6 Vitamins and Minerals That Can Help With Weight Loss

While vitamins won't make you lose weight, getting the right nutrients can help support metabolism function.

Alas, there's no magic pill in the world of nutrition that'll help you shed unwanted pounds. But not getting enough of certain important minerals and vitamins that help with weight loss may actually make dropping pounds that much harder.

Advertisement

Video of the Day

While no one vitamin can suddenly induce weight loss, getting the right amounts of vital nutrients from a balanced diet supports your metabolism, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This — along with cutting calories from reduced portion sizes and regular exercise — can in turn can help you on your weight-loss journey.

In general, it's best to get your vitamins and minerals through food sources, per the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. But if you suspect you might be deficient in certain nutrients or otherwise have trouble getting enough of a particular vitamin, ask your doctor if supplements might be right for you.

Advertisement

So, what vitamins help you lose weight? Read on to learn about which nutrients can help you shed pounds and where to find them.

Did you know that keeping a food diary is one of the most effective ways to manage your weight? Download the MyPlate app to easily track calories, stay focused and achieve your goals!

1. B Vitamins

B vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that play an important part in metabolizing food into energy, per the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). According to the National Health Service, B complex vitamins include:

Advertisement

  • thiamin (vitamin B1)
  • riboflavin (vitamin B2)
  • niacin (vitamin B3)
  • pantothenic acid
  • vitamin B6
  • biotin (vitamin B7)
  • folate and folic acid
  • vitamin B12

And because these vitamins are good for your metabolism function, they help your body actually process the nutrients in your food, according to February 2016 research in ​Nutrients​, without which losing weight may be more challenging.

Advertisement

Because B vitamins are water-soluble, your body is unable to store them in excess and instead eliminates them in your urine, per the ​Nutrients​ research. As a result, it's important to get enough of the vitamin — typically 1.3 milligrams of B6 and 2.4 milligrams of B12 per day for adults, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

You can get your fill by eating vitamin B-rich foods, including:

Advertisement

  • Fish like salmon
  • Whole grains like brown rice
  • Legumes like lentils and beans
  • Vegetables like spinach, asparagus and broccoli
  • Fruits like oranges and avocados
  • Soy products like tofu and soy milk

Ready to Lose Weight?

Set yourself up for success with LIVESTRONG.com's Weight-Loss Kickstart program.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps keep your bones strong and supports your immune system function, muscles and brain cells, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Advertisement

And it appears that vitamin D and weight loss are also connected: For example, low levels of the vitamin are more common in people with obesity, according to an April 2015 review in ​Obesity Review​.

While the connection between vitamin D and obesity isn't totally clear, scientists theorize that vitamin D may play a role in regulating fat mass, which could contribute to weight gain and obesity, per a March 2012 review in the ​International Journal of Obesity​.

Advertisement

Indeed, a July 2018 study in the ​International Journal of Preventative Medicine​ looked at the effect of vitamin D supplementation on weight loss in a cohort of people assigned female at birth (AFAB) with overweight and obesity and found that after six weeks of this regimen, weight, body mass index (BMI) and waist and hip circumference decreased significantly.

But researchers also noted that the relationship between vitamin D and things like blood pressure and glycemic indexes isn't clear, so more studies are still needed to better understand the link between the nutrient and weight loss.

Advertisement

Regardless, vitamin D is still an important part of a balanced diet. Per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, people ages 2 and older should aim to get 600 international units (IU) each day. And when it comes to an upper limit, it's generally safest for adults to cap daily dosing at 4,000 IU, according to the ODS.

That said, supplemental doses of vitamin D ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 IU have been found to be safe for people with a deficiency, according to a May 2019 study in the ​Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology​.

To avoid a lack of vitamin D, make sure to include a variety of vitamin-D-rich foods in your diet, such as:

  • Fish like trout, salmon and halibut
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified tofu
  • Milk or soy milk

Spending time in the sun (with sunscreen, of course) can also help improve your vitamin D levels, per the Mayo Clinic.

Will Vitamin D3 Help You Lose Weight?

While research suggests that vitamin D may indeed help with weight loss, how about vitamin D3 specifically?

