2018's 10 Best
A productive workout is usually dependent on a few key components. These include good pre-workout nutrition, sufficient hydration, and adequate rest. A deficiency in any one of these areas could be detrimental to your training, as they can negatively impact your energy levels. And your energy levels can affect the quality of your workout.
Low energy can make training feel tougher than usual, forcing you to put in more effort for the same results. This in turn can be demotivating enough to make you skip your next workout altogether. Fortunately, if you are feeling low on energy, there are some supplements that can look to for a quick boost.
Energy supplements can enhance your natural energy levels. They are available in a range of products, including pills, powders, drinks, and bars. It is important to note, however, that energy products should not serve as a replacement for getting enough sleep. They are supplements and should only be used to augment an already healthy lifestyle. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways that an energy supplement might be able to benefit you. Jump to Our 10 Best Energy Supplements List
Energy supplements can make it easier for you to get through your aerobic workouts. As such, they can have an indirect positive effect on your heart health. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart, and a strong heart is essential for overall health. Combined with a healthy diet, exercise can also help you lose weight. Being at a healthy weight is also linked to improved heart health.
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of weekly exercise for general heart health. They recommend that this be split into 30-minute sessions and spread over five days. Alternatively, the AHA suggests a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise split into three 25-minute sessions.
Cardiovascular exercise can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. If you are exercising for this purpose, the AHA recommends 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise 3 to 4 times a week. No matter which routine you go with, energy supplements can help.
Many energy supplements contain nootropic ingredients such as CoQ10 and ginseng. Nootropics can provide a variety of benefits for your brain. Some improve cognitive function. Others can inhibit receptors that are responsible for slowing activity in the brain. Some nootropics can also improve memory and reaction time. Still others can improve your mood.
Another way that energy supplements can help is by boosting dopamine levels. Dopamine contributes to the regulation of cognitive function, mood, motivation, and memory.
Common Ingredients in Energy Supplements
There are several types of energy supplements available, and each may have a different blend of ingredients. Here is a look at some of the more common ingredients that you may come across.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can reduce tiredness and increase energy. Once ingested, caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream. It travels to the brain where it blocks the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine.
Norepinephrine and dopamine are neurotransmitters that regulate mood and behavior. When adenosine is blocked, levels of norepinephrine and dopamine increase. These neurotransmitters can help to improve several areas of brain function. These areas include memory, energy levels, reaction times, and cognitive function.
Side effects: Caffeine is generally safe in doses up to 400 mg for healthy adults. In higher doses, caffeine may cause anxiety, insomnia, increased heart rate, and tremors. Caffeine may also cause digestive issues and can worsen symptoms of gastro reflux esophageal disease. Finally, caffeine can be addictive.
Green tea is full of nutrients and antioxidants and is a source of caffeine. Like coffee, green tea blocks adenosine. The blocking of this neurotransmitter helps to improve brain function and energy levels.
Green tea and coffee both contain caffeine. However, green tea also contains l-theanine, which is an amino acid. L-theanine increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which produces an anti-anxiety effect. When combined, caffeine and l-theanine can synergistically improve brain function.
Side effects: Since green tea contains caffeine, it can cause the same side effects.
GUARANA SEED EXTRACT
Guarana is high in caffeine and is commonly found in energy drinks. The seeds contain approximately four times more caffeine than coffee beans. Guarana works in the same way as caffeine. It blocks adenosine which helps to improve mental focus and energy.
Side effects: Since guarana contains caffeine, it can cause the same side effects.
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cells in our body. Mitochondria produce over 90 percent of the energy that the human body requires. When cells experience oxidative stress, the mitochondria can become damaged, and the cells can’t function properly. This can be detrimental to muscle function and therefore energy levels. CoQ10 is one ingredient found in energy supplements that can help with this issue.
In 2008, a study was published that assessed the effects of 14-day CoQ10 supplementation on exercise performance. The study showed that CoQ10 supplementation helped to reduce oxidative stress in cells. This in turn helped to decrease fatigue and improve muscle function potential and performance.
