Philosophy:Mental energy

From HandWiki

Mental energy may be understood as the ability or willingness to engage in cognitive work.[1]

It is distinct from physical energy,[1] and has mood, cognition, and motivation domains.[2][3][4][5] Concepts closely related to mental energy include vigor and fatigue.[1]

Mental energy is not well-defined, and the scientific literature on mental energy is quite limited.[1] A variety of measures for assessing aspects of mental energy exist.[1]

Many people complain of low mental energy, which can interfere with work and daily activities.[1] Low mental energy and fatigue are major public health concerns.[1] People may pursue remedies or treatment for low mental energy.[1] Seeking to improve mental energy is a common reason that people take dietary supplements.[6]


Many different neurotransmitters have been theoretically implicated in the control of mental energy.[6] This has often been based on the effects of drugs acting on these neurotransmitters.[6] These neurotransmitters include dopamine, norepinephrine, orexin, serotonin, histamine, acetylcholine, adenosine, and glutamate.[6] Hormones, including glucocorticoids like cortisol, as well as cytokines, have also been found to regulate mental energy.[7][8][9][10]

Foods, Drugs, sleep, diseases...

Mental energy can be affected by factors such as drugs, sleep, and disease.[1]


Drugs that may increase mental energy include caffeine, modafinil, psychostimulants like amphetamines and methylphenidate, and corticosteroids like hydrocortisone and dexamethasone.[1][6][7]

Drugs that may decrease mental energy include sedatives and hypnotics like antihistamines, benzodiazepines, and melatonin, as well as dopamine receptor antagonists like antipsychotics.[1][11]

Foods, beverages etc

There are many marketing claims of foods, beverages, and dietary supplements improving mental energy, but data to substantiate such claims are limited or absent.[5][6][12]


Sleep deprivation may decrease mental energy in an exposure-dependent manner.[1]


Various disease states, such as cardiac disease, cancer, stroke, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and certain mental health conditions like depression, may be associated with decreased mental energy.[1] Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by a lack of the energy needed for the basic activities of daily life.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 "Cognitive methods for assessing mental energy". Nutr Neurosci 10 (5–6): 229–42. 2007. doi:10.1080/10284150701722273. PMID 18284031. 
  2. "Mental energy: Assessing the mood dimension". Nutr Rev 64 (7 Pt 2): S7–9. July 2006. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00256.x. PMID 16910215. 
  3. "Mental energy: Assessing the cognition dimension". Nutr Rev 64 (7 Pt 2): S10–3. July 2006. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00252.x. PMID 16910216. 
  4. "Mental energy: Assessing the motivation dimension". Nutr Rev 64 (7 Pt 2): S14–6. July 2006. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2006.tb00253.x. PMID 16910217. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Do specific dietary constituents and supplements affect mental energy? Review of the evidence". Nutr Rev 68 (12): 697–718. December 2010. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00340.x. PMID 21091914. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 "Mental energy: plausible neurological mechanisms and emerging research on the effects of natural dietary compounds". Nutr Neurosci 24 (11): 850–864. November 2021. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2019.1684688. PMID 31665988. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Mental fatigue: costs and benefits". Brain Res Rev 59 (1): 125–39. November 2008. doi:10.1016/j.brainresrev.2008.07.001. PMID 18652844. 
  8. "The pathogenesis of cancer related fatigue: could increased activity of pro-inflammatory cytokines be the common denominator?". Eur J Cancer 44 (2): 175–81. January 2008. doi:10.1016/j.ejca.2007.11.023. PMID 18162394. 
  9. "Corticosteroid receptor mediated effects on mood in humans". Psychoneuroendocrinology 21 (6): 515–23. August 1996. doi:10.1016/s0306-4530(96)00011-x. PMID 8983088. 
  10. "Acute cortisol administration reduces subjective fatigue in healthy women". Psychophysiology 43 (6): 653–6. November 2006. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2006.00458.x. PMID 17076823. 
  11. "Parallels between post-polio fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome: a common pathophysiology?". Am J Med 105 (3A): 66S–73S. September 1998. doi:10.1016/s0002-9343(98)00161-2. PMID 9790485. 
  12. "Diet, neurochemicals, and mental energy". Nutr Rev 59 (1 Pt 2): S22–4. January 2001. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb01889.x. PMID 11255799.