Feeling exhausted? You’re not alone. Fatigue is one of the most common issues we face in our modern lives – and it’s preventing us from achieving our best health and wellbeing.
Thankfully, we don’t have to live with overwhelming fatigue forever. Nature provides us with several healing ingredients that improve fatigue and boost our base energy levels. Let’s learn why fatigue is such an important issue to overcome and how natural ingredients can improve your energy naturally.
Our Fatigue Epidemic
You wake up tired and sluggish. You fuel up on caffeine and sugar just to get through the day. You go to bed just as exhausted as you woke up.
Unfortunately, this is a reality that has become far too common in our modern society. Forty-three percent of Americans report feeling too tired to do their daily activities or work properly. Many more suffer from regular bouts of fatigue and sleep deprivation.
The Institute of Medicine estimates that an additional 2.5 million Americans are struggling with a condition that’s even more complex than just a lack of energy: chronic fatigue syndrome (1 ). CFS is a multisystem condition in which severe fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, sleep problems, and general malaise impair a person’s ability to live their life fully (2 ).
How Does Fatigue Impact Our Health?
Whether you struggle with chronic fatigue or simply feel tired on a daily basis, fatigue negatively impacts your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Fatigue can make even the lightest exercise feel like a marathon. It also impairs your cognitive abilities and could sabotage your focus, productivity, problem-solving, and creativity (3 ). Fatigue is also linked with mental health struggles like stress, anxiety, depression, or forgetfulness (4 ).
Oftentimes, adopting simple lifestyle habits can quickly improve your fatigue:
Make sure you’re getting enough nutrients in your diet.
Stay hydrated during the day
Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night
Avoid stressors and engage in stress relief activities
Reduce your intake of alcohol, tobacco, sugar, and caffeine
Aside from these general habits, consider supplementing your diet with ingredients that boost your energy naturally. The following vitamins, minerals, and herbs have been proven through research to fight fatigue and improve your overall health.
9 Energy-Boosting Ingredients that Help with Fatigue
Black elderberry is best known for helping us overcome colds with ease (5 ), but it can also help us take on the day with better energy. Studies show that elderberry boosts energy by reducing oxidative stress on the body (6 ). When we are less burdened by repairing the body, we have more natural energy for daily tasks.
Astragalus has been studied as a possible natural remedy for general fatigue, chronic fatigue syndrome, and chemotherapy-induced fatigue (7 , 8 ). Some researchers suggest it could improve athletic performance as it has shown to reduce exercise-induced fatigue in animal studies (9 ).
Andrographis is a potent anti-inflammatory herb, but there may be evidence that it can also improve energy. Studies show that Andrographis supplementation improved energy levels in those with debilitating fatigue due to multiple sclerosis (10 ).
The pungent taste of fresh garlic is enough to wake up your senses, but studies now show that garlic extract actually does boost energy. Results indicate that garlic can improve endurance and reduce tiredness, no matter the root cause of the fatigue (11 ). This is likely due to garlic’s ability to support energy metabolism and reduce oxidative stress (12 ).
Spirulina is a tiny alga with high levels of energy resources. It is particularly effective for reducing fatigue related to anemia. Studies show that spirulina increases natural hemoglobin levels in the blood, which allows for red blood cells to carry more oxygen to needy tissues (13 ). This boosts energy and helps reverse anemia.
Vitamin D is essential for several body functions and processes, yet most people are deficient in it. Supplementing with a quality source can help. Research shows that vitamin D supplementation reduces fatigue and increases energy levels, even in those with conditions like cancer (14 ).
Along with boosting the immune system, vitamin C can also boost the body’s natural energy stores. This is most likely attributed to vitamin C’s ability to reduce oxidative stress, which is one of the main underlying causes of fatigue (15 ). Vitamin C also increases the body’s iron absorption, which can help to reduce anemia-related tiredness (16 ).
Studies show that those with chronic fatigue syndrome present with low serum levels of zinc, suggesting that zinc is a key factor in maintaining normal energy levels (17 ). Other research confirms that zinc supplementation can improve fatigue and increase energy in those with debilitating fatigue, such as during chemotherapy treatment (18 ).
Like vitamin C, copper is needed to fully absorb and use iron from our food. Copper can boost energy levels by supporting proper iron absorption and therefore healthy blood oxygen levels to fight anemia-related fatigue (19 ). Other studies show that copper is low in those with chronic fatigue syndrome (20 ).
