1. Vitamin B12
B12 is naturally found in animal proteins such as fish, meat and dairy. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may be lacking in this vitamin and as a result, become deficient.
B vitamins help transform the food we eat into energy that our cells can use for everyday functions, if you are lacking in this then your cells may not be receiving enough energy to work adequately, and this will have an effect on your workout. It can also help prevent megaloblastic anaemia which makes people tired and weak. B12 also maintains your nerves and blood cells.
So, all in all, it’s a pretty useful vitamin, and if you feel like you may be lacking in it, you should try a supplement for at least six weeks and see how you get on. If you were worried that you might be deficient, it’s worth speaking with your doctor as some people require regular B12 injections to boost their levels.
2. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is found naturally within the cells of our body. It is used to maintain healthy cells; they use it to produce energy.
CoQ10 levels decline with age and people with certain health issues such as heart failure and type 2 diabetes, more so than others.
Meat fish and nuts contain CoQ10 but not in large enough quantities to affect your energy levels, so a supplement is your best bet at having an effect on this.
Iron is a vital part of your body’s survival. The protein that transports oxygen within your red blood cells is called haemoglobin, and this requires iron to be produced. Therefore low levels of iron will decrease the amount of oxygen that your red blood cells will be able to carry around your body; this will cause fatigue and weakness.
Vegans and vegetarians can often be lacking in iron as the highest levels are found within meat and seafood. For women, during your period and pregnancy can cause lower levels of iron, and some people have to take iron supplements for this.
If you feel like you may not be consuming enough iron in your diet, you may want to try an iron supplement to see if it helps with your energy levels. It has been found that consuming foods with high levels of vitamin C, such as orange juice, assists with the uptake of iron, so that is definitely something to consider when ensuring you are getting enough iron.
The cells within your body use a molecule called ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to make energy; when it does this, it loses a phosphate group and becomes ADP (Adenosine Diphosphate). Your body, therefore, needs phosphate to reconvert the ADP to ATP and be utilised again to make more energy for your cells.
Creatine contains a phosphate group at its centre and therefore when you ingest it through your diet or supplements, it increases the levels within your body and in turn, gives the missing phosphate back to the ADP.
Creatine is found naturally within red meat, poultry, pork and fish and acts as a source of quick energy. ATP is used in short duration, high-intensity exercise so you may find that a creatine supplement before a workout could help with your energy levels.
Ashwagandha is a plant that grows prominently in India, the Middle East and parts of Africa. It is largely used in the ancient medicinal practice of Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest living healing sciences.
It is believed that ashwagandha enhances your ability to deal with physical and mental stress, which in turn would increase your energy levels. Research has shown that it can specifically pacify fatigue caused by exercise.
Always make sure that you read the recommended doses for any supplements that you decide to take and refer to your doctor if you are unsure.