Vitamins are naturally occurring compounds that we gain from what we eat. They help to keep our bodies functioning at optimal levels, from muscle contractions, all the way to brain function. Without them, our bodies would struggle to survive, breathing, organ function, and everything else that goes on inside, all require certain vitamins to function.
Most vitamins that we require cannot be created by our body, and as such why we must gain them through our diet, or supplementation.
There are 13 vitamins altogether, with each of them playing certain roles in the body, so maintaining high levels is important. Vitamins can be very easily consumed through our diet, however many individuals can struggle to meet the requirements, which is why they use supplementation for ease, convenience and its also very cost effective.
So, even though each vitamin has its own role, they’re actually grouped into two categories: water-soluble vitamins, and fat-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble – These are vitamins that are dissolved in water and readily absorbed into tissue for immediate use. Unfortunately, these are not stored, meaning they need to be replenished regularly in the diet. Water-soluble vitamins include; Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, folate, biotin and pantothenic acid.
Fat-soluble – These vitamins are dissolved in fats, absorbed in the small intestine and then distributed around the body. Unlike water-soluble vitamins, they can be stored within our fat tissue, so if any go unused they are stored and then used when needed. Due to these vitamins being stored, it’s important not to overdose. Fat-soluble vitamins include; Vitamin A, D, E, & K.
Where Can I Find Vitamins?
The human body can only produce 3 out of the 13 vitamins, however, these are all in limited amounts. All vitamins can be consumed through the food that we eat. It’s important to gain these vitamins in a balanced diet and through fresh food, as vitamins can become unstable when processed, so it’s best not to gain them down the frozen food aisle.
Eating this healthy well-balanced diet is the best way to gain your vitamin consumption. Unfortunately, this can be expensive and difficult, which is vitamin supplementation is so popular. If you want to know a little more about why we need vitamins, click here to be directed right through to another article ‘Why Do We Need Vitamins’.
What Are The Best Vitamins To Help With Tiredness
In the ideal world, we would eat our 5 a day, drink plenty of water, exercise, be stress-free and be in bed by 10 to get a good 7 hours sleep. We can only dream of a day like that. Unfortunately, things come up, you work late, don’t eat so well, and maybe skip on your gym session to get back up to speed with that new series everyone is banging on about until who knows what time.
The next day you’re tired, sluggish and in need of a boost. Rather than going for that strong coffee that will inevitably give you a 3 pm come down, try increasing your vitamin intake instead. Not only will it help reduce tiredness and fatigue but also improve overall health and well being. We’ve compiled some of the best vitamins to help with tiredness below.
How Does Vitamin B Help with tiredness?
In total there are 8 vitamin B’s, often they are given a different name such as folate or niacin. However, they’re all part of the same clan. B vitamins are incredibly important for helping our bodies convert food into energy.
The more you workout or train the more energy you need, so B vitamins are used to help with this. One of the reasons for feeling tired and fatigued after a hard training session is due to these now being in limited amounts in the body.
Now getting down to the science of this. Basically, B vitamins are involved in every single step of the essential catabolic process of creating energy (Mock & Boitin, 2007).
Being deficient in just one of the 8 B vitamins can affect the whole process and function ( Rivlin, 2007). For example, the active forms of the B vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid are all essential co-enzymes within the mitochondrial aerobic respiration and energy production (Huskisson & Maggini, 2007), via their roles in the citric cycle, the electron transport chain and the resultant formation of ATP (the cells energy production) (Depeint, 2006).
Furthering this, the B vitamins thiamine and biotin play additional roles in the mitochondrial metabolism of glucose (Kerns et al. 2015), which is the biochemical process responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates, and we all know how good carbs are at giving us that well needed sustained energy boost throughout the day.
Where can I find B Vitamins?
B vitamins can be found in several sports nutrition products and are quite often a key ingredient in some pre-workouts or nootropics. Whether you gain them from a B complex tablet or multi-vitamin, they can also be consumed through the food that we eat.
Here are just a few examples of food that are high in B Vitamins; salmon, leafy greens, eggs, milk, beef, legumes, chicken, turkey, yoghurt, fortified cereals, and even sunflower seeds. So it shouldn’t be an issue to make sure you get enough B vitamins no matter what diet you’re currently taking.
How Does Vitamin D Help with tiredness and fatigue?
Now, you may have heard about vitamin D and its well-known title for being the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and well you’re right. Vitamin D is naturally produced through UV light hitting our skin, we won’t go into so much detail about how that works but for now, that’s all you need to know.
What this means is during the winter months, or if from England, the summer months too, your body is not exposed to the sun as much as it would like to be, resulting in your body becoming deficient in Vitamin D. Maybe now you’ll realise it’s not just lack of sleep that’s making you tired during winter?
Vitamin D plays some pretty important roles in the body including muscle function (Holick, 2006) and muscle strength (Shincyuk & Holick, 2006), but one benefit that many individuals do not realise is vitamin D’s ability to reduce fatigue which can overall help with your tiredness and increase energy levels.
Studies looking at vitamin D have shown its positive impact on mitochondria health. Mitochondria use glucose and oxygen to make the energy-rich molecule ATP. Our muscles cells need large quantities of ATP for muscle contractions and movements but also use phosphocreatine as a ready and available energy source to help make up ATP too. The mitochondria help to replenish phosphocreatine stores after muscle contractions, and the time taken to complete this is a measure of mitochondrial health.
