Best Vitamins for Safe, Healthy Weight Loss
For anyone trying to achieve any significant weight loss, sticking to a long-term lifestyle change can be hard at times. We may all wish for a “magic pill” that will get us to our ideal weight 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 that can help ensure you are on the path to weight loss success. Vitamin B12, omega 3 fish oil, and vitamin D all play an important role in helping you achieve an ideal weight.
Vitamin B12 for Weight Loss
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 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 on their own. But vitamin B12 does play a role in how your body uses calories. Thus, making sure y
our body has enough B12 can lead to increased energy. More energy will hopefully result in more exercise and greater motivation which will lead to safe and healthy weight loss.
Fish Oil for Weight Loss
Fish Oil (also called omega 3s) has gotten a lot of press lately because of its many benefits related
to heart disease and diabetes. Many studies have shown that Omega 3 fish oil can promote natural weight loss. Omega 3 fish oil works as an anti-inflammatory, calming the immune system and helping fight some of the damage caused by pollution, poor food choices, and lack of exercise. This allows the body to focus on getting to its natural weight because it is not as busy trying fight toxins it is exposed to on a daily basis. Omega 3 fish oil has also been found to help reduce hunger and control cravings.
Omega 3 fish oil plays a part in controlling and maintaining insulin levels. Insulin is a storage hormone that is used to signal the body’s cells to take in calories. If insulin levels are chronically high (in many of us they are due to a high sugar, high carbohydrate diet), the body’s cells are being told to take in calories but never have a chance to release the calories (i.e. fat), leading to weight gain. If insulin levels are well regulated, the body’s cells have a chance to release stored fat and weight loss ensues. Overall, due to the many potential benefits, omega 3 fish oil should be included in any well-rounded weight loss program.
Vitamin D for Weight Loss
The link between vitamin D and weight loss is not completely understood by researchers, but vitamin D can play a role in the body’s ability to lose weight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in the body’s fat cells. It is important to not take too much vitamin D because it can result in toxicity. A supplement with 1000 IU or less of the vitamin is generally safe for most people.
Many overweight people have been found to have vitamin D deficiency, but it is unclear if the weight led to the deficiency or if the deficiency led to the weight gain. There have been studies that have shown that subjects with higher levels of vitamin D were more successful at losing weight on low-calorie diets, but the exact reason for this is still unclear.
Those trying to lose weight should get their vitamin D levels checked. Difficulty losing weight can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. If you are deficient, a doctor may give you up to 10,000 IU to help normalize your levels.
Fiber for Weight Loss
While technically not a vitamin, Dietary Fiber benefits both weight loss and weight management, according to a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 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 (or roughly 2 servings of SmartyPants Fiber Gummies for Weight Management), 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 loss by stimulating friendly, healthy, beneficial bacteria in your gut, which has been shown to promote weight loss.
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 many vitamins that influence your body’s ability to lose weight. When starting any weight loss 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.
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