Published on July 1, 2021

Do Vitamins and Supplements Help With Energy?

Do Vitamins and Supplements Help With Energy?

If you are looking to improve your energy, there are a myriad of ways to do so. However, if you are looking for a more natural and healthful way to improve your energy, you may be curious whether there are any supplements you can take to help and whether these supplements even work.

So, do supplements work?

In this article, I will look into whether or not any supplements exist to help you boost your energy levels. I will also break down a few vitamins that you can take to help boost your energy naturally.

Can Supplements Help Improve Your Energy Levels?

Vitamins and minerals are essential for our bodies to function. Vitamins help with cellular energy production, DNA synthesis, and neurologic function, which can lead to a reduction in both mental and physical fatigue.[1]

Preventing deficiencies of certain vitamins and minerals will help to promote adequate energy levels. But which vitamins and minerals are the most crucial? Let’s take a look at the top vitamins and minerals to improve energy levels.


Vitamins and Supplements That May Boost Energy Levels

Here are some of the most important vitamins and supplements that may help boost your energy levels.


1. Vitamin D

According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a common symptom of Vitamin D deficiency is muscle fatigue.[2]

Vitamin D is not found in many foods, so taking an oral supplement may be the best solution if you have a deficiency you want to correct. It is recommended that adults up to 70 years of age take 600 IU per day of Vitamin D, and those over 70 take 800 IU/day. Recommendations may vary for women who are pregnant or lactating, so it is recommended that you speak with your doctor before starting supplementation.[3]

2. Vitamin B12

There are eight B vitamins in total that are all essential for the body. B vitamins are especially important for brain function, including energy production. Having a deficiency of various B vitamins can therefore lead to fatigue.[4]

One of the most crucial B vitamins for energy is Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin. Older adults and those who have undergone weight loss surgery are particularly at risk for Vitamin B12. If this applies to you, it may be helpful to start taking a Vitamin B supplement to promote adequate energy levels.


Because Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, it is generally considered safe to take a larger amount. If you consume more Vitamin B12 than your body needs, you will simply excrete it in your urine. However, if your body is short on Vitamin B12, it will store what it needs, which may help to improve your energy levels.

3. Iron

Individuals who have iron deficiencies have a condition known as anemia. One of the major side effects of anemia is fatigue. According to Mayo Clinic, some groups of people may be more predisposed to having an iron deficiency. Those include women who are menstruating, vegetarians, those with a disorder causing an inability to absorb iron (such as celiac disease), or women who are pregnant are more likely to have anemia.[5]

If you are looking to increase your iron levels to improve your energy levels, you may wish to include more iron-rich foods in your diet. These foods include meat, eggs, and leafy green vegetables. It is also important to eat enough foods with Vitamin C as these can help your body to better absorb iron. Foods rich in Vitamin C include broccoli, citrus fruits, and leafy greens.

If adding these foods into your diet does not seem realistic for you, an iron supplement may be the best solution for improving your energy levels. Make sure to speak with your doctor before starting an iron supplement to determine whether it is appropriate and what the adequate dosage is.


1. Ashwagandha Root

While less researched, a study from 2012 in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine looked at whether Ashwagandha root supplementation could improve energy levels. They found that supplementation with this herb reduced stress levels, which may lead to overall improvements in energy.[6]


Ashwagandha root is becoming more common, and it is easier than ever to find it on the shelves at your grocery or health food store. However, it is very important that you speak with your primary care physician before starting with this supplement to ensure that it is appropriate for you.

2. Creatine

Creatine is becoming more and more popular, especially among gym-goers. Creatine is an amino acid, which is one of the building blocks of protein. More and more weightlifters have been using creatine supplements to improve gym performance and help build muscle.

If you are an athlete and have low energy levels, creatine supplementation may be for you. A study conducted in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that creatine supplementation was helpful in improving recovery, reducing the risk of dehydration, and preventing sports-related injuries.[7] Given the improvement seen in athletic performance with creatine supplementation, it stands to reason that, for athletes with low energy levels, creatine supplementation may be indicated.

3. Melatonin

If your low energy levels are caused by sleep deprivation, melatonin may be the right supplement for you. While melatonin does not directly boost energy levels, you may still see an improvement from taking it. This natural hormone helps to play a role in sleep. If you have insomnia or just difficulty falling asleep, it may help to take a melatonin supplement at night before bed to help regulate your sleep schedule and improve your energy levels during the day.

