Can Supplements Increase Energy?

If you eat a healthy diet, megadoses of vitamins and minerals won’t rev up your stamina or strength. And the evidence that other herbs and supplements will give you a lift is spotty, at best.

2 That Might Help

1. Iron supplements. These are standard therapy for people suffering from anemia, which causes fatigue. A doctor may prescribe vitamin C in addition, which makes it easier for the body to absorb iron. But don’t take iron on your own or without having your blood iron levels tested first to confirm that you’re low.

2.  Vitamin B12. The ability to absorb vitamin B12 from the diet begins to diminish at midlife, which is why people over 50 are advised to eat foods fortified with vitamin B12 or take supplements. (Ask your doctor how much you need; a dose of 25 to 100 micrograms is usually recommended. You’ll find the lower amount in many multivitamins.) Lack of other B vitamins, including biotin (vitamin B7) and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) can cause fatigue, too, but that’s less common. To be on the safe side, though, you may want to take a vitamin B complex supplement, which contains a daily dose of these important nutrients. B12 supplements may be prescribed for treating fatigue related to pernicious anemia, though severe cases require injections.

3 to Skip

3. Ginseng. This herb’s reputation as a performance-booster came from poor-quality studies; there’s little solid proof that it makes you work any harder or faster.

4. Guarana. It sounds exotic, but this herb is nothing more than a natural source of caffeine.

5. Taurine. This amino acid allegedly puts the zip in popular energy drinks, though the evidence is spotty — and the energized feeling the drinks offer probably comes from caffeine and sugar.

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