I recently attended a seminar where we looked closely at 5 nutrients you do not want to go without. They all play a critical role in wellness and are needed in plentiful supply in order for the body to run efficiently with regards to our energy. These nutrients are all required by the mitochondria, or ‘energy centre’ of each and every one of our cells. When a nutrient deficiency, or even something like chemical toxicity (very common in this day and age) occurs, these simple processes are impaired.
Without further ado – here they all are!
1. CoQ10 / Ubiquinone
‘Ubiquinone’ (derived from the word ‘ubiquitous’ meaning ‘everywhere’) is so called, because it literally is present in (almost!) every cell in our bodies. Our heart is our biggest user of it, and not far behind are our kidneys and liver. It is required for energy production and acts as an antioxidant in our body (antioxidants are akin to rubbish trucks / street sweepers etc – they go around and clean things up). A deficiency in it affects every single tissue in the body.
Our bodys ability to convert ‘ubiquinone’ into its active form ‘ubiquinol’, decreases after a short 25 years of life. It must be in its ‘activated’ form to exert it’s effect. You can buy both CoQ10 and Ubiquinol as supplements. If you’re feeling fatigued or have poor stamina, this is a nutrient worth looking into. For anyone with a chronic disease, I’d recommend looking further into it too, making sure to always discuss your particular needs with a registered health professional first. As we age, I find a lot of people just feel better for taking it.
If supplementing, it’s best to take your daily dose for 1 month in order to reach suitable levels to have the desired on going effect as opposed to taking ad hoc. Athletes can take it 4 – 6 hours prior to a marathon / event to aid with energy.
2. B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 / folate, B12)
These are involved somewhere along the way for pretty much everything that needs to happen in your body to keep you going and to keep you healthy. Our bodies do not store B vitamins so a ready supply of them is necessary for optimal health. Essentially, the B vitamins provide resilience for your nervous system – think of how well you manage in stressful situations – do you crumble or handle things ok? If supplementing, it’s best to take a full ‘complex’ with all the B’s in it, and add any single additional ones on top of that as they work in synergy with each other.
As a key component of our red blood cells, iron is necessary to transport oxygen around the body. It’s also involved in energy metabolism and is essential for making hormones, new cells, etc. During development, a deficiency can actually cause permanent cognitive + physical effects, however, this is one mineral that should never be supplemented unless you’ve been prescribed it by a health professional. Always check your levels first.
Vitamin C aids iron absorption, so squeezing a little lemon juice onto iron rich foods such as spinach and fish helps to uptake more iron. Dairy, on the other hand, can interfere with absorption. In children, iron deficiency often shows up as similar symptoms to ADHD – i.e. poor concentration, can’t sit still, poor uptake of new information, etc. In such cases, again, it’s important to check levels before commencing with any supplements.
Zinc is needed for over 300 processes in the body. It’s important for cell growth and repair and is one of the biggies for a healthy immune system. Its essential for reproduction, especially so for male fertility. Some signs that you may be deficient include poor sense of taste, having skin conditions like dermatitis and eczema, little white flecks on your fingernails and low immunity. Zinc is in the outer shell of nuts. Around 50% of us are deficient, which is a lot of us, BUT that also means that 50% of us have adequate levels, so no supplementing without checking levels first! Another thing to keep in mind too, is that most nutrients in the body work with other nutrients – they need them to maintain a harmonious balance between themselves. You’ll often find an assorted list of nutrients on supplements – often these are the ‘co factors’ needed to absorb / utilise the main ingredient, e.g. zinc.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is necessary for our immune health, healthy bones and reproductive health. In humans, cholesterol is an essential part in manufacturing our bodies vitamin D. Anyone taking cholesterol reducing drugs should thus get their levels checked as this is an easy one to supplement if levels are low.
The main dietary sources include oily fish (e.g. cod, salmon, sardines) and eggs (always opt for free range and organic with eggs). Many breads and cereals are also fortified with it these days.
It’s become quite the ‘buzz word’ of late too and there are a lot of options on the market for vitamin D supplements. They are not all equal though! I choose to stock a ‘practitioner only’ one as these are rigorously tested to ensure they provide you with the stated levels right through until their noted expiry and more importantly, that they are ‘stable’ for their lifetime, again, to offer you exactly the stated dose through to the end of expiry.
Here’s to everyone’s health and energy!