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Energy Central

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We all know that we need energy in our bodies to function during our everyday activities, but how many of us know where this energy comes from? The human body is an amazing machine – did you know that we all contain enormous quantities of energy, and if you are an average adult – you will have as much energy stored in your fat as a one-ton battery!3

The energy that we need to keep us moving, comes from the food that we eat - but the food first needs to be converted into a form of chemical energy which can be used by all the cells in our body. This chemical is known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and although a little is stored in our muscles, most of it comes from the food we eat.4

Food is made up of carbohydrates, fats and proteins and when we digest our food these are broken down into even smaller simpler forms (called glucose, fatty acids and amino acids). These are then transported in our blood and are either converted into energy, or stored in our bodies and can be used later when we need it.3 Glucose gives you quick energy but your body can’t use lots of it at once and so the extra (called glycogen) is stored in your liver and muscles. It is a bit like having two tanks of petrol – the one your car is using and a reserve tank for when you eventually run out of petrol.5

There are three energy systems that our body uses to make ATP for energy – one is when we need energy immediately and so it makes ATP quickly (for sprinting, weight lifting or throwing a ball for example, lasting 1 to 30 seconds). Another makes ATP reasonably quickly using glucose but this energy is used for large bursts of energy over longer periods of time, lasting 30 seconds to 3 minutes. The last energy system produces ATP slowly using oxygen, carbohydrates and fats from food and this energy is used when we need continuous energy.3

Our body automatically uses the relevant energy-making system depending on the time and power needed for the activity that we are doing.3

We all feel drained of energy from time to time and there are medical reasons for this (which we won’t cover, but consider a medical check-up to rule anything out), but there are also numerous non-medical energy-zappers that you should be aware of.6

Sugar provides energy but sugar is a quick-fix and leads to a slump afterwards.6 If you do need an energy boost, make sure that that you have a healthy snack that releases energy slowly.7 Make sure that the snack contains some protein as this will keep your blood sugar stable for longer, as well as carbohydrates which will give you the quick boost.7 Food provides us with the energy that we need to function so missing meals and leaving long gaps between eating will also make you feel drained.6

Water is also important in our diets. Most people don’t drink enough water.7 Being dehydrated and not taking in enough water can make us feel sluggish. Water keeps everything in our system flowing. It flushes out the toxins in the body, keeps us hydrated and keeps our energy levels up.6

Lack of sleep will definitely leave you feeling drained. Many things can cause this7 but one of the more common ones is caffeine. Caffeine will make you feel wired but then leave you tired, as it disrupts the natural sleep pattern, keeping you from getting a good night’s sleep. Other things keeping you awake could be stress or anxiety, illness, noise, light, alcohol, anger or depression.7

Exercise is energising and makes us feel invigorated and alive. Exercise helps the digestive system and pumps us full of the hormones that make us feel good. The less you exercise, the less fit you are and even everyday life becomes more of an effort. In the same breath however, too much exercise is an energy zapper and causes fatigue – you will feel constantly tired and need to cut back.6

Other things that could be causing a lack of energy are stress, lack of self-esteem, spending time doing things you really do not want to do, being disorganised or having clutter around you (looking for things that are lost or misplaced is a huge energy drainer) and having negative people around you.6,7

If you are feeling drained – take time to look around you and see what could be zapping your energy.

Vita-thion® is an everyday sustained energy supplement for people who want more of the body’s source of natural energy to keep them going throughout the day. Vita-thion® is the only registered product in South Africa which contains ATP, a molecule in our bodies which stores energy temporarily and then releases it when it is needed. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate, and it is considered to be the energy currency of life. It is found in every cell in our body and stores the energy that we need, to do just about everything we do.8

Vita-thion® is available in sachets and effervescent tablets. The tablets contain vitamins, minerals and also ginseng. Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal medicines in the world, and there is some evidence to show that it may boost the immune system and it may improve concentration and learning.9 Ginseng is believed to provide an energy boost, reduce stress and promote relaxation.10

Vita-thion® sachets can be given to adults and children as young as two years old, dissolved in water and the effervescent tablets can be used by adults and children older than10 years of age – again dissolved in water. These tablets are especially useful for students, sports people, the elderly, convalescents and post-operative patients – in fact, anyone who needs a supplement with an energy boost.1,2

The ingredients in the Vita-thion® effervescent tablets have many benefits including building up energy, as mentioned before, keeping cells healthy, reducing fatigue and weakness, increasing the capacity for work and concentration, as well as enhancing your natural resistance and recuperative powers. It also does not contain sugar. The vitamin C in the effervescent tablets is an antioxidant and helps maintain healthy gums, skin and connective tissue while all the various vitamin B’s help in the conversion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates into energy, keep the nerves functioning well and help build red blood cells.9

Taking Vita-thion® Effervescent will help with cell and blood cell renewal and keep your blood cells healthy. The product contains vitamins C and A for healthy skin, hair, nails, bones and teeth, while magnesium helps keep your nervous system up to scratch.

