Natural solutions are all the rage, and this extends to supplements targeting energy levels, focus, and overall cognitive performance. Many supplement brands are jumping on this trend by creating their own botanical blends designed to boost energy - but what’s the evidence in favor of natural ingredients being used for this purpose?
Shifting from Traditional Energy Boosters
Energy supplements have been a long-standing staple of the consumer goods industries. Bars, gummies, capsules, and energy “shots” are all marketed as solutions to sleepiness. However, many of these products contain ingredients that consumers are growing increasingly wary about. For instance, a lot of the supplements promising a jolt of energy contain large amounts of caffeine (no surprise there.)
These products have been shown to be effective, but they operate in much the same way that drinking lots of coffee might. The result is a short-lived burst of energy that quickly gives way to fatigue and a slump later in the day. Further, too much caffeine can pose serious health risks such as anxiety, high blood pressure, trouble sleeping, irritability, digestive issues, and withdrawal symptoms with regular enough use.
A such, many health-conscious consumers are seeking an alternative that delivers a similar fatigue-fighting capability but limits any side effects.
The Latest Research
Several naturally derived ingredients are in the running for caffeine substitutions. We’ll explore two of the natural supplements receiving the most buzz and deep dive into the research around their performance.
Terminalia Arjuna (Arjuna for short)
Research on this botanical extract has been conducted as recently as January 2023. The plant, also called the arjuna tree, is known for its use in indigenous medicine systems. The bark has been cited for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-carcinogenic properties.
It’s used as a supplement ingredient by Biolife, who refer to it as Oxyjun. In their studies, the Arjuna tree extract has demonstrated efficacy in reducing physical fatigue and improving cardiac output in men and women aged 30 to 70. The study followed subjects over 56 days and saw significant improvements in perceived fatigue, as well as a 6% increase in cardiac output. These findings suggest the usefulness of this ingredient in natural supplements designed to target sustained energy levels.
Alpinia Galanga (Ginger family.)
A wealth of plants in the ginger family have long been used for health and wellness. These plants provide improved circulation, digestive benefits, and anti-inflammatory effects. The Alpinia Galanga is sometimes called the Galangal root and provides similarly notable health benefits. Studied by OmniActive Health, the A. galanga supplement in particular yielded positive results on mental alterness and perceived fatigue. Impressively, improvements in attention and mental focus were noted as early as thirty minutes after the supplement was taken.
Overall, there is a growing body of evidence that natural ingredients work to provide an energy boost that is comparable to traditional supplements such as caffeine. The research on the Galangal root and the Arjuna tree in particular are promising for health and wellness brands looking to appeal to natural-minded consumers. The shift toward plant-based, sustainable supplement ingredients is becoming a widespread trend, and we can expect more health brands to adopt it in the coming months.
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