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B vitamins may hog the spotlight when it comes to the best vitamins for energy, but the supporting cast (including some minerals) is more involved than you may think.
Vitamin C, magnesium, and iron—each with their unique mechanisms—are more than a little important when it comes to keeping energy production up at the cellular level and beyond.
As such, our list of the 6 best vitamins and minerals for energy sheds light on all four of these essential nutrients while keeping overall formulation quality, absorbability, etc. top of mind as always.
In this article, we’ll show you which nutrients to prioritize for an energy boost, which products provide these nutrients in their most effective forms and combinations, and more.
Best Overall: Garden of Life Vitamin Code RAW B-Complex
Made with all 8 B vitamins, a 23-ingredient organic fruit and vegetable brand, and 500 million CFU of probiotics (plus enzymes), Vitamin Code RAW B-Complex is one of the most complete energy supplements on the market.
All 8 B vitamins, derived from digestion-promoting brewer’s yeast
Just under 3 dozen organic fruits/veg, probiotics, and enzymes
Pricier than most standard B-complexes
Best for: Anyone who needs the most gut-friendly vitamin B complex possible; those who prefer a nutritionally well-rounded, whole-food-based supplement.
Garden of Life Vitamin Code tops yet another one our “best of” lists with their Raw B-Complex, a highly potent blend of all 8 B vitamins, 23 organic fruits and vegetables, and about a dozen probiotics and enzymes.
The B vitamins are all sourced from S. cerevisiae, or brewer’s yeast, which adds protective benefits for the benevolent bacteria in your gut while preventing diarrheal infections, per this University of Sialkot (Pakistan) study.
Garden of Life keeps the gut-friendly theme going with the Raw Probiotic (500 Million CFU) & Enzyme Blend, which aids digestion, immunity, and even mental health—that 100-trillion-strong colony of bacteria in the gut can work wonders if you treat it well.
Finally, the 23-ingredient fruit and vegetable blend provides a slew of plant-based antioxidants, metabolism-boosters, and other compounds that collectively provide a huge range of potential benefits.
Best for: Anyone looking for a naturally derived energy supplement with an emphasis on weight loss.
Sugar and/or caffeine will do the trick on their own if a cheap rush is your only aim, but to do so without the crash—and with added weight loss/stress-fighting benefits to boot—requires a much more nuanced approach like that of Hi-Health Metabolic Fusion.
Included in this metabolism-boosting supplement is a variety of plant-based extracts, including:
Green Tea Extract
Green Coffee Bean Extract
Olive Leaf Extract
Caffeine Anhydrous Powder
CLA Oil Powder
Forskolin Root Extract
BioPerine Black Pepper Extract
The 50mg of L-theanine and 150mg of caffeine per serving combine to create a more focused increase in energy, a pairing demonstrated by this Unilever Research and Development study to improve both speed and accuracy on “attention-switching tasks” and “reduce susceptibility to distracting information in the memory task.”
Together, the green tea and coffee bean extracts kick in a ton of antioxidants, some of which (epigallocatechin gallate in green tea) have been suggested to exert metabolism-boosting effects.
The remaining ingredients in Hi-Health Metabolic Fusion follow suit with various plant-based compounds that serve these and similar effects, combining to create a potent metabolism-boosting supplement.
Best Liquid B-12 for Energy: Bricker Labs B-12 Blast Methylcobalamin
Best for: People who want a straightforward supplement that supports energy (via B vitamins) with high folic acid (B9) content for improved heart benefits.
Here’s the short answer on why we chose Bricker Labs B-12 Blast Methylcobalamin for our list of the best vitamins for energy: it’s potent, clean, and highly absorbable, thanks to sublingual delivery.
The slightly longer answer involves the role of folic acid—B-12 Blast contains 400mg of folic acid per serving (and 1,000mcg of B-12)—in supporting cardiovascular health.
Keeping the biochemistry as general as possible, folic acid is the most important nutrient we consume when it comes to keeping the amino acid homocysteine at optimal levels within the body.
Because folic acid helps break homocysteine down into different chemical compounds, a deficiency in folic acid will cause a surplus of homocysteine, which in turn can significantly increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.
This academic article from the New England Journal of Medicine explains the relationship between folic acid and homocysteine in much greater depth.
And if you’re wondering why we’re talking about heart health in an article about the best vitamins for energy, ask someone with cardiovascular disease what their doc thinks about them downing standard energy drinks. Yikes.
Lack of supporting ingredients (other than pepper extract)
Best for: Anyone looking for a high-value magnesium supplement with superior absorption capabilities.
Solaray Magnesium Glycinate models the key differences between an absorption-optimized supplement and the vast majority that simply list “x milligrams of ingredient y” and move on.
In this case, those differences include Solaray’s use of the amino acid glycine (as in, magnesium glycinate) as well as the addition of BioPerine, a black pepper extract.
