Most supplements that make big promises about helping you lose those unwanted pounds don't live up to their claims, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The same can be said about any vitamin complex or individual vitamin: They may be essential and necessary for good health, but no single vitamin can help you magically lose weight. However, if you're deficient in vitamin B-12 or vitamin D, meeting your needs may help your weight-loss efforts. Consult your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet or starting a weight-loss plan.
The B vitamins are a group of eight water-soluble vitamins often referred to as B-complex. They include thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, niacin, folate and vitamins B-6 and B-12 and are best known for helping turn the food you eat into energy. This function is why B-complex is often promoted as a weight-loss vitamin. However, while the vitamins play an important role in food metabolism and energy production, they do not have any impact on how your body burns calories for weight loss.
While vitamin B-12 is part of the B-complex, it's often recommended as a weight-loss supplement by itself. Proponents say vitamin B-12 helps boost energy levels and metabolism. These claims are due in part to the effects supplementation of the vitamin has on people who are deficient. However, supplementing your diet with vitamin B-12 if you're not deficient does not seem to have the same effect, and there is no evidence to support any weight-loss claims, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
You may have heard that vitamin D promotes weight loss. A 2009 study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" noted that vitamin D seemed to enhance weight loss in a group of obese individuals, but the amount of weight lost was not significant. Additionally, vitamin D supplements for weight loss may only be effective in those who are deficient, according to MedlinePlus.
Get Your Vitamins From Food
Eating a well-balanced diet not only ensures that you get all the vitamins your body needs to prevent a deficiency, but it also helps promote a healthy weight. The B vitamins exist in a wide variety of foods, including grains, vegetables and meats. Animal foods, including meat, poultry and dairy, are the primary source of vitamin B-12 in the diet. If you're a vegetarian, you may not be getting enough in your diet if you're not eating foods fortified with B-12, such as cereal or plant milks. Talk to your doctor about whether you might benefit from a supplement. Vitamin D is found in fortified dairy foods, cereal and plant-milk alternatives, as well as fatty fish such as salmon and egg yolks.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Beware of Products Promising Miracle Weight Loss
- Colorado State University Extenstion: Water-Soluble Vitamins - B-Complex and Vitamin C
- ExRx.net: Energy Balance
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Do Injections of Vitamin B12 Help With Weight Loss?
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Vitamin D Supplementation Enhances the Beneficial Effects of Weight Loss on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Markers
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin D
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Supplement Advice
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin B-12
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D