drive across the country on one tank of gas, right? Filling your own personal gas tank is just as important.

9. Take Naps, but Don’t Overdo It

It’s recommended by the Cleveland Clinic to take a 90-minute nap just before starting your shift and then a 30-minute nap during your “lunch break” at work.[9] Again, this is all about keeping some gas in your tank and not allowing yourself to get to the point where you are running on fumes. Short naps will help you stay refreshed and alert on the job.

10. Limit Caffeine to the Start of Your Shift

Most of us love a good hit of caffeine, especially when we are tired. But overdoing it or having caffeine too late in your shift can negatively impact your ability to get to sleep when you finally have the time to do so. Moderate your intake to help yourself get some quality sleep.

11. Avoid Alcohol Before Bed

Unwinding after work with a drink can be tempting. It can make you drowsy, which many people mistakenly believe will help them get better sleep. Unfortunately, alcohol will actually keep you awake (or wake you up later). This obviously impairs your ability to get the quality of sleep you are looking for.

12. Don’t Smoke

Much like alcohol, people turn to nicotine to “calm their nerves” or help them relax. Also, like alcohol, nicotine has been shown to disrupt sleep.[10] Cut back or cut this habit out as able.

13. Eat Well and Eat Smart

Choose convenient nutritious meals and snacks. Nutritious food is the foundation from which our body creates the needed chemicals for quality sleep. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar have been shown to have the worst impact on sleep.[11]

Also, timing is everything as they say. Eating too much or not enough before your shift can cause you to feel tired.

14. Get Regular Exercise

According to numerous studies, exercise can be as effective in treating sleep disorders as prescription medication.[12] Yes, you read that correctly—regular exercise is the bomb!

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This one can be tricky to convince people to do, especially if they are already tired and short on time. If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, take a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favorite song, or mow your lawn. Despite feeling tired, getting up off the couch and moving around (moderate to vigorous exercise) is best for reducing the time it takes to get to sleep and improving the quality of sleep.

Mental and Emotional

15. Establish Consistent Practices That Help You Relax Before Bed

This can include yoga, deep breathing, a warm bath, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, meditation, and hypnosis. These are designed to reduce physical tension and quiet your mind from thoughts that are keeping you awake. There are lots of great apps and free videos that can help you with this.

16. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT as it’s known, works by helping you to identify thoughts and behaviors that make sleep worse and then developing new habits consisting of thoughts and behaviors that promote sleep. There are psychologists and life coaches who are specially certified in CBT that can help you with this.

17. Show Yourself Some Compassion

Sounds silly? Well, it’s not. A seven-year study conducted at the University of Mannheim concluded that the daily practice of self-compassion positively impacted people’s quality of sleep.[13]

The concept of showing ourselves compassion is foreign (and uncomfortable) to many of us. Try going easy on yourself for being grumpy, and give yourself some credit for the efforts you are making in tough circumstances. What would you say to your best friend if they were struggling with the same situation? I routinely ask my clients this question as it’s sometimes easier to be compassionate to others than ourselves. This tip might take some practice, but the effort could result in a better night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Okay, there you have it—17 different ways you can help yourself manage shift work disorder, feel more rested, more like yourself, and enjoy life again. To get started with your plan, pick out a few tips that you can implement today, but remember to choose a well-rounded approach—addressing the physical, mental and emotional.

Be patient with yourself. It takes time to build new habits. And show yourself some compassion and kindness—you might just be able to sleep better when you do.

Featured photo credit: Yuris Alhumaydy via unsplash.com

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Reference

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