Can You Use Vitamins for Weight Loss?

Obesity and overweight are increasingly prevalent conditions across the world. As a fact, at least 2.8 million people die every year because of these conditions. In 2016 alone, over 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. At least 650 million suffered from obesity.

These numbers explain why people are constantly looking for effective methods to lose weight. Lately, there’s been a big fuss over vitamins for weight loss. That’s why people are constantly searching for the best dietary supplements for weight loss online.

However, losing body weight is no simple process. There’s no magical pill that can help you burn fat overnight and obtain a slim figure. Furthermore, there isn’t a lot of research to back up the claims.

Nevertheless, there are a few vitamins and mineral supplements that can boost your normal body function and promote weight loss. That said, let’s check out if vitamins promote weight loss.

How Vitamins and Minerals Promote Fat Loss

When you consume a healthy diet, your body enjoys all the essential nutrients it requires for proper functioning. But if you’re on a limited diet, you can miss out on vital vitamins and minerals. That’s where vitamins and mineral supplements come in. The supplement can provide your body with extra nutrients required to promote healthy weight loss.

Nonetheless, vitamins and minerals vary. Here, we will look at how various vitamins and minerals work to help your body achieve lean body mass.

Vitamin B12

The B vitamins promote healthy metabolism in the body. But perhaps the most important vitamin B in terms of weight loss is B12. Also known as Cobalamin, Vitamin B12 is vital for the metabolism of fats and proteins. However, it works effectively in the presence of B-6, which promotes the metabolism of proteins.

Additionally, it plays a role in the formation of RNA, DNA, and red blood cells. B12 also boosts heart health, energy production, brain function, etc.

Naturally, it’s found mainly in animal products. So, if you’re vegetarian, chances are you might not have enough vitamin B12 in your body. Individuals with gut or digestive problems, vegans, and seniors are at a high risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Therefore, they may require supplements.

Sources of Vitamin B12 include:

  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice and barley
  • Vegetables like potatoes, spinach, and squash
  • Fruits like watermelon, apples, and banana

Besides dairy products, fortified foods might contain B-12

Does B12 Help Lose Weight?

The science behind B12 and weight loss is still very limited, especially in humans. However, existing research suggests that B12 can affect body fat and energy metabolism.

One study showed that the vitamin is vital for fat metabolism. Most obese people have a deficiency of vitamin B12. Because of that, their bodies tend to accumulate fat.

Another animal research concluded that severe vitamin B12 deficiency can increase cholesterol levels and body fat percentage in pregnant mice.

The deficiency of vitamin B12 can affect your body’s systems responsible for weight management. For example, during aerobic exercises, your body relies on its circulatory and respiratory systems. However, low levels of B12 can hinder these two systems. As a result, you’ll tire quickly during the exercise.

Lack of adequate vitamin B12 in the body can impact the body’s natural balance and increase the risk of metabolic syndrome. It can slow down your metabolism, leading to more fat accumulation and fewer calories being burned during the day.

To address B12 deficiency, doctors might recommend B12 supplements or injections. These will introduce the vitamin back to the body, increasing the body’s metabolism required to burn fat.

As a result, you’ll lose weight naturally. Even so, administering B12 to individuals with sufficient levels of vitamins doesn’t boost its natural effects.

Vitamin D

Unlike vitamin B12, our bodies produce vitamin D when the skin gets exposed to the sun’s UVB rays (1). The kidneys and liver actively process the vitamin, allowing the body to use it.

Vitamin is essential for strong, healthy bones. The vitamin helps the body to absorb the main component of the bone, calcium. Experts believe the benefit of this vitamin extends past strong bones. The immune system requires vitamin D to fight bacteria and viruses. Also, your muscles need it to move.

While you can source vitamin D from sun exposure, you can also get it from consuming dairy products, fish, and mushrooms.

Correlation of Vitamin D and Weight Loss

Scientists aren’t convinced yet that vitamin D can promote fat loss in obese individuals. But a study published by the America Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that vitamin D supplements help postmenopausal women lose weight. Also, taking vitamin D and calcium together reduces the risk of gaining body weight in postmenopausal women (2).

Other studies found out that overweight senior women and children usually have lower levels of vitamin D (34). While vitamin D is not a cause of fat storage, there’s a strong link between the two. But there’s a need for more research to learn how vitamin supplements or serum vitamin d affect overweight people.

To prevent vitamin d deficiency, consider consuming food rich in vitamins, like cereals, juices, fish oil, etc. Also, take a walk early in the morning to absorb vitamin D from the sun. Apart from that, it’s wise to check your vitamin C, D, and B12 levels annually. If you have low vitamin levels, consult your doctor about dietary supplements.

