The secret to overcoming chronic fatigue is finding the right combination of supplements to provide quick energy with nutrients that combat the cause of your fatigue over the long haul. This will allow your body to perform more efficiently in your day-to-day activities now and over time.
Choosing the best energy supplements for chronic fatigue is the first step to beating the overwhelming exhaustion of CFS and improving your quality of life. Here’s what you need to know about overcoming the causes of chronic fatigue and how to boost your energy naturally.
What is Chronic Fatigue?
Often called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), chronic fatigue is a medical condition that’s characterized by feelings of extreme exhaustion that don’t go away with sleep. The symptoms of chronic fatigue can impact your daily life, but they often become worse after intense physical exercise, strenuous mental activity, or emotional trauma.
Why Do I Always Feel Tired?
Although CFS can happen at any age, it becomes more common as we get older. Chronic fatigue affects both men and women, and those who are exposed to extreme physical, mental, or emotional stress are at a higher risk. Low energy levels can also be a sign of an underlying health condition, so it’s always important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider.
Here are some of the most common causes of chronic fatigue:
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Nutritional deficiencies can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction at the cellular level, which reduces the rate of adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP) production. This inhibits the body’s ability to produce energy efficiently. In many cases, some slight adjustments to your nutrition and daily routine can make a huge difference.
- Physical and Emotional Stress: Chronic mental and/or physical stress is one of the leading causes of chronic fatigue. The issue can be ongoing, or it can occur after trauma as your body’s coping mechanism. Learning how to manage stress through proper nutrition and lifestyle is key to beating chronic fatigue permanently.
- Viral Infections and Immune Dysfunction: If you have an underlying viral infection or a weakened immune system, your body will have to work harder to overcome it. Immune-boosting supplements will be crucial for giving your body the energy to recover and getting your immune system functioning optimally.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Hormonal imbalances are especially common in women. They can occur around your menstrual cycle, during pregnancy and postpartum, and as a natural result of the aging process. The right energy supplements can help to support proper hormone balance and overcome the fatigue that often accompanies these issues.
The Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue
Those who experience chronic fatigue often deal with a lack of motivation and increased feelings of sadness that affects their daily life. They may isolate themselves on a social level, avoid certain hobbies or activities, and miss more work or school due to extreme tiredness that never seems to go away.
If you often wake up in the morning feeling like you haven’t slept at all, there’s a good chance you have chronic fatigue. Some of the most common symptoms of chronic fatigue also include:
- Brain fog and memory issues
- Chronic headaches
- Unexplained sore throat
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the armpits or neck
- Unexplained joint and muscle pain
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Extreme exhaustion after strenuous physical or mental activities
- No feeling of rejuvenation after rest and relaxation
The 13 Best Energy Supplements for Chronic Fatigue
Now that you have a better understanding of the causes and symptoms, let’s talk about how the best energy supplements for chronic fatigue can help you overcome them naturally.
1. Folic Acid
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is a common nutrient deficiency that often goes undiagnosed until the condition becomes severe. Over time, insufficient levels of folic acid can lead to both physical fatigue and mental fatigue because it is crucial for energy production in your cells.
While you can get folic acid in your diet by consuming leafy greens, whole grains, and citrus fruits, it’s very difficult to get enough to fulfill your daily requirements without a high-quality supplement.
2. Vitamin C
We’ve all heard that we should take vitamin C to fight off a cold, but it may surprise you to hear that it’s also a crucial vitamin for energy. That’s because vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system, allowing your body to fight off illness faster and easier.
Vitamin C is also essential for optimal iron absorption, which is key for preventing iron-deficiency anemia. This nutrient can also help your body overcome CNS fatigue and DOMS, speeding your recovery and improving energy levels after an intense workout.
Iron deficiency leads to exhaustion and weakness. Over time, low levels of iron in your blood tissues can lead to a common nutritional deficiency called anemia. Those who are anemic typically do not receive enough oxygen in their blood tissues, resulting in chronic fatigue.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to increase the amount of iron in your diet by eating more red meat. If you don’t eat meat, spinach and legumes are excellent sources of iron in the vegan diet. You shouldn’t take an iron supplement unless a blood test confirms that you’re deficient.
Vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and cellular function. Our bodies cannot create B12, so it must come directly from the diet or be provided in supplement form. Ongoing deficiencies in this crucial nutrient can lead to a condition called megaloblastic anemia, which causes feelings of overwhelming weakness and fatigue.
This vitamin primarily comes from animal proteins, so deficiencies are more common in vegan and vegetarian diets. Deficiencies in B12 are also a common issue for those who suffer from food sensitivities like gluten intolerance and GI disorders like celiac disease, which may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb this essential vitamin.
Unfortunately, B12 becomes more difficult to absorb as we get older, too, so supplementation is especially important in adults over 50. Thankfully, this supplement is readily available and convenient in forms like B-12 gum and daily multivitamins.
Magnesium is a vital mineral for energy because it is essential for many cellular functions, many involving the muscles and nerves. In addition, magnesium improves digestibility, allowing our bodies to absorb nutrients from food more efficiently.