That may sound quite complicated but bare with us. A study performed by Dr Akash Sinha in 2013, looked at improved mitochondria after vitamin D consumption among 12 participants. She discovered that recovery rates of phosphocreatine stores significantly improved after a fixed oral dose of vitamin D for 10-12 weeks, decreasing the recovery times from 34.4 seconds to 27.8 seconds, with those also reporting to have an improvement in fatigue symptoms too.
Demonstrating that with vitamin D consumption you can improve the health of your mitochondria which results in reducing recovery times, improving energy production and less fatigue throughout the day.
Where can I find vitamin D?
The sunshine vitamin is extremely popular, so getting your hands on a vitamin tablet is really easy, but more importantly important if unfortunately, you’re not getting enough skin in the sun. Although if tablets are not your got too, there are plenty of foods that can also help replenish and boost your stores, for example; salmon, egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified foods, and orange juice.
Though if on a calorie controlled diet, then supplementation is the way forward, it’s also a lot more cost effective too
How Does Vitamin C Help with tiredness and fatigue?
So we are sure you’ve seen players at half time biting into their orange slice getting ready to head out for another 45 minutes in the cold and wet, but eating an orange may be more than just a gimmick. For a start, it contains a nice dosage of vitamin C, which we will discuss just a little further down at how that can help with your tiredness and fatigue.
Vitamin C is found in many different sources of foods but surprisingly is often also found in pre-workout powders too. Vitamin C is very well known for helping to protect cells from oxidative stress, which is why consuming it pre-workout helps to maintain healthy cells during your intense sessions, but that’s a story for another article, we’re here to talk about helping tiredness and fatigue.
To start with vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant and an essential macronutrient whether you take part in exercise or not. Vitamin C helps support the bodies defence system through supporting epithelial barrier against pathogens and promotes oxidant scavenging activity of the skin, thereby protecting cells against oxidative stress. (Carr & Maggini, 2017).
Vitamin C is found within phagocytic cells such as neutrophils and can enhance chemotaxis (movement of cells), phagocytosis (process of cells killing harmful bacteria), generation of reactive oxygen species (cells containing and transporting oxygen) and ultimately microbial killing (Hemila, 2017).
Having a vitamin C deficiency can result in a reduced immunity and higher susceptibility to infections, which in turn if you do obtain reduces your vitamin C levels (Maggini et al. 2010), it’s a vicious circle.
What this means is it helps your body to fight off infections, bacteria and other little nasties your body comes in contact with on a daily basis. Vitamin C enables our body to fight these off, keeping us fit, healthy and ultimately full of energy.
We’ve all been sick and understand how tiring that can make you feel, supplementing and consuming vitamin C gives you a greater chance of reducing your recovery times from being sick or can even stop you from getting sick in the first place.
Where can I find vitamin C?
Vitamin C can be easily attained through supplementation or food, and as we said before, you’re probably already consuming them in some of your powders without even realising it.
Vitamin C can be found in; oranges, thyme, parsley, spinach, kale, broccoli, lemons, strawberries, and many more. Though if time and convenience is what you’re looking for then supplementation may be your go-to vitamin C boost.
Other Ways To Reduce Tiredness
Being tired and fatigued can have a bigger impact on your health than you may realise, it can impact on your social well being, working life and overall your mood and mental health, something that all needs to be taken into consideration when you think of having that all-nighter.
Other than eating the right foods, getting your vitamins and minerals, there are other useful ways you can help with making sure you wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and refuelled for the day ahead. We’ve asked some of the employees at TPW towers to give us their top 5 tips for helping their tiredness.
Screens before Bed – It’s been well documented that playing on your phone, tablet, computer etc before bed can affect how you sleep. Research has found that exposure to ‘blue light’ that is emitted from these devices suppresses the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles. It’s advised to turn these devices off an hour before hitting the hay, and even before that putting the devices into night mode which helps to limit the amount of blue light shown on the screen.
Caffeine Consumption – Caffeine can be found in cola, chocolate, coffee and your favorite pre-workout drinks. Caffeine works by simply inhibiting adenosine receptors in the brain which produce the feeling or being tired, making you feel more awake. It can also increase your heart rate too, which when settling down for the night is something that you really want to avoid.
Drink Water – Keeping your body hydrated before sleep is incredibly important, though don’t drink too much or you’ll be making a trip or two to the bathroom over the night. Simply your body needs water to function, such as your melatonin production. Being dehydrated can also dry and close your throat and nasal passage causing your to snore, which again can wake you up through the night.
Exercise – Probably the most important out of the lot. Not only does exercise help to increase serotonin making you feel happier, have a positive impact on your physical health but it also tires out your body. Especially if sat down at work all day you will have built up energy thats needs to be used. Exercising helps to use this whilst also reducing stress levels, and gives you time to clear your mind ready for a good nights sleep.
Routine – routine is easier said than done. Your body has a sleep cycle and gets used to certain hours you sleep and certain hours you wake up. If you’re constantly changing when you go to bed and went you wake up your body wont be able to keep up and will result in you having a poor sleep and feeling tired the next day. Of course going to bed at the exact same time every day is difficult. Things come up, meetings finish late, so once a week isnt an issue, it’s if doing this every day will have a detrimental impact.
Our Best Vitamin Blends For Tiredness
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Rivlin, R.S. Riboflavin (vitamin B2 ). In Handbook of Vitamins, 4th ed.; Zempleni, J., Rucker, R.B., McCormick, D.B., Suttie, J.W., Eds.; CRC Press: Boca Raton, FL, USA, 2007
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Maggini, S., Wenzlaff, S., & Hornig, D. (2010). Essential Role of Vitamin C and Zinc in Child Immunity and Health. Journal of International Medical Research, 38(2), 386–414. https://doi.org/10.1177/147323001003800203