Tired of Feeling Tired? Discover the Best Multivitamins for Energy. by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
Vitamins for energy
You’ve been feeling the mid-afternoon slump deeply lately. Perhaps you can barely keep your eyes open at your desk. Or maybe you are having a hard time just getting out of bed in the morning, even with a good night of rest.
You probably want to feel more energetic so you can be more productive or at least not wake yourself up snoring at work. If you’re looking for a more natural way to boost your energy, without excessively relying on caffeine, you might be wondering “What can I take that will give me energy to get through my day?”
Let’s talk about how to find a good multivitamin for energy and how to know if you need one or if something else might be going on.
Why Am I Tired?
There are lots of reasons why someone might be tired, and they’re not always related to nutrition or diet. The underlying causes of fatigue typically fall within two main categories: lifestyle or a medical condition.
A few lifestyle choices that may be leading to you feeling tired include:
Alcohol or drug use
Too much or too little exercise
Lack of sleep
Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances
Medical conditions that can cause fatigue include:
Diabetes or blood sugar imbalance
If you’re feeling overly tired and think there is an underlying cause beyond your lifestyle, it's always best to speak to your healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation.
If you prefer to start with lifestyle changes to boost your energy, improving the quality of your diet is a great place to start. Adding a high-quality vitamin to your routine can help as well.
One thing to understand is that multivitamins do not directly give you energy in the same way caffeine does. Let’s discuss how they can help improve your energy levels.
Do Multivitamins Give You Energy?
Vitamins and minerals found in multivitamin supplements are not stimulants, therefore, they do not have the immediate effect on your energy like caffeine or energy drinks. Instead, the nutrients found in multivitamins help the body effectively use the energy in food to support daily functions.
For example, many of the B vitamins play a role in helping the body use the energy that comes from carbs, fats, and proteins. This is why you see B complex products touted as energy vitamin supplements. If you are not getting enough of the B vitamins from your diet, this may impact your body’s ability to efficiently use the energy from your food.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also impact energy. A multivitamin can provide nutrients that help prevent common deficiencies if you’re not getting enough in your diet. If you’re not sure if your diet meets your nutritional needs, ask your healthcare provider or dietitian.
Vitamins for Energy
If you’re looking for the best multivitamin for energy, here are a few nutrients you want to be sure are included:
The B vitamins are essential for energy production. There are eight vitamins that are classified as B vitamins. Look for all eight in any multivitamin supplement. These include:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
All of these vitamins play a direct or indirect role in helping the body use energy from food. Any good multivitamin for energy should include at least 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for all of the B vitamins.
Women of childbearing age and children have higher iron needs than men or post-menopausal women. Children are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency, as growing requires a lot of iron. Women may also be vulnerable to a deficiency, particularly if they experience heavy periods or do not get enough iron from their diets.
Men and post-menopausal women do not need as much iron. This is why you may see multivitamins formulated for men or women over 50 have minimal or no iron included.
If you think your fatigue is caused by an iron deficiency, speak to your healthcare provider before taking additional iron beyond what is found in a typical multivitamin.
Magnesium has over 300 functions in the body. One of these functions is to support muscle relaxation. While magnesium won’t directly give you energy, it can help you get a better night’s rest due to its relaxation effect, so you feel more energetic the next day.
One thing to note: taking supplemental magnesium in doses beyond what is found in a typical multivitamin may cause digestive discomfort. If you experience digestive troubles, reduce the dose or try a different type of magnesium.
Additional Tips to Increase Energy
While a multivitamin for energy can be one factor in improving energy levels, a supplement can never override the energy-zapping effects of an unhealthy lifestyle.
Start by taking a look at some other habits that could be impacting your energy levels. Here are a few things to consider:
Are you drinking enough water, at least 8 glasses per day?
Are you starting your day with a balanced breakfast that includes carbohydrates, protein, and fat?
Do your meals include a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats?
Are you skipping breakfast or other meals?
Are you eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day?
Are you eating enough protein-rich foods?
Are you overconsuming caffeine?
Are you sleeping enough? At least 7-9 hours?
Are you exercising enough? Too much?
Are you drinking alcohol at night to relax?
Are you not managing your stress well?
Are you taking on too much and never resting?
In conjunction with addressing the lifestyle factors that may be influencing your energy levels, considering a high-quality multivitamin supplement can be beneficial. While multivitamins don't directly provide an instant energy boost, they play a crucial role in supporting the body's energy utilization processes.
A multivitamin should complement a healthy lifestyle rather than replace it. If persistent fatigue persists or you suspect an underlying medical condition, an evaluation by a healthcare professional is always a great place to start. By taking a holistic approach and incorporating the right multivitamin along with positive lifestyle changes, you can improve your energy levels so you can power through your afternoon.