Adequate nutrients keep the body naturally energetic, but exercise and mental stress can drain these reserves.
Eric Cohen, an expert for The Vitamin Shoppe, recommends these five vitamins and minerals to fuel your body.
1. Vitamin B complex
This series of eight vitamins often coexists in food and offers a variety of energy-boosting benefits. These vitamins, which include riboflavin, niacin and folic acid, help the body convert food into energy.
B vitamins, says Cohen, are easily depleted in the body. Emotional, mental and physical stress, including exercise, can burn up the body’s supply. Caffeine, sugar, smoking and certain medications also drain B vitamin reserves.
2. Vitamin C
Most people know vitamin C boosts the immune system. It also plays a critical role in the body’s ability to turn fat into energy. The body needs it to manufacture a substance called L-carnitine, which helps transport fat into cells to be turned into energy. Getting enough vitamin C helps the body optimize its L-carnitine production.
Anxiety, stress, poor diet and exercise can sap the body’s reserves of this vitamin.
This mineral is found in bones, and inside body tissue and organ cells. The body needs magnesium for more than 300 biochemical reactions, many of them tied to energy levels. Magnesium also helps regulate our blood-sugar levels, producing stable, long-term energy.
Good sources include green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and unrefined grains. Diuretics, alcohol, laxatives and antibiotics deplete the body’s magnesium stores.
The body requires this mineral in trace amounts, but it enables insulin to better transport sugar to the cells for energy, Cohen says. Like magnesium, chromium promotes healthy blood-sugar levels.
Small amounts of chromium are present in meats, produce and whole grains. However, diets high in carbohydrates and sugars can deplete the body’s chromium stores, as can mental or physical stress.
5. Vitamin D
Science is taking a closer look at this vitamin, long known to help bones absorb calcium. Cohen pointed to a recent study that found teenage girls with higher vitamin D levels could jump higher and farther.
The vitamin may also help fight chronic fatigue and depression, Cohen says. Since vitamin D is not naturally present in many foods, it is largely absorbed through sunlight, supplements and fortified foods, such as milk.
Sources: The Vitamin Shoppe; National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
author: Allecia Vermillion