The Best Supplements to Fight Fatigue
Fatigue is not an uncommon issue. I am frequently asked for tips to combat the mid- day bonk or the 3pm urge for a power nap. After all, some of us get up at the crack of dawn, train intensely, get our kids off to school, work all day and come home exhausted. It stands to reason that we might feel some level of fatigue throughout the day. I train over 60 clients a week and although their circumstances may vary, my advice is always the same; great energy starts with excellent nutrition. Fatigue is closely associated with lifestyle; therefore, part of the information gathering might require that I ask a client to record a comprehensive meal log for several days. This generally answers most of my questions. If I see artificial sweeteners, processed sugar or other processed foods, I know right away what the first course of action should be: Clean up the diet! Fortunately, most of my clients are actually pretty good eaters and that makes the equation a little more complex. A comprehensive blood panel is very helpful. Your lab work can tell you whether you have adequate levels of the following important nutrients:
- Vitamin D
Other important things to look for include thyroid dysfunction and hormonal irregularities; but, even when all of these factors are in check, some people (myself included) still experience fatigue periodically.
Regardless of the cause of fatigue, excellent nutrition is an important first step to consider. The best way to achieve excellent nutrition is to consume high-quality unprocessed foods and plenty of plain water. If you are eating a whole foods diet comprised of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, organic eggs, grass-fed meats, and whole, organic dairy from reliable sources, then you may have little need for supplements. But, the reality for most people is that it is nearly impossible to eat perfectly one hundred percent of the time. If that is the case, it might be wise to consider supplementing with high quality vitamins, probiotics, omega’s and antioxidants.
I am a big proponent of high quality vitamins. Unfortunately, many of the vitamins on store shelves are made with cheap synthetic isolates. These cheaper vitamins cost less but they are combined with other chemicals and are a low-end alternative to whole food.
According to Dr. Mercola, there are four problems with synthetic vitamins…
- Nature intended for you to consume food in WHOLE form because all of the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes work synergistically to give your body the nutrition it requires for optimal health. If you are supplementing with a multi-vitamin, look for one that is all natural, free of all major potential allergens and free of ALL additives.
- Your body only absorbs a small percentage of an isolate form of vitamins and minerals and it utilizes even less. You get the best bioavailability in whole food form.
- Synthetic vitamins often give you massive quantities of some nutrients (usually the most inexpensive ones) and insufficient quantities of others. A high quality multi-vitamin is balanced.
- You can experience side effects of synthetic isolates from the additives and the unnatural state of a synthetic supplement.
My Multi-Vitamin Recommendations:
Do you crave sugar, bread, dairy and/or fruit? Did you know that when your inner ecology is out of balance you will crave sugar?
Your gut is a host for bacteria, yeasts, cells that line the intestinal wall and cells that make up the immune system. When the inner ecology of your gut is in a state of balance, good bacteria and beneficial yeast thrive. However, certain foods, especially sugar, can throw the system off balance. Candida is yeast that is normally present in the gastrointestinal tract. Sugar feeds the Candida yeast and other microorganisms, causing overgrowth. Both Candida overgrowth and nutritional deficiencies can cause a vicious cycle leading to an imbalance in the gut and more sugar cravings.
When the inner ecology of your gut is out of balance two things can happen:
- Candida overgrowth can take over your appetite.
- Nutritional deficiencies can develop.
Since the "good" bacteria in your gastrointestinal system can only provide you with optimal health if the proper balance of different types of bacteria is maintained in your gut, probiotics can have a profound effect on both your GI health and your immune system.
A high quality probiotic can:
- Aid in digesting food
- Enhance the synthesis of B vitamins
- Improve calcium absorption
- Help you keep a healthy balance of intestinal microflora
- (In women) Promote vaginal health
- Support your immune system
My Probiotic Recommendations:
1. Dr. Mercola’s Complete Probiotics – 70 Billion CFU: http://probiotics.mercola.com/probiotics.html
2. Renew Life Ultimate Flora- 90 Billion CFU: 14 GPS Probiotic Strains: http://www.renewlife.com/whatsnew
3. Fish Oil / Krill Oil
I take 3 capsules of krill oil (1500 mg) every single day. In fact, if I could only afford to take one supplement a day, I've got 7 reasons why my Omega 3's would be the only pills I'd pop:
1) Fish oil reduces disease-causing inflammation. Fish oil contains two powerful omega-3s, EPA and DHA, that have been shown in numerous scientific studies to reduce inflammation and actually promote the body's own natural healing response to inflammation. When taken regularly, fish oil can help protect against the development of diseases that often result from chronic inflammation.
2) Fish oil protects against cancer. EPA and DHA also appear to be powerful cancer fighters, as illustrated in a 2010 study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Researchers from Seattle, Washington, found that women who regularly supplement with fish oils rich in EPA and DHA are roughly 32 percent less likely to develop the most common forms of breast cancer.
Similarly, a 2001 study published in the Lancet journal revealed that fish oil effectively inhibits the onset and spread of prostate cancer in men.
3) Fish oil slows the aging process. Besides chronic inflammation, one of the primary causes of rapid aging is a shortening of DNA chromosomes known as telomeres. Over time, these telomeres shorten, which slows the division of chromosomes responsible for sustaining health. Telomeres that are too short are also unable to facilitate the creation and repair of stem cells.
