Losing weight can be an uphill task. It requires patience, a lot of hard work, and lifestyle changes which are usually not easy to make. This makes many people look for the easy way out, including the use of supplements.
The debate surrounding the use of supplements is broad, but research gives many mixed reviews. There isn’t enough research to back up claims in some instances, and some may have serious health risks.
But do vitamins for weight loss work? And what vitamins are good for weight loss and energy? This article will demystify weight loss vitamins to see what works and what doesn’t.
Recommended Vitamins For Weight Loss And Metabolism
Supplements have both benefits and risks. And unlike foods and drugs, supplements are not regulated by the FDA. So before taking any supplements, consult your doctor. Also, keep in mind that whole foods are the most reliable sources of minerals and vitamins. Supplements can help fill gaps of nutrients that you are not able to get enough of in your diet, but if you can get your nutrients from food, that is always the ideal choice.
Here are the 7 best vitamins for weight loss:
Calcium helps in blood clotting, muscle contraction, and building bones. Its impact on weight is not-significant. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), calcium supplementation does not affect weight loss (2). In the case you have increased calcium needs or a calcium deficiency, you may talk to your doctor about a calcium supplement.
The body needs Vitamin D to help absorb calcium and keep the bones strong. While Vitamin D has many health benefits, its effect on weight loss is still inconclusive. More research, thus, needs to be done to determine the impact of vitamin D supplements on weight loss.
Some research suggests that in postmenopausal women, vitamin D supplementation does not affect fat loss and weight except in the case of a deficiency which was corrected by the supplements (16). Another study, however, links Vitamin D deficiency to obesity (4).
Read More: 13 Essential Vitamins: A Comprehensive Guide
The B vitamins include B12, folate, B-6, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, and biotin. These vitamins play a crucial role in body metabolism – they are involved in turning the food we eat into energy. Deficiency in B vitamins can disrupt normal metabolism. For example, vitamin B-12 is essential for the metabolism of fats and protein but needs vitamin B-6 to function properly.
A healthy metabolism ensures that the body uses up the nutrients we eat as energy instead of storing them away as fat. So yes, the B vitamins supplements may be one of the best daily vitamins for weight loss, although you will still need to consume less energy than you burn each day to lose weight.
Iron plays a vital role in the formation of red blood cells. It is a key component in hemoglobin that transfers oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. Iron helps carry oxygen to cells in the body, including muscles, helping them burn fat more efficiently (17).
Low levels of iron result in iron deficiency anemia. Low iron levels also reduce your energy levels and physical endurance. Sufficient levels of iron can help with weight loss by ensuring that you have the energy to exercise. However, too much iron from supplements can cause stomach pain, constipation, and lead to more dangerous side effects like iron toxicity. So you should only take iron supplements if you have been prescribed them for a deficiency or cannot get enough iron from the food you eat – either way, discuss with your doctor or dietitian first.
The body needs energy to perform various functions. Magnesium is key for energy production and metabolism in the body. It also acts as a cofactor in over 300 enzyme systems (17). Magnesium helps keep your energy levels high to burn up those extra calories and shed extra pounds. Some people say that having sufficient magnesium helps with muscle soreness after strength training exercise.
Magnesium is said to be another one of the best vitamins for diet and weight loss. You may consider taking magnesium supplements if you think you are deficient or can’t get enough from food. Make sure always to consult your doctor as magnesium supplements have adverse effects on people with underlying conditions.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fish oil supplements are one of the most common in the market. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have many health benefits, including weight loss. So, if you are looking to shed some pounds, taking omega-3 supplements might help when combined with dieting and exercise.
Taking omega-3 fish oils may help with weight loss by reducing hunger and appetite. Also, omega-3 fatty acids may support your body’s metabolism (7). Metabolism is measured by the metabolic rate that shows how many calories you burn daily. So, the higher the metabolic rate, the more the number of calories burnt.
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Probiotics have gained popularity over the years. They are live bacteria or yeast that are said to have many benefits, including restoring or improving your gut flora. Probiotics are referred to as good bacteria.
They are believed to help keep the gut healthy, control inflammation and boost your immune system. Probiotics may also be helpful in weight management. Probiotics, especially those in the Lactobacillus family, may help you lose belly fat (5).
While probiotics are generally safe to use, some may have adverse effects. Also, it is important to note that not all types of probiotics help with weight loss. Some probiotics, such as Lactobacillus gasseri, may even cause weight gain (12). It is therefore important to consult your doctor before taking any probiotic supplements. You can also get probiotics from fermented foods and beverages such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and others.
