Day after day, morning after morning, we look to the coffee pot (or our favorite barista) for life-giving fluid to help us get the energy we’re missing. The reasons why we’re tired can include a stressful schedule, hormonal imbalances, or the fact we don’t sleep as soundly as we once did.
No matter the cause, we want our energy and stamina back, preferably without the use of over-caffeinated energy drinks that can leave us with jitters and that dreaded afternoon crash.
There’s good news: we can find solutions in nature with the use of adaptogenic herbs and traditional remedies that have been trusted for thousands of years for energy support and health benefits. Together, we’ll talk about why your body is having an energy crisis, and give you 11 supplements to help you combat chronic fatigue and give you an energy boost.
Where’d the Energy Go?
Lack of energy affects everyone at some point, but dealing with it continuously can leave you wondering what happened to the endurance and edge you once had. If there’s no obvious cause (for instance, if you ran a marathon yesterday or you stayed up studying all night), there may be some underlying issues at play.
Energy is produced inside our cells’ mitochondria. These tiny batteries produce cellular energy that is used to carry out cellular processes. It’s a process that starts from the ground up. The better our cells function, the better our body functions.
With age, the mitochondria produce less ATP (adenosine triphosphate), our cells’ energy currency. With less ATP, there’s less cellular energy. This causes a ripple effect that can lead to less energy production throughout the entire body.
Fast lives usually lead us to fast food, which can be almost void of the nutrients our bodies need to thrive. No one is immune to grabbing convenience foods when schedules are tight, and even taking a multivitamin might not make up for a serious deficiency.
Some deficiencies can lead to fatigue. If you are deficient in vitamin B12, vitamin D, or have an iron deficiency (a symptom of anemia), one of the first symptoms will likely be tiredness. A blood test can determine if you are getting all of your essential nutrients.
Remember when you could hit the pillow and fall asleep within thirty seconds? And sleep like a log right through the night?
For many of us, sleep doesn’t come as easily as it once did. This could be tied to various factors, such as stress, stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine or nicotine, recreational drugs, or the blue light emitted by your cell phone restraining the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). Whatever the cause, getting adequate sleep is essential for our health.
Sleep quality also matters. If you’re sleeping but not cycling through all stages of REM and NREM, you won’t feel as rested in the morning as you should.
Lack of Exercise
Sitting on the sidelines of exercise avenue? Brace for a hit to your energy.
Inactivity can put your pep on pause. Regular physical activity pumps up endorphins, which are like mood-lifting powerhouses. Meanwhile, skipping out leads to decreased blood flow, which can leave you feeling sluggish. At the same time, your muscle strength and stamina decrease.
Exercise can also help you get better sleep and improve the transportation of oxygen to your brain and muscles. This can help you feel more energetic and less stressed.
Chronic stress, that uninvited guest, can zap your energy and enthusiasm. This occurs when the body's natural response to stress, meant to be a quick boost, becomes dysregulated.
Stress hormones like cortisol remain elevated, and can eventually plummet, leading to fatigue, disrupted sleep, and reduced motivation. This can also lead to other health problems when left unchecked (such as mental health disorders and compromised metabolic function), which can ultimately affect your overall health — sometimes in serious ways.
No matter the cause of your energy decline, there are lifestyle practices and natural remedies to help support your energy levels and get you back on the fast track of high energy metabolism.
What Supplements Can Help Support Health and Well-Being?
Caffeine is often the first lifeline we go to for energy support, but it’s not without some unwanted side effects. Jitters and a crash from over-consumption can leave you feeling like you need even more caffeine, which could ultimately interfere with your sleep cycles and leave you feeling more tired than before your cup of joe.
Moreover, caffeine doesn’t actually energize you but rather, only provides the false sense of energy by blocking our receptors for adenosine, a neurotransmitter that promotes our need for sleep. This is why consuming coffee or energy drinks can make you feel like you need even more caffeine, which could ultimately interfere with your sleep cycles and leave you feeling more tired.
Considering what we know about why energy wanes, we’ll give you 11 energy boosters that won’t cause a crash, disrupt your rest, or leave you craving another cup of coffee.
A demanding schedule combined with major life events and challenges, and exposure to environmental and chemical stressors, such as pollution and pesticides, can leave you feeling tired. This chronic stress can throw the body’s stress response out of balance, continuously raising levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Chronic stress causes dysregulation in numerous bodily systems, including your ability to stay energized.
Introducing ashwagandha. Ashwa-what? Let us explain.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps your body resist the effects of stress and return it to a state of homeostasis, or balance. By supporting healthy nervous system function and metabolic function, you can experience more energy in the long run.
There’s a large body of research behind ashwagandha in both younger and older adults, and science supports its adaptogenic effects on the body.
