Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg containing a wide range of micronutrients is really important for staying fit and healthy. However, if you’re going through a particularly energy demanding period and constantly fighting fatigue, supplementing certain vitamins may help improve your day-to-day performance.
So, this winter fight fatigue with our top vitamins to boost your energy.
Iron is crucial for your body’s energy production. Iron is needed to produce enough haemoglobin – a substance that carries oxygen in your red blood cells, and so a lack of iron can cause fatigue.
In a study investigating iron supplementation and fatigue in women, those supplementing iron pills reduced fatigue 18.9% more than those receiving a placebo.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you may be particularly susceptible to iron deficiency as red meat and liver are great sources. Other dietary sources include beans, nuts, dried fruit and fortified breakfast cereal.
Iron pills should be taken with caution as they are not safe for people with certain medical conditions such as irritable bowel conditions. Always check with your GP before supplementing.
2. Folic Acid
Folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, is one of the 8 b-vitamins. It helps the body make red blood cells containing mitochondria, which is where your body’s energy is produced.
Your body cannot produce folic acid so it must be part of your diet. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, broccoli, sprouts, peas, chick peas, kidney beans, liver and some breakfast cereals. If you don’t eat many of these foods, supplementation may be worthwhile.
Folic acid is also strongly recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy to help with the baby’s development. Folic acid can be combined with iron to help treat iron deficiency anaemia.
Magnesium is a key mineral required for the metabolism of foods, which allow our bodies to produce energy. During exercise, magnesium plays a role in oxygen uptake by our muscles and there have been reports of magnesium supplementation improving strength and exercise performance.
Magnesium may also help to improve sleep, which is crucial for our daily energy levels and preventing fatigue. A 5-year study showed that women consuming more magnesium in their diet were less likely to fall asleep during the day. Supplementing magnesium has also been shown to improve sleep in elderly people suffering from insomnia.
Dietary sources of magnesium include leafy greens like spinach, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. Magnesium is often lacking in the diet and the US Institute of Medicine recommend 320mg/d of magnesium.