Natural Energy Supplements
As a natural energy supplement shopper you may be wondering just where to start. Clearly there are a wide range of energy products on the market from which to make your selection, these include -
- Energy Supplements
- Energy Drinks
- Energy Bars
- Energy foods – protein shakes etc
The key is to first decide what your definition of ‘natural‘ is, and then decide if you’re willing to pursue that particular path. Most of the above may claim to be all natural energy sources, but few actually are. If you simply look on the ingredients list of some of the popular energy bars, protein drinks and even the energy supplements, you’ll see a whole host of ingredients that do not sound particularly ‘natural’.
That doesn’t mean that you should arbitrarily discount them, just that they might not fit the profile of what you are looking for.
Let’s take a quick look at natural energy supplements and dispel an important myth. When you look at the ingredients label on most vitamin / dietary supplements these days it’s not uncommon to see ingredients such as these -
- Stearic acid
- Magnesium Stearate
- Silica Gel
These are generally used in the production of vitamins to assist in the flow of the powder in the process machinery. Without these the powder can clump and clog the capsule maker. Though they may sound like chemicals they’re actually natural extracts, usually plant extracts which have little or no nutritional impact one way or the other. But they are ‘natural’ and they’re not chemical or artificial.
Gelatin can be processed from animals or plants and is used to make the actual capsule shell. In many cases people discard the capsule shell and use the powders in cool drinks, so they’re not actually consuming the gelatin.
Different types of natural energy supplements
There are a broad range of ingredients sold as ‘energizers’ including supplements with the B Vitamin complex, various herbs like Ginseng and Maca, and other food based substances like royal jelly along with bee pollen. [here's a link to more information on natural energy supplements]
Generally, the B Vitamins work well as natural energizers and since an unhealthy diet often leads to B vitamin shortage, it’s generally a good idea to introduce them via your choice of energy supplement.
CoQ10 is a popular natural energy supplements and people also benefit from the amino acids like Creatine, which is used commonly in training and body building supplements.
The type of substance you use will determine how your body reacts. Stimulants, for example, increase the heart rate, accelerate respiration and may raise blood pressure. Herbal stimulants have fallen from grace lately, largely due to negative press on substances like ephedra. Adaptogens include Ginseng, and work differently in non specific ways on energy and helping the body in the way it reacts and adapts to physical stress. I would generally recommend avoiding stimulants and focus on a more synergistic approach, one which works in harmony with your body and doesn’t try to ‘shock’ it into working in ways it was never intended to do.
Also, consider a natural energy supplement that works on raising your energy levels over the longer term, as well as providing a short burst of energy for workouts. Supplements like bee pollen have been shown in studies to increase stamina and energy, as has royal jelly.
The key is to find substances that enhance your overall well-being in a healthy manner and avoid substances which may have a longer term negative consequence.