2. Lion’s Mane
The fatigue you experience can leave you with brain fog, too. Supporting healthy cognitive function is key to clearing the fog and regaining your competitive edge (and maintaining your oh-so-clever wit). Lion’s mane mushroom can help you “roar” by supporting healthy brain function and cognition, which can help your neurotransmitters keep transmitting effectively.
Lion’s mane is also a rich source of protective antioxidants. Antioxidants are needed to protect your cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. This type of cellular damage leads to premature aging and can even contribute to degenerative diseases. Antioxidants act like a sword and shield to keep your cells protected in the fight.
Your brain fog just met its match-a. Make your next latte a matcha green tea latte, and you’ll be making a swap that can help increase your energy levels and give your brain some serious focusing power. Matcha contains powerful antioxidants and also supports cognitive health.
If that wasn’t enough, matcha also has another superpower. It contains both caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid that can have a calming effect on the nervous system. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine provides a state of ‘calm alertness’ that many people prefer to the jittery feeling they get with caffeine.
You can find matcha, ashwagandha and lion’s mane in JOYÀ’s Focus Matcha Superblend, an adaptogenic blend of herbs and energy-boosting ingredients that tastes great and supports your overall health and wellness.
Reishi mushroom is an adaptogenic mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years for immune support and to help evoke a calming effect on the nervous system and overall systemic balance. This helps support a healthy stress response and can result in increased energy levels.
Some early research also indicates that reishi may help support healthy cognitive function in those with Alzheimer’s, heightening their awareness and making them better able to stay focused. More research is needed to confirm these effects, but the results so far have been promising.
When fatigue hits due to illness, poor digestion, or aches and pains from sore muscles and joints, turmeric helps restore your wellness.
Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that help promote overall wellness and can help alleviate aches and discomfort. Its antioxidant properties give you protection from free radicals, and with less muscle soreness and joint aches, you’ll be able to move more and increase natural energy levels by avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.
You can find turmeric in JOYÀ’s Restore Turmeric Superblend, alongside pine pollen, adaptogenic astragalus, ashwagandha, and ginger. Making a golden milk latte at home just got a whole lot easier.
Losing your energy can mean losing a little of your sizzle. Make maca your wingman and enjoy healthy energy levels and a natural lift in your libido. Maca is loaded with antioxidants and has been used for centuries to support energy and stamina. It also contains a high level of GABA, which helps support a healthy immune response.
7. Moringa Leaf
Want more from your mornings? Try moringa leaf. Moringa leaf is one of the most nutrient-dense plants on the planet, containing all nine essential amino acids necessary for natural energy production, as well as many essential vitamins.
8. Asian Ginseng
Asian ginseng (also known as Panax ginseng), another stress-fighting adaptogenic herb, is an age-old remedy for supporting stamina and vitality. You can find support for healthy cholesterol and blood pressure in Asian ginseng, as well as immune support to help keep you well during cold and flu season.
9. B Complex
If you’re deficient in any of the B vitamins, taking a multivitamin that contains vitamin B can help boost your energy levels — especially if it contains vitamin B12. B vitamins help the body convert the food you eat into glucose, which gives you energy, and a deficiency in vitamin B12 can result in fatigue and diminished energy and exercise tolerance.
10. Rhodiola Rosea
Get the energy you need to hit the road with rhodiola rosea. This energy-boosting adaptogen is used for everything from banishing stress-related fatigue to enhancing athletic performance and practically everything in between.
Need a rhodiola boost right this second? Try grabbing JOYÀ’s Focus Functional Chocolate, which contains rhodiola along with gingko, coffee, cacao, and cacao butter to satisfy your sweet tooth and elevate your awareness.
Remember the mitochondria! Make it your battle cry, and make magnesium your mitochondrial support supplement. Magnesium is an essential mineral that your cells use in ATP production and is also important for helping support a healthy sleep/wake cycle.
You can find magnesium naturally occurring in cacao and moringa leaves.
For specialized supplement recommendations based on your personal health picture, we recommend speaking with a dietitian or healthcare provider.
The Bottom Line
You’re tired, but you don’t have to be. Your body just needs a little recalibrating. Adaptogenic herbs can help restore balance to your body and help you produce more of the natural energy you need so your energy levels don’t spike and fall dramatically during your day.
It’s important to remember that energy production isn’t a one-stop shop. You’ll need to combine your adaptogens with a healthy lifestyle, including sufficient good quality sleep, a balanced diet, and an exercise routine to get the energy levels you want. And you need to stay consistent with your routine.
One way to support consistency? JOYÀ makes it easy to keep consistent with delicious, natural, chef-crafted functional foods and superfoods that are ethically and sustainably sourced, and packed with pure, energy-loving ingredients.