Energy boosters are dietary supplements used to enhance energy levels, imparting a wide range of benefits such as reduction of fatigue and improvement of alertness, concentration, mood, and overall physical and mental performance. This glossary covers the terms relevant to energy production and energy supplements.
An adaptogen is a herb that helps the body deal with physical and mental stress factors that can range from sleep deprivation to extreme temperatures. As such, adaptogens can act as an energy booster that reduces fatigue and improves mental and physical performance when taken under stressful conditions. Common adaptogens include ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil.
Adenosine triphosphate or simply ATP is the main energy molecule of life. ATP is constantly synthesized in each cell’s mitochondria to help meet its energy needs by using oxygen and nutrients. Any compound that aids ATP production can potentially enhance energy levels.
One of the most popular and yet misunderstood dietary supplements, antioxidants are natural and man-made compounds that help counter damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS). Because the mitochondria – the energy-generating center of a cell – produce large amounts of ROS, they are themselves susceptible to oxidative damage that can impede their function. As such, certain antioxidants are said to boost energy levels by helping protect the mitochondria from this damage.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a condition marked by severe and unexplained chronic fatigue. CFS sufferers frequently turn to energy-boosting supplements to help them function in their daily lives. There is a growing amount of evidence that dysfunction of the mitochondria plays a central role in at least some cases of CFS, which means that compounds that are involved in mitochondrial function can be helpful.
Central Nervous System
Made up of the brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system (CNS) controls the body’s key processes such as heart function. Stimulating the CNS by consuming caffeine is arguably the most common method of improving energy and related parameters such as mood and alertness.
The plural form of mitochondrion, these cellular structures are responsible for synthesizing energy in the form of ATP with the use of nutrients and oxygen. As such, healthy mitochondria are crucial to maintaining optimal energy levels, and mitochondrial dysfunction can cause fatigue.
This is the process through which existing mitochondria grow and divide to produce new mitochondria. Enhancing this biogenesis through relevant compounds such as PQQ may be one novel way to help boost energy levels.
Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that help neurons communicate. They can affect a wide range of parameters including mood, wakefulness, concentration, creativity, and self-confidence. As such, influencing the levels of certain neurotransmitters can help boost these and other energy-related factors. Dopamine is the most relevant neurotransmitter in terms of boosting energy.
A stimulant is a compound that increases the body’s activity, resulting in effects such as improved well-being, increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and opening up of their airways. Caffeine is the most popular legal stimulant, and the most reliable dietary supplement for boosting energy.