Supplements for fatigue

Supplements for fatigue

It’s official: we’re all shattered. Research by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has found that tiredness is one of the most frequent presenting complaints in primary care[1]. This is an enormous number when you consider the 300 million GP appointments made in Britain each year[2], and one that does not account for those soldiering on at home.



While excessive tiredness can be caused by a number of factors including a lack of sleep, a lack of exercise, or even certain health conditions, having a diet that’s deficient in key nutrients can also be part of the problem.



Could seeking out supplements to combat fatigue be the solution to your own feelings of exhaustion? Put down the double espresso and take a look at the best vitamins for fatigue to find out.

 

What is fatigue?

 

According to the NHS, fatigue is a feeling of tiredness or exhaustion which is not fully relieved by rest. This tiredness can be physical, mental or emotional.[3]

While tiredness is to be expected after exercise or when you’re working long hours in the office, sometimes fatigue can be felt in a way that does not seem normal. If you still feel exhausted after a good night’s sleep, you’re tired after minimal effort, or your lack of energy is prolonged and limits your usual activity, it’s best to talk to your GP so they can rule out any other health condition. You should also talk to your GP if you feel your fatigue is getting worse rather than better, or is unchanged after three months.[4]

 

SUPPLEMENTS FOR COMBATTING FATIGUE

 

You feel too tired to lead a healthy lifestyle, which in turn makes you even more worn out. Sound familiar? Eating well can help you break the cycle. But what vitamin helps fatigue and where can you find it? Ensuring your diet includes the recommended amounts of following nutrients may help put the pep back in your step.

 

VITAMIN B12

 

B12 often makes an appearance in ‘best vitamins for fatigue’ lists as it is crucial for cellular energy production[5]. As it is found mainly in animal foods, such as organ meats, oily fish, lamb and beef, vegetarians and vegans can be at risk of B12 deficiency.

Vitamin B12 supplementation can be of particular benefit to the elderly, as sub-optimal gastrointestinal function can result in deficiency of this vitamin[6].

 

CO-ENZYME Q10

 

The best fatigue supplements on the market usually contain Co-enzyme Q10 or CoQ10 as part of their blends. This essential nutrient is required by the body’s cells to take up fat and other nutrients and use them to produce energy.



Food sources of CoQ10 include organ meats, oily fish, chicken and beef. It is also found in peanuts, sesame seeds and pistachio nuts. 

 


We do produce CoQ10 in the body, but the amount the body makes decreases with age and with use of medications such as statins. Supplementing with fatigue supplements containing CoQ10 can often relieve symptoms of fatigue[7] and has been shown to reduce muscle pain associated with statin use.

 

IODINE

 

Desperately seeking the best vitamins for fatigue? Don’t overlook iodine. Although it’s actually a mineral, our thyroid gland needs iodine to manufacture the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which regulate how the body uses energy in virtually every cell in the body. In fact, low energy or fatigue is one of the presenting symptoms if thyroid hormones are too low.

 

Iodine deficiency is extremely common in the UK[8], probably because it’s most commonly found in seafood. Including iodine in your supplements to help fatigue (or using iodised salt in cooking) can be helpful.

 

VITAMIN D

 

An important vitamin for fatigue, vitamin D-deficiency has been found to be common in people presenting with the condition and restoring vitamin D status through supplementation has been shown to improve energy levels[9].

 

In the UK, it’s thought that it’s only possible for us to make vitamin D from the sun during the summer. From October to March the body has to rely on its reserves or obtain vitamin D from other sources.

B VITAMINS

 

B-vitamins are key when it comes to converting the food we eat into the energy we need to get us through the day. They include vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 and folate. If the body lacks the necessary B vitamins to help with fatigue, the ability of the cells’ mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) to generate energy will be compromised[10].

 

FATIGUE AND ITS SYMPTOMS

 

When you feel tired, it’s natural to reach for a sweet snack for an energy boost. But that sluggish feeling may not stem from a lack of energy alone. If your diet is missing out on vitamins to help fatigue, it could be a problem that no amount of caffeine or sugar will fix.

 

People suffering from fatigue can feel like they stumble through the day, the mind is slow and the body aches. Fatigue is often not just tiredness, and there are a number of symptoms associated with it: 

 

  • Chronic tiredness or sleepiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Aching muscles
  • Slowed reflexes and responses
  • Impaired decision making and judgement
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite changes
  • Poor immunity
  • Low motivation

 

Fatigue can often start with the physical symptoms of sleepiness and impaired physical ability, but someone suffering these symptoms can go on to develop mental and emotional fatigue as a result.

 

WHAT CAUSES FATIGUE?

 

Many things can contribute to fatigue. Sometimes there may be an underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, especially if symptoms have been ongoing for a considerable time.

 

Most of the time, a lack of energy is caused by our lifestyle, our diet, psychological and emotional issues, or the pressure of work.

 

Lack of sleep

 

Lack of sleep may be caused by poor sleeping conditions such as bright rooms, a noisy environment, a snoring partner or too much stimulation before bed. But there may be other reasons such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnoea.