Supplementing with fish oil; however, can help protect the integrity of telomeres, which in turn can help slow the aging process. Researchers from Ohio State University (OSU) discovered recently that healthy adults who supplemented with between 1250 mg and 2500 mg of fish oil every day for four months altered their fatty acid profiles so significantly that the telomeres in their white blood cells remained far more preserved than normal.
4) Fish oil lubricates joints. If you suffer occasionally from acute joint pain following a heavy workout, you can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil. Fish oil is a joint lubricant that effectively targets the molecules that cause inflammatory flareups, as well as helps balance the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, making it an effective natural pain reliever, as well.
5) Fish oil promotes the building of muscle. Since EPA and DHA are capable of being stored in the phospholipid bilayer of cells when taken in high enough doses, fish oil can also be a powerful muscle builder. Based on the science, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help promote protein synthesis while limiting degradation, which is the perfect combination for building lean body mass.
6) Fish oil protects against heart attacks and promotes brain health. Omega 3 fatty acids have a multitude of cardioprotective benefits including protecting both the heart and cardiovascular system against debilitating illness. Clinical evidence shows that omega-3s protect against high cholesterol by reducing systemic inflammation, as well as balance blood pressure and protect against heart disease.
7) Fish oil plays a crucial role in brain health. Omega-3s also play a crucial role in brain health, as a significant portion of brain tissue is composed of these fatty acids. Supplementing with fish oil, in other words, can remedy a host of cognitive abnormalities like chronic "brain fog," depression, neurological disorders, and dementia. Metabolically, omega-3s protect nerves, cells, and various other components of the brain against stress and inflammation, which in turn helps protect memory, hormone production, and nervous system function.
My Omega 3 recommendations:
- Dr Mercola Krill Oil: http://krilloil.mercola.com/krill-oil.html
- Carlson Labs The Very Finest Fish Oil: http://www.carlsonlabs.com
4. Resveratrol: The Fountain of Youth
Studies have shown that resveratrol appears to slow down the effects of aging and may actually increase the lifespan of human cells. Perhaps most importantly, resveratrol appears to produce many of the same benefits as exercise, including:
- Protects cellular DNA from free radical damage
- Supports blood pressure levels already within the normal range
- Supports your heart health and promotes blood vessel elasticity
- Promotes normal healthy blood lipids and circulation
- May help improve your metabolic rate and help promote an ideal weight
- Helps support against the spread of abnormal cell activity
My Antioxidant Recommendations:
Dr. Mercola Purple Defense http://products.mercola.com/purple-defense/
Naturally produced in our bodies, ubiquinol is an active form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is known to help many of the diseases associated with aging.
CoQ10/Ubiquinol helps to support your body’s energy production and is considered one of the strongest antioxidants available. It has the ability to protect your body's cells from damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals.
Ubiquinol is the non-oxidized, active form of CoQ10 in the body. As demonstrated in studies, ubiquinol has superior bioavailability to CoQ10, which means it gets absorbed into the body and blood stream much better.
Until recently, the only way to increase ubiquinol levels in the blood was for the body to convert it from ubiquinone (CoQ10), which research has shown becomes increasingly difficult as you age. While regular CoQ10 may be cheaper and will have some benefit, studies strongly suggest that ubiquinol is a more effective form to take.
Dr. Mercola Ubiquinol: http://products.mercola.com/coq10-ubiquinol/
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in algae, shrimp, lobster, crab and salmon. Carotenoids are pigment colors that occur in nature and support good health. Astaxanthin is responsible for turning salmon, crab, lobster and shrimp flesh pink. In the animal kingdom, astaxanthin is found in the highest concentration in the muscles of salmon. Scientists theorize astaxanthin helps provide the endurance these animals need to swim upstream. For humans, astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant with broad health implications.
Here are five reasons to take astaxanthin supplements every day:
1. Helps Relieve Pain and Inflammation: Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, blocking different chemicals in your body that make you feel pain. More than that, astaxanthin reduces the inflammatory compounds that drive many chronic diseases.
2. Helps Fight Fatigue : Astaxanthin provides excellent recovery from exercise. Just like salmon making the heroic upstream swim, astaxanthin can help athletes do their best. Pure natural astaxanthin is indicated for recovery of muscles, better endurance, enhanced strength and improved energy levels.
3. Supports Eye Health: Well-designed clinical trials have shown that astaxanthin helps diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, eye strain and fatigue and seeing in fine detail. There are well-designed positive human clinical trials supporting eye health.
4. Astaxanthin is a Powerful Antioxidant: A 2007 study analyzed several popular antioxidants and their antioxidant power. This study found astaxanthin was 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C, 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid.
5. Healthy Skin and Sunscreen Protection: Astaxanthin has been shown to protect the body's largest organ. It reduces damage caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. In fact, if you get a sunburn, which causes inflammation, astaxanthin penetrates the skin cells and reduces UVA damage. Think of it as an internal sunscreen.
Dr. Mercola Astaxanthin: http://products.mercola.com/astaxanthin/