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Get More Out Of Your Energy Booster

February 27th, 2009

Who needs an energy booster? If product sales are any indication, millions of people each day.

Who needs an energy booster? If product sales are any indication, millions of people each day.

Energy boosting products have exploded in popularity and are now one of the most popular types of dietary supplements.  After all, who couldn’t use a little more energy now and then? One thing that’s unfortunately true about any type of energy booster is that the more you use it, the less effective it becomes.  But by paying attention to how you use you energy booster and by taking certain accessory nutrients, you can get more, sometimes much more, out of your energy booster so you won’t have to use as much, as often.

Whether it’s a ready-to-drink energy booster, a powdered preworkout drink mix, or an energy booster in capsule or tablet form, chances are caffeine is the primary ingredient responsible for a significant proportion or the product’s energizing effects.  That makes good sense since caffeine is a time-tested, safe, inexpensive and very dependable energy booster. Along with caffeine, other common ingredients in energy formulas include other stimulants like synephrine or bitter orange extract, green tea extract, and yohimbine extract.  Of a less stimulating nature are the commonly-included B vitamins,  amino acids and other compounds like NADH that many energy formulas use as accessory ingredients that equip your body to better respond to the stimulant ingredients.

“I Need Something Stronger”

Each energy booster is a little different and each person will respond a little differently, but in every case the more they’re used, the less effective they become.  So over time users will find that they need to use higher or more frequent doses to get the effect they want.

That’s where problems can start to develop.  That’s when a lot of users decide that they “need something stronger”.

Do they? Probably not. Tolerance to the energizing effects develops much faster than tolerance to the side-effects such as sleep problems, irritability,  anxiety or worsening fatigue. So it’s easy to get to the point where you almost need your energy booster to function, yet the amount required for you to feel something causes sleep problems, which exacerbates the energy deficit and creates a vicious cycle. At that point, many users will look for a stronger product. But a stronger product, with more caffeine and stimulants may not be the answer, or only temporary solution at best.

Some popular energy boosting drinks.

Some popular energy boosting drinks.

Avoiding the Vicious Cycle of Energy Boosters

In the first place, recognize your limits as a human being and make sure you’re placing realistic and reasonable demands on yourself that take Reality into account; your life circumstances, time limits, age, health and so on.  Energy boosters are a good, but limited way to help your productivity, you simply can’t and don’t want to get to the point where you depend on them

Secondly,  realize that caffeine and other stimulants work better with fewer side-effects when you use them in small frequent doses, as opposed to large doses all-at-once.  So resist the temptation to use a large initial dose and instead try to use smaller more frequent doses.

You also need to make sure you’re eating enough and consuming enough calories so that you have plenty of fuel to support your activities.  That’s a more common problem than you might think. Most energy supplements have appetite suppressant effects to a greater or lesser extent, so it’s very common for people to either not eat or not eat enough while using an energy product.  So these users get a short-term boost in energy followed by a crash in energy because the body has used up it’s readily-available energy resources.

Besides eating enough, you should also consider taking a potent B complex supplement to help yu respond better to your energy booster. All of the B vitamins have a role to play in helping you create energy, most of them play several roles.  But using energy boosters consumes your B vitamins much faster than normal, so you’ll want to replenish these regularly and robustly so that you can fully respond to your product.  We suggest a B 100 complex taken each night with dinner (you don’t have to take it at the same time as the energy booster).

Another great nutrient to help keep your system sensitive and responsive to your energy booster is the amino acid L-phenylalanine.  You could also use L-tyrosine, but L-phenylalanine produces better effects for this purpose.  L-phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, so you need it anyway. But relative to other amino acids, your diet doesn’t provide that much phenylalanine,  so there is competition for this nutrient throughout the body.

The reason phenylalanine (or tyrosine) are so important is that they are building blocks for brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that promote alertness, awareness and a good mood.  Energy boosting ingredients like caffeine work in part by manipulating neurotransmitters. Stimulants of all kinds tend to deplete the stores of energy and alertness-critical neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and dopamine.  By taking phenylalanine or tyrosine, you can help replenish stores of these neurotransmitters and ‘reset’ your responsiveness to your energy booster. But you have to take them the right way.  For either one, take 1000-1500 mg immediately upon arising, and then wait at least 30 minutes before eating or drinking anything else. This detail is necessary to maximize the amount of the amino acid that is available to the brain.

Finally, don’t forget or underestimate the importance of sleep.  Sleep is the foundation of health and especially of good energy levels.  Using energy boosters, especially on a regular basis, increases your need for sleep and worsens the consequences of not getting enough sleep. So make sure you’re not using your energy booster so late in the day that it interferes with sleep, and make sure you get enough sleep, whatever that may mean for you.

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