No one single nutrient, food or vitamin with a slew of nutrients will help your body magically lose unwanted pounds. Weight loss requires you to create a negative calorie balance by making a change in what you eat and also in your activity level.
However, the B vitamins do play an important role in helping your body metabolize nutrients — as well as helping with appetite control. Additionally, an association exists between a deficiency of some of these vitamins and obesity. Consult with your doctor to discuss potential vitamin B benefits and risks.
Proper intake of vitamin B complex may aid weight loss by curbing your appetite and ensuring that your body is getting the proper nutrients.
Vitamin B Benefits
The vitamin B complex is a group of eight vitamins your body needs in tiny amounts. These vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamins B6, B12 and biotin. They are water-soluble vitamins, which means that your body is unable to store them and that you must get them daily in your diet for your body to function properly.
Vitamin B complex vitamins' association with weight loss may be related to their ability to help your body convert food into energy. However, this doesn't mean they cause weight loss. The B complex vitamins are also necessary for healthy skin and blood cells, brain function and to help normalize appetite.
B12 Deficiency and Weight Gain
In addition to helping your body convert the food you eat into energy, vitamin B12 is also needed to make DNA, RNA and red blood cells. A 2013 study published in Medicinski Glaski found an association between B12 deficiency and weight gain. The authors of the study suggest routine testing of vitamin B12 levels for those who struggle with their weight, supplementing as needed.
However, more research is necessary to better understand the association between B12 deficiency and weight gain, and it's not known if getting more B12 makes you lose weight.
Thiamin and Weight
An association also exists between thiamin deficiency and obesity. A 2015 study published in Advances in Nutrition found that 15.5 to 29 percent of those who were seeking weight-loss surgery were deficient in the B vitamin.
Thiamin plays an important role in helping to normalize appetite. While this is important to note, the authors of the 2015 study suggest that more research is needed to better understand why obese individuals may be deficient in thiamin and whether this deficiency has any correlation to weight loss.
Obesity Affects Niacin Levels
Obesity increases the breakdown of niacin, according to a study published in August 2015 in the World Journal of Diabetes. Making sure you meet your daily niacin needs may be even more important when you're carrying extra weight. Like other B vitamins, niacin helps extract energy from food and promotes a normal appetite. It's also important for skin and nerve health, and for digestive health.
Accessibility of B Vitamins
Food sources of B vitamins include grains, meat, eggs, beans and leafy greens. These foods are not only rich in these essential water-soluble vitamins, but are also low in calories and are a healthy component of any weight-loss plan.
Don't Forget Your Diet
In addition to taking in vitamin B complex for weight loss, focus on adopting a balanced diet. Fill your plate with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, lean proteins, and avoid saturated fats and added sugars, per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. By eating these foods, not only will you be able to meet your weight-loss goals, but you'll also be meeting your B vitamin needs and enjoying vitamin B benefits.
- Medicinski Glasnik: "Association of Vitamin B-12 With Obesity, Overweight, Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Syndrome, and Body Fat Composition; Primary Care-Based Study"
- Advances in Nutrition: "Thiamin Deficiency in People With Obesity"
- World Journal of Diabetes: "Vitamin Paradox in Obesity: Deficiency or Excess?"
- Medline Plus: "B Vitamins"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Listing of Vitamins"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight"
- EatRight: "What Are B-Vitamins?"