We all need a little help staying awake now and then, so for this week's Gloss Report we put the top energy and vitality boosters on the market to the test
Long days, late nights, bad diet - there are a whole host of factors that can contribute to feeling tired, slow and generally not quite yourself. More often than not, a long night’s sleep and a good cup of tea can do wonders. However, sometimes we’re all in need of a little something more to help us to fully recharge our batteries and put a bit more spring into our step.
So, in the hope that we might be able to put some spark back into our sluggish mornings, the Glossy Posse has been testing out energy boosting products all week. From sprays and tablets to supplements and liquids, read on to see which of us livened up and who still burned out.
Holland & Barrett Timed Release Busy B With Vitamin C
Feedback "I have to say, even though I work for a health and beauty website, the idea of energy boosting tablets and supplements fills me with an irrational fear that I’ll either keel over immediately after consumption or that I’ll bounce off the walls like a junkie for 48 hours straight. Did I mention I’m a hypochondriac?
"However, I decided to brave the Busy B tablets from Holland & Barrett, mostly because of the unthreatening name and the pretty blue bottle. These not-so-little (and by that I mean mahoosive) tablets contain High strength B Complex that supposedly work to support normal energy yielding metabolism and the reduction of tiredness and general bodily fatigue. The vitamin C works as an added bonus as it helps to contribute to the normal function of the immune system.
"The first thing I noticed was the extremely strong and unpleasant smell that the pills give off - it eventually fills the room. Combine this pong with their size and they make for a pretty hardcore routine for first thing in the morning. However, after a number of days of using them I was definitely waking up less of a sour puss and my afternoon slump was beginning to totally vanish - it seems I am in fact gradually beginning to feel more energised and invigorated and it feels bloomin’ marvellous. My skin seems clearer too - but I don’t want to jinx it."
Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens
Feedback “I probably shouldn’t be admitting this, but my diet has been somewhat lacking in the good stuff as of late. Or more specifically, the green stuff.
“More fast and greasy as opposed to home-cooked and nutritious, this Gloss Report couldn’t have come at a better time and thankfully, this energy-boosting supplement has helped me get back on track.
“While not a replacement for a well-balanced diet, it’s certainly given me a noticeable ‘zing’ in my step and the cocktail of nutritional components is definitely helping me feel back to my best. Containing spirulina, chlorella, essential fatty acids, deep cleansing fibre and digestive enzymes (to name but a few), it’s a much-needed ally to look to when you’re feeling run down. Simply add a couple of dessert spoons to yoghurt, juice or water for a helpful dose of green goodness.
"I would recommend though taking it with something more flavoursome than water as the taste leaves much to be desired. Seeing first-hand the effects though, this shouldn’t hold you back. It’s definitely worth the investment.”
Better You Femergy Original Energy Formula
Feedback “These tablets were truly put to the test this week as I arrived at work having snoozed my way there on the tube, dosed up on antihistamines and not quite sure what day it was or why it was suddenly morning when seconds ago I was dreaming of Ibiza.100% natural, sugar-free, caffeine-free, vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free and wheat-free, these capsules claim to revive a tired body and mind and have a very simple ingredients list: Peruvian Maca, Ginkgo Biloba, Brazilian Ginseng, Grape Seed and Cayenne Pepper.
“So far, so not scary (I'm a little wary of popping pills I don't know much about). Following the instructions of taking two mid morning, I plodded on with my day and hoped they would work their magic fairly quickly to give me a bit of an energy boost. An hour later, I genuinely felt perkier and more awake - I didn't even have my usual elevenses snack and had two meetings in which I felt considerably more alert than I had been on my commute in. I don't think it's any kind of placebo effect either, as I really didn't expect results on the first day or indeed at all given the very natural ingredients. All in all I'm impressed, and anything that makes me feel less fatigued and a little brighter gets my vote, especially when there's no caffeine or sugar involved (my usual fatigue fixers). I'll be taking two a day from now on!”
David Kirsch B-12 Spray
Feedback “I always suffer from an afternoon slump. Whether it’s a lack of sleep or my (usually) poor diet, I find myself yawning, easily stressed and run down. The David Kirsch B-12 Spray is a natural energy spray that works to help reduce stress, protect against nerve damage and improve your immune system’s function. Considering how often I get ill, this sounded like the product I need in my life. What I liked most about this at first sight was the fact that it was a small spray, making it perfect if I ever needed a quick pick-me-up on the go.
