Keeping up with updated government guidance, navigating the boundaries of remote working and home schooling, taking care of vulnerable loved ones as the world returns to ‘normality’ – all the while coping emotionally – we can be forgiven for quoting the summer of 2020 as one of the most tiring we’ve ever faced.
For many, consistent feelings of fatigue can leave us reaching for comforting, quick-fix energy boosts such as tea, coffee and sugary caffeinated drinks. But what if the energy-enhancing drinks we reach for daily are actually depleting the key nutrients our bodies rely on for energy production?
With well-being more important than ever, Keeley Berry, Nutritional Expert at natural health brand, BetterYou shares why consumption of hot beverages and energy drinks may be doing more harm than good when it comes to sustaining our every day energy levels.
Tannins – the hidden metabolism inhibitor
Tannins are water-soluble polyphenols that are present in plant foods such as tea and coffee, and evidence suggests that they can impact the body’s ability to metabolise energy and digest proteins.
Tannins are also known to impact the efficiency with which the body converts absorbed nutrients into substances that are required to fuel different functions – such as enzymes.
Caffeine – the anti-absorption factor
Green and black teas are known inhibitors of intestinal absorption of non-haem iron. A study indicated that iron absorption was significantly reduced amongst people consuming tea with their meal, and in the tea-drinking group of people, stored iron was also reduced.
Whilst this depends on the type of tea and brewing length, inhibitory effects from drinking tea when it comes to iron absorption have been demonstrated from single dose experiments – meaning it only requires one cup of tea to see an effect on levels.
Further research showed that coffee consumption was associated with a reduced level of circulating B-vitamins, thought to be caused by the increase in needing the bathroom from the caffeine content.
Caffeine can also interfere with bone-building vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D and calcium, by affecting the absorption of the nutrients from the diet and supplement sources.
A vital component of haemoglobin – the substance in the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to transport it throughout the body – iron is a crucial nutrient when it comes to maintaining our every day energy levels.
Iron also works to combat tiredness and fatigue and supports normal cognitive brain function.
Offering a natural ‘boost’, B-vitamins contribute to healthy red blood cells and a normal homocysteine metabolism while aiding energy release from the food that we eat and supporting our psychological functions.
As with all water-soluble vitamins, absorption of B-vitamins may also be affected by caffeinated drinks due to the diuretic effects.
Positive daily habits
Think twice about using caffeine as your main energy boost and focus on ensuring your levels of hero nutrients, iron and B-vitamins – both from your diet and a daily supplement.
For sustainable energy levels, it’s important to consume water-soluble vitamins daily, as the body doesn’t retain them well. Although some storage will be achieved in the liver, many circulating vitamins will be excreted through urine.
When it comes to minerals such as iron, it’s vital to receive a steady dose of nutrients (rather than one large, loading dose) in order to prevent the body going into ‘defence mode’, to rid nutrients that are toxic in large doses.
BetterYou champions every day energy the natural way, raising awareness of iron and B-vitamins as nutritional components to be prioritised for feeling energised.
For those that struggle to obtain enough of these nutrients through diet alone, supplementation may be needed and an oral spray is an effective, pill-free alternative to traditional tablets and capsules, as the mechanism allows nutrients to be absorbed via the inner cheek, bypassing primary processing in the gut.