3 Best Vitamins for Weight Loss
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
We know there’s no magic pill for weight loss. Even prescription appetite suppressants are designed to be taken in addition to a diet and exercise program. However, if you’re attempting to lose weight and feel like you’re stalling, taking a vitamin supplement can help support your body and supercharge your weight-loss efforts.
Diets can rob our bodies of essential vitamins and nutrients, and taking in more physical exercise can leave us feeling depleted. When we’re not getting the right amounts of the vitamins our body needs to be healthy, we can’t lose weight as successfully.
Let’s talk about metabolism, how it works, and why it’s important in your weight loss journey. We’ll also cover which vitamins are known to help support a healthy metabolism and tell you how a little fatty acid may be the key to keeping your metabolism balanced and supported for optimum weight loss.
First, let’s discuss what is considered a healthy body weight and whether or not your metabolism is to blame if you’ve got extra weight to lose.
What Is Considered a Healthy Body Weight?
Your healthcare provider is the best person to discuss your overall health and wellness with. They can help you determine your ideal body fat and weight based on your health and history.
Although BMI can be a helpful tool in determining whether our weight could be placing us at risk for health problems, it’s not the best measurement to consider. BMI only measures your weight compared to your height and gender — not to mention the history of the BMI is heavily controversial, but we’ll save that for a different article.
If you have more muscle mass than the average person, your BMI may be higher, even though you aren’t technically overweight.
There’s a lot of talk about obesity, and there’s a good reason why. Being obese can make it harder for your body to function properly. Systems that are designed to support a smaller size frame are taxed by the excess burden of this type of weight gain.
If your doctor determines that a healthy weight loss plan would benefit you, make sure you discuss a plan that has you follow a healthy diet paired with exercise, and as needed, supplements to make up for any dietary gaps in your nutrition.
Another item to attend to on your wellness list is your metabolism.
What Is Metabolism?
“I can’t lose weight, I have a slow metabolism.”
You’ve heard practically everyone say it, including the little voice in your head that gets discouraged when you step on the scale. The truth is, a slow metabolism is pretty rare and not usually the reason why people gain weight.
Weight gain happens for various reasons:
- Consuming more calories than the body needs, or not eating a well-balanced diet.
- Not enough physical exercise
- Medication interactions
- Certain diseases
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits like lack of sleep, poor diet, and excessive alcohol use
Metabolism refers to the way our body breaks down the foods we eat into nutrients our cells need for energy. Everything that you eat or drink must be broken down and converted into glucose. Glucose is released into the bloodstream and either used immediately for energy or stored for later use.
Insulin plays a major role in regulating the glucose in our bloodstream. Insulin helps glucose get into your cells for immediate use and also turns excess glucose into glycogen, which can then be stored in the liver or muscles for later use.
When your blood sugar levels drop, and you need more energy, glycogen is then converted back into glucose and released into the bloodstream.
This entire process of metabolizing food into glucose and properly storing excess glucose must function properly in order for us to lose weight effectively.
What Happens to Excess Glucose?
Good question. If you’re consuming more calories than your body needs to survive or not burning enough off through exercise, you’ll begin to gain body fat.
This happens because the glucose in the bloodstream that isn’t needed for immediate energy production is sent to the liver for storage. But if the storage in the liver is full, excess glucose is sent to the muscles, and in adipose (fat) tissue.
The imbalance of calories results in glucose storage as fat, which can quickly lead to weight management problems.
What Happens When Metabolism Isn’t Balanced?
You may not have a slow metabolism, but you could have an unbalanced metabolism. Metabolic imbalances can cause you to experience weight gain, trouble losing weight, and even health problems that can place you at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Metabolic syndrome is a condition that includes:
- High blood pressure
- Unhealthy cholesterol levels
- Insulin resistance
- Excess weight, especially belly fat or weight around your midsection
Metabolic syndrome can cause you to experience trouble losing weight in addition to risking your heart health. That doesn’t mean weight loss isn’t possible, but it does mean you’ll have to take additional steps to lose the weight, which might include speaking to a dietitian to help establish better eating habits or taking a supplement to help support your body through your weight loss journey.
