Published March 18, 2021
The word ‘vitamin’ is a pretty familiar one – we’ve all heard it many times. But what actually are they? The answer is a surprisingly interesting one: they are ‘essential micronutrients’ – that is to say, organic molecules that our bodies need in small quantities in order to function properly, run smoothly and stay healthy. But – and this is crucial – we cannot generate most of these substances ourselves so we must consume them in the foods we eat. Without an adequate supply, our health will gradually decline, but more immediately, we just won’t feel at our best every morning. A classic symptom of poor nutrition is feeling foggy-headed and tired.
If we are struggling to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep, vitamin supplements can be a simple and effective way to plug the gap – boosting our energy while also improving our health. The same cannot be said of that third cup of coffee!
Let’s take a look at some of the best vitamins and minerals for boosting energy and warding off tricky tiredness.
What vitamins and minerals give you energy?
Vitamin B12 plays an important role in converting our food and drink into the energy our bodies require to operate. A good supply of B12 also helps to ward off fatigue-inducing. anemia .
Older people are more prone to vitamin B12 deficiencies because their digestive systems are less efficient at extracting this substance from food – and much the same goes for people with digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease. Animal products are a primary source of B12 for many of us, so vegetarians and vegans are another group at risk of deficiency.
Vitamin B12 is often included with other B vitamins in a so-called ‘B complex’ supplement. These work in concert to keep our energy levels high and our brains functioning well
For many of us, the immune system is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of vitamin C, and there is plenty of evidence to back this up. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, meaning it slows down cell damage and also boosts our bodies’ ability to fight off infection. Fewer infections translates into higher levels of energy and wellbeing. Vitamin C has even been linked to a reduction in soreness after exercise.
Why is blood red? Because of the iron that flows through it. This mineral is a primary component of hemoglobin, the protein which transports oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. Low levels of iron hinder this process – and the primary symptom of anemia (iron deficiency) is fatigue.
Women are more prone to anemia than men – and this only gets worse during pregnancy. Expectant mothers require twice as much iron as they otherwise would for healthy fetal growth and it’s all too easy to miss out.
Find out more
Explore the shelves of your local health food store or comb those online catalogues. And to learn more about how your body reacts to some vitamins, why not try one of our vitamin sensitivity tests.
Written by Bev Walton
Food Writer and Nutritionist, dietician
A chef of over 35 years with experience in all types of cuisine, dietary plans, recipe development, health and nutrition. I have been writing for over 10 years for both magazines, websites and ghostwriting for ebooks, Kindle and fully published books. I have a degree in nutrition and dietetics and work with restaurants and organisations within the healthcare profession. I am also able to take high quality photographs of recipes created. No writing task is too great, and whilst I specialise in the above, I am able to write about any topic you throw at me. Member of the Guild of food writers.