Between going to the beach, having friends over for cook-outs, hauling the kids to summer camps, battling to keep your yard healthy, and playing summer sports - the sunniest season can leave you feeling the most drained!
For an energy boost that will reinvigorate you while enjoying your favorite summer pastimes, consider supplementing with extra vitamins and minerals to support natural energy production in every cell in your body!
Vitamins and minerals are essential to life and required for many metabolic pathways and fundamental cellular functions, including energy production. Inadequate intake, a lack of absorption, or excessive excretion of vitamins and minerals can disrupt optimal cellular function and lead to physical and mental fatigue.1
Most people tend to consume enough nutrients to avoid overt clinical symptoms of nutrient deficiency, but many fail to reach the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) on a consistent daily basis.1-3 In these cases, vitamin and mineral supplementation could be required for optimal health.1 For example, 11% of adults over 19 years of age in the US consume an inadequate amount of vitamin B6, and 12% do not consume enough folate, another B vitamin.2 (Check out our previous blog post for more details!)
According to data from the 2009–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2.1% of individuals in the United States do not consume enough vitamin B12 in their diet, 5% do not consume enough thiamin (vitamin B1), 3% do not consume enough riboflavin (vitamin B2), 1.2% do not consume enough niacin (vitamin B3), and a whopping 44% do not consume enough magnesium to meet the minimal DRI for each nutrient.3 Even those who are consuming an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals might not be able to properly digest and absorb them!2
For those who do take supplements, the most frequently reported motivations are enhanced feelings of well-being, significant reductions in mental and physical fatigue, and improvements in psychological and cognitive function when they include supplements in their daily routine.1
How do supplements support a healthy energy level?
Energy can be challenging to define and study since it has several definitions and tends to be somewhat subjective. A calorie is a unit of energy, and we consume food with calories so our bodies can turn the calories into energy for our cells to use. An example of a high-calorie food is cheesecake, but most of us would not eat cheesecake to feel more energetic! For you and me, energy could be defined as feelings of well-being, stamina, motivation, and vitality that result in the ability to undertake daily physical and mental activities.
To understand how supplements can support a healthy energy level, we need to briefly explore how our body produces and uses energy. Ultimately, food is the source of energy for our body, but the food must be digested and converted into the energy molecule used by our cells, which is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is commonly referred to as the "energy currency" of the cell, and the conversion of food into ATP occurs within the mitochondria in our cells. Once ATP is produced in the mitochondria, it can be used elsewhere as needed for energy.
Approximately one BILLION molecules of ATP are present in a typical cell at a given time, and in most cells this amount of ATP is used and replaced every 1 to 2 minutes.1,4 Therefore, the complex process by which ATP is produced must be a highly efficient system that quickly extracts energy from the macronutrients in our food. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. The vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in supplements are critical for the amazing transformation into ATP within the mitochondria.1
Beyond the energy provided by ATP, evidence also shows ATP is comparable to morphine for reducing pain, and less pain could contribute to feelings of well-being and vitality.4 Experts hypothesize inadequate B vitamin levels lead to mitochondrial dysfunction that results in pain.4-6
All the B vitamins, with the exception of folate, are directly involved in and work synergistically together to power the energy-production system within the cellular mitochondria. Therefore, an adequate supply of each B vitamin is required for the optimal production of ATP, and even a minor deficiency in any one of the B vitamins could limit energy production. Magnesium also has a predominant role in the production and utilization of ATP in the body. Every molecule of ATP must bind to magnesium to convert into its biologically functional form, which is a Magnesium-ATP (Mg-ATP) complex. In the mitochondria, the Mg-ATP complexes export the mitochondrial ATP from the mitochondria into the cell so the ATP can be used as energy outside the mitochondria.1
While folate is not directly required for ATP production in the mitochondria, a folate deficiency will result in a low red blood cell count (anemia) and reduce the oxygen transport capacity in the blood (since the red blood cells transport oxygen). Therefore, folate is necessary for optimal energy production because, in addition to all the other B vitamins, the production of ATP in the mitochondria also requires oxygen.1,4
While severe nutrient deficiencies are uncommon in developed countries, B-vitamin and magnesium deficiencies are associated with lethargy and fatigue. For example, a frank thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency causes a disease called beriberi, which causes symptoms that include fatigue, muscle weakness, and shortness of breath. A riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B6, folate, or vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia and enhance the risk of developing severe fatigue. Niacin (vitamin B3) deficiency causes symptoms that include weakness, loss of appetite, fatigue, and apathy. An experimentally-induced pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) deficiency provokes symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, and insomnia. And a magnesium deficiency impairs physical performance and leads to symptoms that include fatigue, lethargy, staggering, muscle weakness, and loss of appetite.1
Further evidence can be gleaned from clinical studies that assess the effects of supplementation on energy levels.
