Jobs, kids, social activities—and everything else in our busy lives can sometimes make us feel run down. Sure, we can grab a sugar-laden coffee drink can provide a burst of energy, but the smarter choice is to turn to natural energy boosters that support our body’s ability to produce its own energy. We turned to Pharmaca practitioner Sabrina Magno at our Pacific Palisades store for expert advice on lifestyle choices and the best energy-enhancing vitamins, herbs and supplements that can provide healthy, whole-body energy.

Be sure you have enough Bs.
B vitamins are key players in energy production, helping convert the energy we get from food into energy. Studies show that people over age 50 have less ability to absorb vitamin B12 from their food, and vegans might be lacking in B12 since it’s found only in animal products. Look for methyl B12 (methylcobalamin), as it’s the most easily absorbed, Sabrina says.

Try Jarrow Formulas Methyl B-12 and Methyl Folate + B6 in an easy chewable tablet.

Maintain a healthy gut.
Our bodies get energy from the foods we eat, and how well that food is converted to energy depends a lot on the health of our gut and digestive tract, Sabrina tells us. Feeding our microbiome (the microorganisms that keep our gut healthy) with fermented foods (yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.), prebiotic foods (asparagus, bananas, garlic, etc.), organic fruit and green veggies, as well as supplemental probiotics keep our gut functioning best, and maximizes how our food is turned into usable energy.

Try Pharmax HLC Multi Strain with 15 billion CFU of readily absorbed probiotic strains.

Build up your powerhouse cells.
Our organs run on the energy produced in our cells by mitochondria, Sabrina tell us, and certain nutrients can boost our mitochondrial function and energy output. CoQ10 and PQQ (pyrroloquinoline quinine) are especially important in this energy production. Foods rich in CoQ10 like meat, poultry, fish, canola oil and nuts, and PQQ-rich foods like soybeans, spinach, tofu and green tea are good choices to include in an energy-building diet. If you don’t get enough of these foods in your diet, include a supplement.

Try Natural Factors PQQ-10, which combines both nutrients for mitochondrial support.

Another good choice to support our body’s energy production is magnesium malate, according to Sabrina. It’s a combination of the mineral magnesium and malic acid, which together support energy metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels to avoid an energy crash.

Try Source Naturals Magnesium Malate, an easily absorbed energy regulator.

Balance your adrenal glands.
When we’re under long-term physical or emotional stress, our adrenal glands get overworked and can’t produce enough cortisol (the hormone that helps
regulate our energy metabolism) making us feel exhausted, according to naturopathic doctors. Adaptogenic herbs that help normalize imbalances in our cortisol levels are very useful, says Sabrina, who recommends ginseng, rhodiola and ashwagandha.

Try Pharmaca Adrenal Support, which combines these adaptogens with stamina-boosting eleuthero root to support healthy adrenal functioning. Gaia Herbs Adrenal Health is another customer favorite for managing stress.

Easy add-ons: Exercise and water
When we’re feeling sluggish, exercise might feel like the last thing we want to do. But researchers tell us that a brisk 10-minute walk is a better sustained energy boost than a sugary snack that might give you a quick burst of energy, but will lead to feeling even more tired later on. And don’t forget to drink water throughout the day even if you’re not thirsty, since mild dehydration can cause fatigue, scientists say. For more simple tips, check out what the experts at Harvard Medical School recommend for boosting your energy naturally.