Enhance Your Energy with Nature
Fatigue can prevent you from living your life to the fullest, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Supplementing with natural ingredients like these can help you overcome fatigue, while also supporting your overall health, wellness, and resilience.
While it’s possible to beat fatigue naturally, always check with your doctor. If you’re suffering from overwhelming fatigue or sleepiness, it’s important to speak with a trusted healthcare provider to rule out any potential health conditions.
- Committee on the Diagnostic Criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome; Board on the Health of Select Populations; Institute of Medicine. Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2015 Feb 10. Summary. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK284892/
- Sapra A, Bhandari P. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. [Updated 2020 Nov 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557676/
- Thomas, Marie, and Andrew Smith. “An investigation into the cognitive deficits associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.” The open neurology journal vol. 3 13-23. 27 Feb. 2009, doi:10.2174/1874205X00903010013
- Harvey, Samuel B et al. “The relationship between fatigue and psychiatric disorders: evidence for the concept of neurasthenia.” Journal of psychosomatic research vol. 66,5 (2009): 445-54. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2008.12.007
- Tiralongo, Evelin et al. “Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Nutrients vol. 8,4 182. 24 Mar. 2016, doi:10.3390/nu8040182
- Segerstrom, Suzanne C. “Stress, Energy, and Immunity: An Ecological View.” Current directions in psychological science vol. 16,6 (2007): 326-330. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00522.x
- Zhang HW, Lin ZX, Xu C, Leung C, Chan LS. Astragalus (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Oct 22;(10):CD008369. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD008369.pub2. PMID: 25335553.
- Chen HW, Lin IH, Chen YJ, Chang KH, Wu MH, Su WH, Huang GC, Lai YL. A novel infusible botanically-derived drug, PG2, for cancer-related fatigue: a phase II double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study. Clin Invest Med. 2012 Feb 1;35(1):E1-11. doi: 10.25011/cim.v35i1.16100. PMID: 22309959.
- Yeh, Tzu-Shao et al. “Astragalus membranaceus improves exercise performance and ameliorates exercise-induced fatigue in trained mice.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 19,3 2793-807. 3 Mar. 2014, doi:10.3390/molecules19032793
- Bertoglio, J C et al. “Andrographis paniculata decreases fatigue in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a 12-month double-blind placebo-controlled pilot study.” BMC neurology 16 77. 23 May. 2016, doi:10.1186/s12883-016-0595-2
- Morihara N et al. Garlic as an anti-fatigue agent. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Nov;51(11):1329-34. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200700062. PMID: 17955479.
- Morihara, Naoaki et al. (2006). Aged Garlic Extract Ameliorates Physical Fatigue. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin. 29. 962-6. 10.1248/bpb.29.962.
- Selmi, Carlo et al. “The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens.” Cellular & molecular immunology vol. 8,3 (2011): 248-54. doi:10.1038/cmi.2010.76
- Roy, Satyajeet et al. “Correction of Low Vitamin D Improves Fatigue: Effect of Correction of Low Vitamin D in Fatigue Study (EViDiF Study).” North American journal of medical sciences vol. 6,8 (2014): 396-402. doi:10.4103/1947-2714.139291
- Suh, Sang-Yeon et al. “Intravenous vitamin C administration reduces fatigue in office workers: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.” Nutrition journal vol. 11 7. 20 Jan. 2012, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-7
- Mao X, Yao G. Effect of vitamin C supplementations on iron deficiency anemia in Chinese children. Biomed Environ Sci. 1992 Jun;5(2):125-9. PMID: 1642785.
- Maes M, Mihaylova I, De Ruyter M. Lower serum zinc in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS): relationships to immune dysfunctions and relevance for the oxidative stress status in CFS. J Affect Disord. 2006 Feb;90(2-3):141-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2005.11.002. Epub 2005 Dec 9. PMID: 16338007.
- Ribeiro, Sofia Miranda de Figueiredo et al. “Effects of zinc supplementation on fatigue and quality of life in patients with colorectal cancer.” Einstein (Sao Paulo, Brazil) vol. 15,1 (2017): 24-28. doi:10.1590/S1679-45082017AO3830
- Wazir, Shoaib M, and Ibrahim Ghobrial. “Copper deficiency, a new triad: anemia, leucopenia, and myeloneuropathy.” Journal of community hospital internal medicine perspectives vol. 7,4 265-268. 19 Sep. 2017, doi:10.1080/20009666.2017.1351289
- Maric, Daniela et al. “Multivitamin mineral supplementation in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.” Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research vol. 20 47-53. 14 Jan. 2014, doi:10.12659/MSM.889333