Supplements as energy boosters!
Today there is a huge range of products marketed as energy boosters and they contain a variety of core ingredients. The most common combination of ingredients in energy booster supplements is magnesium, iron and B vitamins.
Magnesium is a mineral that converts protein, carbohydrates and fats to energy. We lose magnesium through sweat, so the energy-boosting supplements containing magnesium are often used by sportspeople to replenish their energy levels.
Iron is an energy booster essential mineral necessary for the production of haemoglobin (red blood corpuscles), myoglobin (red pigment in muscles) and certain enzymes, and for preventing fatigue and disease. Iron is especially important to women, as they lose almost twice as much as men. Energy booster Iron also helps the body utilise B vitamins, which are essential for the body to convert sugar to energy.
Iodine, which is vital for maintaining proper levels of the thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism, is also found in most energy-boosting supplements.
Another common core ingredient in on-the-shelf energy boosters is the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as winter cherry and commonly used in Ayurvedic treatments. Energy-boosting products containing ashwagandha claim it improves the body’s ability to maintain physical effort, helps the body adapt to various types of stress and generally increases energy levels.
Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used as a sedative, a diuretic, a rejuvenating tonic and an anti-inflammatory agent, but now many Western herbalists are referring to this herb as “Ayurvedic ginseng” because of its reputation for increasing energy, strength and stamina, and for its ability to relieve stress. Ashwagandha is commonly used in a powdered form made from the root of the plant.
Ginseng is another ingredient used in energy boosting supplements. Ginseng is a Chinese herb that’s said to reduce mental and physical exhaustion and is perhaps the most common Chinese herb used in alternative healthcare.
Supplements using extracts of common superfoods are also popular. These superfoods include beans, blueberries, broccoli, oats, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soy, spinach, tea (green or black), tomatoes, turkey, walnuts and yoghurt.
Bee pollen is said to contain every nutrient needed to sustain life. In addition to being a powerful energy booster, it can fight stress, regulate weight and aid the digestive process. Bee pollen contains all 22 amino acids, along with vitamins, minerals and enzymes.
There is also a huge range of herbal energy-boosting supplements that aid the digestive process and, in turn, increase the body’s energy. Ginger is a common core ingredient. By stimulating blood flow to the digestive organs, ginger aids the digestive process and therefore assists in energy creation.
Green supplements marketed as energy boosters include spirulina, chlorella, barley grass and wheat grass, which are variously available as tablets, capsules, powder or juice. Energy-boosting spirulina aids digestion and absorption and contains bioavailable iron. One label serve contains approximately one-third of the recommended daily intake of iron for an adult.
Eleuthero, formerly Siberian ginseng, is another popular energy-boosting herb. Supplements containing eleuthero claim to increase stamina and help us adapt to external stress. Eleuthero also purportedly boosts immunity and reduces injury or illness recovery time.
Long used in Indian medicine, energy booster gotu kola is believed to improve brain function, strengthen tissues and blood vessels and act as a rejuvenator and tonic.
Extract from the Chinese mushroom maitake may help stimulate the immune system; it has been used extensively in fighting chronic fatigue and boosting energy levels.
Guarana and ephedra (also know as ma huang) are both marketed as energy-boosting products, but both may have undesirable side-effects due to their action on the nervous system, including heart palpitations, anxiety and worse. Guarana is, in fact, a natural source of caffeine, while ephedra contains an amphetamine-type substance.