fatigue and mental focus

9 Supplements To Fight Fatigue and Enhance Mental Focus

Fatigue is a normal response to life’s daily stresses. However, constant fatigue is a terrible problem that messes with several aspects of life. Fatigue doesn’t just affect physical health but also causes mental breakdown and loss of focus.

Fatigue makes one feel unwell and lost throughout the day. Imagine feeling that way for days on end – it’s even tiring to imagine. Luckily, there are several supplements that help fight fatigue and enhance mental focus. Here, we will look at 9 of these supplements and explore how they can be beneficial to you.

The Physiology of Fatigue

Fatigue is the physiological state when mental and physical capability is reduced. This may be caused by stress, resulting from an increase in the body’s workload or lack of sleep (insomnia), resulting in a disrupted circadian rhythm. Fatigue may also be caused by other physical and mental conditions such as boredom, lack of physical activity, obesity etc.

There are three types of fatigue, namely: acute, cumulative and circadian fatigue. Acute fatigue is caused by extended wakefulness of more than 16 hours.  Cumulative fatigue, also known as sleep debt, is caused by a prolonged lack of sleep, accumulating over days, weeks or months.  Circadian fatigue, also called chronodisruption, is a type of fatigue that results from a shift or disruption in the sleep-wake cycle.  Chronodisruption may be caused by factors like changes in working hours.

Fatigue is characterized by a feeling of being drained and unable to carry out physical and/or mental tasks. Fatigue may present with physical tiredness without mental dampening but more commonly presents with both physical and mental draining. Mental fatigue is the cognitive or perceptual feeling of tiredness, while physical fatigue is the muscle feeling of tiredness with reduced motor system performance.

Fatigue may be triggered by pain, boredom, anxiety or fear, causing impairment in muscle function.  Fatigue is also very common in people with health conditions. Untreated fatigue can lead to more complicated issues like chronic fatigue syndrome, overtraining syndrome, organic diseases, immunity dysfunction, endocrine disorders etc.

Fatigue can be classified into acute and chronic. Acute fatigue lasts for a short period and is easily treated with lifestyle changes. In contrast, chronic fatigue is persistent and often requires a combination of lifestyle changes and supplements that boost energy levels.

How Fatigue Affects Mental Focus

Fatigue affects both physical and mental functioning.  Fatigue affects the brain, causing it to falter in carrying out its activities. Usually, fatigue causes depletion of the brain’s energy levels, resulting in impairment in cognitive abilities such as memory retention, concentration, decision-making skills and productivity.

Mental fatigue and a resultant loss of mental focus may be caused by prolonged stress resulting from a demanding job, traumatic life events or several other factors that affect mental health. Persistent mental fatigue is a primary sign of depression and is also a contributing factor to some medical conditions like hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, and cardiovascular diseases.

Natural means to fight fatigue

Natural means to fight fatigue

There are different natural measures you can adopt that can help fight fatigue. These include;

Dietary Measures

Adopting a more Mediterranean rather than Western diet significantly helps to boost energy levels and deal with fatigue. Prioritizing nutrients from natural sources rather than processed food significantly improves physical health, boosts energy levels and enhances mental focus. Some dietary practices to adopt include;

  • Drink plenty of water, especially after exercise
  • Reduce your caffeine intake or stay off caffeine for a month.
  • Always eat breakfast. The brain needs glucose as fuel to function well and boosts your metabolism; hence you should go for carbohydrate-rich foods like cereals or wholegrain bread as breakfast meals.
  • Avoid skipping meals or going for long hours without food. It drops your blood sugar level and causes a reduction in energy levels.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet meal. Eat food rich in all the classes of food.  Increase your intake of fruit, vegetables, iron-rich food, wholegrain foods, low-fat dairy products and lean meats in your diet and reduce your intake of high fat, high sugar and high salt foods.
sleep mental benefits

Sleep

A common cause of fatigue is poor sleep. Getting more and better quality sleep helps fight fatigue and improves mental focus. The adult human needs at least eight hours of sleep over the night to perform optimally. Cutting sleep short may cause acute or cumulative fatigue. As regards sleep, practice the following;

  • Have a warm shower before bed. This helps to relax your muscles and allows you to sleep more comfortably.
  • Reduce caffeine intake, especially before bedtime as it may cause insomnia.
  • Avoid looking at your phone or computer screens too close to bedtime. Also avoid noisy areas as they may impede sleep
  • Learn relaxing techniques to help you fall asleep easier. For instance, you should think of a restful scene, take your mind away from stressful thoughts or situations and focus on your breathing.
  • Avoid sleeping pills. Becoming dependent on sleeping pills seriously damages sleep quality.

Lifestyle suggestions

You can help fight fatigue yourself by adjusting your lifestyle. You should consider the following:

  • Avoid smoking; it reduces the amount of oxygen present in the blood.
  • Engage in physical activity like exercise.
  • Engage in fun-filled activities.
  • Reduce your day-to-day stress.
  • Address workplace issues; you can talk to a psychologist or your human resources officer.

Best Supplements to fight fatigue

There are several supplements that can help fight fatigue, improve energy levels and enhance mental focus. These supplements particularly come in handy when you suffer from chronic fatigue but are also important in preventing both short and long-term fatigue. These supplements include

Vitamin B complex

Vitamin B complex is a combination of several B-vitamins. They are used to treat vitamin deficiency resulting from an unhealthy diet, illnesses, excessive alcohol intake or during pregnancy.  Vitamins are essential building blocks of the body; they help keep your body in good health.  Vitamin complex contains thiamine, riboflavin, niacin/niacinamide, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic, and pantothenic acid. B-complex directly impacts energy levels, brain functioning and cellular metabolism. Thus, regular intake of b-complex supplements helps fight fatigue. Some B-complex formulations include antioxidants like vitamin C, which prevent cell damage from stress.

