Vitamins are nutrients essential for health. While vitamins alone can't help you lose all those unwanted pounds, not getting enough of certain ones may make the weight loss a little harder. But weight loss is more about calories than vitamins. When following a reduced-calorie diet, you need to eat foods that also give your body all the vitamins necessary for good health. If you think you might be deficient in nutrients and it's affecting your weight, consult your doctor to discuss the need for additional supplements.
Vitamin A and Metabolism
Most Americans don't meet the recommended intake for vitamin A, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. This fat-soluble vitamin plays an important role in the regulation of thyroid hormones, and not getting enough vitamin A in your diet is associated with reduced levels, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Thyroid hormones regulate how your body's cells use energy, which affects the rate of your metabolism. When thyroid hormone levels are too low, parts of your body slow down, and this may cause a decrease in your metabolism.
Add vitamin-A-rich foods to your daily diet to make sure you get at least 700 to 900 micrograms each day, helping keep your metabolism going at a good clip. There are plenty of low-calorie options to include on your weight-loss diet, such as carrots, red peppers, spinach, mangoes, cantaloupe, apricots, eggs and salmon.
Vitamin D and Weight Loss
Low levels of serum vitamin D are more common in obese people, according to a 2015 review study published in Obesity Review. While the connection between vitamin D and obesity isn't clear, scientists theorize that vitamin D may play a role in regulating fat mass, which could contribute to weight gain and obesity, according to a 2012 review study published in the International Journal of Obesity.
A study from 2009 presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st annual meeting found that higher blood levels of vitamin D improved weight loss, and the researchers suggested that taking extra vitamin D may help those following a weight-loss diet lose more weight. Because this study only established an association between vitamin D levels and weight loss, studies are still needed to establish a clear link between taking extra vitamin and losing weight. However, a 2013 study published in Nutrition Journal found that obese participants taking calcium plus vitamin D lost more body fat on a reduced-calorie diet than those not taking any supplement.
To improve your vitamin D levels, be sure to add a variety of vitamin-D-rich foods to your diet. These include salmon, eggs, tuna and vitamin-D-fortified milk.
Vitamin C for Working Out
People who carry more weight also tend to have lower levels of vitamin C, according to a 2005 article published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Upping your intake of vitamin C may help you burn 30 percent more fat during moderate-intensity exercise, such as a brisk walk, according to the authors of this article. If you're not getting enough vitamin C from the foods you eat and you're working out, you may have a harder time losing fat than someone who is getting enough vitamin C.
Adults need 75 to 90 milligrams of vitamin C a day. Oranges, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, peppers and strawberries are all good sources of the water-soluble vitamin, and they make a healthy addition to your weight-loss diet.
Why You Need Your B Vitamins
B vitamins make up a group of eight water-soluble vitamins that play an important role in metabolizing food into energy. Because they're necessary components of your metabolism, you may think getting more of the B vitamins in your diet will rev up your metabolism and help you lose weight. That's not the case, however. Because they're water-soluble, your body is unable to store B vitamins, and any excess you take beyond what you need is eliminated in your urine.
Making sure you meet your B-vitamin needs, however, may help control appetite, and keep energy levels up. They're found in a variety of foods, including grains, veggies, meats and beans.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: The Effect of Vitamin A Supplementation on Thyroid Function in Premenopausal Women
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Strategies for Healthy Weight Loss: From Vitamin C to the Glycemic Response
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
- Obesity Review: Obesity and Vitamin D Deficiency: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A
- Hormone Health Network: What Is a Thyroid? How Does the Thyroid Function
- Nutrition Journal: Calcium Plus Vitamin D3 Supplementation Facilitated Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese College Students With Very-Low Calcium Consumption: A Randomized Controlled Trial
- International Journal of Obesity: The Link Between Obesity and Low Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations: Considerations and Implications
- Medical News Today: Link Between Successful Weight Loss and Vitamin D Levels
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C