Safely Boost Your Energy ReservesPrint
By Margaret Powell
Tired of being tired all the time?
The causes of fatigue can be difficult to pinpoint—and therefore, challenging to treat. As a result, many people reach for stimulants, usually in the form of caffeine or energy drinks to artificially boost their energy levels.2 These options may work for the short-term, but they don’t create natural energy in your body; they temporarily squeeze adrenaline from your cells creating a larger energy deficit later on.3
However, you don’t have to resort to stimulants to replenish your body’s energy stores.
Two traditional Chinese medicine ingredients have been found to work at the cellular level to boost your body’s own natural energy source called ATP. 4,5
Whatever the source of your fatigue—mental, emotional, physical, stress, or other—these two compounds can boost ATP levels and help you maintain optimal energy despite the passage of time.
Recharge Your Body’s Batteries
Your body is loaded with cells that contain mitochondria that make the vital energy molecule known as ATP.6 Think of ATP as the tiny “batteries” that our bodies use to store and move energy.
Fatigue and exhaustion are the direct result of insufficient ATP.7 Over time, our lack of energy is not simply due to “aging” but rather an indication that we are running low on ATP.8
The good news is that you can restore youthful ATP levels throughout your body with a pair of time-tested natural ingredients. The medicinal mushroom Cordyceps sinensis and the root of the ginseng plant (Panax ginseng) have been proven to boost energy by ramping up ATP production.4,5
In addition to increasing ATP production, cordyceps enhances our ability to burn fuel more efficiently and store its energy as ATP, and ginseng supports ATP production at the much higher levels possible when oxygen is available, as in a long-distance run or a prolonged, mentally challenging task.9,10
Nature’s Energy Boosters
Cordyceps sinensis is considered one of the most valuable medicinal mushrooms in China due to its rarity and valuable health benefits. In traditional Chinese medicine, cordyceps has been used for everything from cancer prevention to metabolic modulation and energy production.11,12 Now, science has uncovered how cordyceps enhances energy levels in three ways:
- By raising ATP levels, even under stressful conditions that would typically produce fatigue. For example, in animals with iron deficiency anemia (a common cause of fatigue in humans), cordyceps boosted ATP levels and blood flow.4
- By lowering levels of lactic acid, the substance that produces fatigue in over-stressed muscles.9 This has direct bearing on exercise capacity.
- By increasing insulin sensitivity,15,16the more sensitive your cells are to insulin, the faster and more completely they take up sugar from your blood. In the short-term, this gives your cells access to more energy, and in the long-term, this lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Panax ginseng is an important adaptagenic herb that has long been used to boost energy and reduce feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.17-20 Now, studies show that ginseng produces these effects by increasing ATP production in the mitochondria.5,21 Ginseng also activates multiple enzymes in the so-called tricarboxylic acid cycle (or Krebs cycle), enabling mitochondria to extract maximum energy (in the form of ATP) from their glucose fuel in the presence of oxygen.10
As a result of their ability to enhance the body’s own energy production, studies have demonstrated the ability of cordyceps and Panax ginseng to enhance physical and mental energy.4,5,9,13,14,17-19 As you’ll soon read, scientists have developed a method to enable far more ginseng to be absorbed into your bloodstream than ever before!
Restore Your Mental Energy
People with depression often lack the energy to do anything. In this case, the fatigue is mental rather than physical, yet just as debilitating. In fact, recent studies have confirmed that in people suffering from major depression, their brain levels of ATP are low—direct confirmation of that “blah” feeling and lack of motivation that so many people with depression report.27-29 By restoring ATP levels, the brain is able to function at a higher level.27 22
Among other mental benefits, ginseng produces improvements in levels of the calming neurotransmitter GABA.30 Ginseng increases levels of your body’s own GABA, producing a more natural sense of calmness and healthier sleep.30,31 25, 26
One study found that a single 200 mg dose of a standardized ginseng extract significantly reduced mental fatigue while improving cognitive performance on mental arithmetic tasks in a group of healthy volunteers.32 (27)
Low energy levels and fatigue plague millions of Americans, especially as we age.1,29 While fatigue has many different physical and mental causes, it ultimately comes down to insufficient levels of ATP, the tiny molecular batteries our bodies use to store and transport energy.7,29
Mainstream medicine and popular culture have conspired to produce a toxic response to fatigue in the form of stimulant drugs or caffeine/sugar combinations.31
Both cordyceps and ginseng have hundreds of years’ worth of proven energy-boosting benefits without addictive or toxic potential.11,12,17-20 Both supplements are now known to act by raising ATP levels, making more energy available to brain, muscle, and other vital organs, restoring more youthful energy levels.4,5
- Egerton T. Self-reported aging-related fatigue: A concept description and Its relevance to physical therapist practice. Phys Ther.2013 Aug 22.
- Available at: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/17/amp-up-america/?page=all. Accessed August 26, 2013.