“When I shook the bottle and spritzed a bit into the air to get it going, I was worried to see a bright red spray emit from the nozzle. Known for my clumsy nature, I have to dispense this in front of a mirror to avoid having a red face, so it may not be so great to spritz and go. I took four sprays under my tongue and was pleasantly surprised by its yummy berry flavour. Not long after, I felt a sudden surge of energy and concentration. I snapped into focus and got through my workload quicker than expected. It also left me feeling calm and at ease - what’s not to love?”
Organic Burst Maca Powder
Feedback “I won’t lie, the taste of this rich, earthy powder takes some getting used to. It’s made from the powdered root of the Peruvian Maca plant and was once used by Incan warriors to boost their strength and stamina before going into battle. If this doesn’t get you raring to go in the morning, I don’t know what will. It’s caffeine-free, packed with nutrients and said to give your libido a lift. This may or may not be welcome depending on your plans for the day, but if you’re looking for a natural, organic energiser, maca will give you a good hit of iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12.
“I would advise against simply mixing it with water - if the muddy colour doesn’t put you off then the slightly savoury flavour just might. Mixed into a smoothie, yoghurt or porridge however, this powder adds depth and a hint of caramel flavour, not to mention a hefty dose of nourishment. It was nice to be able to consume this powder as part of my daily food intake rather than pop a pill - somehow it felt more wholesome to eat my vits. I felt a little bit perkier after blending it into my morning oats - whether this was psychological I don’t know but if it saves me from the espresso jitters, it’s worth getting used to."
Holland & Barrett Super Guarana
Feedback “I was admittedly a bit wary about trying an energy boosting supplement. Minus a short period in university where I tried taking caffeine pills to stay awake to study - note: I would not recommend this - I have never taken any sort of pill to increase my alertness. I also had no idea what Guarana was, at least until I did a quick Google search. Turns out, it’s an extract from the seeds of the Amazon’s Guarana plant and has twice the concentration of caffeine that’s found in coffee beans. Good to know.
“I took it before lunch and after about 30 minutes or so, I began to feel a pounding headache coming on. I took a look at the label, which told me to avoid additional consumption of caffeine. Err, perhaps I shouldn’t be washing down my Pret sandwich with a Diet Coke then…
“After an hour or so, my headache subsided and to be honest, I didn’t really feel any difference. Maybe I simply didn’t take it for a long enough period of time for it to be truly effective, but I still think I’ll just stick to my morning lattes for my energy boost in the future.”
Udo's Choice Ultimate Oil Blend
Price £12.99 for 250ml
Feedback "A quick and efficient way to get your essential omegas and fatty acids, this oil is really versatile and makes it easy to get your daily dose of nutrients; all you need is to drop a couple of spoonfuls of this into a smoothie or juice, or even your morning porridge. It is packed with omegas, flax seed oil, sunflower seed oil, coconut oil and much more, as well as being organic and gluten-free, making it a must-have supplement for improved concentration, energy levels, hair, nails, skin - you name it. However, I did find that it had a bit of a bitter taste if I didn't mix it in well - I definitely couldn't take it on its own, so choose wisely when adding it to your food or drink else you might struggle. It is also important to store it in the fridge to protect the nutritional value of the oil from heat or light."
Better You B12 Pure Energy Oral Spray
Feedback “I must admit, I was sceptical about using any energy-boosting products for fear they would send me into a whirlwind of head-spins and dizziness. A self-confessed Red Bull addict, the fact that the Better You spray came packaged as a specific energy-boosting supplement rather than a tasty fruit drink left me feeling like I was embarking on a medical trial rather than aiming to give myself a bit of a boost.
“Despite my cautiousness, I was pleasantly surprised when I first used the product (four sprays under the tongue per day) as it had a sweet, fruity flavour and wasn’t nearly as scary as I had thought. The fact that the taste packed such a punch tricked me into feeling like the product was working almost immediately, and after a while I definitely started to feel more focused and alert in myself. My concentration levels improved and I felt the morning’s fatigue start to slip away.
“The fact that the bottle is small and light makes it really easy to slip into your bag if you have a long day ahead, and the product definitely does give you a bit of a mid-afternoon pick-me-up when required. However the effect does wear off after a while, and I’m not sure it would be ever be a good enough substitute for a great night’s sleep.’