We receive lots of emails with this question or ones like it including these
Is there a vitamin to me lose weight faster?
Can supplements boost metabolism?
What vitamins are good for losing belly fat?
Which vitamins help with weight loss for females?
Which is the best multivitamin for weight loss?
Which vitamins help weight loss and metabolism?
Can vitamins help boost metabolism?
Can vitamins give me energy?
So let talk about vitamins and minerals and unpack exactly what they are.
What are Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins are organic substances, which means they come from living things ie plants or animals. Minerals are inorganic, meaning they do not come from living things but can be absorbed by living things such as plants and animals. It’s a bit confusing really!
Vitamins and Minerals are also known as micronutrients.
Macronutrients are fat, protein and carbohydrates
There are 13 vitamins that are essential-meaning our body can’t make them and amazingly there are also 13 essential minerals. Vitamins and minerals are vital. Without them, our body doesn’t function properly. They are necessary for immune function, cell repair, cell growth, energy production and the list goes on
Vitamins fall into two categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble
Fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and we can store them in our body. We need dietary fat to absorb them but we don’t need to ingest them every day. These are our
Water-soluble vitamins include the Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C. Our body cannot store these ones. Any extra that we ingest are usually excreted in our urine.
The vitamin B complex has both number name and its proper name
These are the list of minerals you need for your body to function well
Over the next few blogs, we are going to dive deeper into the nutritional profile of all the vitamins and minerals so you can see exactly what you need, how much you need and how to get them (spoiler alert- Food is the best source!)
Now back to weight loss. Are there vitamins that can help you lose weight?
The short answer is no…
There is a recent meta-analysis looking at this. There are no effective dietary supplements or alternative therapy that are effective in treating obesity.
There was an article published in 2020 that shows that many people with obesity are deficient in many micro-nutrients. This may be a reflection of a poor diet, an inability to absorb vitamins and nutrients or impaired storage.
In this study, people with obesity were low in serum vitamin D, folate, magnesium and potassium levels.
Vit D deficiency is associated with obesity.
We are diving further into this next week on a blog all about Vitamin D
There is also another special circumstance to consider
Iron deficiency can cause pica. Pica is a medical term for cravings -in particular unusual cravings such as ice or dirt. This cause excessive consumption of food -it’s rare though
Should you take vitamins and minerals?
As always, we like to focus on real food. That is food that has minimal processing. Vitamins and minerals have the highest bioavailability when consumed as part of a whole food diet.
Supplemental vitamins and minerals are often found in a form that cannot be as easily absorbed as the form found in real food. Many processed foods are fortified with supplemental vitamins.-Breakfast cereal is the perfect example. It is a highly processed, high sugar, fortified product. These vitamins are not part of the original food and are added often to boost the health star rating.
Now if your diet is lacking in certain areas, such as a vegan diet- (again more about this in our blog on Vitamin B12) then you will need supplement B12.
Some people have medical conditions that require them to supplement
Women who are planning to conceive or are pregnant are often advised to supplement
People with obesity often need to supplement with Vitamin D and Magnesium.
People who don’t get much sunshine often need to supplement with Vitamin D
Remember the supplement industry which includes vitamins is a huge multibillion dollar industry that has variable regulations depending on which country they are being sold in. Australia has reasonable stringent criteria which are regulated by the TGA (Therapeutic Good Administration). These regulations though, don’t apply if you buy your supplements from overseas companies off the internet.
Our advice is that a beautiful low carb real food diet with plenty of good quality protein will provide the majority of your micronutrients. In certain circumstances, you may need to supplement.
However, there is no magic vitamin, no special supplement, no amazing tea that will cause you to lose weight, boost your metabolism or melt away your fat stores-no matter what claims the companies are making
If something sounds too good to be true. The answer is- it probably is!