Certain populations have been found to have lower levels of melatonin secretion, which may lead to difficulty sleeping and subsequent poor energy levels during the day. Individuals who are elderly or have type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, high blood pressure, or Alzheimer’s disease may be affected.[8]


Melatonin supplements are available in most grocery stores and pharmacies. Melatonin also comes in gummy form, which makes taking it easy and delicious.

In Conclusion

There are a host of supplements on the market that claim to work and help boost your energy levels. However, it can be tough to tell which supplements are actually going to do what they claim to. Given the research, it is clear that some supplements may help boost energy levels for those who are deficient in them.

When you are looking to start a supplement for improvement in energy levels, as discussed, it is extremely important to contact your doctor to get their opinion. Not only will they be able to help you decide on the right dosage of these supplements for your body, but they will also be able to advise you on which supplement would be most appropriate given your lifestyle and lab values.

Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via


[1] NCBI: Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue, and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence
[2] The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: Improving the Vitamin D Status of Vitamin D Deficient Adults Is Associated With Improved Mitochondrial Oxidative Function in Skeletal Muscle)) According to Cleveland Clinic, certain medical conditions predispose individuals to Vitamin D deficiency. Those with cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, obesity, and kidney and liver diseases may be more at risk. Additionally, older adults, those who have undergone weight loss surgery, and those who are homebound or have darker skin tones may be more likely to have a deficiency in Vitamin D.((Cleveland Clinic: Vitamin D Deficiency
[3] Cleveland Clinic: Vitamin D Deficiency
[4] NCBI: B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review
[5] Mayo Clinic: Iron deficiency anemia
[6] Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine: A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults
[7] Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine
[8] Healthline: 11 Vitamins and Supplements That Boost Energy

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Samantha Klig, RD

Registered Dietitian

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Published on December 15, 2021

What Supplements Should I Take Daily To Stay Healthy?

What Supplements Should I Take Daily To Stay Healthy?

Having quality nutrition every day is key to staying healthy and fit. Many people wonder if taking supplements is needed to supply their needs. The answer to this question lies in a lot of factors. Here’s the thing: there is no black and white approach when it comes to taking supplements, but if you’ve been wondering whether you need supplements or not, I will help clarify some of your concerns.

Sometimes, having too many options of supplements on the market can be overwhelming. If you’re still asking yourself what supplements to take, then keep reading.

What Supplements Should I Take?

When you reach for that bottle of vitamins or fish oil, for example, you wonder if any of these will work and if they are safe. Well, the main thing you should be asking yourself is if you need them in the first place. And the truth is, there are tons of supplements for different needs.

Our body requires all the necessary nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fat, and fiber every day. The best source for these nutrients is real food. Nothing beats having a balanced lifestyle that includes quality whole foods. But the reality is that most people are not meeting the minimum requirements of certain nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals.

Even with fiber, people struggle to eat enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, for instance. That’s why you can see many symptoms like digestive issues and lack of energy.

Supplements come into the picture to help your body meet all the necessary nutrients. They also help avoid any deficiency. Supplements can even strengthen your body and enhance your metabolism. There are many benefits of taking supplements. The answer to whether you’ll need to take them depends on many other things.


Should I Invest in Supplements?

Before I suggest a list of the types of supplements you should take, this is what you should bear in mind. Supplements are just an aid to a healthy eating lifestyle. In other words, you should always aim to eat healthier, vary your plate, and have enough whole foods in your diet. That is crucial to ensure that you are meeting at least the minimum nutrient requirements.

You shouldn’t invest in supplements to get your main nutrition. Always focus on quality foods before you supplement your diet. Now, supplements can reinforce what you’re lacking in your eating lifestyle. Because of that, I love to always have some sort of multivitamin complex.

In general, if you have a proper eating lifestyle, it’s not mandatory to invest in supplements. However, there are specific cases, for example, pregnant women, in which we recommend taking supplements. Always make sure that you check with your doctor or nutritionist before taking any form of supplement.

Why Do I Need Supplements? Which Ones Are Important?

Below are the most common reasons why you may need to take supplements and which ones you should try.

1. Restricting Eating Lifestyles

As a nutritionist, I rarely recommend anyone going through a restrictive diet. In fact, I discourage it altogether. The best thing is that you embrace a balanced eating lifestyle since this is the way to ensure you stay at a healthy weight and have a good metabolism. That’s the reason why I don’t like removing entire food groups from people’s diets.