While the absorption percentage of magnesium disglycinate only beat magnesium oxide in this University of Chicago study by a small margin (about 0.7%), the researchers noted that this difference was substantially increased among those who showed the greatest impairment of magnesium absorption (magnesium disglycinate outperformed magnesium oxide 23.5% to 11.8%).
And in all cases, the glycinated form was tolerated better.
Compounding this effect considerably is the black pepper extract.
Ancient nutrients blend complements B/C vitamins and iron
Hormone- and antibiotic-free meat sources
Lower per-serving iron content
Best for: Anyone looking for a multi-fronted and nutritionally dense approach to increasing iron/energy levels, managing stress, and more.
Hitting three of the major energy-boosting nutrients—B vitamins, C vitamins, and iron—is enough to enter the upper tier of iron supplements, but Ancient Nutrition Iron goes a couple of steps beyond with a broad collection of herbal ingredients.
They call it the Ancient Nutrients TCM (Traditional Chinese Method) Blend, which contains the following ingredients:
Together, these herbal extracts and other naturally sourced ingredients contribute ample amounts of collagen, immune-boosting compounds (check out codonopsis root), stress-regulating adaptogens, and much more.
The vitamin C enhances absorption of the iron, the B vitamins boost metabolism, and the herbal blend adds an entirely new set of benefits—Ancient Nutrition Iron gets our vote for the best iron supplement for energy.
Best Vitamin C: California Natural Lyposomal Vitamin C Formula
Best for: Anyone who wants a highly absorbable vitamin C supplement for energy, collagen uptake, immunity, and more.
Little preamble is needed for one of the most successfully marketed vitamins in the world—especially when it comes to immunity—but did you know that vitamin C can provide an energy bump by keeping the mitochondria (cellular engine of sorts) healthy?
Along that vein, vitamin C also transports fatty acids, which in turn help to produce energy (ATP) at the cellular level and beyond.
A liposome is a microscopic fat bubble that mimics our own cells to a limited degree (both liposomes and regular cells have phospholipid bilayer, it’s a thing).
By using vitamin C prepared in liposomal form, as many drugs are also prepared, California Natural Lyposomal Vitamin C enhances the body’s ability to transport the key nutrient to places it would otherwise not be able to reach—here’s an interesting review on all things liposomal delivery.
Even when non-liposomal competitors jack up the concentration of vitamin C to account for the dip in absorption, they still can’t deliver the nutrient to the tissues and structures that liposomal vitamin C can.
We highlight B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and vitamin C in this article as reliable nutrients that can boost your energy, but there are several other ingredients you can use—especially if you branch out into herbal options and other nutrients.
For example, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, and melatonin all have energy-boosting potential as well.
Does B12 give you energy right away?
The body stores excess B12, so even if your intake dips down for a while, you may not be deficient, which means even a high-dose B12 supplement will likely not address your fatigue effectively.
However, if you do have a B12 deficiency (especially with associated anemia), B12 can stimulate red blood cell production, helping with energy.
B, C, and D vitamins can all cause fatigue when the body is deficient. If you include other nutrients in this equation, iron and magnesium are common culprits as well.
What do I eat for tiredness?
Aside from supplementation with the above nutrients, eating a balanced diet rich in plant sources, lean meat (red meat for b12), nuts/seeds, fruit, vegetables, and more will provide plenty of iron, magnesium, B/C/D vitamins, and everything else you need to combat fatigue.
As always, environmental and other personal factors may still affect energy levels, but a well-balanced diet is one key defense against fatigue.
Before reaching for the sugary, over-caffeinated energy product, consider that your fatigue may be caused by a lack of key nutrients like vitamin B, C, magnesium, iron, and/or others.
That said, caffeine is not the boogeyman when included alongside high-quality ingredients.
When browsing for the best vitamins for energy, look for keywords and phrases like sublingual or liposomal, which signal a greater bioavailability (absorption capacity) of the product.
Depending on the cause of the fatigue and your level of deficiency, dietary supplements can take weeks or even longer to start noticeably improving fatigue.
Make sure your supplement comes from a reputable brand that follows industry-leading standards of sourcing, manufacturing, and testing.
Food is for physical wellness, and pharmaceutical products are for mental health conditions—that’s where most of us land when it comes to nutrition psychiatry.
Nutrition is understandably not priority one in the chaotic moments immediately following a traumatic brain injury (TBI), but as soon as the patient is stable, nutrition therapy shares center stage with other key tenets of TBI rehabilitation.
Normally, we’re content to bounce around new and/or controversial theories on nutritional concepts all day, but every so often, we have the luxury of seeing in black and white.
This may seem like a fun-killing exercise at first, but we’re not interested in coddling or pandering to our readers, so let’s get the harsh reality out of the way: most of us haven’t earned the right to binge on vacation.