Q: The holiday season is such a busy time, and I want to enjoy every minute. Can you suggest vitamins or supplements to keep me energized? -- Ann Mine, Windsor, Ont.
A: Naturopath Penny Kendall-Reed replies:
Healthy lifestyle habits, including some stress-management techniques, are the key to keeping your energy up. There are supplements that can help, too. The following three can be used all year to keep energy up and stress down.
B vitamins improve energy, sleep and mood. Take a 100-milligram multi-B vitamin that includes vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6 and B12 once a day.
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant nutrient and a critical component of cellular energy (it acts as a spark plug for the body). Take 60 milligrams a day.
Astragalus is a herb that can strengthen the adrenal glands (the stress-hormone glands) and immune system to prevent infections. It's quite helpful during the winter, when colds are common. Take 350 milligrams once or twice a day.
If the holidays greatly increase your stress level, you may want to consider taking the following supplements, too.
Panex ginseng strengthens the adrenal glands and increases energy. Take 500 milligrams twice a day.
Relora, an extract from the magnolia flower, helps decrease the release of cortisol, the fatiguing stress hormone, and improves sleep. Take 350 to 500 milligrams two or three times a day.
Take vitamins with food, herbal supplements without. In either case, take them at the same time every day (try putting them by your bed so you take them when you wake up or go to bed). If more than one dose per day is recommended, spread it over the day.
Penny Kendall-Reed is clinic director at Urban Wellness in Toronto. She is author of The New Naturopathic Diet and coauthor of The Complete Doctor's Healthy Back Bible and The Complete Doctor's Stress Solution.