Energy is important in our daily lives as it is a basic human need. Our body consumes food and will convert it to energy to function and survive. Energy is needed in many situations and processes to keep alive such as:
- Maintaining the body essential function such as heartbeat, metabolism, respiration, digestion and regulation of body temperature. Basically all body processes would require certain amount of energy to function well.
- Perform physical task such as walking, carrying objects and exercising. Our energy requirement will increase if the total amount of physical activities also increases.
- Growth and repair of tissues. Pregnancy and life stages of infancy require large amount of energy for growth due to an increase in body size. Energy is also needed for tissue repair such as wound repair after injury.
Different individuals will have different energy requirements. There are many factors that affect a person’s requirement, such as:
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). BMR is the rate where energy is expanded when the individual is at the resting state, which is the basic energy requirement for an individual to maintain the body essential functions even when no physical activities were carried out. Individual with a high BMR will require more energy.
- Age. Infants would require much more energy than adults. This is because a considerable amount of energy during the first year of life are used to assist in growth such as increasing the size of bones, muscles and body organs. Furthermore, many people tend to be less active when they are older, resulting in a decrease of energy requirement.
- Gender. Male tend to have more muscle than female and since muscle consume more energy than fat, male would have a higher BMR and a higher energy requirement.
- Pregnancy and lactation. Pregnancy will result in an increase of energy requirement as energy is required for fetal growth. Energy demand will also increase during lactation as energy is needed to produce milk.
- Occupation. An individual with an active job such as a personal trainer or a physically demanding job such as laborers will have a higher energy demand compared to office worker.
Where can you get your energy from?
Energy is needed for every aspect of life therefore the balance between energy intake and energy requirement is very important. If your energy consumption is lower than your energy requirement, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, headache, muscle weakness, slowed responses, inability to focus and feeling irritability.
We obtained energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we consume from food, with carbohydrate being the most important energy source. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are the best ways to maintain our natural energy levels. However, it is always easier said than done when it comes to balancing the demands of our daily lives. We often have to supplement our diet with the right type of nutrients to keep up with our daily tasks.
Although multivitamins and energy supplements do not provide energy directly, they do work within the body to help with processes that produce energy. Here are some vitamins that you can take for energy:
- B Vitamins. B Vitamins are a group of water-soluble nutrients that our body does not store and must be supplied daily. They are involved in the energy production in our system and help to convert food to energy, such as metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. During pregnancy, the demand for B Vitamins such B12 and folate grows as more energy is required to support fetal development.
- Iron. Fatigue may also result from a dysfunction in supply of oxygen to the muscle and brain. Iron is needed for red blood cells production and to transport oxygen throughout our body. Without sufficient Iron, oxygen cannot be carried effectively throughout our body and therefore we may experience weakness and fatigue.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is made naturally in the body. All cells contain CoQ10 with the highest concentration found in the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. CoQ10 is used by the cells to generate energy and as antioxidants to protect cells from free radical damages. As we age, the amount of CoQ10 decreases and our body cells cannot produce enough energy to maintain a healthy body, therefore we will experience fatigue.
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A may play a role in the synthesis of ATP in the human mitochondria, which is the power plant of the cells. Deficiency in Vitamin A will lead to a decrease in energy production in our body.
- Vitamin C. Although Vitamin C is well known for its role in strengthening the immune system, it is also involved in the synthesis of an essential cofactor in our mitochondria, thus it plays an important role in the production of energy. Studies have shown that without sufficient Vitamin C supply, we may experience weakness and muscle aching.
Most times, daily food intake may not be sufficient in providing the nutrients for energy production. Therefore, there may be a need to supplement one’s diet with some multivitamins and energy supplements which may help to counter physical fatigue as well as mental fatigue. This is needed for the maintenance of our well-being and normal cognitive and psychological function. The best time to take multivitamins or any energy supplements is in the morning, to start your day and to provide you energy to last throughout the day.
- Energy expenditure: How the body burns calories. HealthEngine Blog. (2019, March 21). Retrieved May 18, 2022, from https://healthinfo.healthengine.com.au/energy-expenditure-how-the-body-burns-calorie
- Tardy, A.-L., Pouteau, E., Marquez, D., Yilmaz, C., &Scholey, A. (2020). Vitamins and minerals for energy, fatigue and cognition: A narrative review of the biochemical and clinical evidence. Nutrients, 12(1), 228. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010228