Weight Loss or Well Being? Essential Vitamins That Support a Healthy Metabolism

Updated: Oct 9




At any given moment, you can access hundreds of fad diets promising quick and lasting results.  Keto, intermittent fasting, low carb, low fat, high protein are all examples of the many ways people strive to keep off the extra pounds or improve their health. 


Not all of these are necessarily bad. Without knowing what people are eating, their body type, age, and activity level making an accurate assessment are difficult.  One common problem that people are usually not aware of and rarely addressed is vitamin and mineral deficiency.  For example, many people who follow a low carb (including fruit), high fat, and high protein diet fail to realize that it can make it quite challenging to lose weight without the essential nutrition they provide.  When a person eliminates a specific food group, they also remove critical components in the entire weight management picture. More specifically, certain vitamins are eaten at recommended levels that contribute to whether a person struggles to maintain a healthy weight. 



Although vitamins are essential for good health, individually, they cannot cause you to drop unwanted pounds.  Due to age and certain health conditions, a low-quality diet with fewer plant foods and adequate protein can lead to deficiency. Each person is different and if you suspect you may be deficient, consult your doctor for testing, and he or she may prescribe a supplement. 


VITAMIN A


In one study,  it was found that vitamin A could be necessary to regulate thyroid hormones.  Thyroid hormones aid in the management of metabolism and energy regulation. Hypothyroidism is a common health struggle, especially among women.  Vitamin A is fat-soluble and is found in the following foods:  Liver and fish oils, milk and eggs, leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomato products, fruits,  dairy products, liver, fish, and fortified cereals, carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash. The recommended daily amount is 5000 I.U. for adults.  Check food labels to determine if a food contains high amounts of vitamin A. 


VITAMIN D


According to a study in 2015, people who are considered obese are more likely to be deficient in serum vitamin D.  The connection isn’t obvious; however, it may play a role in weight regulation, according to a 2012 study published in the International Journal of Obesity as well.  More research needs to be done on this exciting development, and we look forward to reading the emerging reviews. 


In another small study,  when calcium and vitamin D were given to a group of participants, they experienced more significant visceral fat loss.  As in the study mentioned above, more research needs to be done to prove the results. However, it underscores the importance of obtaining adequate vitamin D, coupled with Calcium, in our diets.


Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Fortified foods provide most vitamin D, and dairy products made from milk, such as cheese and ice cream, are generally not fortified. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals often contain added vitamin D and orange juice brands, yogurt, margarine, and other food products.


Vitamin D is also synthesized in the skin, but depending on the climate you live in and the sun exposure you receive, it can be challenging to get adequate amounts.  Also, as one age, the ability to synthesize vitamin D is diminished. 


VITAMIN C


In 2005, the American College of Nutrition Journal published a study that indicated that people who carried extra weight might have lower vitamin C levels.  The study proposed that “Individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat during a moderate exercise bout than individuals with low vitamin C status; thus, vitamin C depleted individuals may be more resistant to fat mass loss.”

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and is a water-soluble vitamin.  Adults need about 90 milligrams of this vitamin daily. Vitamin C is in foods such as fruits and vegetables, citrus fruits, tomatoes, tomato juice, and potatoes that are significant contributors to vitamin C in the American diet. Other good food sources include red and green peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, brussels sprouts, and cantaloupe. Although vitamin C is not naturally present in grains, it is added to some fortified breakfast cereals.



The vitamin C content of food may be reduced by prolonged storage and cooking because ascorbic acid is water-soluble and destroyed by heat. Steaming or microwaving may lessen cooking losses. Fortunately, many of the best food sources of vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, are usually consumed raw. According to the National Institute of Health, consuming five varied fruits and vegetables a day can provide more than 200 mg of vitamin C.


B VITAMINS


These vitamins are water-soluble, which means your body is unable to store them. This vitamin plays a critical role in energy metabolism and growth, development, and function. They also contribute to the metabolism of food into energy your body uses for all functions.  This means that getting the recommended amount of B vitamins in your diet helps your body maintain a healthy weight by supporting a healthy metabolism and controlling your appetite.  Food sources of B vitamins include whole grains, meat, and fish, bread, cereals.


One crucial point is that the best way to get the recommended amount of these vitamins is through food.  Supplementing is okay but not the ideal way your body utilizes these nutrients.  Also, overconsuming or supplementing does not prompt your body to use them more effectively.  Stick with recommended amounts and eat more of the foods high in these vitamins for optimal metabolic function.