Metabolism Vitamins And Supplements That Support Weight Loss


Looking for ways to boost your metabolism and lose weight? As your metabolism changes with age, you may be experiencing weight gain. While there is no magic pill for age-related weight loss or abdominal fat, there are specific vitamins that are essential for supporting a healthy metabolism. And when your metabolism is functioning correctly, weight loss at any age is more manageable. Find out how vitamins affect your metabolism and what supplements and strategies are recommended by health experts to help shed stubborn fat for good.

Did you know?
More than two-thirds of adults and almost one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese. (1,2)

Your metabolism converts food into energy

Metabolism is often described as fast or slow, but according to The Mayo Clinic, this term describes how your body processes the food you eat into the fuel your body needs for everyday functions. (3)

Chances are when you hear someone talk about ‘metabolism speed,’ it’s usually about weight. People often complain about their slow metabolisms being responsible for weight gain or credit their fast metabolism for their naturally slender frames.

While there is truth to a slow metabolism playing a role in weight gain, remember that other factors, such as working out and age, actually have a much more substantial impact than your metabolism when it comes to weight.

Did you know?
Experts agree that the basis for long-term weight loss is following an overall healthy eating pattern, reducing caloric intake, and regular physical activity. (4)

man lifting weights in both hands at gym

Research has shown more exercise makes up for a slower metabolism and increases your daily calorie expenditure. (5)

Factors that affect your metabolism speed

In general, as you grow older, your metabolism naturally slows down. With age, you burn fewer calories, and your body processes foods differently and less efficiently. Some people also become less active, which adds to weight gain. But you can take control of your metabolism by making more time for physical activity.

Other factors that affect your metabolism besides your age include:

  • Diet
  • Physical activity/exercise
  • Hormones
  • Prescription medications/drugs
  • Sleep patterns (6)
  • Body size
  • Gender
  • Environment

Did you know?
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends cutting back on calories by 500 to 700 calories daily to lose 1 to 1.5 pounds (0.5 to 0.7 kilograms) a week. And if you can add some routine physical activity, you’ll accomplish your weight-loss goals even faster! (7)

Two metabolism speed factors you control day to day

Taking a metabolism vitamin or supplement may help keep your weight loss on track, but the NIH says healthy eating and more physical activity are the two best strategies to avoid weight gain triggered by age-related changes in metabolism.

1) Calories: Restrict the number of calories in your diet, and keep in mind that as you age, you’ll probably require fewer calories daily. This is because you lose muscle as you age, and as a result, have more fat storage. Fat tissue burns fewer calories than muscle does.

2) Exercise: Aerobic exercise helps you burn calories, and strength exercises (resistance and weight training) can help you build and maintain muscle mass. Having more muscle means your body will burn more calories while resting.

Did you know?
If you’re worried about putting on extra weight around the holidays, you have cause for concern. According to a 2016 study, Americans gain an average of 1.3lbs during the holidays. Shortly after the holiday season, people shed about half of their holiday weight gain, but the other half appears to remain until the summer or beyond. (8)

Vitamin deficiencies can lead to unexplained weight gain

When most people think about malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, they tend to relate those things to starvation and hunger. But in reality, modern malnutrition comes in the form of being overfed and undernourished. It comes in the form of obesity. The typical western diet plan has been linked with an increased risk of weight gain and a slower metabolism. (9)

Did you know?
According to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Obesity is very deceptive. Even though obese people often appear well fed, they are usually deficient in essential nutrients, leading to poor health, disease, and shortened life spans. (10)

Five vitamins and supplements that promote a healthy metabolism

A diet in nutrient-dense foods should give you most of your vitamin and mineral needs. But If you’re on a limited diet, adding one or more of the following five supplements to your daily regime could give you the extra boost you need to keep a healthy weight loss plan heading in the right direction.

green beans in brown paper bags

You can find B vitamins in a range of foods. Good sources include beans, lentils, milk, eggs, lean meat, whole grains, potatoes, bananas.

B vitamins

B vitamins are vital for a fully functioning, healthy metabolism. The primary functions of B Vitamins are to aid the body in metabolizing fats, carbs, proteins, and also help access stored energy found in food. (11)

Taking B vitamins after being deficient has been shown to help improve metabolic processes. A study that focused on 24-year-olds taking 6 Weeks of supplementing with B-6 after being deficient found a significant increase in the body’s ability to metabolize Homocysteine, an atherogenic amino acid. Having sufficient amounts of B-12 and Folate was also crucial to optimum homocysteine metabolic function. (12)

Keep in mind that vitamin B-12 isn’t found in any plant products, so it’s usually more difficult for someone following a vegan diet to get enough. In general, dietary supplements containing all eight B vitamins are known as vitamin B complex.

Did you know?
“Middle-aged spread” is the term for the fat that may accumulate around areas of the abdomen and buttocks during one’s middle age. (13)

Green tea extract in spice glass jar

Green tea extract is considered safe, but some health experts advise green tea extract be taken with food.

Green tea extract

We know it’s technically not a vitamin or mineral, but green tea extract is one of the few weight loss marketed ingredients that has the science to back it up.

Green tea has been found to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and reduce fat production and absorption. (14) Furthermore, the extract of this popular beverage is known to contain strong flavonoid antioxidants, known as catechins. (15)

Green tea also contains a healthy amount of caffeine, which can be beneficial for a healthy metabolism and managing weight loss. An analysis of six controlled clinical trials found that caffeine alone, or in combination with catechins, significantly increased energy expenditure compared to placebo. (16)

raw shrimp in three white bowls beside wooden cutting board with lemons

You can improve your body’s iron levels by consuming shellfish, beans, spinach, and lean meats.

