Combined with a good workout, a healthy diet that puts your body into a calorie deficit is a great way to lose weight. However you can give your diet and exercise program a super-boost by supplementing with vitamins and minerals that are known to assist with weight loss. We’ve rounded up our favorite vitamins that will help to melt fat and get you to that goal weight!
A lack of Vitamin D can lead to a deficiency in leptin, the hormone that signals to your brain to stop eating when you are full. Taking a Vitamin D supplement and ensuring you get enough safe sun exposure can ensure that your leptin stays at optimum levels. This helps your body to know when you are full and prevents you from accidentally overeating.
Vitamin D also helps body cells respond to the production of insulin, a hormone that is secreted from your pancreas to help with energy usage. Insulin pushes glucose into body cells so that it can be used for fuel; how well it does this is called “insulin sensitivity” and the more insulin sensitive you are, the better your chances of losing weight. This is because your glucose should be burned as energy and if it is not, it will end up being converted to fat and causing unhealthy weight gain.
Having good levels of Vitamin D ensures that your levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) stay balanced. A high level of PTH can lead to the creation and hoarding of fat cells; not something you want while trying to lose weight! Vitamin D can be taken in supplement form; sunshine also contains a natural source of Vitamin D so it’s a great excuse to get outside and exercise for double fat-burning potential!
Working alongside Vitamin D, a generous dose of calcium can help in aiding weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight and body. Calcium is stored in fat cells and there is some research to suggest that the more Calcium contained within the cell, the faster and more efficiently it will burn fat. It also adheres itself to fat particles in your gastrointestinal tract, preventing some of the fat from being absorbed into your bloodstream and ending up stored. Getting enough calcium also ensures that your bones stay strong and healthy for fat-burning workouts! Foods high in calcium include seeds, cheese, yogurt, leafy greens and whey protein. Phosphoric acid which is found in many processed foods and drinks such as cola, can interfere with calcium absorption so try to stick to a whole foods diet while losing weight.
B12 deficiency can lead to a condition called megaloblastic anaemia, characterized by a low red blood cell count. The most common symptom of megaloblastic anaemia is fatigue, leading to inactivity and potential weight gain so it is important to ensure you are getting sufficient intake of the vitamin. B12 also plays a major role in several of the body’s functions including converting fat cells into energy and aiding in the breakdown of carbohydrates to be burned as fuel. If you are vegetarian or vegan it is important to introduce a B12 supplement into your diet as most natural forms of B12 are derived from animals. Foods that contain Vitamin D include eggs, milk, cheese, meat, shellfish and poultry.
Omega 3 and 6
Low levels of Omega 3 and 6 contribute to hair loss, poor skin health and low blood pressure, so there is reason enough to supplement your diet with these fatty acids even if you aren’t trying to lose weight. Studies have found that people trying to lose weight who supplemented a low-calorie diet with Omega 3 and 6 accelerated their fat-burning compared to those who did not take supplements. Another way that Omega 3 and 6 help with weight loss is by reducing the glycaemic index of meals (when the supplements are taken with meals), therefore increasing satiety and reducing the need for snacking or overeating.
Magnesium helps to regulate your anabolic system by promoting high-quality sleep. The anabolic system builds and tones lean muscle mass which burns more energy than fat, leading to a sustainable cycle of fat burning and weight loss. A study in 2013 by the Journal of Nutrition found that higher magnesium intake was related to lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin, which are essential conditions of weight loss. Magnesium is also thought to help prevent headaches, PMS and other conditions that could ruin motivation and prevent exercise. Foods that contain magnesium include figs, avocado, legumes and seafood.
Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant for the body and plays an important role in neurological function and healthy eyes, skin and bones. There are two kinds of Vitamin A: retinol, which comes from animal products and is easily absorbed by the body, and beta-carotene which the body breaks down in order to absorb it. Vitamin A can reduce inflammation and water retention, leading to weight loss and a slimmer outline. It also promotes tissue repair and lean muscle growth, which in turn burns more energy than fat and leads to further weight loss. You can find Vitamin A in carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and berries.
As well as keeping your immune system ticking over and preventing buildup of the stress hormone Cortisol that is often a precursor to weight gain, Zinc has another role in the body. The mineral helps regulate our hormones, including Testosterone, assists with enzyme regulation and even aids in protein production within the body. Food sources that are high in zinc include oysters, red meat, fish, beans, nuts and legumes.
Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, aids weight loss by helping the body to efficiently use its fat stores as fuel. It does this by increasing insulin sensitivity, ensuring that glucose is pushed into the body’s cells to be used instead of being stored as fat. Vitamin B3 can also lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol that can cause fatty deposits in arteries. Furthermore taking Vitamin B3 supplements can increase joint mobility, aiding in exercise that can contribute to weight loss as part of a diet and exercise program. Good sources of Vitamin B3 include yeast extract and green peas.
Although it won’t literally melt fat from your body, higher Vitamin C intakes are associated with lower body-mass indexes. Ensuring that your body is getting enough Vitamin C is important as it increases body fat oxidation during moderate intensity exercise. Vitamin C can also act as an appetite suppressant, helping consumers to stop eating when they are full and prevent overeating. Great sources of Vitamin C include oranges, broccoli, green peppers and strawberries.
Vitamin E is an essential nutrient required for the optimum function of many bodily organs including the skin, heart and eyes. It can help prevent weight gain by optimizing energy usage and preventing fatty deposits in the arteries and around vital organs. It also works as an antioxidant, helping the body to clear itself of toxins from non-organic foods and other synthetic chemicals which can contribute to water retention and weight gain. Foods that are rich in Vitamin E include Swiss chard, kale, plant oils and raw seeds.
Not strictly a vitamin, Glutamine is still an essential micronutrient that is important to pay attention to if you want to lose weight. Glutamine is an amino acid that helps your body to develop and maintain lean muscle mass, increasing the number of calories that your body burns. Glutamine is also distributed by the blood to muscles and organs that need to repair; essential if you are on a weight-loss exercise plan. Glutamine also aids in efficient digestion, helping you to shift water weight and reduce bloating. Sources of Glutamine include protein-rich foods such as beans, miso, eggs, chicken and dairy products.
Potassium is an essential mineral that keeps the body’s organs functioning in a healthy way. It can assist in weight loss by shifting excess water weight, preventing water retention and aiding in proper muscle contraction to make exercise more effective. It also can work to prevent high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and digestive disorders which may make weight loss more difficult. If you want to increase your potassium intake, sweet potatoes, bananas and coconut water are all delicious potassium-rich sources.
While vitamins do not have the ability to directly “burn fat”, they can be extremely helpful for losing that excess body fat. We highly recommend the above list to anyone who is looking for something to help them hit their weight loss goals.