Do you find yourself drowsy at work or craving an afternoon nap? Do you often wake up tired and struggle to keep your eyes open during the day? If you feel fatigued often, you may be struggling with a deficiency of key vitamins.
Myths About Energy Drinks
Next to multivitamins, energy drinks are the most popular dietary supplement consumed by American teens and young adults.1 However, these drinks can often be packed with refined sugar and caffeine, as well as sketchy ingredients and highly processed chemicals. While more natural drinks for energy, such as coffee and tea, are also quite common, drinking caffeine on a regular basis can be potentially dangerous. Drinking caffeine-rich energy drinks can lead to a range of unwanted symptoms, including a caffeine overdose, anxiety, jitters, nervousness, heart palpitations, and sleeping issues.
While fatigue is very common in American adults, many people have common misconceptions about how to overcome it. Some adults seem to think they are capable of consistently sleeping for only 5 – 6 hours per night and yet still be able to function well during the day. In reality, most people require at least 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night. Many people may not have considered the importance of upping their vitamin B intake as a part of their fatigue-fighting arsenal – but sufficient amounts of B vitamins can be just as important as high-quality sleep!
Key Fatigue-Fighting Vitamins
Getting adequate amounts of the B vitamin family is crucial to keeping your energy levels consistent during the day. Eight key B vitamins help your body convert the food that you eat into glucose, the simple sugar that is your body’s primary energy source. The 8 types of B vitamins are B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, folate (B9), and B12. Despite the importance of these vitamins, many people in the U.S. are at risk of being deficient in them, including older adults and pregnant women. Symptoms of B vitamin deficiency include fatigue, confusion, a compromised immune system, and anemia.
Many foods naturally contain B vitamins, including wild-caught salmon, leafy greens, legumes (such as black beans and garbanzo beans), nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, and many types of seafood. You can also "up" your B vitamins by taking nutritional supplements that offer individual forms of vitamin B, such as folate (vitamin B9) and cobalamin (vitamin B12), or you can take a full range of all eight B vitamins in one handy supplement.
The Bottom Line
While it might be tempting to reach for a sugar-loaded energy drink or afternoon coffee, the caffeine intake of these “quick-fixes” may be detrimental to your overall health and wellness. To avoid fatigue during the day, be sure to get a good night’s sleep and consume an adequate amount of B vitamins daily, in food or supplement form.