End-of-year fatigue is a very real phenomenon that affects many people at this time of year. Common symptoms include chronic tiredness or sleepiness, irritability, low motivation, insomnia, generalised aching, poor concentration and memory, anxiety, and depression.1
VITAMINS, MINERALS, & AMINO ACIDS
Humans require vitamins and minerals because they are crucial components of numerous basic metabolic pathways that maintain important cellular processes. They are particularly important for brain and muscle function because of their role in energy-yielding metabolism, DNA synthesis, oxygen transport, and neural activities. “These, in turn, translate into effects on cognitive and psychological processes, including mental and physical fatigue,” explained Tardy et al. “B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, and B12), vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and zinc, all have recognised roles in these outcomes.”2
While people should get most of their nutrients from food and beverages, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said that in some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements are useful when it is not possible to meet needs for one or more nutrients.3
Given the important roles they play, it’s hardly surprising that studies have found that people suffering from stress often suffer from essential vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids deficiency. “Studies have shown that daily supplements of vital nutrients often effectively reduce patients' symptoms. Supplements that contain amino acids also reduce symptoms, because they are converted to neurotransmitters that alleviate depression and other mental disorders,”4 said doctors Shaheen Lakhan and Karen Vieira.
Except for folate, every B vitamin is involved in at least one and frequently multiple processes in the cell's internal energy-production system. Each B vitamin must be present in sufficient amounts for the energy-generation system to function properly. If any one of these nutrients is deficient, energy production will be rate-limited, with potentially serious metabolic and health effects.2
Iron, vitamins B6, B9, and B12 are necessary for oxygen delivery. Even though magnesium technically does not belong to the antioxidant defence system, there is plenty of proof that a magnesium deficiency causes oxidative stress.
Essential to produce happy and sad brain chemicals, amino acids assist with overcoming prolonged stress. Integrative Medicine Expert, Pharmacist, Naturopath and Author of Alchemy of the Mind and Alchemy of Amino Acids, Vanita Dahia said, “It is possible to ease pain, soothe anxiety, and improve memory simply by taking amino-acids”.5
In their review of Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: Biochemical and Clinical Evidence of Vitamins and Mineral, Tardy et al. said there is a strong biological and physiological rationale that indicates that the long-known involvement of vitamins and minerals in cellular energy production translates into functional and physiological outcomes in humans, including perceived physical and mental fatigue as well as psychological and cognitive functions.2
“Supplementing individuals with vitamin and minerals is highly likely to result in health benefits in the areas of mental and physical fatigue, as well as cognitive and psychological functions,”2 they said.