Iron

As a component of myoglobin, a protein that provides oxygen to muscles, iron supports your body’s metabolism. Iron is responsible for physically transporting oxygen to all of the cells in your body, including your muscles, which helps burn more fat. Keep in mind that lacking iron in your diet can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which can make you sluggish and slow down your metabolism. (17, 18)

Adults with normal intestinal function have a low risk of iron overload from iron food sources, but acute intakes of more than 20 mg/kg iron, from supplements or medications, have been found to cause gastric upset, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and faintness, especially when taken on an empty stomach. We recommend talking to your practitioner before starting any iron supplementation. (19)

Did you know?
Iron is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States. (20)

four wooden spoons with seeds and nuts

The best sources of magnesium include nuts, seeds, legumes, and green leafy vegetables like spinach.

Magnesium

Magnesium is necessary for energy production and glycolysis in the body. It also acts as a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems.

Diets with higher amounts of magnesium are associated with a significantly lower risk of diabetes, possibly because of the important role magnesium plays in the metabolism of glucose. (21)

Like many other nutrients, dietary surveys of adults in the United States regularly show magnesium intakes are well below recommended levels, but a magnesium supplement can ensure you are getting enough magnesium. (22)

If you are working out a lot on a restrictive diet, try keeping a handful of nuts on hand for quick energy boosts, and so you don’t wear out as quickly.

woman putting on sunscreen on her hands

If you are spending some more time in the sun to get your vitamin D fix, remember it is still essential to use sunscreen.

Vitamin D

Technically the exact role of vitamin D in weight loss is unclear, but we know that being deficient in Vitamin D is common among people that are overweight in the US. Researchers have noticed lower than normal levels of vitamin D in obese people. (23) Luckily, a vitamin D supplement may provide a safe solution. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition findings show that overweight and obese adults taking calcium and vitamin D supplements lose significantly more stomach fat than people not taking any supplements. (24)

We can all meet our vitamin D needs courtesy of the sun, but most people today spend too much time indoors or live in climates with limited sun. Getting enough vitamin D from food is difficult, so practitioner often recommend supplements. (25)

Did you know?
Adequate levels of vitamin D and B vitamins may also help prevent depression. (26, 27) And a positive attitude is fundamental to a proper diet.

Supplements that haven’t been proven to promote weight loss

If you’ve ever walked into the pharmacy to buy metabolism vitamins or dietary weight loss supplements, you know there is an overwhelming number of shelves stuffed with pill bottles covered in labels with promises of increased fat burn, weight loss, a faster metabolism, or a more modest appetite. Sadly, there is insufficient evidence to back up the claims of the majority of these weight loss supplements.

According to the NIH, there is currently insufficient evidence to show that the following supplements help promote weight loss or lean body mass (28):

  • Carnitine
  • Guar gum
  • Yohimbe
  • Hoodia
  • Probiotics
  • Bitter orange (synephrine)
  • Conjugated linoleic acid
  • Glucomannan
  • Forskolin
  • Chromium
  • Fucoxanthin
  • Garcinia cambogia
  • Ephedra (banned by the FDA because of sizable safety concerns)

If you are currently taking any of these supplements without the approval of a healthcare professional, you should stop immediately and seek counseling from your doctor or dietician. All of these supplements can be found in the Fullscript catalog.

The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements

Be wary of dietary supplements with long lists of ingredients that claim to help burn calories or melt fat. Products that claim to speed up your metabolism are often more hype than help, and some can cause undesirable or potentially dangerous side effects.

And remember dietary supplement manufacturers aren’t required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prove that their products are safe or effective. (29) That’s why we put together a guide to deciphering supplement labels and seals.

woman in gym clothes wrapping a tape measure ribbon around her hands

Weight loss and gain do come down to simple math. If you take in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. (31)

Talk to your doctor about weight loss goals and supplements

If you are looking for ways to speed up your metabolism and keep your weight loss goals on track, supplements may help. If you are thinking about taking a vitamin or supplement to boost your metabolism and promote weight loss, touch base with your doctor first before starting any vitamin regimens.

And remember that what works for one person may not work for you and could be potentially dangerous. A professional healthcare provider can help develop an integrative approach to weight loss that takes into account your medical history and lifestyle. Talk with your doctor and find out what works best for YOU to reach and maintain your weight loss goals.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22253363?dopt=Abstract
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22253364?dopt=Abstract
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777230/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14692598
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/
  7. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/executive-summary/
  8. https://www.livescience.com/56206-holiday-weight-gain-america-japan-germany.html
  9. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/
  10. http://www.fao.org/focus/e/obesity/obes1.htm
  11. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/#en5
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8690790?dopt=Abstract
  13. https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/07/why-do-we-get-middle-age-spread
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649093/
  15. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/70/6/1040/4729179
  16. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/e306/f2d401bbad64b5dc449e7a14a4c6f4af502a.pdf
  17. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/#en2
  18. https://www.wiley.com/en-us/Present+Knowledge+in+Nutrition%2C+10th+Edition-p-9780470959176)
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16255338?dopt=Abstract
  20. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/#en5
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17645588
  22. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/#en42
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21694701?dopt=Abstract
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3238453/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/
  26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27655070
  28. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  29. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-HealthProfessional/
  30. https://fullscript.com/blog/reading-supplement-labels
  31. https://fullscript.com/blog/reading-supplement-labels