Calcium

Calcium is essential for everybody, but when cutting calorie intake, dieters might risk not getting enough. Luckily, they can take calcium supplements to balance the mineral supply in the body.

Calcium plays a significant role in the building of strong bones. The mineral promotes healthy metabolism and controls blood sugar levels. Besides that, calcium plays a significant role in weight loss, including:

Burning More Fat

Academic research institutions say intake of serum vitamin d and calcium can help diet-related weight loss efforts (5). Another 2007 study discovered that high diets with high dairy calcium enhance weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes (6). Research also shows that calcium enhances fat burning in obese individuals (7).

Further studies by the International Journal of Obesity discovered that intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day reduces the production of fatty acid synthase. This enzyme speeds up the creation of fatty acids. The interesting part of calcium supplementation combined with a calorie diet can increase fat oxidation significantly (8).

Helping The Body Get Rid of Fat (Through Stools)

Normally, humans excrete about 2 g of fat in stools every day. But according to studies, calcium increases that number (9). However, scientists are yet to figure out exactly how calcium causes the excretion of extra fat.

But what we know is calcium influences the production of peptides in the gut. The peptides work to release insulin from the pancreas. Insulin moves blood sugar(glucose) into new cells where they get used for energy production.

Calcium Makes You Feel Full for An Extended Period

Besides your physical stomach capacity, vitamins and minerals consumed determine how long you’ll feel full after a larger meal. And perhaps the most significant nutrient here is calcium.

According to researchers, a combination of calcium and protein can suppress appetite. Also, adding calcium to a macronutrient meal suppresses appetite and increases insulin levels in men (10). Remember, insulin gets glucose in the bloodstream into your cells to get converted to energy. Here, more insulin means more energy and less fat being stored.

Keep in mind many studies show calcium helps in weight loss efforts. But if you’re underweight or have the ideal weight, don’t worry that you might shed excess body weight when you consume calcium.

Studies show that the mineral only promotes weight loss in obese and overweight individuals. So, taking calcium supplements won’t trigger unhealthy body weight loss, if you have a healthy weight already.

Apart from supplements, you can get calcium from food sources, such as:

  • Milk
  • Fortified cereals
  • Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified milk

Iron

Your body requires iron for metabolism and healthy development. Iron works to promote muscle growth and strength, correct cell functioning, and promote skin health. Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to red blood cells. The red blood cells, in turn, transport oxygen to and from muscles and other body tissues through blood vessels.

The mineral influences athletic performance and post-workout recovery. Without iron, muscles might not receive enough oxygen for burning fat. Iron deficiency also affects the body’s metabolism, causing fatigue, and tiredness.

Common iron sources include:

  • Spinach
  • Brown Rice
  • Mushrooms
  • Plant-based foods
  • Tofu and soybeans
  • Fortified breakfasts

Iron and Weight Loss

Low levels of iron in the body mean low oxygen levels will reach the muscles. Without oxygen, the muscles will not have enough energy to burn excess fats in the body.

Excess fat in the body affects the absorption of iron. A study found out that overweight women are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency compared to their counterparts with healthy body weight (11). That’s why when they exercise, they tend to tire easily. Besides that, low levels of iron can increase the percentage of body fat and visceral fat mass (12).

However, when the iron gets consumed in high doses, it’s toxic. So before taking iron supplements, check with doctors who provide medical advice to know the way forward. That’s true, especially if you have iron deficiency.

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is not a vitamin or mineral, but it’s one of the most marketed dietary supplements for weight loss. It’s believed that the extract boosts fat oxidation and energy expenditure. Also, it reduces fat production and absorption.

The extract is rich in caffeine and flavonoids, known as catechins. Catechins activate the release of fat from fat cells or adipocytes causing them to shrink. When combined, catechins and caffeine increase energy expenditure (13). As a result, more fat gets burned to produce energy, leading to weight loss.

According to 2017 research, green tea supplements reduce body weight in overweight individuals by about 2 pounds (14). The flavonoids in green tea revive your body’s metabolism and boost the breakdown of fat. Catechins can also prevent the development of new fat cells.

In addition to that, drinking tea can help reduce high cholesterol levels. A study found that green tea reduces LDL cholesterol and fasting serum total in adults (15). Other peer-reviewed studies revealed that when combined with exercise, you can lose more fat and increase lean muscle mass (16).

Although it’s considered safe, clinical nutrition experts recommend you should take the extract with food. This way, you can reduce the risks of side effects.

What Is the Best Supplement for Losing Belly Fat?

The market features various types of weight loss supplements. Each works to reduce weight using different mechanisms. Some reduce your appetite or make you burn more calories, while others reduce the absorption of fat. So, what is the best supplement for losing belly fat?

Garcinia Cambogia Extract

Garcinia Cambogia is a popular small pumpkin-shaped fruit. Its skin is rich in hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is the main ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia supplements.

