Whether it is in pill, flavored drink, powder or bar form, energy supplements exploded in popularity around the United States. Energy supplements are “health” products that are designed to help increase the energy level for longer periods during the day. Some energy supplements are also marketed as weight loss or fitness supplements because of their ability to help the body burn more calories.
The most common form of energy supplements are a class of supplements called thermogenics, also known as stimulants. Thermogenics are substances that cause the body to increase metabolic rate. This causes the body begins to burn more calories, resulting in an increase in energy. The most common thermogenics are caffeine and synephrine (bitter orange). Ephedra is also used to be a common thermogenic used in energy supplements until it was banned by the FDA because of potentially harmful side effects.
Natural Energy Metabolism
Another common type of ingredient contained in energy supplements, energy metabolism products. These drugs derived from natural nutrients like proteins and amino acids that have a track record of increasing the body’s metabolism in nature. Most commonly, these include CoQ10, carnitine, creatine and B vitamins. According to Dr. David Leopold, from the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine, these drugs are only beneficial as energy supplements when the person is not already getting enough of them from food consumption. Taking supplements that put a person over regularly for levels of the products do not show any added energy benefits. As thermogenics, these drugs help to increase metabolism, which causes more calories to be burned. As calories are burned, energy is produced.
Many energy supplements also work by adding calories through carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, such as simple sugars, are substances that can be easily broken down by the body to be burned as energy. These supplements are usually only reserved for athletes who switch their energy storage quite rapidly during events and training. Energy supplements that are high in carbohydrates allow the athlete quickly absorb carbs he needs right before or during an event to get a boost of energy. In people who are not active, you calorie-based energy supplements actually do more harm than good. Sugar can provide a small and temporary burst of energy, but there will almost always make you sleepy right after the sugar rush is ended.