A clinical trial of high-dose thiamine (vitamin B1) in sixteen young athletes for three days increased blood thiamine levels and significantly decreased fatigue after a cycling exercise. Another study included thirty-two adults who participated in an ultramarathon. The thirty-two participants were given either 100mg of riboflavin (vitamin B2) or a placebo shortly before the beginning of the race and again once they had completed just over half the marathon. Muscle pain ratings during and immediately after the race were significantly lower in the athletes who received vitamin B2. And, when performance on 400-minute runs was measured three and five days after the ultramarathon, times were significantly faster for those who took the riboflavin, which suggests supplementation may have a beneficial effect on fatigue, recovery, and available ATP levels.1
Magnesium status also affects our energy levels. Daily magnesium supplementation for four weeks reduced fatigue in twenty-five female adults. A study in physically active college students found that endurance performance increased after magnesium supplementation, and a randomized controlled trial that included 26 untrained young adults demonstrated seven weeks of magnesium supplementation significantly improved muscle strength compared with a placebo. So, higher magnesium intakes are associated with lower oxygen needs and better cardiorespiratory function in aerobic exercise, which indicates magnesium contributes to efficient energy metabolism and improved endurance.1 In a recent clinical trial, participants who took a synergistic blend of B-vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, for 28 days reported improved ratings of alertness, mental and physical stamina, and ability to concentrate.7
Botanical extracts and other nutrients can also support an improved energy level. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), a botanical medicine used by Ayurvedic practitioners for thousands of years, exerts significant beneficial effects on energy, mitochondrial health, and athletic performance by several mechanisms. Research shows Ashwagandha extracts improve mitochondrial health, increase hemoglobin concentration and red blood cell counts, optimize oxygen delivery to muscles, boost aerobic capacity in athletes, provide antioxidant protection, and enhance energy production. Athletes supplement with Ashwagandha for improved muscular strength, resistance to fatigue, recovery from exercise, and competitive advantage.8-11
A clinical trial including 50 participants found that supplementation with a highly concentrated extract of Ashwagandha led to increased VO2 max, enhanced cardiorespiratory endurance, and improved the quality of life in healthy athletes. The results suggest that Ashwagandha root extract improves the function of the cardiovascular system by increasing the VO2 max levels, which determine an athlete's ability to take in, transport, and utilize oxygen. The VO2 max level represents long-term aerobic and cardiovascular endurance capabilities, and the VO2 max test is considered the gold standard for measuring cardiorespiratory fitness in athletes.8,9,11
In conclusion, there is strong evidence the long-known involvement of vitamins, minerals, botanical extracts, and other nutrients in cellular energy production does translate into notable benefits with supplementation. The organs and tissues that produce feelings of physical and mental energy – skeletal muscle, heart muscle, and the brain – demand the most ATP and, therefore, nutrients in the human body.1 In fact, the brain consumes more ATP than any other organ in the body, consuming approximately twenty-five percent of the total energy available.4 In addition, vitamins and minerals, especially the B-vitamins and magnesium, are required to extract energy from food and present it in a bioavailable form so it can be used as needed. Besides ATP, our muscles and brain also need substantial oxygen, which is delivered by the red blood cells. Botanical extracts, B-vitamins, and other nutrients are either critical for the delivery of oxygen or help improve oxygen delivery throughout the body.1
While severe nutrient deficiencies are rare in the modern world, there is evidence that even slight nutrient deficiencies can result in negative consequences for physical and mental energy levels. Supplementation studies confirm the ability of appropriate doses of B-vitamins, magnesium, botanical extracts, and other nutrients to alleviate fatigue while improving mental and physical performance.
B vitamins, magnesium, and Ashwagandha extract are available as a potent synergistic blend in B-KalmPlexusTM from Interplexus.*
SUPPLEMENTATION WITH INTERPLEXUS B-KALMPLEXUS
- Supports a healthy stress response*
- Promotes sustained cellular energy production*
- Supports a healthy cardiovascular system*
- Provides nutrients required for hormone synthesis*
- Supports optimal immune system function and resilience*
- Promotes healthy cell membranes and efficient cell-to-cell communication*
- Supports detoxification pathways*
- Provides cofactors and coenzymes that are essential for neurotransmitter synthesis, optimal cognitive function, and a healthy nervous system*
* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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Tardy AL, Pouteau E, Marquez D, et al. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients. 2020;12(1):228. doi:10.3390/nu12010228
Do you need supplements? An evidence-based discussion - part I. InterPlexus. https://interplexus.com/blogs/news/do-you-need-supplements-an-evidence-based-discussion-part-1. Published January 25, 2022. Accessed May 19, 2022.
Newman JC, Malek AM, Hunt KJ, et al. Nutrients in the US Diet: Naturally Occurring or Enriched/Fortified Food and Beverage Sources, Plus Dietary Supplements: NHANES 2009-2012. J Nutr. 2019;149(8):1404-1412. doi:10.1093/jn/nxz066
Dunn J, Grider M. Physiology, adenosine triphosphate - statpearls - NCBI bookshelf. Physiology, Adenosine Triphosphate. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553175/. Published February 17, 2022. Accessed May 20, 2022.
Dodd FL, Kennedy DO, Stevenson EJ, et al. Acute and chronic effects of multivitamin/mineral supplementation on objective and subjective energy measures. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2020;17:16. doi:10.1186/s12986-020-00435-1
Flatters SJ. The contribution of mitochondria to sensory processing and pain. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2015;131:119-46. doi:10.1016/bs.pmbts.2014.12.004
Kennedy DO, Veasey RC, Watson AW, et al. Vitamins and psychological functioning: a mobile phone assessment of the effects of a B vitamin complex, vitamin C and minerals on cognitive performance and subjective mood and energy. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2011;26(4-5):338-47. doi:10.1002/hup.1216
Singh N, Bhalla M, de Jager P, et al. An overview on ashwagandha: a Rasayana (rejuvenator) of Ayurveda. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2011;8(5 Suppl):208-213. doi:10.4314/ajtcam.v8i5S.9
Choudhary B, Shetty A, Langade DG. Efficacy of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults. Ayu. 2015;36(1):63-68. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.169002
Ahrendt DM. Ergogenic aids: counseling the athlete. Am Fam Physician. 2001;63(5):913-22.
Pérez-Gómez J, Villafaina S, Adsuar JC, et al. Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on VO2max: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2020;12(4):1119. doi:10.3390/nu12041119
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