Did you know that as many as eight out of ten Americans are focused on their weight?
If you're one of them, don't feel bad.
With the intense pressure to be ‘thin' constantly reinforced by the media and pop culture, it's no wonder that so many of us take extra time to contemplate our waistline.
However, you might be surprised to know that being ‘thin' and being healthy are not the same thing.
As we talk about weight loss, it is important to remember that identifying and planning for your personalized needs is much more important than trying to fit into an ‘ideal image'.
So how do we define healthy weight?
As a general guideline, keeping your BMI between 19-25 greatly reduces your risk of weight-related illness such as cardiovascular diseases.(1)
Want to find out where your BMI is today?
Most grocery stores with a pharmacy have free stations for determining your BMI, blood pressure and weight.
If your BMI is higher than the recommended range, don't panic!
Some people have naturally higher or lower BMI, and this is not always the reason for concern. If your BMI is significantly higher, it may be time to look into a weight loss strategy that is right for you.
Let's talk about the trademarks of a healthy weight loss plan.
First of all, avoid anything that promises fast results.
Healthy, sustained weight loss can't be found in a fad pill, a rigid diet, or in simply starving yourself.
Your body needs lots of proper nutrition and hydration, especially if you want to lose weight.
Vitamins can also offer a much-needed nutritional boost, help you realize your weight loss goals.
Here are seven vitamins for weight loss that can be taken as supplements or food to keep you in top form as you prepare to shed some weight for more vibrant health.
Niacin and niacin-bound chromium have both been shown to have positive effects on helping the body recover from obesity.
This is because niacin increases what is known as adiponectin.(3)
Low adiponectin may be a factor of obesity and can lead to inflammation of adipose tissue.
Adiponectin helps your body by soothing inflammation and enabling the body to process fat more effectively.
Prefer to get your vitamins from natural diet sources? There are foods that can help you get niacin, you can try chicken, fish, mushrooms, green peas and sunflower seeds!
However, it should be noted that taking too much of it has adverse effects and may stimulate weight gain rather than losing it.(4)
Here is a study that proves the over consumption of niacin is a proven factor in the increased prevalence of obesity in US children.(5)
2. Vitamin B5/Pantothenic Acid
Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid works as a fat burner because it breaks down fats as well as carbohydrates for energy requirements of the body.(6)
This is a great supplement for those at low to moderate risk of cardiovascular disease, or CVD.
You can get more vitamin B5 in your diet by eating proper amounts of avocados, eggs, and sweet potatoes.
You've probably seen thiamine as one of the ‘fortifying' vitamins in grains and cereals, but it's sources and benefits go far beyond this.
Are you struggling with type two diabetes?
Certain factors, such as excessive weight and genetics, may put one at risk for diabetes.
The good news is that it may be reversible with food and exercise therapy!
If you have non-genetic type two diabetes and are trying to lose weight, it is important to be aware of your thiamine levels and supplement as needed.
A study done in 2012 demonstrated that about 1.1 mg of thiamine a day distributed to patients with type two diabetes during weight loss is sufficient for maintaining healthy levels, while excessive thiamine may not have any effect at all.(7)
A study on rats has successfully concluded that thiamine potentially can reduce chances of obesity.(8)
One study also justifies that obesity and thiamine deficiency may coexist.(9)
To get thiamine into your diet, try some granola - the nuts, oats and seeds are all great sources.
Many people try to lose weight by replacing one vice (food) with another, like cigarettes.
While they may decrease your appetite, the use of any drug can take a different kind of toll, especially on the lungs, liver and intestinal mucosa, where drug metabolism is thought to take place.
Maybe you would like to cut out both cigarettes and fatty foods, and this is where riboflavin comes in.
Be aware that as you are establishing new habits for a healthier you, it is important to take it slowly so that your body can adjust.
Proper riboflavin supplementation can limit the amount of carcinogenesis in your body, which may occur due to smoking or ingesting charred foods.(10)
The more you can care for your body by giving it more of what it naturally needs, the less you will be faced with mood swings, energy depletion, and cravings.
Some riboflavin-rich foods are yogurt, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. Exercise also naturally increases riboflavin levels!
As you begin to lose weight, you may notice certain symptoms such as brain fog beginning to lift.
If you appreciate the clarity and focus that comes with proper nutrition, you'll really appreciate methylcobalamin.
It is also known as vitamin B12. This B-vitamin is crucial in helping your body maintain energy levels and mental sharpness, as well as aiding in DNA synthesis and more efficient metabolic processes.(11)
While you're losing weight, your body may begin to produce compounds known to correlate with vascular disease.(12)
Methylcobalamin helps to reduce the rate at which these compounds are produced. It is thought that the best sources of this vitamin are from food, and meat is one of the best sources, along with dairy, seafood, and some fermented tea blends.
It's hard to overdose on methylcobalamin since relatively large quantities can be consumed without any harmful side effects.
Also, the body only assimilates about 50% of the nutrient at a time.
6. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is like a natural super-powered boost to your workout!
Most experts agree that some form of exercise will help you maximize your weight loss goals. It's known to aid in lifting feelings of depression, which may cause overeating.
Vitamin C boosts your exercise potential, as long as you are working up at moderate sweat.
Individuals with adequate vitamin C levels can potentially burn 30% more fat than those experiencing a vitamin C deficiency.(13)
Additionally, studies also show an inverse link between a person's vitamin C levels and their BMI and waistline. This is another reason why vitamin C and exercise go hand-in-hand.
Taking vitamin C alone won't reduce your BMI, but exercise and supplementation together form a powerful duo for helping you accomplish your weight loss goals and sufficient vitamin C levels are linked to a healthy weight.
The daily value (DV) of vitamin C for men is 90mg, and 75mg for women.If you smoke, tag on another 35mg.
If you are pregnant or lactating, you may need between 85-120mg a day. Dark leafy greens, peppers, and guava are all great sources of vitamin C.(14)
7. Vitamin E
Studies show that sufficient vitamin E supplementation may help to regulate blood sugar and weight loss.
These things make it a really good one to look out for if you experience type one diabetes or struggle with maintaining your blood sugar because of diet.
A study done in 2004 revealed that increased levels of vitamin E resulted in weight loss across the board for a group of healthy and diabetic-induced rats.(15)
Vitamin E is also an important supplement for anyone experiencing childhood obesity, as it can ward off undue stress on the liver caused by eating too many calories.(16)
Both men and women can benefit from 15 mg of vitamin E a day, which can be found in kiwis, squash, broccoli etc.
Now that we've covered a few ways to fortify your diet with vitamins, let's talk about dosage and overdoing it.
If you are interested in using vitamins to help you lose weight, be sure to have a discussion with a trusted doctor or dietitian to ensure that you get the proper amounts.
Excessive vitamin intake can lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, cramping, and malabsorption of vitamins, which basically defeat the purpose of taking them in the first place!
Coupling proper supplementation with exercise and accountability is the best, most popular form of weight loss because it works for the long-term.
As you lose weight, having these checks and balances in-place is a great line of defense for keeping you on-track and approaching for better health.
They can really help you feel supported in your body as you transition into the healthy you that is waiting to be revealed to the world!
Now that you know a little bit more about these popular vitamins' ability to give you supercharged nutrition, it's time to get out there and get your vitamin mojo going!