10 Natural Energy Supplements That Really Work

By:    Published: November 16, 2011

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In a world that gets more hectic each day, people are always looking for a quick energy boost, which is why so many have turned to natural energy supplements. While some natural energy supplements are better for the body than others, all will help increase feelings of alertness and provide an energy boost. Here is a list of 10 you can try for an energy boost:

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is perhaps the most well known and widely consumed stimulant available. Caffeine affects the body by stopping the breakdown of certain chemical messengers both outside and inside cells. During stressful periods, caffeine amplifies the body's "fight or flight" response, which is the reason caffeine is used as an appetite suppressant, because this response suppresses the functions of the digestive system and increases the effects of norepinephrine and epinephrine on the heart to supply more oxygen rich blood to the body's cells. The down side to caffeine is that it can be habit forming and in large doses can cause a host of problems, so moderation is always advised.

2. Ginseng

Ginseng is a well-known natural energy supplement and has been used in Asian medicine for centuries. Ginseng was studied on Russian cosmonauts and a boost to physical energy was found. Ginseng is an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to increased levels of stress. It has been found to stimulate the central nervous system and increase resistance to fatigue. Ginseng can interfere with some medications, however, so care should always be exercised when using it.

3. Bitter Orange

Bitter orange is an extract from the rind of a certain variety of citrus fruit, but not the type of oranges used to make orange juice. The substance in bitter orange that makes it effective as an energy booster is called synephrine, and it is similar to ephedra. It is a stimulant, but it is unrelated to caffeine. Ephedra was briefly removed from the market in 2004 because of serious concerns about its safety. If using, it's important not to exceed the recommended amount. Some evidence suggests that bitter orange is safer than ephedra, but more research is needed.

4. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a substance that is produced by the body and is essential to normal function. It is found in the mitochondria of a cell, and is essential for producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the major energy source of cells. Many people are deficient in CoQ10, particularly those with a less than healthy diet or those on certain medications. According to the University of Maryland, CoQ10 can increase energy by providing cells more ATP.

5. B Vitamins

B vitamins are actually a group of eight different vitamins, all of them essential to good health and energy. B vitamins work best as a team and it's often found that if a person is deficient in one, they are deficient in several. Many foods are fortified with B vitamins, but nowhere near what the body needs. Overdose is possible, but no fatalities have been reported due to B vitamin complex overdose.

6. Amino Acids

Amino acids are substances that are catalysts between the protein people consume and the form that the body can use. There are more than 20 amino acids that are necessary for protein synthesis, but two of them can help boost energy. Creatine is actually a combination of three amino acids, arginine, glycine, and methionine. Creatine is essential for building muscle and reducing fatigue. Another amino acid, Carnatine, is essential for the production of energy in cells. Some research indicates that people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome may benefit from carnitine supplements as it helps increase energy.

7. Bee Pollen

Bee pollen could be called nature's super food and is among the top natural energy supplements. It contains 22 amino acids, 21 minerals, 18 enzymes and at least 16 vitamins, as well as proteins, carbohydrates and fiber. And all of this adds up to better health and more energy. Some alternative healing circles believe that bee pollen also has antibiotic properties. People who are allergic to bees, however, should stay away as the same allergic reaction could occur.

8. Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is what happens when bees combine honey and pollen in the hive. Royal jelly is packed with B-complex vitamins as well as many other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, and natural antibacterial and antibiotic properties.It has traditionally been used to treat a host of ailments, but royal jelly is one of the best natural energy supplements.

9. Spirulina

The Aztecs discovered spirulina, a single-celled algae, thousands of years ago and soon made it a staple of their diet.It contains highly usable protein, and is a good source of vitamin B12, as well as many different vitamins and minerals.With all of these vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial compounds, it's no wonder that spirulina is great as an energy booster.

10. Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola is a herb that has been used for thousands of years in Eastern medicine to treat anxiety, and fatigue. Herbalists like gotu kola for energy because gotu kola lessens fatigue and depression without the stimulant effect of caffeine. Unlike kola nut, with which it is often confused, gotu kola has been shown to aid insomnia as well because it doesn't have the stimulant properties of kola nut.

All of these supplements are great for increasing energy, but some will work faster than others. Caffeine and ginseng, for example can be taken as needed, but other supplements should be taken on a regular basis to improve health and boost energy. Be sure to consult your physician before taking any of these natural energy supplements.

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