For anyone trying to control their weight, sticking to a long-term lifestyle change can be hard at times. We may all wish for a “magic pill” that will solve our problems without the diet, exercise, and vegetables. I hate to report there is no such pill out there yet (or else Oprah would have it).
The good news is that there are some vitamins and nutrients that can help ensure you are on the path to weight control success, and may play important role in helping you achieve an ideal weight.
Vitamin B12 for Weight Control
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays several roles in the body including the creation of red blood cells and how well your body uses calories.* It is usually found bound to protein in animal foods such as fish, chicken, and beef. Severe vitamin B12 deficiency, leading to anemia, is generally only found in people who are vegetarian or vegan, and those who have had some type of stomach surgery (such as weight loss surgery).
Some weight loss clinics give patients B12 shots claiming that the vitamin itself causes weight loss. Although this practice is not completely misguided and probably harmless, vitamin B12 via shots or pills will NOT cause weight loss. But vitamin B12 does play a role in how your body uses calories. Vitamin B12 may support energy production by helping the body convert food into energy.* More energy will hopefully result in more exercise and greater motivation which will lead to safe and healthy weight control.
Fish Oil for Weight Control
Fish Oil (also called omega 3s) has gotten a lot of press lately because of its many benefits. Omega 3 fish oil may contribute to healthy weight management, by helping to promote the metabolism of dietary fat and cholesterol, while also aiding the immune system and protecting nerve and brain cells from oxidative stress and damage.* Fish oil may also assist in joint mobility and flexibility, enhancing exercise performance, endurance and recovery, which may ultimately help us to reach our weight management goals.*
Fiber for Weight Control
While technically not a vitamin, Dietary Fiber may benefit both weight management. Fiber achieves this in a few different ways:
It fills you up and reduces your appetite, leading to fewer calories consumed. A 2001 study performed at Tufts University found that by increasing fiber consumption by 14 grams per day, subjects consumed on average 10% fewer calories, and lost more than 4 pounds over a 4 month period – just by increasing their fiber intake. Subjects who were classified as obese ate as much as 18% fewer calories, and lost nearly 5 1/2 pounds over the same period. The researchers ultimately concluded that subjects following high-fiber, low fat diet lost three times as much weight as subjects who consumed a low-fat diet only.
Fiber also helps with weight control by stimulating friendly, healthy, beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Sadly, Americans don’t consume nearly as much Fiber as experts suggest we should take. While the Institute of Medicine recommends adult women and men get 25 grams and 38 grams of fiber per day, respectively, the average person consumes around 13 grams of fiber per day.
It’s quite clear from these numbers that our diets alone simply aren’t doing the job.
Although there is no magic weight loss “pill”, there are some vitamins and nutrients that may influence your body’s ability to manage weight. When starting any weight program, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and take a daily multivitamin to give your body all the nutrition it needs to function properly. If you are worried about vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12 deficiency and omega 3 deficiency, ask your doctor for a blood test to identify any potential problem areas before taking high doses of supplements.