What Vitamins Are You Lacking If You Are Tired All The Time?
Fed up with feeling tired all the time and want to know how to feel full of energy again?
I was reading an article on the causes of tiredness the other day and the top reason was “Lack of sleep”.
Tell us something we don’t know.
I’m not going to talk about Sleep Hygiene either - we have heard all about that.
But it got me thinking about the not-so-obvious reasons for exhaustion.
I’m talking about that feeling of brain fog, flat, low mood, numb, collapsing into afternoon naps, feeling like you can’t get out of bed, fixing on sugar or caffeine, motivation sapping, running out of steam half way through your day kind of tiredness.
Is that how you have been feeling?
The sort of tiredness that leaves you feeling like a shadow of your former self for no obvious reason.
The answer is usually with your brain health.
Is that surprising?
How much do you think about fuelling your brain for energy?
2 things to consider:
Is it nutrition?
Which vitamins are you lacking?
Is it emotional?
Are you feeling stressed or emotionally overwhelmed?
If it’s nutrition…
How well do you eat when you’re stressed or tired?
It’s so hard to keep yourself well nourished when you are tired, wired or stressed. It’s so difficult to find the energy to plan, shop and cook healthy meals that we all tend to reach for a quick sugar or carb fix which only leaves us feeling worse when we crash and burn.
But it’s amazing how quickly our energy and mood can be lifted when we give our brains some good fuel.
A great place to start: Vitamins for Fatigue
Fuel your brain right by drinking plenty of water and boosting your brain’s nutrients - especially with methylated B vitamins and amino acids (such as Tryptohphan, Tyrosine, Glutamine, Carnitine).
This can be a complete game changer.
If it’s the one thing you can manage to change, boost your nutrients.
Start with a multi-vitamin.
It’s the one 2 second action you do to start to increase your energy levels.
Here are the vitamins to take if you feeling tired all the time:
Vitamins for energy and tiredness
The number one MUST TAKE:
Methylated B Vitamins
Vitamin B Complex
Taking B vitamins is crucial to brain health - especially methylated B vitamins.
The body is a very complex machine, with various gears and switches that need to be all functioning properly to operate optimally. Think of methylation as the mechanism that turns biological switches on and off for a host of systems in the body.
What is methylation?
Methylated vitamins are the active versions of vitamins which your body can readily make use of, while un-methylated vitamins must go through a conversion process before your body can actually use them.
The problem is that many people are unable to make that conversion in their bodies because they have a genetic mutation that prevents it.
All humans have a gene called the MTHFR gene which is responsible for converting some vitamins into their usable state by the body.
60% of the U.S. and 40% of Australian and British people population have a mutation to this gene.
For all individuals who have the gene abnormality, the absorption of B-complex vitamins is either largely inefficient.
The system is reliant on one switch being turned on by a critical B vitamin, 5-MTHF (also known as active folate or methylfolate).
Unfortunately, many people have a genetic mutation that makes it challenging for their bodies to create enough 5-MTHFR so look for a supplement the has the methylated form and avoid folic acid.
Un-methylated B vitamins remain mostly unabsorbed, and can simply build up in the bodies pathways to the point of toxicity leaving you tired all the time and struggling.
But taking B vitamins that have already been methylated means that you can absorb them in a body ready form.
Sometimes this is the key that unlocks energy production in our brains and bodies.
Look for these words on the label:
These are the forms of the nutrients that help to optimise energy even if you have the genetic mutation that slows down the methylation cycle:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B5 (Calcium pantothonate)
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal 5’-phosphate)
Vitamin B9 Folate acid (L-5MTHF)
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)
The most important B vitamins are:
Vitamin B9 (Folate acid L-5 MTHF)
B9 is essential in the brain for making neurotransmitters and DNA. Supplementation has been shown to reduce depressive symptoms in people with normal and low folate levels 
It also helps with female fertility, reduces inflammation, and helps to balance blood sugar levels.
Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
Vitamin B12 is crucial for the release of energy, for the production of neurotransmitters and for the normal function of the brain and the nervous system. It is also involved in the formation of red blood cells and helps to create and regulate DNA .
