Fatigue and lack of energy are among the most common complaints.1 Yet, unlike pain or fever, they are barely recognized as symptoms. It is regretful that doctors would immediately prescribe medications for pain, fever, and other symptoms. Yet, they expect fatigue to resolve over time.
However, it is no secret that many people continue to experience fatigue for months or even years. Even many common diseases might cause prolonged fatigue. For example, a person may continue to experience low energy levels even after completely recovering from seasonal flu.
Here, it is also vital to understand that fatigue and low energy levels occur both due to physical ailments and mental health issues. Thus, fatigue is also a common sign of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.2
Fatigue and stress tend to be chronic issues. Such health issues are best managed through lifestyle interventions, nutrition therapy, and health supplements.
Reduce Stress and Cope with Anxiety
There is no magical formula to overcome stress. All people differ; thus, what worked for one may not work for another. Hence, overcoming stress and anxiety requires a personalized approach.
There could be many ways to overcome chronic stress, including changing jobs, practicing new hobbies, increasing attention to mental health, enhancing intake of antioxidants, taking a break, and more.
Most people do not pay sufficient attention to mental health, and many even do not take a much-needed break. In many cases, going on holiday may help. Others may benefit from starting yoga or practicing mindfulness.
Eat a Balanced Diet
This recommendation is logical but broad. To be more precise, focus on a few things like increasing intake of omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fiber (whole grains, lentils, etc.), and enhancing intake of antioxidants. One of the best ways to boost antioxidant intake is by consuming more berries and dry fruits.
A balanced diet also means reducing intake of ultra-processed foods. Thus, start cooking and increase protein intake. At the same time, reduce intake of fast-absorbing carbs.
Drink More Water and Less Alcohol
Alcohol may have a relaxing effect in small amounts. However, it also causes fatigue and dehydration. It is also bad for brain health. Alcohol causes withdrawal syndrome and other issues. Hence, cut down your alcohol intake.
If you use alcohol to overcome stress, you will get stuck in a vicious cycle. It means that drinking alcohol would make you feel better, but as its effect subsides, it would result in worse fatigue, headaches, and body aches.
Instead, drink more water. It is a good idea to have a strict hydration plan, like drinking few glasses of water daily.
Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep issues are quite common. Improper sleep could be due to disease, pain, and also lifestyle choices. For example, people are now spending more time using gadgets or watching television.3
Enhancing sleep quality is quite challenging. One of the ways could be investing in wearables. Most health bands or smart watches are quite good at sleep tracking. They help understand sleep issues like sleeping fewer hours or frequent awakening. Once the issue is identified, one can focus on enhancing sleep quality.
Take B Vitamins and Magnesium
If one has to choose supplements to reduce stress and boost energy levels, one must consider vitamin B complex and magnesium. Vitamin Bs are good for nerve health. They also help lower stress levels and enhance energy levels.4
Among minerals, magnesium is best for overcoming stress. Magnesium has a calming impact on nerves, enhances sleep quality, prevents headaches, and helps overcome stress. Magnesium is needed for hundreds of enzyme systems in the body.5
Take Proper Exercise
Exercise is the best stress killer. Regular exercise enhances the production of hormones that help fight stress. Thus, exercise is not just for physical health. It has a profound impact on mental health.
Exercise helps overcome fatigue and increase energy levels in two ways. Firstly, it enhances stamina or physical energy levels. Secondly, it boosts brain health.
Although the number of people smoking is declining globally, a considerable number of people still smoke regularly. Smoking is highly harmful to health. It is not just about nicotine. Tobacco smoke contains tar, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and many other toxins.6
Though nicotine may be a stimulant, it increases stress, disrupts sleep, and reduces energy levels in the long run.
The Bottom Line
Fatigue is one of the most common complaints. Lack of energy tends to be a chronic problem in many. There are no pharmacological drugs that may help boost energy levels significantly. Fortunately, one can boost energy levels through lifestyle interventions and health supplements. Focusing on increasing intake of micronutrients like vitamin B complex and magnesium could be of particular help.
- Maisel P, Baum E, Donner-Banzhoff N. Fatigue as the Chief Complaint. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2021;118(33-34):566-576. doi:10.3238/arztebl.m2021.0192
- Services D of H& H. Fatigue. Accessed October 23, 2023. http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/fatigue
- Health P on RM and SA to UDFF in MCS and D, Statistics C on N, Integration B on HS, Education D of B and SS and, Board TR, National Academies of Sciences E. Consequences of Fatigue from Insufficient Sleep. In: Commercial Motor Vehicle Driver Fatigue, Long-Term Health, and Highway Safety: Research Needs. National Academies Press (US); 2016. Accessed October 23, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK384963/
- Young LM, Pipingas A, White DJ, Gauci S, Scholey A. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of B Vitamin Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms, Anxiety, and Stress: Effects on Healthy and ‘At-Risk’ Individuals. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2232. doi:10.3390/nu11092232
- Cuciureanu MD, Vink R. Magnesium and stress. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, eds. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Accessed October 23, 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507250/
- Tobacco. NHS inform. Accessed October 23, 2023. https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/stopping-smoking/reasons-to-stop/tobacco/