Vitamin Rich Foods For Weight Loss
Incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your diet is a great weight loss strategy. Foods rich in vitamins and proteins are satiating and have great health benefits. Here are the top 10 foods rich in vitamins and minerals that have helped in weight loss.
Fish like salmon is highly nutritious and very filling. Like other protein-rich foods, it helps regulate hormones that control hunger and appetite, leaving you full for longer. Like other high-protein foods, salmon helps increase your metabolic rate compared to other foods (3).
Salmon is packed with healthy fats and proteins. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to help reduce inflammation, and which may play a vital role in obesity and metabolic disease. A 100-gram portion of wild salmon contains 2.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids.
Salmon is also a low energy-density food. A 100-gram portion of wild salmon contains only 127 calories (13), while that of farmed salmon contains about 208 calories (7). So, with a 100 gram serving of salmon, you get a highly nutritious, low-calorie, delicious meal.
Green tea is native to China but is now gaining popularity all over. In Chinese culture, green tea was used to treat several conditions, including headaches. It has recently been linked to weight loss.
Green tea contains caffeine and substances called catechins that are antioxidants. Research shows that both of these components may increase energy expenditure as they affect thermogenesis (9). Catechins may also help break down excess fats. So, green tea may improve weight loss through fat oxidation and thermogenesis.
Green tea is extracted from the leaves of Camellia sinensis and made by steaming its leaves. It does not go fermentation like other types of tea and thus retains more nutrients and antioxidants. Taking 2 or 3 cups of green tea a day should be enough to supplement weight loss.
Eating clams has many health benefits. Clams belong to a group of shellfish called mollusks. They are high in protein and low in calories and carbohydrates. Clams are also rich in Vitamin B12, crucial for body metabolism and converting fat into energy.
Clams also provide several essential amino acids that are important for bodybuilding, breaking down food, and tissue repair. You can always steam, fry, or boil your clams and find new exciting ways of preparing this dish from recipes online.
The livers of many animals are eaten all over the world. You might find the beef, chicken, lamb, or pork liver in butcher shops around you. Eating liver may help promote weight loss as it is very nutrient-dense and low in calories.
The popularity of this dish has faded over the years but it is a nutritional powerhouse. Liver is a great source of protein. Like other high-protein foods, eating liver leaves you feeling full. Protein is also more satiating compared to carbs and fats.
Additionally, a high protein diet can help build muscle when combined with strength training. A protein-rich diet may also help increase your metabolic rate (8). A higher metabolic rate means that you use up more energy, which is important when shedding pounds.
These include cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. They are high in fiber and, for this reason, are filling. So after a meal of broccoli salad and baked potatoes, you will not have the urge to pick up a candy bar.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain a good amount of protein. So the combination of fiber, protein, and low-calorie density makes them a perfect addition to your meals if you need to lose weight.
Many discredit eggs when it has many health benefits and can be a great addition to your diet for weight loss when eaten correctly. They are high in protein and fats and are filling. Eating eggs for breakfast suppresses appetite, and research shows that individuals eat less over the next 36 hours after eating eggs (6).
Eggs are nutrient-dense and supply several essential nutrients. Whole eggs are rich in amino acids that support bodybuilding. They play a crucial role in body metabolism and help you stay energized through your workout.
Eggs also have a low-energy-density. One egg contains about 72 calories (6). So, they are a great way to get essential vitamins and proteins as you lower your calorie intake. And unlike other breakfast meals like cereal and yogurt, eggs are sugar-free.
Egg yolks contain choline, a micronutrient that helps in metabolism and nerve function (1). Add whole eggs to your breakfast and not just egg whites to your breakfast. With eggs, you get a low-calorie, high energy-dense meal for less than just $5.
It is a saltwater fish that is low in calories and rich in protein (10). Tuna is a lean fish, meaning that there isn’t too much fat in it. It is also rich in other essential minerals.
When shopping for tuna, pick the option with the lowest amounts of mercury contamination as they are the healthiest. If you are buying canned tuna, avoid the variety in oil and buy tuna canned in water to avoid the extra calories from the oil.
How you eat your tuna is important. For instance, eating a tuna salad made with lots of mayonnaise adds a lot of calories and fats. You can use non-fat Greek yogurt instead for tuna salad. You can also eat your tuna steak with kale orach salad.
Leafy veggies are very high in fiber and water. The effect is that you stay full for longer, helping you remove the need to snack frequently on high-calorie ultra-processed foods. They include spinach, kale, collard greens, swiss chard, beet green, and endive.