However, I also understand diverse eating lifestyles. For example, there is a vast majority of people that are actively changing to a vegan lifestyle. If you’re a raw vegan or strictly plant-based, you may need to supplement certain vitamins. Because animal foods like dairy, certain meats, and poultry have essential vitamins and minerals like B12, iron, and folic acid, then you may have less intake of these in plant-based foods. There is much debate in this area related to plant-based diets, but basically, experts recommend taking supplements.


As I said about restrictive diets, eliminating entire food groups can cause you to suffer certain problems like lack of energy, constipation, less muscle, and lower brain function.[1] Before you try any type of diet out there, make sure you have a better relationship with food and check with a health professional. Overall, a good multivitamin complex should be good enough to supply all your needs. Go for the ones that provide vitamin B complex and minerals like iron, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

2. Reinforcing Nutrient Intake

It’s true that eating the right foods is essential for your body. Apart from that, certain processed foods, like dairy, cereals, and others are fortified with certain vitamins and minerals. Take advantage of these types of healthy foods as well.

If you feel like you could lack a certain nutrient, then taking multivitamins is a good option. Not only because it will help you meet your goals, but it will also ensure that your body has more energy and better performance. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with taking a supplement to reinforce your healthy eating lifestyle. Apart from multivitamins, you could also take fiber supplements in case you struggle with digestive issues or you feel like you’re not eating enough plant-based foods.

3. Special Conditions

There are certain cases or stages in life when you may need to take supplements. For instance, pregnant women require higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, like iron and folic acid.[2] Elderly people should also consume some supplements since their body absorbs less nutrients compared to younger people.[3] That’s why certain protein drinks, multivitamins, and omega-3 are prescribed to this age group. Also, people who have certain chronic health problems or underwent surgery may need supplements.

Women going through menopause are also often required to take supplements.[4] If you belong to this age group, you may need to talk to your doctor about supplements to balance off your hormone levels. Remember that not all supplements are made equally, and some ingredients may have side effects. This is especially true if you’re on prescriptions. Always check first.

4. Fitness Goals

Who doesn’t want to boost their fitness results? People that train at the gym often ask if they need to have protein supplements. It all goes down to the basics: eat healthily and put that as a priority. However, you can also take supplements based on your goals.


Whether you want to burn some fat, build muscle, or are an athlete, supplements can reinforce and speed up your results. But here’s the thing: you should always do it the right way and not rely only on supplements for fitness results. Everything goes hand in hand, and it’s a matter of balance and moderation.

Now, here are some supplements you can take to improve your muscle performance, growth, and fat burn:[5]

  • Whey protein
  • L-glutamine
  • Branch chain amino acids
  • Multi-vitamin complex and fish oil
  • MCT oil

These supplements, coupled with a good diet, help provide steady muscle development, shed fat, and keep a healthy metabolism for better results. You have to be active to see their benefits, though. This will ensure your body is using up the nutrients effectively and not stored as fat.

There are some other great supplements made to boost energy levels and increase muscle efficiency. Here are some examples:[6]

  • Guaraná
  • Gingko biloba
  • Ginseng
  • Creatine
  • Citrulline

These are natural energy boosters. Caffeine also does a good job when it comes to improving your energy levels. These supplements should be a compliment to a healthy diet, or if you struggle with low energy performance when working out.

Speaking of energy, sometimes, simple lifestyle habits like sleeping better can make a huge difference in how you feel. So, make sure you are also working on these other areas of your life and not relying exclusively on supplements.


5. Beauty and Self-Care

You can also find supplements for personal care. Some help to enhance your skin health, others are for hair and nails growth.

For example, collagen and multivitamins are commonly used for beauty and skincare. Because collagen is our skin’s main protein, we need to ensure our body has enough to stay glowing and healthy. Collagen also has powerful effects on skin beauty and anti-aging. You can easily add this protein to your drinks and foods to enhance your own skin’s collagen.[7]

If you didn’t know, adding collagen to your regimen after you’re 25 can help slow down the effects of aging. At that age, our skin produces less collagen, and we lose skin elasticity. Therefore, it’s a nice addition to your supplements and skincare routine.

Final Thoughts

You should always aim to have a healthy eating regimen before thinking about what supplements you need. Second, assess what are your lifestyle and health goals. Also, determine if your health and/or fitness condition requires you to add supplements.

Remember that your objective is to get enough protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If your diet lacks any of these, look for an assessment on how to get these nutrients.

More Tips on Taking Supplements

Featured photo credit: Mika Baumeister via



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