Taking Vita-thion® not only gives you more energy to see you through a busy day, but it also helps with the maintenance of good health and vitality – something that we all strive towards in our busy lives.8

“Energeia” means activity or operation while “energos” means active and working so the meaning of the word energy says it all – normal activities like moving, growing and reproduction all demand a constant energy flow. There are also activities and situations that zap your energy – so how can you make sure that your energy flow is topped up to prevent you feeling drained?11

One of the most obvious ways to prevent an energy drain is to eat properly. It is important to eat breakfast. Breakfast is named this for a reason – you are breaking the fast from when you had your dinner the night before.12 Meals should be balanced and small, as supersized meals use more energy to digest. Our body uses carbohydrates for energy and proteins help sustain energy when needed. Fats make us feel satisfied and all these three should be included in your meal.11

Another obvious way to increase low energy levels is to take a supplement – these support the cycles in the production of energy. One of these is Vita-thion® which is the only energy tonic to contain ATP (adenosine triphosphate)11 which is the primary source of energy for most functions within the cell.8 Vita-thion® provides sustained natural energy and contains vitamin B1, necessary for the release of energy from glucose and to transform carbohydrates to fats.11 It also contains other vitamins and minerals for the maintenance of good health and vitality.12

There are a host of other things that you can do to boost your energy. Experts agree that physical exercise, especially walking, increases energy even though it would seem that it would zap more energy – so take a walk around the block.12 Taking a 60 minute power nap can reverse the effects of information overload which can make you feel drained of energy.12 Dehydration causes the blood flow to the vital organs to slow down leaving you feeling tired so drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.11 This is especially important after exercise when your body craves fluids and you need an energy boost.12 Programme more relaxation activities into your day to reduce stress and anger, which will leave you mentally and physically drained. For some people exercise works just as well.12

Life happens and tiredness will always be part of life, but we don’t have to accept it and we can do something positive to build up our depleted energy reserves to make us feel less drained.

ATP in muscle tissue was first discovered in Germany, and the USA in 1929. Its role in the storage and supply of energy in our bodies was first explained by Fritz A. Lipmann, a German‐American biochemist, in 1941. This achievement earned him a shared award of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1953.13

The food that we eat (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) is used as fuel for reactions in our bodies, which keep us alive. Our body converts this fuel to a common ‘’energy currency’’ which is called ATP or adenosine triphosphate.14 ATP is the high energy molecule that stores the energy we need to do just about everything we do, and it is found in the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm of every cell in our body. It provides the energy for most biological processes.8

Living things such as human beings can use ATP like a battery, the ATP can power reactions needed by cells in our body by forming ADP. Food energy is needed to convert ADP back to ATP so more energy is available to do any needed work by our bodies – our cells can be recharged.8

Our bodies do not store a large amount of ATP, but needs a continuous supply so therefore ATP has to be constantly made. Our body does this in three ways depending on what the energy is needed for:4

  • The first method (Phosphagen energy system) is to produce ATP very rapidly to be used as an immediate source of energy, which is essential at the onset of activity as well as during short term high‐intensity activities, which last about 1 to 30 seconds in length like sprinting, weight lifting or throwing a ball.
  • The second way to produce ATP is called anaerobic glycolysis, and it uses the energy contained in glucose. ATP is formed quite rapidly and this energy is used in activities which take a longer period of time from 30 seconds to three minutes.
  • The last method (aerobic glycolysis) needs oxygen to produce ATP and uses carbohydrates and fats. This production of ATP is for longer duration, lower intensity activities after the other two systems have been depleted.

Another obvious way to increase low energy levels is to take Vita-thion® which is an energy tonic that contains ATP.11 Vita-thion® provides sustained natural energy and contains vitamin B1, necessary for the release of energy from glucose and to transform carbohydrates to fats13. It also contains other vitamins and minerals for the maintenance of good health and vitality2.