Teen Health: Supporting low energy & mood swings
In my last blog I started looking at teen health, exploring the role of zinc and good bacteria in supporting healthy skin.
This week I am going to continue my teenage theme, and look at ways to support those who are struggling with low energy and mood swings.
During the teenage years the body is growing and developing, changing all the time. This demands a massive amount of energy.
At the same time, we are asking our teens to work hard at school and achieve good grades – all this brain work also requires a lot of energy. On top of this, the teen wants to stay up later – they are not a child any more!
So, it is no wonder that they can turn into tired and possibly moody people.
There has been a lot of research indicating that a later start time for schools would improve teenage performance, but we know that realistically, in today’s society, this change is unlikely to happen.
So, what can we do to support our teens as they pass through this difficult time?
One of the answers may lie with B vitamins.
I originally got into the health food business because my dad ran a successful health food store, and I was expected to help out at weekends. The longer I worked there the more my interest grew, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I remember one of his stock phrases, to any parent looking for something to help their teenager with low energy or mood swings:
“B vitamins for teenagers should be mandatory – if I had my way they would be on prescription from the moment they turn 13 until they become human again.”
This may seem harsh, but actually he had a point! B vitamins have several important roles to play in the body.
B1. B2, Niacin (B3) and B12 all support the normal function of the nervous system – helping to reduce feelings of stress. Whilst Folic acid, B5 and B6 all reduce tiredness and fatigue, and help to improve the production of energy. Additionally, B5 is needed for normal mental performance – helping to improve focus.
Taking all of these together in a B vitamin complex would provide complete support for stress, focus and energy – so maybe this sort of product should be made available for all teenagers!
When looking to purchase a B vitamin complex be aware that, as with many things, there are many different strengths available – ranging from products which provide 2mg of each B vitamin to those which contain 100mg of each.
My suggestion, and the product I give to my own teenager, is one which provides 50mg of each B vitamin plus 200mcg folic acid. This means they will be getting a boost, so hopefully they and those around them will notice the benefits of using the supplement.
Written by Jenny Logan DNMed. (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health food stores and private clinics for over 20 years.)