Side effects: CoQ10 may cause mild side effects, such as stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. It may also lower blood pressure and cause skin rashes.
Ginseng, like CoQ10, has been shown to lower oxidative stress. This can help to optimize energy production in cells, which can prevent fatigue.
Ginseng has also been shown to reduce inflammation. When we exercise, we create a temporary stressful inflammatory environment. Reducing inflammation can potentially allow us to exercise at a higher intensity for a longer amount of time.
Side effects: Ginseng may cause menstrual problems, vaginal bleeding, and breast pain. It may also cause high or low blood pressure, dizziness, and rapid heart rate. Other side effects include insomnia, headaches, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and mood changes.
B vitamins assist in converting nutrients into energy. B vitamins are essential because the body cannot produce them on their own. They need to be obtained from dietary sources or through supplements. B vitamins cannot be stored, so they must be replenished regularly.
There are several types of B vitamins. Together, they form the B-vitamin complex.
- Vitamin B-1 (thiamine)
- Vitamin B-2 (riboflavin)
- Vitamin B-3 (niacin)
- Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin B-7 (biotin)
- Vitamin B-12
- Vitamin B-9 (folate or folic acid)
All B vitamins perform similar roles, but they each have slightly different functions. B vitamins are required for cellular metabolism and energy production. Supplementing with a B-vitamin complex can improve energy levels.
Side effects: The more serious side effects are generally only a risk when used in high doses. B vitamins are safe when used in lower doses. If you plan on taking higher doses, consult with your doctor first. Vitamin B3 may cause vomiting, high blood sugar levels, flushed skin, and liver damage. Vitamin B6 may cause nerve damage, light sensitivity, and skin lesions. Jump to Our 10 Best Energy Supplements List
Exercise Performance Benefits
Energy supplements can also help you perform better in the gym. This is largely due to caffeine, which is a common ingredient in energy supplements. Here are a few areas that can benefit from the use of an energy supplement containing caffeine.
When ingested, caffeine is absorbed into the bloodstream, and its effects are quickly apparent. Blood levels of caffeine peak after approximately 90 minutes and remain high for 3-4 hours. Due to the lengthy lifespan of caffeine in the blood, it can have a positive impact on exercise endurance.
A study published in 2018 assessed the effect of caffeine on exercise performance on well-trained athletes. The study revealed that endurance was enhanced with the ingestion of both 3 and 6 mg/kg of caffeine.
Caffeine may have the ability to improve physical speed. A study investigated the effects of 3g of caffeinated coffee on athletes during a 1500m treadmill run. The results showed that caffeine decreased the time taken to run 1500m. It also revealed that caffeine ingestion increased the speed of the “finishing burst.”
Caffeine may have a positive impact on strength. A study assessed voluntary muscle contraction of the quadriceps muscles in the legs using a twitch technique. The study tested isometric, concentric, and eccentric muscle contractions. Results showed that caffeine induced an acute increase in voluntary activation that was responsible for increased strength regardless of the contraction mode.
Another study published in 2013 assessed the effects of caffeine on several areas of exercise performance. It assessed strength performance, perceived exertion, and muscle pain perception during resistance exercise. It stated that caffeine-enhanced resistance exercise performance to failure. It also reduced the perception of exertion and muscle pain.
Caffeine is a well-known ingredient in fat loss supplements. This is often thought to be due to caffeine’s ability to increase energy, which allows us to exercise and burn calories more. While this is true, caffeine may also directly influence fat burn. A study published in 2010 assessed the effects of caffeine on lipolysis. It showed that caffeine was able to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, which in turn increased lipolysis, and therefore fat burn.
Many of the studies mentioned highlight the positive effects caffeine can have on exercise performance. However, it must be noted that many of the most promising studies are those involving trained athletes. Caffeine appears to have the most impact on exercise performance for those who exercise regularly and at a high level. So be careful when using this supplement. More doesn’t always necessarily mean better.
