Hectic lives, stress and always being connected empty our figurative gas tanks; here’s how to help your customers get outstanding energy mileage.
I’m tired. These two words are heard so often the sentiment barely registers. One may think, “Everyone is tired, big deal.” And to a large extent, natural product retailers’ customer base battles an energy crisis quite frequently, no matter how healthy they are. Low energy can and does bedevil even physically fit folks.
Retailer Joshua Lane, founder of The Vitamin Center of Agoura Hills, CA, and previously Here’s To Your Health in both Hallandale and Davie, FL, noted that he finds questions about how to improve energy “are probably the most frequently asked questions I have been asked in the 30-plus years I have been a natural foods/supplement retailer.”
A key reason for feeling sluggish stems from the opposite side of the energy spectrum: sleep. Or rather, lack of. Even one sleepless night can cause someone to feel a low energy level the next day, when it’s a bit harder to muster up mental acuity and physical “oomph.”
“Fatigue” often is a word used by people as a synonym for “tired” or “low energy.” While fatigue can encompass sleepiness, it is really meant to convey a condition where the person feels an overwhelming continual feeling of exhaustion, which impairs one’s ability to perform physical and mental tasks.
Imagine those with chronic insomnia. Pain from injury, allergies and stuffiness (causing mouth breathing), colds/flus, certain medications, stress from situational life events, and hormonal chaos (peri-menopause), all deplete daily energy due to hijacking what should be a peaceful flight of dream fancy in sleep mode.
There are elderly folks who don’t sleep much due to their age. But for enthusiastic, healthy living customers who are in their 20s through their active 60s complain that their energy level is akin to that of a sloth, there are quite a few questions to ask in order to direct them to the most suitable supplement to help get back on track.
Beyond sleep issues that cause one to experience loss of power supply, there are other factors.
According to Justin Zehrung, vice president of sales and marketing with Arizona-based Essential Source Inc., nutrient deficiency is “absolutely the number one cause.” This has numerous reasons, notably that foods are being what he called “mono-cultured,” thus exposed to the overuse of chemicals, which has created voids that used to be filled with nutrition. In tandem, “we also become depleted from our bodies not properly processing the nutrients that are available in the foods we are eating. This often happens due to a state of ‘fight or flight’ that we stay in from stress. During this state the body doesn’t digest properly, therefore the natural process of restoring energy in our body from the vitamins and nutrients is destroyed.”
That stress is coming from somewhere, and it’s more widespread than ever, said Ron Antriasian, vice president of sales and business development for Florida-based Life Extension. The increasing demands on people result in disrupted sleep patterns, which directly affect energy levels. Gone are the traditional eight-hour workdays, as individuals are connected 24/7 to their smartphones and computers. And it’s not just adults who are experiencing an energy crisis, he pointed out: “Parents are pulled in many directions as children are engaged in a wide array of after-school activities. And stress has become a common theme in the American fabric, inhibiting energy levels.”
Not too long ago, in general, those who had increased bouts of low energy or sustained low energy were often considered to be the elderly, or those suffering from illness. Children, like puppies, always had boundless energy, but even kids now tend to become a bit too mellowed out. “Energy fatigue exists in every group on the planet and everyone experiences low energy and stress, no matter the population group, emphasized Aaron Glassman, founder of California-based Macaccino. The stress level that we are exposed to in today’s world is at extremely high levels, he observed, “which is why it is key to introduce nutritious food and drinks to the daily routine.”
However, according to nutritionist Mark Timon, MS, founder and formulator of Vibrant Health, in Connecticut, “there really is no energy crisis. We are simply making poor food choices.”
Added to that, he noted, is the fact that in general, we are trying to stuff more things into our lives, daily—creating stress and thus the need for more energy, mental and physical, to get it all done, properly and on time.
Antriasian elaborated that Millennials face more pressures than ever, from amassing significant college debt to finding jobs. Gen X-ers are caught between having to care for their children as well as their aging parents. And Baby Boomers are concerned about having the financial wherewithal to retire. Each of these stress factors inhibits energy levels.