The metabolism of every cell in the body depends on vitamin B12. It helps with tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion by helping your body produce energy.
This is especially important for vegans and vegetarians as the main source of B12 in food is in meat.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine HCL)
Thiamine is very important to our brain for tiredness, positive mood, its powerful anti-stress properties as well as being useful for focus and concentration. Low energy, depression, tiredness and fatigue, PMS and sleep disorders may be signs of mild deficiency (low levels of B1) which can be easily corrected with supplements 
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin 5’-Phosphate)
Riboflavin helps our brain with energy and tiredness, mental clarity and a healthy mood through being an important factor in the production of serotonin as part of the tryptophan and Vitamin B3 pathway 
Vitamin B3 (Niacin Nicotinamide)
Niacin helps us feel less tired as it boosts our brain with energy, mental clarity and a healthy mood through being an important factor in the production of serotonin as part of the tryptophan and Vitamin B2 pathway .
Vitamin B5 (Calcium Pantothenate)
Vitamin B5, also called pantothenic acid, is one of the most important vitamins for human life. It’s necessary for making blood cells, it helps you convert the food you eat into energy, it enhances memory, it reduces brain fog and fatigue helping with focus and concentration as part of the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine . If you are lacking this vitamin it could lead to low energy, fatigue and feeling tired all the time.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal 5’-phosphate)
Helps our brain function and the body make the hormones serotonin (which regulates mood) and norepinephrine (which helps your body cope with stress) . Vitamin B6 also helps our body make melatonin, which is important in helping regulate your internal clock and your sleep. It is one of the vitamins you may be lacking if you are tired all the time.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Depression, tiredness and fatigue are symptoms of low Biotin levels  and it is one of the vitamins that is indispensable for the normal functioning of the brain. The brain needs biotin to make neurotransmitters that keep you feeling mentally alert, happy and attentive.
Many people who feel tired all the time are lacking in B vitamins, so it’s important take vitamin B12 and folate (especially in the form of L-5 MTHFR) at the same time.
They are effective usually within one week of starting to take the supplements. And often people feel a difference the same day.
Other vitamins you may be lacking in if you are tired all the time
Vitamin C (Calcium Ascorbate)
Vitamin C deficiency has been linked to depression and anxiety  and adding extra Vitamin C has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and low energy levels .
It has also been shown to improve thinking and memory.
Improves mental and physical energy, improves brain power, lowers inflammation, boosts circulation, increases mental focus and increases fat burning .
CoQ10 is a compound in charge of producing energy in the cells of your body. CoQ10 helps to charge up the batteries of each cell (mitochondria)so it’s boosting your body with this nutrient can be the missing link to explaining your tiredness and exhaustion.
CoQ10 production decreases as you age, with fighting disease, overcoming stress and with nutritional deficiencies (in particular Vitamin B6) so taking a supplement can make an enormous difference in keeping your energy levels up.
If you are lacking tyrosine you can feel tired, have low mood and lost the joy for life.
Tyrosine turns into dopamine which helps you feel joyful, energised and motivated . Dopamine also influences serotonin, and together, they play a central role in regulating your mood and energy levels .
It’s one of the essential vitamins for your mood and to help you if you feel tired all the time. It’s an amino acid and helps with boosting mood and keeping you asleep. So this might be for you if you are waking early and not able to get back off to sleep. It is a precursor to melatonin and serotonin which help us to sleep and recover from lifestyle stress. We can get serotonin from food sources (like turkey, bananas, cashews) but it’s difficult to correct deficiencies without overdoing calories so supplementing is a fantastic way to support mood and get better sleep. Low serotonin levels are associated with anxiety and mild depression which can also be part of why we are feeling tired all the time.
Should you take some glutamine before going to bed?
Sleep, a good mood and energy are directly related. Anyone who starts their day after a restful night is better able to concentrate on work and feels more energised throughout the day.
