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15 supplements & vitamins for unbeatable energy

15 Supplements & Vitamine für unschlagbare Energie

After looking at the different mechanisms of action of supplements and vitamins to increase energy in the first part of this article and taking a look at some well-known representatives of this supplement category, in this second part we will look at adaptogens and some natural stimulants, as well as possible side effects of the supplements described.


Huperzine-A is a nootropic supplement designed to increase cognition and memory and keep energy levels high.

Nootropics help to improve mental performance and increase mental clarity and performance, while reducing tiredness and fatigue and increasing alertness - all signs of increased energy.

The nootropic huperzine-A has been studied extensively for the impact it may have on Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline (38). Huperzine-A may improve memory and cognition and even alleviate behavioral problems in people suffering from Alzheimer's disease (39).

However, Huperzine-A does not only have benefits for Alzheimer's patients. At least one human study has found that this compound can significantly improve memory (40). Huperzine-A can also reduce symptoms of fatigue in otherwise healthy people. The effect of huperzine-A is related to its action as an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor (41). This means that Huperzine-A inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter associated with learning. When the breakdown of acetylcholine is reduced, people are more attentive and can learn more efficiently.


Ideal dosages are between 50 and 250 mcg of Huperzine-A per day for up to four weeks at a time.

Lion's Mane Mushroom

Another natural nootropic is the Lion's Mane Mushroom, also known as Yamabushitake. This mushroom acts as an effective brain stimulant (43).

Although the lion's mane mushroom has many other benefits such as protection against diabetes and heart disease, it is best known for its brain-boosting effects (44). This natural energy booster can also do the following (45):

  • It can combat fatigue.
  • It can slow down the ageing of DNA (46)
  • It can relieve anxiety and depression.
  • It can prevent strokes (47).

Lion's mane mushroom promotes the growth in length of dendrites and axons in the brain (48). This is beneficial as axons and dendrites degenerate with age or nerve damage. For this reason, this mushroom could be a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease, similar to Huperzine-A.

Another way in which the lion's mane mushroom may improve energy production in the brain has to do with a protein known as neurotrophic growth factor (NGF) (49, 50). Neurons need to communicate with NGF in order to function properly and lion's mane mushroom activates the expression of NGF.


Common dosages range from 300 to 1000 milligrams of Lion's Mane Mushroom three times a day (which equates to up to 3000 milligrams per day).

There are no exact dosage recommendations as yet, as studies with extracts of this mushroom are still in their infancy.

Adaptogenic medicinal plants

Adaptogenic medicinal plants, also known as adaptogens, are a class of plants that combat fatigue and stress. These are not supplements or vitamins to increase energy in the traditional sense. Adaptogens do not provide you with direct energy, nor do they have any of the side effects associated with stimulants, such as sleep disorders. Instead, adaptogens combat stress at a cellular level.

Adaptogens are a group of herbal preparations that (51):

  • Can reduce mental fatigue.
  • Can increase alertness.
  • Can increase mental and physical stamina.

One reason adaptogens can be so useful in increasing energy levels is the way they can treat adrenal fatigue, or a general overload of the adrenal glands.

Adrenal fatigue, also known as hyperadrenia, is not a diagnosable condition as such. However, it shares many characteristics with what is referred to in traditional Chinese medicine as "suboptimal health status" (52).

There are a number of adaptogens such as Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea and Indian Basil (Holy Basil) that act as natural energy boosters.


Perhaps the most versatile health-promoting medicinal plant on the planet,ashwagandha is a powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and boosts energy levels.

Scientific reviews have shown many benefits of ashwagandha, which include its ability to fight tumors, reduce oxidative stress, improve immune system response and promote heart health (53).

Ashwagandha may also improve overall quality of life as it can alleviate stress, which promotes better sleep and concentration.

A study conducted with elite cyclists found that ashwagandha could increase endurance (55).