What Causes Metabolism To Become Imbalanced?
There are many factors that can contribute to an imbalanced metabolism. Genetics, how well you take care of yourself, and lifestyle factors all contribute to your metabolism and how well it functions. However, one of the major factors is age.
As we age, portions of our metabolic processes slow. It starts in our cells.
- Aging cells have weakened cell membranes. Cell membranes are what keep our cells protected and healthy, and ensure they can keep functioning properly without external stress.
- Aging cells have poorly functioning mitochondria. Mitochondrial function declines as we get older, leaving our cellular energy levels lower, which disrupts metabolic processes and slows them down.
- Aging cells have poor cellular signaling. Cells send messages to each other, which enables our metabolism to stay balanced. This messaging system can go awry with aging, resulting in an imbalanced metabolism and immunity.
As our cells get older, we get older. The processes in our cells that begin to decline have a trickle-down effect on our bodies. Cells make up organs that begin to lose function. Those organs are parts of systems that begin to slow down.
This is why many people entering middle age feel their metabolism is “slowing down.” It isn’t that the metabolism has actually slowed down such that it would be classified medically as a slow metabolism. Rather, our cellular function is declining, which causes our metabolism to become imbalanced.
We can help support our cells by considering vitamins for weight loss and improved metabolic function. Here are three great supplements to consider.
The 5 Best Vitamins for Weight Loss
Cast aside your hopes for that magic diet pill, and focus on supporting your metabolism from the cellular level. Here are some great options for keeping your body strong and supported on your weight loss journey.
- B Vitamins
B vitamins are crucial to a healthy metabolism. There are eight B vitamins, and each plays a specific role in helping your body break down the food you eat to use for energy. B vitamins help metabolize the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you intake.
Vitamin B1, for instance, plays a special role in the metabolism of carbohydrates. Being deficient in B vitamins will mean that your metabolism isn’t fully supported and not able to function properly. Vitamin B12 is helpful in protecting you against certain types of anemia and helping support your body during exercise, which can be incredibly helpful if you’re adding a workout routine to your weight loss plan.
Most people are not deficient in B vitamins, but a simple blood test can help you determine whether or not you need to take a supplement. B vitamins are found in beans and legumes, dairy, lean meats (like chicken and fish), whole grains, and some root vegetables like potatoes, citrus fruits, avocados, and bananas.
If you think you might be deficient, consider speaking with your healthcare provider to determine if taking a vitamin B supplement is a good fit for your health stack.
B vitamins may interact with some medications you might already be taking, so while you’re talking to your healthcare provider, make sure that the dietary supplements you want to take won’t engage with your current medications.
- Vitamin D
Vitamin D is classically known as the sunshine vitamin. Your body uses the sun’s ultraviolet rays to convert cholesterol in your skin cells to vitamin D. If you get enough sun exposure, you’ll get enough vitamin D.
The problem is that most of us spend a lot of our time indoors or live in a region that doesn’t allow for as much sun exposure as our bodies need to make enough vitamin D, which may make vitamin D supplementation more important.
The foods that contain vitamin D (fish and eggs) may not be consumed in high enough quantities for you to get all the vitamin D you need. If you’re vegan, you can consume foods fortified with vitamin D, like cereal and soy milk.
Vitamin D doesn’t directly play an active role in your metabolism, but it does play an important role in your immunity. Low levels of circulating vitamin D are associated with autoimmune disorders and increased risk of infection. Both conditions can make weight loss virtually impossible or at least hamper it for a period.
Lower circulating levels of vitamin D are also found in people who are obese, which shows there’s definitely a connection between adequate vitamin D levels and healthy weight maintenance.
Vitamin D is also essential for helping your body absorb calcium. Calcium is an important supplement, especially for older women. If you’re taking a calciumsupplement, vitamin D can help your body find it more bioavailable.