Dosage

To use this supplement, take it by mouth once daily or as directed by the physician. You should also follow the directions on the product package.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a supplement that helps treat fatigue. B12 is vital for the functioning and the development of blood cells and brain cells.  Vitamin B12 is found in food like meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products. B12 may also be synthesized.

Vitamin B12 is an essential component of the pathway that converts glucose into ATP, the energy currency of the body. Thus, adequate B12 intake is essential for boosting energy levels and reducing fatigue. vitaminB12 also acts directly on the brain, boosting levels of serotonin and thus improving mood.

Dosage

The dosage of vitamin B12 varies depending on age, lifestyle, and specific situations. Hence you should consult your physician and follow the direction on the product package.

Vitamin B12 vs. B-complex

While B-complex is a combination of several B-vitamins, B12 is just a single component of B-complex. Both formulations are essential in improving energy, reducing fatigue and boosting mental focus. B-complex contains B-12 in a lower proportion since it also contains other vitamins. B-complex may also be more beneficial due to the synergistic action of all the B-vitamins contained within.

coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Coenzymes Q10 is a vitamin-like substance found in the body, especially in the pancreas, heart, kidney and liver. It is richly obtained from meats and seafood and be made in the lab.  CoQ10 helps improve energy levels by stimulating mitochondria to utilize glucose optimally. This co-enzyme speeds up the electron-transport chain necessary for energy production. CoQ10 has been shown to be beneficial in several mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Depleted levels of CoQ10 have been associated with increased fatigue and the occurrence of mental diseases and CoQ10 supplementation reverts these diseases.

Dosing

Coenzyme Q10 should be used by mouth in doses of 150-2400mg per day for adults and 150-160mg per day for muscle weakness.

Beta ecdysterone

Ecdysteroids are steroid hormones used in improving athletic performance, treating fatigue, diabetes, and other illnesses. They are found in insects, some water animals, and some plants.  They have similar structures to the male hormone testosterone but do not perform the same functions as testosterone in the body.

Dosing

The dose of this supplement depends on factors such as age and purpose for taking it. Typically, doses of 5milligram per kilogram of body weight are considered safe.

Ephedrine

Ephedrine is one of the major hormones and neurotransmitters in the body. It is a potent stimulant that improves glucose release and utilization and stimulates organ functioning. Ephedrine effectively improves energy levels and reduces feelings of fatigue. Ephedrine also boosts mental alertness by stimulating nerve signaling.

Dosage

Doses of 150mg per day are considered safe and effective. Be careful with the dosing of this supplement. Acute overdoses could pose significant problems.

beta guarana plant

Beta Guarana

Beta guarana supplements are gotten from a plant native to the Amazon. The extract from this plant is commonly used in energy drinks. Guarana supplements contain caffeine, a potent stimulant with effects on the muscles, heart and CNS.  Guarana effectively improves energy, reduces fatigue and enhances mental focus through its direct effect on brain cell signaling.

Dosage

Beta guarana is safe when used by adults in doses of 75-100 mg by mouth daily for up to 4 weeks. However, you should also speak with a healthcare provider for more guidelines.

L-alanine

L-alanine is one of the non-essential amino acids produced in the body. However, L-alanine deficiencies are noted and characterized by fatigue, reduced energy, poor endurance, dizziness and mental fatigue due to poor glucose control. L-alanine supplementation helps to reverse deficiency and improve glucose absorption and utilization by cells.

Dosage

L-alanine supplements are taken at doses of 2000mg between meals daily. Ensure to speak with a doctor before starting L-alanine supplements.

Glutamic acid

Glutamic acid is the most common amino acid found in the body. Glutamic acid is mostly metabolized to glutamate, the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Glutamic acid is vital for nerve functioning and is important in enhancing mental alertness.

Dosage

Glutamic acid should be taken by adults in doses of 15-30 grams by mouth daily for up to 12 months. You should also speak with your doctor to find out the best dose for your condition.

Tocotrienols

Tocotrienols are nutrients found in vitamin E. they can be gotten from food like annatto, palm, or rice brain oil. They are used in treating high cholesterol, cancer, scars, familial dysautonomia, etc. They also help treat fatigue, kidney damage, health problems after menopause etc.

Dosage

The dosage of tocotrienols depends on the user’s age, health, and several other conditions.  However, follow the directions on the product labels and consult your pharmacist before using.

fatigue supplements bodybuilding

Effects of Fatigue Supplements on Exercise and Bodybuilding

It has been established that there is a relationship between fatigue and mental focus. Hence, fatigue supplements help improve your exercise and bodybuilding routines. These supplements help revive the body when tired, give energy and sustain the muscles during bodybuilding activities. They help treat muscle tiredness after exercise and improve recovery from more exercise. On the other hand, concentration and mental focus are needed during bodybuilding and athletic activities; these supplements help you stay mentally alert and focused; hence, increasing athletic performance.

What next?

Fatigue can be very frustrating and sometimes be a serious issue affecting our day-to-day functioning. Hence using these supplements will help rejuvenate, energize and keep the body alert and at pace. However, you should consult your doctor before using these supplements to avoid complications and for better results.

Reference

 Psychological and physiological health effects of fatigue

Fatigue fighting tips- better health channel

Vitamin B12- uses, side effects and more

Vitamin B complex- uses, side effects and more