4 Supplements That Most Health Experts Insist Will Boost Your Energy
We came to a very interesting realization recently.
Running PEERtrainer, we are constantly studying different views on nutrition and exercise. What is interesting to us, and probably very frustrating to others, is that there is so much debate and intense disagreement on what foods to eat and what the best way to exercise is.
For example, the current top health bestseller is a book called "The 4-Hour Body" by Tim Ferriss. It is a big book, over 500 pages and we are about 1/3 of the way through it. There are some very interesting (and even brilliant) new ideas in the book, some things that we think are downright stupid based on our experience with PEERtrainer, and some things that we would classify as "interesting and controversial."
One suggestion he makes in his section on weight loss is "Don't Eat Fruit." It is one of only 5 rules that he insists will lead to losing more weight. He asserts that fructose is converted to fat more efficiently than almost any other carbohydrate. What is funny is that this book was published at the same time that Weight Watchers released their new Points Plus System.
A striking new feature is that Weight Watchers now allows people to eat unlimited amounts of fruit.
Pretty hard to reconcile these two views, no?
This is a classic example of the conflicting advice that drives people nuts. (Our own view on fruit is that the truth is somewhere in the middle, and we will be coming out with something in a few days that addresses this specific issue..)
However, we have found almost an opposite phenomenon when it comes to supplements and natural health. This is an issue that we have started to dig into more and more, based largely on our own personal experience. We are in active learning mode here. Our cupboard and fridge right now is packed with small jars.
One interesting thing we are finding is that almost all the "gurus" in this space are largely in agreement, on pretty much everything. We participated in a "product launch" last month for Dr. Stengler. In that process we set out to verify what he was saying.
What we found is a group of very educated and passionate people who have been doing this most of their lives. If you look at their books, they are all saying very similar things. One of our absolute favorite guys is Jonny Bowden. He has written a ton of books and is very detailed. Most importantly he employs easy to understand metaphors to help communicate the value of each of these supplements.
We are focusing on energy here, because this is the #1 single most important issue facing members of the PEERtrainer community, based on recent surveys we have done.
The 4 Supplements That Will Boost Your Energy:
1. Coenzyme Q10
According to Jonny Bowden, this "might be the most important nutrient you have never heard of." The science of why this is important is pretty complicated. But the basic idea here is that your body uses enzymes for metabolic processes including the conversion of food into nutrients, and the creation of energy in cells.
A coenzyme is something that boosts the action of an enzyme. Bowden's analogy is that this is "much like a spark plug is to a piston" and that CoQ10 is the "MacDaddy" of coenzymes.
Why should one take CoQ10 in supplement form?
The basic reason that Bowden and others suggest taking CoQ10 is that while the body does make this on its own, the production decreases as one ages. Additionally, successful internal production requires an extremely robust amount of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Likely if you are not eating like Dr. Fuhrman, these amounts will be low in most people.
Further, it is tough to get additional CoQ10 from food because optimal amounts are largely found in organ meats such as liver, heart and kidney. Not something most of us eat a lot of!
For more information on CoQ10 refer to pages 123-126 of "The 150 Most Effective Ways To Boost Your Energy."
Which Brand CoQ10 do we recommend?
We really have no preference. We did a search on both popularity and high ratings on Amazon.com and this brand came up #1 both times. It also appears to be a relatively inexpensive supplement.
This is another supplement that we see recommended across the board. We have seen it used to help treat people with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Most interestingly we also see this used by performance athletes to help with muscle recovery.
We walked into our local Whole Foods where we live in Boulder, Co. This is an interesting town because it is home to many of the top performance athletes in the world. Cyclists, runners, Iron people live here because they can train year round, at a high altitude.
We asked the person at Whole Foods about D-Ribose, and they said that yes, it is very popular among athletes. Specifically, we were told that cyclists mix it with their water that they drink during their rides. We have started to take this daily, and have this brand in our house now, which is the one they sell at Whole Foods.
The science behind why D-Ribose works to boost energy is complex and evolving. But the bottom line is that if your body is under stress or you are experiencing fatigue, D-Ribose can probably help as part of an overall plan to boost your energy.
EGCG is an acronym of a compound found in green tea, that has been isolated and tested extensively. At PEERtrainer we have long recommended swapping coffee for green tea. Green Tea is something that we all know or have heard "is good for us."
But the details of how and why are interesting. According to Bowden, "EGCG sparks a process in the body known as thermogenesis, or heat production. You may know the process of thermogenesis by its more common term, "fat burning."
Additionally, "traditional Chinese medicine has long recommended green tea for all sorts of ailments..including headaches, body aches and pains, digestion, depression, immune enhancement, detoxification and as an energizer!"
If you are like most people, your Green Tea consumption ebbs and flows. We find that a very flavorful green tea is helpful to get back in the habit. One of our favorites so far is Mighty Leaf Organic Hojicha Green Tea.
This is one that we need to do some more work with, yet we see it on literally every list of things to help boost your energy.
Jonny Bowden explains that L-carnitine is like the shuttle bus that transports you from a parking lot to an attraction. "Except, instead of taking guests to a party, it takes fatty acids into the part of the cell where they can be burned for energy. Carnitine is literally the transport mechanism by which fat gets escorted into little energy factories inside the cell....where all the fat burning and energy production takes place."
L-Carnitine, in addition to D-Ribose and CoQ10 are all considered tremendous supplements for heart health. A quick search on Amazon shows that this brand is the top seller.
You can read more about L-Carnitine on pages 126-128 of "The 150 Most Effective Ways To Boost Your Energy." (Which you can get used on Amazon for about $5!)
We have heard from many of you that you appreciate that we are digging into this subject. Your feedback is critical for the content that we create. We are curious what questions you have, and most importantly what your experience in this area has been. What has helped you, what do you take on a regular basis? What brands have you developed an appreciation for?
Please feel free to reply to any of the emails we send out (we read every one of them!) Even better, please post a comment or question on the PEERtrainer Facebook Wall.
Related PEERtrainer Community Threads:
How many miligrams of Carnitine? Brand?
Posted by: Audrey | 02/03/2011 at 11:42 AM
Kim- no we didn't. Right now our policy is to only recommend things we have used ourselves.
Posted by: PEERtrainer | 02/03/2011 at 09:36 AM
We would not recommend dosage- it really varies person to person. Our objective here is to provide some general guidance. We know that people really want more specific suggestions, and we will do that when we can.
Posted by: PEERtrainer | 02/03/2011 at 09:35 AM
I noticed you didn't suggest a brand of L-Carnitine.
Posted by: Kim | 02/03/2011 at 07:33 AM
Great! So can someone put these supplements together so I don't have to take AT LEAST 4 more pills per day? And, this article doesn't specify how much of each you should have in your diet
Posted by: Beth Williams | 02/02/2011 at 04:23 PM
What dosage would you recommend for each of these 4 supplements?
Posted by: Tricia | 02/02/2011 at 04:13 PM