Some of the key nutrients that are needed to make energy in the body include the B vitamins, magnesium, l -carnitine, D ribose, CoQ10. The answer for long lasting energy levels isn’t as easy as consuming coffee, sugar and energy drinks which do more damage in the long term. Instead the focus needs to be on what nutrients may be low that are required by the mitochondria to make energy.
Importance of mitochondria
When it comes to increasing energy levels the mitochondria are super important and need support as the mitochondria is the power house of the cell that take glucose and fatty acids to produce the bodies usable form of ATP. To really support the production of energy to increase energy levels we want to be able to utilize fatty acids for fuel as fats are the mitochondria’s preferred source of fuel and yields far more ATP (energy) than glucose and sugar.
L-carnitine for energy
Most dietary fatty acids are long chain fatty acids which require l-carnitine for transportation across the mitochondrial. The transportation of fatty acids for energy production is one of l – carnitines most important function. Due to l- carnitines ability to transport fatty acids you can see how l -carnitine is necessary for both burning fat for weight loss and for boosting energy levels… win-win in my eyes.
Magnesium for energy
Magnesium is another key mineral that is commonly deficient and is needed as a co-factor for the production of ATP. A lot of the magnesium in the body is found bound to ATP which is why magnesium is so important for making energy in the body.
B vitamins for energy
B vitamins play a huge role in energy production by either being a direct co factor for a specific enzymatic reaction or as a precursor for an important energy related molecule.
B1 (thiamine) functions in carbohydrate metabolism to convert pyruvate into acetyl-CoA for entry into the TCA cycle the following steps to make ATP
B2 (riboflavin) plays a role in shuttling electrons in the mitochondria
B3 (niacin) is the precursor to the molecule NAD and NADH which is required by the mitochondria to make energy
B5 (pantothenic acid) is a precursor to coenzyme A which is needed for the metabolism of carbs
B6 is needed as a co-factor for many enzymes involved in energy metabolism. B6 is also needed for hemoglobin synthesis and red blood cell growth which is critical for oxygen delivery to the mitochondria.
CoQ10 is another very important nutrient that helps to ensure that all the electron transport chains in the mitochondria are passing their electrons down the chain for energy production. Coq10 also acts as an antioxidant and protects the mitochondrial DNA and membranes from oxidative damage by taking free radicals or their electrons and putting them back in the electron transport chain for energy production.
These are just some of the key nutrients needed to make ATP (the bodies usable form and energy). As much as the macro-nutrients are needed in energy production so are the micro-nutrients which is why it is necessary to eat a whole food diet full of variety so that the body has access to these micro-nutrients to make energy and help you to feel energized.
Supplementing with additional key nutrients needed by the mitochondria can be very beneficial for somebody who is always tired. Magnesium, L-carnitine, B vitamins and CoQ10 are great support for helping the body and the hardworking mitochondria make ATP in order to naturally increase your energy levels.
References: Mitochondria and the Future of Medicine by Lee Know ND