The ingredient works to inhibit fat-producing enzymes in the body (17). Hydroxycitiric acid also boosts the level of serotonin, which helps to suppress appetite (18).

However, it’s not as effective as marketed. A 2011 study showed that Garcinia Cambogia supplement has a minimal effect on weight loss (19).

Caffeine

Naturally found in coffee, dark chocolate, and green tea, caffeine is a natural metabolism booster. It’s also added to most weight loss supplements. When you consume caffeine, it can boost your body’s metabolism by 3 to 11 percent and burn excess fat (20).

But it’s not free from side effects. When consumed in high doses, it can cause insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, etc. Remember, caffeine is also addictive.

Rather than taking caffeine pills and supplements for losing belly fat, you’re better off drinking coffee or green tea. As such, you can benefit from antioxidants from these drinks.

Berberine

Chinese have used berberine for years as a medicine. It’s popular for its ability to decrease insulin resistance and prevent the development of fat cells (2122).

If you’re having trouble with stubborn belly fat, supplements with berberine and Oregon grape extract can help you. You can also enjoy the digestive benefits of the Oregon grape.

Glucomannan

Glucomannan is a fiber that originates from elephant yam or konjac. The fiber absorbs water, forming a gel-like substance that sits on your digestive tract (23). As a result, it will make you feel full and reduce calorie intake.

Study shows that a combination of glucomannan and a healthy diet over 5 weeks can help people shed over 10 pounds or 4.5 kg. In addition to weight loss, the supplement will address constipation and lower blood sugar (24).

How Can I Drop 20 Pounds Fast?

Losing weight, whether it’s 5 pounds or 20 pounds, is not easy. You need to change your lifestyle, meal plan and have lots of patience. Luckily, there are several medically reviewed strategies you can adopt for successful weight loss.

Reduce Calories Intake

Cutting the number of calories you consume is the best way to lose weight fast. The more calories you consume, the more weight you gain. If you can’t reduce your calories consumption, consider increasing your physical activities.

Additionally, start counting your calories, consume an effective diet and change your lifestyle. Tracking your calorie consumption will help you make healthier choices.

Eat More Protein

Studies show diets high in protein help in weight loss (25). According to studies, men should consume between 104 -138 and women 89-119 grams of protein daily for successful weight loss. Proteins help to get rid of belly fat and preserve muscle mass. Plus, it increases body metabolism during weight loss.

Also, protein helps to reduce calories consumed and suppresses appetite. If you want to benefit from proteins, follow strict sourcing guidelines to find the best sources of protein. Common protein sources include:

  • Poultry and dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Fatty fish and seafood
  • Tofu and plant-based proteins

Get Adequate Sleep

Getting adequate sleep is. a no-brainer. Quality sleep helps to boost mental health and the proper functioning of the body’s systems. Poor sleep quality can lead to increased appetite and belly fat. Poor night sleep activates your body’s stress response, causing weight gain.

Proper nutrition and changing your lifestyle can help you get a quality night’s sleep. Always sleep in a quiet, dark room and avoid looking at a screen before going to bed.

Exercise Regularly

Exercising can help you shed off extra fat and obtain a lean body. Body fat is stored energy. Such placement allows our bodies to convert fat into energy whenever we need it. So, when you work out the fat gets converted back to energy. Research shows that frequent and long exercises promote weight loss and contribute to your long-term weight loss goals.

Whether it’s cardio, strength, or resistance exercises, moderate exercise can boost your body metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories. But make sure you’re doing exercises you love. Consider walking, running, yoga, or lifting weights.

Conclusion

Weight loss is challenging, but not impossible. With the right strategies, you can shed off those extra pounds that make you feel insecure.

Taking vitamin and mineral supplements and other supplements might help you shed excess weight by boosting your metabolism. But keep in mind, these are no magical pills. So, you need to combine them with a well-balanced diet and exercise regime if you want to achieve the best results.

That said, a healthy weight reduces the risk of severe health conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, metabolic syndrome, etc. But before you take any weight loss supplement, check the ingredients and dosages. Also, consider consulting your doctor first.

References

  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/vitamin-d-and-your-health-breaking-old-rules-raising-new-hopes
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17502530/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4807700/
  4. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/104/6/1657/4668588
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20810979/
  6. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/3/485
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16421344/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18421269/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22708505/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23689561
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21462109/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22088365/
  13. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/98/6/1682S/4577486
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23235664
  15. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/94/2/601/4597944
  16. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/8/8/510
  17. https://www.jbc.org/article/S0021-9258(18)62460-3/fulltext
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12349913/
  19. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jobes/2011/509038/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2912010/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25861268/
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3310165/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15614200/
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2547312/
  25. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/6/1320S/4564492?login=true
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