 

Poor diet

 

Diets packed with processed foods and refined carbohydrates will result in fluctuations in blood sugar leading to energy dips throughout the day. These diets can also lack the vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal energy production. Key vitamins for lack of energy and motivation include B vitamins (well known for improving energy, focus, and alertness), along with vitamin D (crucial for healthy nerve function in the brain)

 

Lack of exercise

 

Exercise promotes health and wellbeing, has been shown to boost energy and contributes to good quality sleep.

 

Drinking alcohol, smoking and too much caffeine

 

Alcohol has the effect of slowing us down and can interrupt sleep patterns. Smoking and caffeine from coffee and tea has a stimulating effect on the body, but may disrupt hormones, contributing to energy fluctuations.

 

Workplace stress

 

This can be from workload pressures, conflicts with colleagues or management or just dissatisfaction with the work itself.

 

Anxiety and stress

 

An over-production of stress hormones can cause a person to become exhausted.

 

Depression

 

People diagnosed with depression commonly experience fatigue.

 

Viral Infections

 

Fatigue is a normal part of the body’s response to fighting an infection. Usually the fatigue goes away once the body has dealt with the infection. However post-viral fatigue can affect people of all ages and its severity and duration doesn’t always reflect the severity of the initial infection, or even previous fitness levels. Some people can be very unwell at the start of the illness but recover quickly, whilst other people may only have a mild viral illness but go on to have debilitating fatigue for a long time afterwards.

 

Hormonal Imbalances

 

From menopause and menstruation to pregnancy and postpartum, hormonal imbalances can occur at any point in a woman's reproductive years and are a well-established trigger for fatigue. Hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and PMS symptoms can all disrupt sleep, leading to an ongoing lack of energy. An underactive thyroid can cause tiredness too, even when conventional testing results appear to be within “normal” range.

 

Physical and Emotional Trauma

 

When the body is under stress, it triggers the release of a cascade of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, both useful when it comes to helping us think and act quickly. When the stress is short-term, the body quickly recovers its equilibrium. However the ongoing physical and mental stress of trauma means we don’t have time to return to a more restful state, leading to symptoms of fatigue and impacting both our eating and sleeping patterns. 

 

LESSEN THE CHANCES OF LOW ENERGY

Exercise, spending time outdoors, keeping hydrated and getting a good night’s sleep are all good strategies to increase your energy levels long term. 

 

Eating a nutritionally balanced diet is also key in preventing fatigue and ideally you should include protein, complex carbohydrates, plenty of fibre and healthy fats. But if you’re on a restricted diet or you know you’re not eating as well as you should, taking supplements to help with fatigue can help fill any nutritional gaps that may be standing in the way of your optimal wellness.

 

Inessa Advanced Multivitamin is one of the best supplements for fatigue on the market, as it contains the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients to help support your body’s energy levels where an underlying medical condition is not the primary cause. 

 

Not only does it include CoQ10, B-vitamin complex, vitamin D, and iodine, it gives a full spectrum of nutrients in bioavailable forms at the kind of clinically valid doses found in individual nutrient supplements. 

 

If you experience prolonged fatigue, it's advisable to see your GP.

 

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might like Best vitamins to boost your energy.

 

References

[1] https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/tiredness-fatigue-in-adults/background-information/prevalence/

[2]https://www.england.nhs.uk/five-year-forward-view/next-steps-on-the-nhs-five-year-forward-view/

[3]https://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/a-z-of-services/leeds-cancer-centre/services/brain-tumour/pep/fatigue-management/#:~:text=Fatigue%20is%20a%20feeling%20of,be%20physical%2C%20mental%20or%20emotional.

[4]https://mft.nhs.uk/app/uploads/2021/05/Fatigue.pdf

[5] O’Leary, F. & Samman, S. (2010) ‘Vitamin B12 in health and disease’ Nutrients 2(3);299-316.

[6] Dhamarajan, T. Adiga, G. & Norkus, E (2003) ‘ Vitamin B12 deficiency: Recognising subtle symptoms in older adults’ Geriatrics 58(3);30-34.

[7] Mizuno, K. Tanaka, M. et al. (2008) ‘Antifatigue effects of coenzyme Q10 during physical fatigue’ Nutrition 24:293-299.

[8] Vanderpump, M. Lazarus, J. Smyth, P. et al. (2011) ‘Iodine status of UK schoolgirls; a cross-sectional survey’ The Lancet 377(9782);2007-2012.

[9] Roy, S. Sherman, A. Monari-Sparks, M. et al. (2014) ‘Correction of low vitamin D improves fatigue: Effect of correction of low vitamin D in fatigue study (EViDiF)’ North American Journal of Medical Science 6(8);396-402.

[10] Huskisson, E. Maggini, S. & Ruf, M. (2007) ‘The role of vitamins and minerals in energy metabolism and well-being’ Journal of International Medical Research 35(3);277-289.

 

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Inessa Team

Our team pull together science-backed information to bring you up to date health and wellness insights.