Energy is something that we rely on every single day. As a doctor, from the moment I get up in the morning to the time I go to bed, I depend on a healthy level of energy to get me through the day.
Things don’t always go as planned, however. Fatigue is something that I have experienced regularly. During particularly stressful stretches at the hospital, I’ve found myself tired and low on energy. This has affected my performance at work – and even my ability to take care of my family.
I decided to do something about it, and quickly learned that I was not alone. Many people experience fatigue and other signs of low energy levels! There are numerous studies that have looked at the prevalence of fatigue and related symptoms.
In one recent study, researchers reported an estimated prevalence of fatigue of 31.2%. This implies that one out of every three people has these symptoms, with women even more heavily affected than men.
The prevalence of fatigue was estimated at 31.2% . Fatigue was more common in women (33.3%) than in men (28.6%).Hongdao, Hale, and Friedberg (2011). “Prevalence and Predictors of Fatigue Among Middle-Aged and Older Adults.”
Research led me to discover how vitamins can help with low energy levels. Your body needs a certain baseline of vitamins to survive, and some of these vitamins play a critical role in the production of energy.
Why Do We Experience Low Energy?
Since there are many reasons why people experience poor energy levels, it is often difficult to pin down a specific cause. When you have low energy, it is important to take a close look at all aspects of your life to diagnose the specific problem.
Lifestyle factors can cause low energy and fatigue. In particular, a diet with nutritional deficiencies can easily make you feel like you’re dragging and low on energy.
It might sound counterintuitive, but not exercising enough can lead to fatigue! You need to keep your body active to ensure it produces enough energy.
In both men and women, an imbalance in hormones may also cause fatigue. Other factors that could be contributing to your low energy levels include:
- Thyroid gland disorders
- Sleep apnea
- Emotional stress
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Your body’s reaction to some medications
- Drinking too much coffee
Very serious medical conditions – such as diabetes, cancer, and Addison’s disease – can also affect your energy levels. Of course, if you think you might have any serious condition like this, immediately consult a medical professional.
Which Vitamins Can Help Boost Your Energy?
There are often too many possible reasons for low energy to determine the specific cause. Still, this does not mean there is nothing you can do about the problem.
I found that increasing my intake of certain vitamins made a significant difference in my life. These vitamins are involved in the process of your body creating energy. When you take more of these vitamins, energy production in your body could increase. In turn, you could be less likely to be affected by fatigue during the day.
I’ll share some of the most important vitamins that have helped me with my energy levels below. I’ll also share scientific evidence related to each, and tell you how you can consume more of each vitamin.
If you ever hear someone talk about the Sunshine vitamin, they are referring to vitamin D. It is often called the sunshine vitamin because the body makes vitamin D when you are exposed to the UV rays of the sun. While too much sun exposure can be damaging, many people do not get enough vitamin D.
In a 2012 study, researchers report that more than half of the worldwide population may be deficient in this particular vitamin. People who are obese and older individuals are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Studies have shown that vitamin D may be helpful for some people who experience fatigue. This is especially useful if your fatigue is caused by depression – a significantly common mental disorder that affects millions all over the world.
In another study, over 400 individuals with depression were given a daily supplement with vitamin D. Two different strengths were used. One group received a 20,000 IU daily supplement. The other group received a daily supplement that contained 40,000 IU of vitamin D.
The study lasted for an entire year. The overall idea was to see if vitamin D would help to improve symptoms of depression. Results from the study were compared to a placebo group.
Confirming the researchers’ hypothesis, a reduction in depression symptoms was found in people who took the vitamin D supplement. When depression symptoms improve, fatigue may become less of a problem in your life.
A 2013 JCEM study that showed a more direct association between vitamin D and fatigue. The study looked at how supplementation of vitamin D would affect the mitochondrial oxidative function that occurs in muscle tissue. They found improvements in muscle function when vitamin D supplements were provided to participants. The researchers also suggest that this means there may be a reduction in muscle fatigue – which is common in people who run low on energy.
Excellent sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese. It’s also a key nutrient in almost all multivitamins. By taking a multivitamin every day, you’ll help ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D – even if you’re not spending much time under the sun. This will ensure you’re getting the proven benefits vitamin D can have on your energy levels and mental health.
Vitamin B Family
When it comes to boosting your energy with vitamins, you should also consider the prevalence of vitamin B in your diet.
There are many studies that show an association between the vitamin B family and energy. This 2016 paper published in Nutrients explains that a deficiency in vitamins that start with B can lead to the development of fatigue.
Each B vitamin plays its own critical role in your body – and many of these vitamins are involved in the energy production process.
Vitamin B12, for example, helps with the production of red blood cells. Some people are at a higher risk of developing a vitamin B12 deficiency. This increases their risk of anemia. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen through your body. When you have anemia, it means you do not have enough red blood cells. In turn, oxygen and nutrients are not delivered to all areas effectively. This can lead to fatigue, poor energy, and even mental confusion.
B vitamins are found in many foods. They can also be taken as a supplement. Whole grains, meat, eggs, milk, legumes, leafy green vegetables, bananas, and avocados are all good sources of B vitamins.
Low energy can be an incredibly frustrating problem. It’s difficult to nail down the exact cause, and which levers to pull to bring your energy levels back up to a normal level. I’ve been there! Chronic fatigue makes you feel tired throughout the day, affecting your productivity and performance.
Making sure your vitamin intake (particularly vitamins B and D) is at an adequate level can help ensure your body is able to produce the energy it needs to function optimally. If you find yourself struggling with low energy, consider supplementing your intake of the vitamins we discussed in this article. An extra boost of vitamins might be just what you need to get through the day.