Vitamin D3 is one of the main forms of the nutrient that our body can absorb, and is often found in vitamin D-rich foods, per the ODS. Accordingly, eating enough vitamin D3 may benefit weight loss in the ways described above.

3. Calcium

Vitamin D also helps your body absorb calcium, a mineral that promotes strong bones and supports heart, muscle and nerve function, according to the Mayo Clinic.

And it turns out that vitamin D and calcium may go hand-in-hand when it comes to taking vitamins for weight loss: For instance, a January 2013 study in the ​Nutrition Journal​ found that people with obesity who were taking calcium plus vitamin D lost more body fat on a reduced-calorie diet than those not taking any supplement.

As always, though, it's best to get the calcium you need through your diet before turning to pills, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans — 1,000 milligrams per day (or 1,200 milligrams, if you're a person AFAB over age 51), to be exact.

Here are some calcium-rich foods to add to your meals:

  • Dairy products like cheese and yogurt
  • Fish like sardines and salmon
  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Leafy greens like kale and collard greens
  • Soy products like tofu and soybeans

Tip

Talk to your doctor about whether you should take a supplement — calcium or otherwise — as the FDA doesn't require these products to be proven safe or effective before they are sold, so there’s no guarantee that any pill you take is safe, contains the ingredients it says it does or produces the effects it claims.

4. Vitamin C

Getting plenty of vitamin C — which can come from oranges and other fruits — is linked to a lower risk for metabolic issues.
Image Credit: Thirawatana Phaisalratana/iStock/GettyImages

Vitamin C is another vitamin that may help with weight loss. It's an antioxidant helps your body produce more blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and bone collagen and protects your cells from damage, according to the Mayo Clinic.

And as it turns out, the nutrient may be another one of the vitamins that help with weight loss.

A June 2020 review in the ​International Journal of Medical Sciences​ found that vitamin C supplementation was linked to lower body weight and waist circumference. It was also associated with a decreased risk for metabolic conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar.

Weight loss aside, it's important to get enough of the nutrient for your overall wellbeing. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, this is how much adults should get per day:

  • People AFAB:​ 75 mg
  • People assigned male at birth (AMAB):​ 90 mg

Here are some good sources of vitamin C to include in your diet:

  • Fruits like guava, kiwi, strawberries and oranges
  • Vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli and Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet potatoes

Warning

The recommended upper limit of vitamin C per day is 2,000 milligrams, per the Mayo Clinic. Taking more than that may cause symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

5. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in energy production, supports muscle and nerve function, regulates blood pressure and helps manage blood sugar levels, according to the ODS.

And it's this role in energy production that may count magnesium among the best vitamins for weight loss and metabolism: Indeed, a December 2018 study in ​Nutrition Journal​ found that taking more magnesium may help lower your BMI and waist circumference. However, more research is needed to better establish this connection.

Nonetheless, getting enough magnesium is crucial for your overall functioning. Per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, here's how much adults should get every day:

  • People AFAB:​ 310 to 320 mg
  • People AMAB:​ 400 to 420 mg

Good sources of magnesium include:

  • Leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach
  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Squash and potatoes
  • Salmon

6. Iron

Iron is another important mineral that can help with weight loss, albeit indirectly. Iron helps deliver oxygen to your muscles, which helps them function at their best, per the ODS. It also supports muscle growth and healthy connective tissue.

On the flip side, a lack of iron can mean low energy and weakness, according to the Mayo Clinic. And it can be hard to sustain weight loss-supporting habits like regular exercise without that fuel for your muscles.

The takeaway? Make sure to get enough of the mineral through food or, if your doctor recommends it, an iron supplement. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should aim for the following amounts per day:

  • People AFAB:​ 8 to 18 mg
  • People AMAB:​ 8 mg

Iron-rich foods to work into your diet include:

  • Meat like chicken liver, beef and duck
  • Oysters
  • Whole grains like quinoa and oatmeal
  • Legumes like lentils and beans
  • Dried fruit like apricots and prunes
  • Vegetables like spinach and mushrooms

Advertisement

references & resources