- Battram DS, Graham TE, Richter EA, Dela F. The effect of caffeine on glucose kinetics in humans--influence of adrenaline. J Physiol.2005 Nov 15;569(Pt 1):347-55.
- Manabe N, Azuma Y, Sugimoto M, et al. Effects of the mycelial extract of cultured Cordyceps sinensis on in vivo hepatic energy metabolism and blood flow in dietary hypoferric anaemic mice. Br J Nutr. 2000 Feb;83(2):197-204.
- Li XT, Chen R, Jin LM, Chen HY. Regulation on energy metabolism and protection on mitochondria of Panax ginseng polysaccharide. Am J Chin Med. 2009;37(6):1139-52.
- Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26894/. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- Meeus M, Nijs J, Hermans L, Goubert D, Calders P. The role of mitochondrial dysfunctions due to oxidative and nitrosative stress in the chronic pain or chronic fatigue syndromes and fibromyalgia patients: peripheral and central mechanisms as therapeutic targets? Expert Opin Ther Targets.2013 Sep;17(9):1081-9.
- Shimano Y. Studies on aging through analysis of the glucose metabolism related to the ATP--production of the senescence accelerated mouse (SAM). Hokkaido Igaku Zasshi.1998 Nov;73(6):557-69.
- Yan W, Li T, Lao J, Song B, Shen Y. Anti-fatigue property of Cordyceps guangdongensis and the underlying mechanisms. Pharm Biol. 2013 May;51(5):614-20.
- Wang JR, Zhou H, Yi XQ, Jiang ZH, Liu L. Total ginsenosides of Radix Ginseng modulates tricarboxylic acid cycle protein expression to enhance cardiac energy metabolism in ischemic rat heart tissues. 2012;17(11):12746-57.
- Zhu JS, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis: part II. J Altern Complement Med.1998 Fall;4(4):429-57.
- Zhu JS, Halpern GM, Jones K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordyceps sinensis: part I. J Altern Complement Med.1998 Fall;4(3):289-303.
- Kumar R, Negi PS, Singh B, Ilavazhagan G, Bhargava K, Sethy NK. Cordyceps sinensispromotes exercise endurance capacity of rats by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jun 14;136(1):260-6.
- Koh JH, Kim KM, Kim JM, Song JC, Suh HJ. Antifatigue and antistress effect of the hot-water fraction from mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis. Biol Pharm Bull. 2003 May;26(5):691-4.
- Balon TW, Jasman AP, Zhu JS. A fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis increases whole-body insulin sensitivity in rats. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Jun;8(3):315-23.
- Zhao CS, Yin WT, Wang JY, et al. CordyMax Cs-4 improves glucose metabolism and increases insulin sensitivity in normal rats. J Altern Complement Med. 2002 Jun;8(3):309-14.
- Oliynyk S, Oh S. Actoprotective effect of ginseng: improving mental and physical performance. J Ginseng Res. 2013 Apr;37(2):144-66.
- Xie J, Shao J, Lu Y, et al. Separation of ginseng active ingredients and their roles in cancer metastasis supplementary therapy. Curr Drug Metab. 2013 Jun 1;14(5):616-23.
- Lee NH, Yoo SR, Kim HG, Cho JH, Son CG. Safety and tolerability of Panax ginseng root extract: a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial in healthy Korean volunteers. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Nov;18(11):1061-9.
- Choi JY, Woo TS, Yoon SY, et al. Red ginseng supplementation more effectively alleviates psychological than physical fatigue. J Ginseng Res.2011 Sep;35(3):331-8.
- Tian J, Zhang S, Li G, Liu Z, Xu B. 20(S)-ginsenoside Rg3, a neuroprotective agent, inhibits mitochondrial permeability transition pores in rat brain. Phytother Res. 2009 Apr;23(4):486-91.
- Cao X, Li LP, Wang Q, et al. Astrocyte-derived ATP modulates depressive-like behaviors. Nat Med. 2013 Jun;19(6):773-7.
- Volz HP, Rzanny R, Riehemann S, et al. 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy in the frontal lobe of major depressed patients. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci.1998;248(6):289-95.
- Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression-easy-to-read/index.shtml. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- Kitaoka K, Uchida K, Okamoto N, et al. Fermented ginseng improves the first-night effect in humans. 2009 Mar;32(3):413-21.
- Available at: http://pharmacologycorner.com/animation-benzodiazepines-diazepam-lorazepam-alprazolam/. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity. J Psychopharmacol. 2005 Jul;19(4):357-65.
- Ilhwa Co LTD. The 21st Century Ginseng Extract2013.
- Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/about/events/2011/unexplained-fatigue-elderly. Accessed August 27, 2013.
- Reissig CJ, Strain EC, Griffiths RR. Caffeinated energy drinks--a growing problem. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2009 Jan 1;99(1-3):1-10.