Glutamine has a calming effect and counteracts symptoms of stress and can be the key ingredient missing if you are feeling wired and can’t relax or get off to sleep.
Several studies show that concentrations of glutamine in the body are diminished during times of physical or psychological stress.
How to increase your GABA?
Glutamine increases the production of GABA, gamma-amino-butyric acid. GABA is the most important inhibitory neurotransmitter of the brain. It is like a natural sedative in the brain. If the body has enough glutamine available it can manufacture GABA. This has a positive impact: peace of mind, balance in stressful situations, improved concentration and restorative sleep.
Taking glutamine before bed can be one of then best way to get restorative sleep and could be the vitamin you are lacking if you are tired all the time.
Do you want to make life easier…
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But what if it’s not nutrition…
Is it emotional?
If you are busy juggling work, home, family and social commitments with a packed diary and always feeling exhausted then maybe it’s also worth having a think about your relationship and social boundaries and patterns of behaviour.
A couple of quick questions:
Are you a people pleaser?
Are you good at spotting the warning signs of stress?
Becoming emotionally exhausted can come from a people pleasing pattern that you may not even be aware that you have. The deeper issue beneath this is a lack of self-worth. Hoping to be accepted and liked by everyone can leave us with the feeling that we need to change or hide parts of ourselves to be liked resulting, as time goes on, in the feeling that we don’t even know ourselves. Our identity has moulded and changed so much we have lost touch with how we feel, what we like, how we want to be treated, what is right for us. It means we accept however people treat us as normal and something that we have to put up with and quietly get over.
We have spent so much of our lives agreeing, keeping quiet, avoiding confrontation and saying yes to everything, that we think that this is the normal way of being. We code other people’s behaviour to make sure we fit in. We keep our opinions to ourselves. We do whatever we need to to be accepted and be included. Anything but rejection.
We fear that if people knew our *real selves they wouldn’t like us, let alone love us.
Does this mean your life is cluttered with the wrong people (who leave you feeling low in energy), too many roles (you always take on whatever people ask you to) and too many things (with no clear space)?
Signs of people pleasing:
You pretend to agree with everyone
You take responsibility for how other people feel
You are always apologising
You take on too much
You can’t say no
You always try to act like the people around you
You avoid conflict
You need praise from others to feel good
You keep you hurt feelings private
Over time this simply becomes our way of being. Our identity. We often confuse it with being kind, rejecting selfishness, the desire to be a good person, the need for busy-ness.
Being busy, having a full diary (but no time to breathe) has become a status with kudos. Something to show how popular and needed we are. But is it also a way of avoiding having *space* where difficult emotions surface? Avoiding thinking too much? Is that no time to think or don’t want time to think?
Holding down emotions is an enormous emotional energy drain. Difficult feelings don’t disappear just because you deny thinking about them. They need to be “put in a box” and “kept down”. Imagine living your life with one arm constantly having to keep a balloon under water. It would get tiring quite quickly.
Do you know what you do with negative feelings? Do you let them out and process them with awareness - letting them go?
So here are 5 ways to boost your emotional energy:
Think about your boundaries. The rules you will live by. Work out what you really need to do, how you want people to treat you and give yourself permission to say no (with love and gratitude!)to anything, or anyone, that doesn’t fit with your rules.
Give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself like you are your best friend. No cruel words.
Give yourself permission to rest. Create the space in your life, in your diary, in your day to slow down and recharge.
Consider the underlying emotions that you may be denying, avoiding or suppressing. What are you frightened of? Just processing this awareness will start to release the pressure. Give yourself permission to let go and accept yourself for who you are today.
Get to know your warning signs of stress, burn out, low mood. What are the triggers? What are your thoughts? How does it feel in your body? Then put together a toolkit of your go-to actions to take care of yourself.
Today’s take aways:
You can boost your sleep + energy with vitamins
You can guard your energy with boundaries
No more tiredness
Would you like some more tips on psychology and brain health?
Then please come and join me. I write a newsletter - The Vitamin Smith - that lands in your inbox first thing on a Monday morning with ideas to help you through the week
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