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Running low on steam? If so, you're not alone.
Numerous surveys on health issues frequently rank lack of energy and exhaustion among the top five concerns of Australian adults, and even teenagers report being regularly tired and stressed.
There is no doubt that eating well, exercising regularly and adopting a positive outlook on life all improve energy levels and your perception of wellbeing. However, there are also a number of nutrients and herbs that can create a noticeable difference in your energy levels, potentially saving you the need to rely on less healthy stimulants such as coffee or energy drinks.
It’s important to give your body the building blocks it needs to produce enough energy. A good quality vitamin B complex with vitamin C is a must as it will support the nervous system and adrenal glands.
Also needed is the much under-rated mineral, magnesium, which is essential for the transmission of nerve impulses. A high percentage of people are deficient in magnesium and prolonged stress causes further depletion.
Make sure you're supporting your body with these vitamins and minerals first. If poor energy levels continue, there are a number of energy nutrients and herbs that can be considered.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a powerful antioxidant and is vital in powering the body’s cellular energy production cycle (ATP). The most used analogy of CoQ10 compares it to the spark plugs in your car. Just as a car can’t start without that initial spark, your body can’t function without CoQ10. If the body’s level of CoQ10 starts dropping, so does your general health. Scientists investigating the role of CoQ10 in human biochemistry have estimated that once the body’s levels of CoQ10 drop by more than 25 per cent we become more susceptible to disease. It has been shown that our ability to produce CoQ10 decreases with age. Production peaks at around age 20 and then slowly declines. By age 77, CoQ10 levels will have dropped by 57% in the heart muscle.1
Withania (also known as Ashwaghanda or Indian Ginseng) is considered by many natural healthcare practitioners to be a first class adaptogenic tonic. Adaptogens as their name suggests, facilitate the ability to adapt to a variety of heightened stressful experiences (whether physical, mental or emotional). The use of this herb in India dates back over 3,000 years and is considered a major rejuvenative tonic to promote healthy ageing and longevity.
Withania may be the best herb to take for the support of adrenal exhaustion. Stress, caffeine, nicotine and a nutrient-deficient diet can all take their toll and leave you exhausted and feeling like you have ‘no petrol in your tank’. Making changes to your lifestyle and supplementing with Withania can help your adrenals recover quickly.
The recommended dosage of Withania for a therapeutic effect is approximately 3,000 mg daily.
Cordyceps, a less familiar herb, has been used extensively in China for stamina and endurance. Traditional use of this herb was for respiratory health, increasing energy, assisting vitality as well as improving sexual energy and desire.
If you find you get tired easily, Cordyceps may help combat fatigue. It is often used to restore energy after illness and strengthen general resistance to sickness. When the immune system becomes weakened due to prolonged stress, you are much more susceptible to illness and infection. This highly valued medicinal fungi, has been shown in clinical trials to build and support the immune system.2
To help increase energy, endurance and fight fatigue, take 2 to 3 g a day with meals. Cordyceps need to be taken regularly to get results, and benefits should start to be seen in one to two months.
1 Marincola et al; JOM; 1997; 87-95
2.5 Zhu et al; J Alt Comp Med; 1998; 429-57