The body relies on magnesium to perform many functions, like muscle contraction and blood sugar regulation. It even helps ensure your heart rhythm is always timing perfectly. If you’re working out regularly, taking magnesium may help you avoid getting muscle cramps that sideline you and impair your performance.
While magnesium supplements aren’t typically thought of as weight loss supplements, they do help your body achieve peak performance, especially if you are low on magnesium, to begin with.
One study found that taking magnesium could help regulate glucose levels when taken for longer than four months, which could help your body respond better to your weight loss efforts.
Magnesium can cause stomach upset for some people. Additionally, it has a calming effect on the body, which may make some users feel tired. Taking magnesium supplements before bedtime should decrease your chances of noticing this side effect.
- Green Tea Extract
Replacing your morning cup of joe with green tea could help support fat loss. Green tea contains caffeine, a stimulant that can help motivate you to get moving and push through a difficult workout.
Green tea also contains antioxidants, which help protect you against free radical damage. Increasing your antioxidant levels lead to health benefits that can keep your body functioning better.
Green tea extract also contains a compound called epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG). This compound won’t quite boost metabolism so that you’re burning a massive amount of extra calories, but when taken with caffeine, it has been shown to be metabolism-supportive, which can ensure your metabolism is working as it should and helping you reap the fitness benefits you’re working so hard toward!
Swapping your coffee for green tea could net you some serious health benefits and even cut back on your coffee shop budget.
- Pentadecanoic Acid (C15:0)
It may be surprising, but a certain type of fatty acid can restore your metabolism and help you lose weight. Pentadecanoic acid (also known as C15:0) is an odd-chain saturated fatty acid that helps support your metabolism on the cellular level, where the breakdown of your metabolism begins.*
- Stronger cell membranes. Metabolic breakdown begins at the cell wall, and C15:0 helps promote healthy cell membranes by making sure they are fortified. C15:0 digs into cell walls, strengthening them and keeping them protected against external stressors. C15:0 helps protect your cells’ first line of defense, which ensures they can keep functioning properly.
- Increased mitochondrial function. Your cells’ powerhouses are running on a skeleton crew. C15:0 helps increase mitochondrial function by up to 45%, increasing cellular energy and improving metabolic function.
- Improved cellular signaling. Pentadecanoic acid is also specifically involved in keeping your metabolism functioning properly by binding to PPAR receptors in your brain and body that regulate your metabolism, mood, immunity, and even your sleep patterns.† PPAR receptors also regulate appetite, which can be crucial in managing your weight and meeting your weight loss goals.
- Increased cellular energy.Numerous studies have linked C15:0 to the generation of more ATP (the energy molecule) in your cells by up to 350%. In addition, C15:0 can activate AMPK, a molecule essential to balancing cellular energy and ensuring proper glucose uptake in the cells. AMPK also helps calm the immune system.
Regulating Inflammatory Response. C15:0 lowers your body’s levels of proinflammatory cytokines, which are associated with aging faster than you have to.
Getting more C15:0 into your cells can help support your goals and give you the ability to truly pursue longevity.* C15:0 is only found in trace amounts in food sources like whole-fat dairy products. Whole-fat milk or butter, however, contains much higher levels of ‘bad’ even-chain saturated fatty acids (like C16:0), which continue to be associated with poor health. As such, it can be difficult to get enough C15:0 through your diet without intaking unhealthy amounts of even-chain saturated fatty acids, and possibly increasing your chance for weight gain.
This is where fatty15 comes in.
Fatty15 is a once-a-day supplement that gives you pure FA15™, a vegan-friendly, and pure powder form of C15:0. Taking fatty15 each day can help support your metabolism and help you meet your weight loss goals faster by giving your cells a fighting chance as they age.*
Weight loss can be challenging, but you can do it! You can commit to lifestyle changes that support a healthy body and take supplements that help keep you energized and supported.
A fatty acid for losing fat? Absolutely. Taking Fatty15 gives your body the essential aid it needs to balance your metabolism, help manage your appetite, and increase your cellular stability.
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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