The best way to improve your energy levels is to eat a well-balanced diet and exercise daily. But these things are hard, especially if there are many other responsibilities.
The excellent news is that you can take some supplements for an energy boost.
Table of Contents
1. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 helps turn the food you eat into energy. It also keeps the nerves and blood cells in your body healthy and helps avoid anemia, which can make you weak and tired. B12 is found in animal foods such as beef, fish, and dairy products (1).
A vitamin B12 deficiency happens when your body does not get enough or cannot absorb the amount you need. Approximately 10–30% of adults over 50 years of age have trouble getting vitamin B12 from food (2).
This is because they generate less stomach acid and fewer of the proteins needed to digest properly. Vegetarians and vegans are at risk of B12 deficiency, as the only natural source of this vitamin is animal foods (3).
People who have gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, such as celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, can lose their ability to absorb B12 (4). There is no evidence, however, that supplementation with B12 or any of the B vitamins can improve energy in people with adequate levels (1).
The body needs iron to make hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body from your lungs to the organs and cells.
Your red blood cells cannot transport oxygen to the tissues of the body without adequate levels of iron.
This leads to anemia, a common iron deficiency, which can make you feel weak and tired (5).
Red meat and fish are the best sources of iron in the diet. For this reason, vegans’ iron requirements are higher than those of meat-eating individuals.
Your blood contains more than half of your body’s iron. Therefore, blood loss will drastically deplete levels through heavy periods or internal bleeding.
In order to support normal fetal development, pregnant women need twice as much iron. Sadly, nearly half of all pregnant women experience anemia due to iron deficiency.
Because excessive iron consumption poses health risks, consult your doctor to see if iron supplements are right for you.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that plays an important role in sleep. The body can make and release this hormone.
In the evening, the concentration of melatonin is high, and in the morning it gets low.
Melatonin supplementation can be an effective way to ease insomnia, a sleep disorder that affects about 30% of adults worldwide (8).
Chronic insomnia can make you tired and energy-deficient at all times. Symptoms include difficulty sleeping or working, waking up too early, and poor quality sleep.
Apparently, it is unclear if taking melatonin supplements will help people with these conditions reduce fatigue. However, melatonin supplements are healthy.
They don’t cause your body to generate less melatonin and don’t lead to withdrawal or dependency (15).
The name citrulline comes from the Latin word for watermelon, Citrullus vulgaris, from which it was first isolated (16).
Citrulline acts to improve the body’s nitric oxide. Nitric oxide functions as a vasodilator, causing the blood vessel’s inner muscles to expand and increase circulation.
It provides transport to all areas of the body through blood, oxygen, and nutrients. But when nitric oxide production capacity is reduced, there may be physical weakness and a lack of energy (17, 18).
Citrulline supplements, as a precursor to nitric oxide, can therefore improve energy levels by increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body (19).
In the urea cycle, citrulline also plays a role, helping to remove ammonia from the body.
The production of ammonia is a major contributor to the fatigue caused by intense exercise.
Therefore, the tiredness associated with intense exercise allows you to exercise longer (20).
In one study, people who took citrulline performed a cycling test, and they performed 1.5 percent faster than those who took the placebo (21).
The group taking citrulline also reported less fatigue and faster recovery. In another study, taking citrulline supplements allowed people to exercise 12% longer and 7% harder than the placebo (22).
It is also well known as a safe supplement, even in large doses (23).
Tyrosine is an amino acid naturally formed by your body. It is present in most foods containing high protein content, including chicken, eggs, and dairy products.
Tyrosine is essential for producing neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit messages in your brain.
For mentally and physically stressful behaviors, these neurotransmitters are thought to decrease, which can negatively affect attention and energy levels (24).
These may also help restore sleep-deprived people’s memory and comprehension.
Research currently shows that tyrosine is only useful to people who have low neurotransmitter stores because of stressful or cognitive circumstances (28).
However, tyrosine supplementation is safe.
You can find creatine in red meat, poultry, and fish. It acts in your body as a source of quick energy. The energy resource of life is adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
By using ATP for energy, the body loses a group of phosphates and becomes adenosine diphosphate.
Therefore, creatine contributes its phosphate to ADP when the body needs a quick source of energy and it becomes ATP.
Studies found that creatine supplements can improve the efficiency of the bench press by 5%. For someone who can bench 200 pounds (91 kg) just by taking creatine, this means a 10-pound increase in weight (34).
In another study, older adults who took creatine gained 3.1 pounds of lean muscle mass compared to those who did not (35).
These muscle strength and size gains are because of the willingness of the athletes to exercise harder for longer.
7. Beetroot Powder
Beetroot powder is made from the seed of the beetroot and has a high nitrate content (36).
Nitrate releases nitric oxide in the body, similar to L-citrulline, which relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow and oxygen delivery.
This enables your body to produce more energy, especially during exercise. Several studies suggest that beetroot supplementation increases the time it takes for athletes during exercise to fatigue (37, 38, 39).
Taking beetroot supplements sometimes allowed people to exercise 25 percent longer than taking a placebo (40).
The less energy you need to exercise, the less you’ll feel tired and the longer you can exercise.
CoQ10, meaning coenzyme Q10, is made in the body naturally. It is present in several forms, including ubiquinone and ubiquinol.
Cells use CoQ10 for energy production and defense against oxidative damage.
When the concentration of CoQ10 decreases, the cells in your body cannot generate the energy they need to develop and stay healthy, which can lead to tiredness (47).
Meat and nuts contain coenzyme Q10, but are not in sufficient quantities to raise the body’s levels significantly (48).
CoQ10 supplements can, therefore, be a better solution for preventing fatigue.
In people with adequate levels of the enzyme, CoQ10 supplements are unlikely to increase energy.
9. Caffeine With L-Theanine
You can consume caffeine in the form of coffee, tea, chocolate beverages, energy drinks, and sodas for its strength-enhancing properties (54).
Since it can contribute to irritability, nervousness, restlessness, and a crash after its initial boost in strength, many people limit or completely avoid caffeine (55).
But it may be an effortless way to avoid these side effects by combining L-theanine with caffeine as a supplement. L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea and certain mushrooms (56).
Relaxation without increasing drowsiness is thought to be encouraged. Several studies show that the combination of caffeine and L-theanine improves memory and reaction time, and decreases mental fatigue and tiredness (57, 58, 59).
Such findings collectively show that adding L-theanine will help you improve energy levels without the unwanted side effects (60).
Although you can tolerate L-theanine, but restricting your intake of caffeine to less than 400 mg per day is important (61).
This is about 3–5 cups of coffee.
There are many supplements and vitamins that can help boost your energy and strength.
Others work better during exercise to improve strength, while some work better when you need a quick energy boost.
In addition, when used properly, all the supplements on this list have a well-established safety profile.
However, consulting with your doctor is still best practice to decide if you can use these supplements.