For patients needing an energy boost, nutritional supplements can help while patients develop life-style changes.
Thanks to communications technology, people have 24/7 access to each other, and in fast-paced companies, workers are expected to show up at work early and stay as long as it takes to get an important project finished. Middle of the night calls are common if clients are on the other side of the globe.
Given all this, is it any wonder that we have turned into a nation that lives off energy drinks, cola, and lattes with three shots of espresso?
Perceptions of fatigue
An important study in the Journal of the American Medical Association surveyed over 1,150 adults in two medical clinics. Approximately one quarter of those surveyed felt that their fatigue was a major problem. Furthermore, less than 30 percent of those who reported serious fatigue had improved.1
Given this low success rate, DCs should not be surprised to see patients in their practice with a complaint of chronic fatigue. While such patients may get spurts of increased energy from energy drinks, soda or coffee, it generally only lasts for a brief time before the patient simply crashes again, feeling even worse.
The question then becomes: Which supplements can be recommended to help patients not only boost their energy, but maintain it at a higher level.
Of course, well-researched, familiar advice to give patients is get consistent sleep, regular exercise, and healthy eating.2 While this advice is important, it involves major life-style changes on the part of the patient. These changes can take time to make, often over the course of several years.
For patients experiencing a lack of energy, nutritional supplements may be a great solution while patients develop needed life-style changes.
The following supplements increase stamina and reduce fatigue include may offer more immediate results the following:
Asian ginseng: There are many claims for this herb, including lowering blood sugar and improving stamina.3 Several small studies have shown promising results, but further research is needed.
CoQ10, carnitine, and B vitamins: Unlike stimulants such as ginseng, these compounds work to boost the body’s metabolism, thus increasing energy.2,4,5 These nutrients can be found in food such as broccoli, dark leafy greens, nuts, fish, shellfish, pork, chicken, and beef.
Patients looking to up their energy level should look at changing their lifestyle habits to get the long-term boost they need. When deciding on supplements in the meantime, they should determine if the supplement is safe, has scientific evidence in its favor, or will give them the results they desire.2 This is where the DC can play a very important role in getting patients on the right track to having more energy and stamina to stay productive during busy work days.
1 Kroenke K, Wood DR, Mangelsdorff AD. Chronic fatigue in primary care: Prevalence, patient characteristics, and outcome. JAMA. 1988;260(7):929-934.
2 WebMD. “Energy boosters: Can supplements and vitamins help? You have countless choices in energy supplements. But what works?” http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/energy-boosters-can-supplements-and-vitamins-help?page=6. Published December 2010. Accessed August 2015.
3 National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. “Ginseng.” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/asianginseng/ataglance.htm. Published April 2012. Accessed August 2015.
4 National Institutes of Health. “Carnatine.” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Carnitine-HealthProfessional/. Published May 2013. Accessed August 2015.
5 National Institutes of Health. “Vitamin B12.” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/. Published June 2011. Accessed August 2015.