But perhaps most importantly for overcoming chronic fatigue, magnesium plays a key role in the uptake of oxygen in muscular cells, especially during aerobic exercise. Mineral levels are naturally lower after an intense workout, but supplementing with magnesium can vastly improve your performance, endurance, and recovery.
6. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10, commonly called CoQ10, is essential for efficient energy production in the cells. It’s a potent antioxidant found in large quantities in the kidneys, heart, and brain. Although our bodies can produce CoQ10 naturally, production decreases naturally as we age, making deficiency a common issue for older adults.
Unfortunately, low levels of CoQ10 are a leading factor in chronic fatigue because it reduces the cells’ ability to divide and function optimally. Deficiencies have been linked to many chronic illnesses, as well. Supplementing with CoQ10 is considered very safe, and it’s essential for maintaining energy and overall health as you age.
Creatine is a popular fitness supplement that has multiple benefits for women and men, even for those who don’t work out heavily. It’s a highly effective energy supplement for a broad range of needs, from daily physical activities to high-intensity exercise.
Creatine is used to create ATP, one of your body’s most important energy sources. When taken as a daily supplement, creatine is stored in the muscle tissues, increasing energy over time. This can significantly improve your athletic performance, speed recovery, and increase energy levels and brain performance on a daily basis.
Ashwagandha has been used for centuries to boost energy levels by enhancing the body’s resilience to stress. It has been shown to lower cortisol levels and alleviate the fatigue associated with high-intensity exercise.
In addition to improving physical performance, ashwagandha may also improve cognitive function in people with chronic fatigue symptoms. Studies show that it significantly improves memory, attention span, and information-processing speed. It also provides an antioxidant effect on the brain, which could support cognitive health over time.
Caffeine is generally the first thing that comes to mind when we think of quick energy. Why? Because it works and it’s easily accessible. It’s also natural and perfectly safe in doses of up to 400 milligrams per day.
Athletes love natural caffeine as a pre-workout supplement to boost energy and focus. While the boost of energy is temporary, it’s also quick acting making it ideal for those times when you need a quick pick-me-up.
However, it’s important to note that you can experience withdrawal symptoms if your body becomes accustomed to a daily dose. Energy drinks and supplements that contain high doses of caffeine can also lead to an energy crash for some people. It’s best to start with the smallest effective dose to see how it affects your body.
10. Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
The nootropic amino acid Acetyl L-Carnitine, or ALCAR, is an amino acid used for muscle energy function and metabolism. It fuels your cells by transporting fatty acids to your mitochondria where they’re used to produce energy. It also plays a vital role in flushing toxic byproducts out of your cells.
ALCAR is also crucial for the synthesis of acetylcholine, which supports fluid thought, memory, and mental alertness. A supplement that contains L-carnitine and other active nootropics can be a game changer for reducing overall fatigue and improving mental performance.
The amino acid L-Theanine is found naturally in green tea. It has been shown to increase alpha brain waves that promote alert relaxation. It boosts neurotransmitters like GABA, epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. It also reduces the level of cortisol, or stress hormone, in the body, improving mood and cognitive function.
Many people find that supplementing with caffeine and L-theanine in combination can dramatically improve performance for both physically and mentally demanding tasks.
12. Rhodiola Rosea Extract
This powerful herbal adaptogen is a fast-acting energy booster that directly counteracts fatigue caused by stress. It has noticeable fatigue-reducing effects against brain fog and lack of motivation often associated with chronic fatigue.
Rhodiola is thought to reduce symptoms of depression, as well, which often goes hand in hand with chronic fatigue.
13. MCT Oil
MCT oil is a natural source of medium-chain triglycerides, which are a fast-acting fuel for cellular mitochondria. MCTs are converted into an alternative fuel source called ketones, which our cells can burn to produce energy,
Supplementing with MCT oil can play a fundamental role in boosting your overall energy levels with chronic fatigue. It can easily be added to smoothies, beverages, salad dressings, and more to provide extra fuel for your cells.
Getting Started with Energy Supplements for Chronic Fatigue
We’re often told that eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper sleep are the keys to maintaining good energy levels. But for many who suffer from chronic fatigue, this simply isn’t enough. Supplements are the key to giving your body the raw materials it needs to overcome chronic fatigue naturally. But there are so many to choose from, where’s the best place to start?
Consider starting with a high-quality, personalized multivitamin to overcome any nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to your low energy levels. Then incorporate some fast-acting energy boosters into your daily routine, like caffeine, L-theanine, and MCT oil.
Adding in an adaptogen like ashwagandha will be key for enhancing your body’s resilience to mental and physical stress and illness. And finally, choose a nootropic like Acetyl L-carnitine to support your cognitive health.
This combination will give you an immediate boost of mental and physical energy for daily activities, while also helping to overcome chronic fatigue symptoms for the long haul. These supplements are considered safe for most people, but it’s always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider, especially if you have a health condition.