What to Look for When Buying Energy Supplements
Not all energy supplements are created equal. Each will contain their own unique cocktail of ingredients. The product you choose should reflect your training goals and lifestyle. Below are some questions to consider when choosing a supplement for your workouts.
IS FAT LOSS YOUR MAIN GOAL?
If so, you’ll want to avoid sugar-laden energy supplements that could be detrimental to fat loss. Opt for energy pills or sugar-free powders instead.
HOW MUCH CAFFEINE ARE YOU ALREADY CONSUMING?
The majority of energy supplements are high in caffeine. Assess your current intake to help you determine which product is most suited to your needs. This could also help you to decide whether to take the maximum dose or a smaller one.
ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH REST?
It is important that you do not become dependent on supplements. Dependency could reduce the quality of your sleep and eventually cause harm to your body. Energy supplements could also mask genuine tiredness, causing eventual fatigue. Use supplements sensibly and ensure that you get enough sleep. In general, it is recommended that adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
Dosage for Energy Supplements
Most energy supplements have dosage guidelines on the label. When taking a new supplement, it is wise to start with the minimum dose to assess how you react to the ingredients. This will also give your body time to adjust, which should reduce the risk of unwanted side effects. Increase the dose gradually if and when you find it necessary to do so. Do not exceed the maximum dose as stated on the label. If you experience any unwanted side effects, stop taking the supplement immediately. Seek medical help, if required.
Energy supplements are not suitable for everyone. If you have an existing health condition or heart problem, consult with your doctor before using an energy supplement. The stimulants found in energy supplements can potentially interfere with medication.
Best Energy Supplements
Our top 10 list of energy supplements is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality energy supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.
- Rudy Mawer, MSc, CISSN How Caffeine Improves Exercise Performance HealthLine.com
- Graham, T.E., Spriet, L.L. Metabolic, Catecholamine, and Exercise Performance Responses to Various Doses of Caffeine PubMed.gov
- J.D. Wiles, S.R. Bird, J. Hopkins, and M. Riley Effect of Caffeinated Coffee on Running Speed, Respiratory Factors, Blood Lactate and Perceived Exertion During 1500-m Treadmill Running PubMed.gov
- Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE 9 Side Effects of Too Much Caffeine HealthLine.com
- Kris Gunnars, BSc 13 Health Benefits of Coffee, Based on Science HealthLine.com
- Kris Gunnars, BSc 10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea HealthLine.com
- Dimitrios Moustakas, Michael Mezzio, Branden R. Rodriguez, Mic Andre Constable, Margaret E. Mulligan, and Evelyn B. Voura Guarana Provides Additional Stimulation over Caffeine Alone in the Planarian Model PubMed.gov
- Arlene Semeco, MS, RD 9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) HealthLine.com
- Arlene Semeco, MS, RD 8 Proven Health Benefits of Ginseng HealthLine.com
- Bach, H.V., Kim, J., Myung, S.K., Cho, Y.A. Efficacy of Ginseng Supplements on Fatigue and Physical Performance: A Meta-analysis PubMed.gov
- Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS Vitamin B: Top 6 Benefits of B Vitamins & How to Get More in Your Diet DrAxe.com
- Mayo Clinic Staff Caffeine: How Much is Too Much? MayoClinic.org
Gym Vixen Shred landed the number two spot this year because of its impressive formula.
- Caffeine Anhydrous
- White WIllow Bark Extract
- Garcinia Cambogia
JetFuel Original combines Niacin and Vitamin B12 with a state-of-the-art proprietary blend placing it here on the list.
- DMAE Bitartrate
- Guarana Seed Extract
- MCT Oil Powder
- American Ginseng Root
- Bitter Orange Fruit Extract
- Yohimbe Bark Extract
- Green Tea Leaf Extract
PhysiqueSeries Fat Burner provides an extreme formula with ingredients that have earned it a spot on this top 10 list.
- Green Tea
- Salicin Bark Extract
- Cayenne Pepper Extract
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