You should start with doses in the range of 300 to 750 milligrams of ashwagandha per day and gradually increase the dose to 1000 to 1500 milligrams per day as needed.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rose a is an adaptogen that is one of the best natural energy supplements. People who take Rhodiola can benefit from improved cognitive function, better concentration and increased alertness (56). Rhodiola can also relieve chronic fatigue (57).

Rhodiola can reduce cortisol levels in the body quite quickly (58). It can even improve mood, which, in combination with other benefits, makes it an excellent natural energy booster for anyone suffering from depression (59).


The dosage range for Rhodiola is between 10 and 700 milligrams per day. This is a very wide range, but even 10 milligrams was able to increase energy levels in test subjects, while doses of up to 700 milligrams did not cause any undesirable side effects.

Indian basil (Holy Basil)

Indian basil, also known as Holy Basil or the Asian name Tulsi, is an ancient remedy from the fields of traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine. It improves metabolic function, increases energy and reduces stress (60).

Although Indian basil has not been studied as extensively as ashwagandha and rhodiola rose, there is evidence that it can help fight bacterial infections, support the heart and boost immune function.

Some naturopaths and functional medicine practitioners recommend the use of Indian basil to treat metabolic syndrome and prevent heart disease and diabetes.


For an energy boost, the recommended dosage of Indian basil is between 300 and 3000 milligrams per day.

One study found that 300 milligrams of Indian basil had the same effect as higher doses when it came to reducing stress and anxiety (61).

BONUS: Don't forget your daily multivitamin

You can get a lot of the nutrients you need from your daily food sources. But why not play it safe and cover your basic needs with a well-rounded multivitamin? This will save you the stress of checking your food labels for the right amounts of B vitamins and other important nutrients, as it provides all the essential vitamins in concentrated form and in the right amounts.

If you are at increased risk of nutrient deficiencies or follow a diet that restricts certain food groups, then you should discuss the use of a multivitamin product with your doctor. A multivitamin supplement is also much more cost-effective than buying individual essential vitamins for the purpose of boosting energy or improving health.

When it comes to energy levels, multivitamin supplements are great for promoting overall wellness. You should look out for the following key ingredients in such a product:

  • Vitamin B complex, which includes the following vitamins:
    • Vitamin B12
    • Thiamine (vitamin B1)
    • Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
    • Niacin (vitamin B3)
    • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
    • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene)
  • biotin
  • folic acid
  • Vitamin C

4 Natural stimulants for energy production

In the following sections we will talk about natural stimulants, which are the most widely used energy boosters. These stimulants typically provide a stronger and faster energy boost, but also have more potential side effects. The following four natural stimulants will boost your energy quickly.


Most of us associate coffee with caffeine - the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. However, caffeine is also found in other foods such as teas and other plants.

At least 80% of adults consume caffeine in large enough quantities to feel effects on the brain - mainly in the form of coffee, tea and chocolate (62).

Caffeine consumption can increase or improve the following:

  • Athletic performance (63)
  • Muscle strength
  • The adrenaline response
  • Training endurance (64)
  • Objective and perceived cognitive performance
  • Attention
  • Alertness
  • Memory (65)
  • Reaction time

Consuming caffeine to stimulate and improve alertness can have a positive effect, but there is also a downside. Tolerance to the effects of caffeine can develop. Once such a tolerance has developed, significantly higher amounts of caffeine are needed to continue to feel an effect, in which case even higher doses often no longer have a full effect.

Stopping caffeine from one day to the next can lead to headaches and in some cases real withdrawal symptoms, which can last for up to a week (66).

Consuming too much caffeine is not wise. But there is something you can add to your coffee or tea to prevent or minimize these problematic side effects. Adding L-theanine - an amino acid that is virtually absent from the daily diet - to caffeinated beverages can increase the effects of caffeine (67). L-theanine is also associated with fewer caffeine-induced headaches and fatigue after the effects of caffeine wear off (68).


