My 5 Favorite Nutrients for Improved Metabolism
Updated: Jan 15
When we talk about metabolism, what we really mean is how well your body converts energy from the food you eat into energy. A sluggish metabolism combined with too much food intake puts on unwanted pounds. A sluggish metabolism could also mean us feeling fatigued and less than energetic. There are many factors that play into this, but one key factor is making sure we have adequate nutrients inside our cells where the magic of energy conversion happens. My 5 favorite nutrients for this are:
Magnesium is required by over 300 processes in our body and is the first to be depleted when we are under stress or eat a bad diet. It's required for cellular energy production. The best food sources of magnesium are nuts and seeds and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. As a dietary supplement I recommend magnesium threonate or glycinate.
Most multi vitamins contain a spectrum of B-vitamins, which are essential co-factors in many energy forming reactions in our bodies. I always think of B's and Magnesium first when I speak to anyone suffering from fatigue. The best food sources of B-vitamins are salmon, leafy greens, eggs, chicken and turkey, and nutritional yeast. As a dietary supplement I recommend choosing brands that utilize methylated b-vitamins. Many people are unable to convert b-vitamins into their active forms, and so taking methylated b-vitamins ensures you are getting the active form from the get-go.
3. ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
This anti-oxidant is an essential co-factor for energy production and often declines with age. It's also a great cellular detoxer and helps to regulate anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant pathways to protect you from the effects of aging and environmental toxins. While it can be found in vegetables like spinach and broccoli, they recommended daily amount for therapeutic effects is much higher than can be obtained in the diet so supplementing is recommended.
4. Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10)
CoQ10 is a critical component of the electron transport chain, where energy production magic happens. As we age, our need for CoQ10 rises dramatically as our body makes less of it. Since the heart requires a large amount of energy, CoQ10 is also essential for maintaining optimal cardiovascular health as we age. It can be found in organ meats, oily fish like trout and sardines, and in spinach, cauliflower, brocolli and oranges. Like alpha-lipoic acid, the recommended daily amount for aging adults far exceeds what can be met in diet alone so supplementing is recommended. For optimal absorption consider the ubiquinol form.
Carnitine is responsible for taking fats from our diet and shuffling them into our muslce cells to be used as energy. It makes us be better fat burners and is a critical component of energy production. This is so important as approximately 60% of the energy for the heart muscle is supplied by fats. When taking carnitine supplements, it's best to do so on an empty stomach and in divided doses. Large doses aren't absorbed well. L-Carnitine is the most bioavailable form. Large doses can deplete CoQ10, so it's important to take them together.
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