Most people associate weight management with intensive exercise and dieting. However, vitamins also play an important role in controlling body weight as they are valuable agents and catalysts for critical functions in the human body. This post explores the role of different vitamins in regulating weight and body fat.
B vitamins play a critical role in metabolic processes and are also an essential component of the nervous system and blood cells.
They act as catalysts in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, ensuring that the body makes the best use of nutrients in food and disposes of excessive supplies.
One study found that B vitamins improve energy synthesis among rats that were taking a high-fat diet. This implies that taking B supplements may help individuals reduce weight.
Vitamin C is one of the essential nutrients and contributes to several metabolic processes in the body and the brain. It also impacts weight management by boosting insulin resistance.
One study found that vitamin C deficiency profoundly affects body mass. The researchers found that participants who had sufficient vitamin C reserves burnt 30% more body fat during exercise than those with low levels.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in weight regulation and can help overweight people experience significant weight loss. Indeed, a study of overweight women who had surpassed menopause found that those who were on D supplements achieved more weight loss than those who did not take supplements.
Another study found that taking a combination of vitamin D and calcium supplements helps reduce belly fat. The improvements were most pronounced among the participants who achieved 97% adherence, meaning that people have to be consistent in their uptake to experience weight loss.
The findings suggest that D supplements are most effective when people take enough to achieve optimal concentration levels in the body. Even though the mechanism through which it works is not clear, one possibility is that it boosts processes that burn excessive glucose and fat in the body.
Why take supplements?
Even though most of the vitamins discussed above are available in ordinary foods such as fruits, vegetables and fish, it is hard to achieve optimal levels even if you take a balanced diet. This is because some of them get damaged during processing, handling or cooking.
Moreover, it is hard to get all the nutrients the body needs from readily available foods because some vitamins and minerals are only found in very specific fruits and vegetables. Others like B-12 are not found in plant sources, meaning that vegetarians will have deficiencies if they do not take supplements.
At the same time, the body needs exposure to sunlight to process vitamin D. This is not always possible for people who work indoors and have little free time.
However, you can ensure optimal vitamin supply by taking multivitamin supplements. These are tablets and capsules that contain all the essential vitamins and minerals in forms that are easy for the body to absorb and achieve optimal concentration.
Can you really lose weight by supplementing with certain vitamins?
While existent research is not definitively in favour of vitamin supplementation, there is substantial anecdotal evidence backing the claim that they play a central role in weight gain.
For instance, studies indicate that individuals with a high body mass index (BMI) and an above-average measure for body fat often have low concentrations of vitamin D in their blood.
While the relationship is not clear, some experts have implicated weight for this disparity. Indeed, researchers who compared the vitamin D levels of participants by body size found that obese individuals had similar concentrations to those who had a healthy weight.
The findings imply that obese individuals may need a higher supply of the vitamin than normal people to reach healthy levels. Conversely, losing weight could increase the concentration of vitamin D in the blood, eliminating the need for extra intake.
Even though there is a strong case for vitamins contributing to weight loss, readers should note that some of the studies were conducted on animal subjects.
Further, no studies have unequivocally supported the claim that vitamins cause weight loss, so more research on humans is necessary. Moreover, it is not plausible for people to expect weight loss from just taking supplements. Losing weight is requires a holistic approach that includes proper nutrition, exercises, and stress management.
Miles David is a freelance writer from Manchester who blogs about health and fitness. Miles is an avid fitness freak who is always looking into nutrition and how to maximise our body’s physical and mental health.