When it comes to the latter, Zehrung explained that typical Baby Boomers are predisposed to a lack of energy for several reasons. First, they have been exposed to a toxic environment—more radiation, harmful chemicals and synthetic unhealthy foods—for longer. Boomers, however, are the most likely to address health concerns, since people naturally begin to prioritize health as they age. On their heels (slowly) are the Generation X-ers, who Zehrung said have typically been more self-destructive to their natural energy and sleep patterns from over-consumption of caffeine and other stimulants. Chiefly, he described, common energy drinks are huge culprits as they disrupt the adrenal glands by supplying a “violent rush of energy and a more violent crash afterward.” This overuse of caffeine alone can be the cause of insufficient levels of many vitamins and other nutrients. Additionally, conditions such as sleep apnea and sleep deprivation have been on the rise in this age group especially. “Then we come to Millennials, who also use caffeine at a high rate and are the most involved in their technology, which is a huge factor in poor energy levels, as well. Many studies have shown the link between excessive technology use (phone, tablet, computers) and sleep deprivation,” he pointed out.
As is clearly seen, just about every customer encountered likely can enjoy a conversation—and resulting advice and solutions—about energy. Besides those who ask specifically about this issue, it really is not inappropriate for you to query a customer, “By the way, how is your energy, typically?” This is one question most, if not all, people will not feel shy or embarrassed about discussing.
A Feel-good Diet
First in the advice column is, of course, diet. Is the energy-deprived soul eating too much convenience food on the run? Slow it down, especially when it comes to eating time. Energy comes from food, so the more slowly he or she eats, the more fully and efficiently the body can create energy. Further, recommend the substitution of whole grains instead of processed “whites,” which frequently cause the post-prandial energy spike-and-crash; low glycemic means higher sustained mental acuity/energy as well as physical stamina. Moderate exercise daily also dramatically increases that feel-good energy.
For those customers who want to wean off the stimulant/sedative merry-go-round, Glassman advised to suggest cutting down on caffeine consumption, instead of quitting cold turkey, which helps to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. “For instance, he said, “by swapping a morning cup of a coffee with Macaccino, the consumer will experience long lasting energy without those spikes and crashes. The herb maca has been shown to regulate hormonal levels and can assist in deep restorative sleep patterns, helping produce good energy the next day.”
Without a doubt, Zehrung agreed, the overuse of both stimulants and sedatives has increased dramatically during the last decade, and we “need to be constantly thinking about how to reach and educate new customers. There needs to be more promotion of energy-producing supplements and foods in the place of the stimulants that are most prevalent,” he said.
When customers seek to whip up flagging energy, Lane suggested that they avoid processed sugar as much as possible, eat protein with every meal, and not skip meals—notably breakfast. “To start the day, a break-fast meal of eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, or lamb, your choice, helps control blood sugar levels. This is an import-ant component of having steady energy over the course of the day,” he stated.
Also, he suggested, avoid coffee as much as possible, tea is a preferred choice, and Lane really likes Domatcha Matcha Tea “for its great taste and excellent track record.” John Harrison, president of Ecotrend Ecologics introduced matcha to a large North American audience about a decade ago, Lane recalled.
Exciting Supplements To Recommend
Trace Minerals of Utah has several attractive energy-promoting supplements. For those who do prefer “energy drinks,” wean them off the monstrous junk and have them try 40,000 Volts, an electrolyte concentrate containing such goodness as sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride. This option is preferable for those who work out vigorously and thus feel drained afterward but need to get back to life’s duties. These customers may also like the Electrolyte Stamina Power Pak, a high-performance energy drink with 1,200 mg vitamin C; offered in eight flavors. Folks who prefer shots (and more than only five hours of energy) may like the company’s Electrolyte Stamina Shot, which offers 72 electrolytes, D-ribose and GPLC (glycine propionyl-L-carnitine).
Another company that provides a “make-your-own” beverage for energy inducement is California-based Organic Mushroom Nutrition, which offers a low-calorie, sugar-free orange-flavored powder containing a blend of cordyceps, reishi, turkey tail, agaricus blazei, maitake, king trumpet, turmeric, yerba mate, guarana, vitamins D, C, B2, B3, B6 and B12.
For overall daily energy support, Mushroom Wisdom Inc. of New Jersey offers Super Cordyceps tablets; cordyceps has a long history of use in China for promoting stamina and endurance. And cordyceps is one half of an energy blend, combined with Panax ginseng, in Life Extension’s Asian Energy Boost, which, said Antriasian, boosts the body’s own energy source, ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
“Products that promote energy at a mitochondrial level are the most effective products for energy enhancement, as they enhanced long-term metabolic function and overall health vs. simply providing an immediate energy boost via sugar or caffeine,” stated Antriasian. Life Extension’s Mitochondrial Energy Optimizer with BioPQQ, he said, was formulated to enhance mitochondrial function, protect delicate cellular structures, power-charge metabolic processes, and aid in the creation of new mitochondria. And the company’s Super Ubiquinol CoQ10 with Enhanced Mitochondrial Support is formulated with ubiquinol, a highly bioavailable form of coenzyme Q10 nutrient, and “augmented with the adaptogen PrimaVie shilajit, clinically shown to further increase CoQ10 absorption, promote cardiovascular health, and help restore youthful cellular energy,” Antriasian added.