Vegetables are also low energy-dense foods. Eating vegetables is, therefore, a great way to eat more without having to consume extra calories. Studies show that consuming vegetables at meals will low energy density overall help people consume fewer calories (17).
Leafy vegetables are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. So besides aiding in weight loss, they also have a positive impact on your general health. For that reason, don’t be afraid to enjoy a large serving of green leafy vegetables.
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There are many mixed views about grains and whether they contain too many carbohydrates. It is important to note that whole grains are full of fiber and more nutritious than refined grains. Whole grains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, and wholemeal flour. Common examples of refined grains are white bread, white rice, and fortified flour.
Whole grains contain high amounts of fiber and a good amount of protein. Consumption of whole grains thus improves the overall intake of fiber. Much as whole grains are a healthy choice, as with any food, overeating can result in weight gain.
Eating chili peppers might aid in weight loss. Capsaicin is the main component found in chili peppers. Evidence suggests that capsaicin aids in weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing fat oxidation, although its effects are modest (15).
Capsaicin may also reduce calorie intake, consequently resulting in weight loss. Consuming capsaicin has also been shown to increase satiety (14). The downside to this is that hot pepper is consumed in small amounts and its effect is not very significant.
The Truth About Your Metabolism
The body converts what you eat and drink into energy through a process called metabolism. The rate at which these chemical reactions take place is called metabolic rate. This process takes place constantly, even when you are resting or sleeping. Metabolism is necessary to provide energy for essential functions such as blood circulation, breathing, cell growth and repairing, and neurological functions.
How fast metabolism takes place varies in different people. The metabolic rate is dependent on genes, age, sex, physical activity, and lean muscle-to-fat ratio. A faster metabolism burns calories at a quicker pace. On the other hand, a slower metabolism burns fewer calories meaning that more calories get stored in the body as fat (11).
Three major factors affect how the body expends energy:
Basal Metabolic Rate
This refers to the amount of energy the body needs to perform essential life functions. Your BMR accounts for most of your total daily energy expenditure, about 50 to 80%
Digestion, absorption, transportation, and storage of food also require energy. About 10% of the calories you consume are used up in food processing.
The amount of physical activity has an impact on body metabolism. Activities such as walking the dog, playing basketball, running, or jogging – accounts for the rest of the energy expended during the day.
You might be tempted to blame your weight gain on metabolism. But remember that metabolism is a natural process necessary for the normal functioning of the body. Weight gain results from diet, genetic controls, hormonal activity, physical activity, and overall lifestyle, including sleep and psychological stress.
When you eat more calories than the body needs, you gain weight. The extra calories are stored away as fat by the body. While some people may find it easier than others to cut weight, everyone loses weight by burning more calories than they consume.
Learning about your basal metabolic rate and daily energy expenditure can help with planning your weight loss regime. Knowing how many calories you burn daily can help you know how many calories you should take in daily.
Vitamin and mineral supplements may help provide you with the energy necessary to manage stress, keep a positive mood, and reduce fatigue. All of these add up to a diet that’s more likely to be successful.
However, you’re not going to lose any weight without modifying how much you exercise and how many calories you eat each day.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 20 Reasons Eggs Could Be Your Secret Weight Loss Weapon (2020, eatthis.com)
- Calcium (2020, ods.od.nih.gov)
- Diet induced thermogenesis (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Weight Loss, Glycemic Indices, and Lipid Profile in Obese and Overweight Women: A Clinical Trial Study (2018, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of probiotics on body weight, body mass index, fat mass and fat percentage in subjects with overweight or obesity: a systematic review and meta‐analysis of randomized controlled trials (2017, onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- Eggs, Grade A, Large, egg whole (2019, udsa.gov)
- Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, raw (2019, usda.gov)
- Gluconeogenesis and energy expenditure after a high-protein, carbohydrate-free diet (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Green tea catechins, caffeine and body-weight regulation (2010, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Is Tuna Good for You to Lose Weight? (2019, livestrong.com)
- Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories ( 2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Probiotics for the control of obesity – Its effect on weight change (2016, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Salmon, raw (2020, usda.gov)
- Sensory and gastrointestinal satiety effects of capsaicin on food intake (2005, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The effects of capsaicin and capsiate on energy balance: critical review and meta-analyses of studies in humans (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Vitamin D3 supplementation during weight loss: a double-blind randomized controlled trial (2014, academic.oup.com)
- Vitamins and minerals that boost metabolism (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)