The change in temperature and seasons can often affect energy. Many people are coming in-store complaining of lowered energy and if you are wanting to get an ‘edge’ and gain optimum energy and vitality levels this Winter there are particular nutrients the body uses to produce energy. Supplementing with these could be the key to maintaining peak energy levels over winter.
The ‘energy factories’ of our cells are called mitochondria and this is where our body generates the energy (ATP) it needs for us to function optimally. They are often referred to as the “powerhouse” of the cell as they take in nutrients, break them down and make energy for the cell.
It is wise to ensure our mitochondria receive the nutrients they need to produce the energy we require.
Coenzyme Q 10 (CoQ10)
CoQ10 is one of the nutrients needed by our mitochondrial cells to produce energy.
There has been a lot of research done recently to reveal that CoQ10 in its active ‘Ubiquinol’ form is more effectively absorbed by the body.
The capacity to convert CoQ10 into ubiquinol declines with age. And the use of cholesterol-lowering medication (statins) will also reduce our body’s capacity to produce CoQ10.
Supplementing with CoQ10 or ubiquinol is wise for lowered energy, statin use, heart disease and high cholesterol.
There has been a lot of “buzz” lately around Lipoic acid and deservedly so.
Lipoic acid is a unique antioxidant and free radical scavenger in that it is soluble in both fat and water. It is an important antioxidant because it protects our mitochondria from damage and ageing and therefore becomes critical for the maintenance of energy production.
Lipoic acid has a unique ability to raise the mitochondrial energy-producing capabilities of a cell by reversing the age-associated decline in mitochondrial enzyme activities and thereby protects our mitochondria from ageing.
Not only is it an antioxidant in its own right it also has an uncanny ability to ‘recycle’ and prolong the life of other antioxidants in the body including Vitamin’s C and E, coenzyme Q10 and glutathione therefore strengthening the body’s antioxidant network.
You will see great formulas which combine both lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q10 and B-group Vitamins to boost mitochondrial protection and function for optimal energy.
Magnesium ranks second (only to potassium) as the most abundant ‘cation’ in the human body. Deficiency of this nutrient is extremely common, manifesting in symptoms such as muscular cramps and pain, insomnia and headaches, fatigue and the reduced ability to cope with stress.
Most people are aware of the link between muscle cramping and a deficiency in magnesium. Fewer people know about the role magnesium plays in the production of energy. Like CoQ10, magnesium is an essential nutrient needed for the manufacturing of ATP – the body’s energy source.
The Body’s Demand for Magnesium
Legumes, wholegrains, green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts are good dietary forms of magnesium however in order for the body to absorb magnesium there needs to be adequate levels of selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin D and parathyroid hormone.
Absorption is hindered by excessive dietary fat and levels of magnesium are easily depleted through excessive salt intake, alcohol, caffeine, phosphoric acid in soft drinks, medications, excessive sweating and above all, stress.
Many people show signs of magnesium deficiency which is common due to not only our western (refined) diet but also to the fact that Australian soils are low in minerals.
Not all Magnesium supplements are created Equal
Given that so many different factors can influence the absorption of magnesium it makes sense to ensure your magnesium supplement is in a form that is well absorbed. Many of the quality brands have researched and produced their magnesium into a specialised mineral delivery system that enhances absorption and intestinal tolerance of magnesium.
Vitamin B complex
As a group the B complex vitamins are named because they are commonly found together in foods and have a similar function. They are very important for the normal functioning of the nervous system and are often helpful in bringing relaxation or energy in times when we are stressed or fatigued. Similar to the role of magnesium the presence of Vitamin B is essential for the production of ATP (energy) in our mitochondria.
The B-group vitamins are water-soluble vitamins and so they are not stored very well in the body. And so they need to be replaced every day to ensure we remain energised. Good dietary sources of the B-group vitamins can be found in eggs, avocado, wheatgerm and bran, leafy greens, salmon, tuna, milk, legumes, nuts.
A diet high in refined flour products, sugar, coffee and alcohol depletes our B-group vitamins and as a result we can be left feeling fatigued, irritable and anxious if they are not replaced.
Winter is with us every year. A combination of a positive mindset, maintaining healthy exercise rituals and incorporating nourishing winter foods will optimise your mood and vitality during the colder months. And if you do happen to succumb to a winter illness allowing time to nourish, nurture, and convalesce will have you back living to your potential and enjoying life no matter the weather.
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