With the Olympics in full swing, I've been thinking a lot about how much energy these amazing athletes must have to compete in such strenuous and demanding sporting events. Of course, most of these athletes are young--in their late teens or early- to mid-20s, which naturally makes them have more energy than those of us several decades older. Most of us do not aspire to be Olympic athletes, but it sure would be nice to have even an ounce of their energy! Luckily, even if youth is not on your side, there are ways to boost your energy.
Unfortunately, thanks to effective marketing, energy has become synonymous with energy drinks. But doesn’t matter if they are “natural” or not; energy drinks don’t give you energy. There are basically two types of drinks.
One type contains quick-absorbing sugars, typically in the form of fruit juice. The short-term energy effects are the result of a sugar buzz…the same effects you’d see if you loaded up a 6-year-old with cake, candy, or fruit juice.
The second and most popular type of energy drink contains some form of caffeine (often along with a heavy dose of sugar thrown in for good measure).
Neither of these options are great, especially if you want to lose weight.
So what can you do to improve your energy levels?
There are some specific nutritional supplements that can help.
Royal jelly is a glandular secretion from worker bees. It is fed to a selected ordinary female bee, and it miraculously transforms her into the queen bee. She grows 1½ to 2 times the size of a normal bee and can live 5 to 7 years instead of 7 months like other bees.
Royal jelly is a complex substance containing a wide variety of compounds. It is rich in various B vitamins, several amino acids, trace minerals, enzymes, and natural antibacterial compounds.
Unlike stimulants, royal jelly helps improve energy levels by enhancing the efficiency of various functions in the body by not depleting emergency energy reserves.
Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10) is another compound that can improve your energy levels without acting as some form of stimulant.
A few years ago, CoQ10 was the popular new kid on the block. It may not get the attention it once did, but that hasn’t negated its importance as one of the body’s most crucial components when it comes to energy production. Ninety-five percent of the body’s energy is generated through aerobic cellular respiration, which requires the presence of CoQ10. This explains why the organs with the greatest energy requirements (the heart, liver, and kidneys) have the highest concentrations of CoQ10.
Sardines and mackerel are great sources of CoQ10, and one of the reasons I like sardines so much. Pork and beef liver are ask good sources. Of course, CoQ10 is also available in almost every health food store and vitamin retailer in supplement form.
Another typically overlooked component that can dramatically improve energy levels is vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiencies are so wide spread, and the positive effects of supplementing are so pronounced, that you’ll even find it as an additive in many of the energy drinks.
A dose of 500–1,000 mcg of B12 a day is typically recommended.
Now it's your turn: What do you do or take to boost your energy?