According to Zehrung, a recent study at Tufts University showed that 40 percent of Americans are B12 deficient. This occurs for a number of reasons, he noted, “but the top three are overuse of caffeine, many prescription medications, and then the natural aging process, as we begin to lose our ability to absorb B12 around the age of 40. The worst of these is the caffeine, creating a vicious cycle that leads people to believe they need more caffeine, when it’s actually the cause of the symptom in the first place.” Caffeine is a convenient product that so many people reach for when they need that afternoon “oomph,” and it’s readily available.
To counter caffeine, Essential Source offers B12 Strips, said Zehrung, the most bioavailable form of B12, which is methylcobalamin, combined with methyl folate and pyridoxial phosphate 5, which are the most bioavailable forms of vitamin B6 and folate. “The B12 strips provide the highest level of convenience for those same consumers, since the entire month supply is about the size of a book of matches,” Zehrung described.
“When it comes to B12 and energy, we know that low B12 levels can cause fatigue or low energy, Timon noted. Therefore, B-12 is also prominent in Vibrant Health’s ProMatcha Protein, which contains 200 micrograms or 3,330 percent of daily value of B12, Timon noted. Vibrant Health’s Maximum Vibrance contains 204 micrograms or 3,390 percent of your daily value of B12.
Some folks have energy deprivation due to stress, which causes the adrenal glands to work overtime. And vitamin B12 is likewise key in Texas-based Michael’s Naturopathic Programs’ Adrenal Factors Stress Support Tablets (available as 60 ct. and 90 ct.), which also includes vitamin C, pantothenic acid, calcium, and a proprietary botanical blend of Eleuthero root, ashwagandha root, juniper berry, licorice root and turmeric root.
For fitness enthusiasts, Michael’s offers Adrenal Xtra Energy Support Tablets (available in 60 ct., 90 ct. and a traveler tube), which contains vitamins C, B12, pantothenic acid, and a proprietary herb blend of ashwagandha root, rhodiola root, and licorice root. The company founder, Michael Schwartz, formulated this product for himself to support physical and mental stamina.
Vibrant Health, Timon described, “provides several dietary supplements focused on the concept of restoring Paleolithic levels of nutrition. When used, consumers persistently report back to us that they noticed an increased, sustained energy level that carries them throughout the day. These include Green Vibrance, Maximum Vibrance, Rainbow Vibrance and ProMatcha Protein. To start the day, Maximum Vibrance or ProMatcha Protein would be an excellent choice due to its 20 or 21 g of protein per serving.”
Macaccino, according to Glassman, can be enjoyed just like morning (or anytime) coffee. It is available in travel-sized Original, travel-sized Black Reserve, Original Roasted Maca Blend, a magical Mint Macaccino Blend, and Black Reserve Macaccino Blend.
In the supplement aisles, Lane suggested chromium picolinate and L-glutamine to stabilize blood sugar, which provides sustained energy. “I also like to recommend AHCC from Quality of Life because it is a great energy booster, and B complex works to boost energy too.”
For revving up mental energy, Lane said he often recommends Carlson Fish Oil daily, “which is excellent for the ability to think clearly. Most people use one teaspoonful daily or two capsules and see results in about one week. It is a very effective supplement that is easy for people to relate to. Here too, B complex vitamins are excellent for mood, mental focus and energy.”
Zehrung implored retailers to be more active in providing these healthy energy-producing alternatives to those customers at the most affordable price possible, because the unhealthy alternatives tend to be cheaper. He added to ask manufacturers for sampling and store giveaways, which can be critical in motivating those who have not been willing to spend money in this category to at least try it.
This category can be a bit of fun to promote, too. There are so many creative and easily relatable analogies to use for energy, and lack thereof. This is just another way to “empower” your customers! VR
For More Information:
Essential Source, (877) 879-9966
Life Extension, (800) 544-4440
Michael’s Naturopathic Programs, (800) 845-2730
Mushroom Wisdom, (800) 747-7418
Organic Mushroom Nutrition, (866) 740-6874
Vibrant Health, (800) 242-2835