400 milligrams of caffeine per day is considered optimal for healthy adults who want to boost their energy levels (equivalent to about four cups of coffee).

200 milligrams is considered safe for pregnant women (69). However, many expectant mothers avoid caffeine completely due to the effects caffeine can have on their pregnancy.

Green tea extract

Green tea extract contains catechins, which are powerful antioxidants (70). Antioxidants protect the body from cell damage (71).

Even if the concentration is lower than in coffee or black tea, green tea also contains caffeine. (72). If you add a green tea extract to an exercise program, you may benefit from an improvement in antioxidant activity, a reduction in muscle soreness and an improvement in endurance (73).

Unlike other stimulants, the catechins in green tea lower blood pressure and heart rate.

When it comes to improving energy levels and athletic performance, green tea extract can also help increase cognition and VO2 max (also known as maximal oxygen uptake). Furthermore, green tea extract can also reduce oxidative stress caused by exercise (75).

In addition to acting as a natural energy booster, another primary benefit of green tea is its ability to support and promote weight loss (76). Catechins found in green tea increase adiponectin levels, which is associated with less body fat and promotes weight loss (77).


The recommended dosage is 400 to 600 milligrams of EGCG per day. EGCG is one of the bioactive catechins in green tea. As a rule, green tea extracts are standardized for their EGCG content.

You can of course also drink green tea. To benefit from the full effects, three to five cups of green tea per day are required. Studies have shown that even with 10 cups a day, only a few side effects are to be expected.

Yerba mate

Another tea that is rich in antioxidants is mate tea, which is also available in supplement form. One serving of yerba mate has about the same caffeine content as a 250 ml cup of coffee.

Interestingly, yerba mate is similar to green tea in that mate stimulates the body and mind without increasing blood pressure or heart rate (78).

Another benefit of yerba mate is that it has an antidepressant effect on the brain (79). Since symptoms of depression reduce energy, this is one of the ways in which yerba mate can increase energy levels.

Athletes who take yerba mate may benefit from an increase in their performance and training capacity (80). This natural stimulant also sharpens the mind. Using yerba mate can result in improved cognition, better learning ability and better memory performance (81).


Yerba mate works best in dosages between 1000 and 1500 milligrams per day. Yerba mate can also be brewed as a tea. In this case, the dosage is three glasses of tea per day for up to two months.


Taurine is a natural stimulant that combats oxidative stress, improves mitochondrial function and protects neurons in the brain (82, 83). There is also evidence that taurine can increase exercise capacity (84).

However, caution should be exercised with taurine in energy drinks, as the disadvantages of highly sugary drinks may outweigh the benefits of taurine.


Common dosages of taurine range from 500 to 2000 milligrams per day. An intake of up to three grams of taurine per day appears to be safe.

Are there side effects of energy supplements?

Many of the supplements and vitamins on this list are known to be safe and have few side effects or drug interactions.

Minor side effects of these supplements may include the following:

  • CoQ10: CoQ10 may cause diarrhea or redness of the skin in rare cases (85). These symptoms are usually not severe and do not last long.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: Side effects of ginkgo can include headaches, drowsiness, palpitations, nausea, bloating and diarrhea. An allergy to ginkgo can result in reddening of the skin. It is possible that ginkgo interacts with medications for bleeding disorders, so the use of ginkgo should be discussed with your doctor if you are taking such medications.
  • Citrulline: Citrulline may cause mild, temporary digestive discomfort.
  • Lion's Mane Mushroom: In general, this mushroom is safe and non-toxic even with prolonged use (86). However, in case of allergy to this mushroom, dermatitis may occur (87). One case study reported respiratory problems after consumption of lion's mane mushroom (88).
  • Taurine: One case study reported a man who suffered from itching, stomach upset and drowsiness after consuming a taurine drink (89).
  • Caffeine: Caffeine can cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased blood sugar levels, increased cortisol levels, insulin resistance and anxiety.




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