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

Updated: May 25, 2019

Managing a healthy weight is a challenge for a large number of people.  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 to try to improve their health. 

Not all of these are necessarily bad. Without knowing what people are eating, their body type, age, and activity level it is hard to make an accurate assessment.  One common problem that people are usually not aware of and that rarely gets 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 without the essential nutrition that these foods provide, it can make it quite challenging to lose weight.  When a person eliminates a specific food group, they’re also removing critical components in the entire weight management picture. More specifically, there are particular vitamins, eaten at recommended levels, that contribute to whether or not 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, certain health conditions, a low-quality diet with a lesser amount of 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. 


In one study,  it was found that vitamin A could be necessary for the regulation of 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. 


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 particularly clear, 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, there needs to be more research in this area 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 of the 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, as do some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and other food products.

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


In 2005 the Journal of the American College of Nutrition published a study which indicated that people who carried extra weight may have lower levels of vitamin C.  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, and tomato juice, and potatoes are significant contributors of vitamin C to 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 by cooking because ascorbic acid is water soluble and is 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. Consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables a day can provide more than 200 mg of vitamin C according to the National Institute of Health.


These vitamins are water soluble which means your body is unable to store them. This vitamin plays a critical role in energy metabolism and the growth, development, and function of cells. They also contribute to the metabolism of food into energy your body uses for all functions.  What this means is 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, breads, 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 oversupplementing does not prompt your body to use them more effectively and may prove to be dangerous.  Stick with recommended amounts and eat more of the foods that are high in these vitamins for optimal metabolic function.

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