Vitamins to Help Lose Weight & Boost the Metabolism

The best way to lose weight and keep your metabolism going is to eat a healthy diet full of nutrient-rich foods and get plenty of exercise. When your nutrient intake is compromised due to illness or dieting, you may become deficient in some nutrients that support healthy metabolism and weight loss. In this case, you may benefit by supplementing your diet with specific vitamins. Speak to your doctor before taking supplements because some of them carry risks.

Vitamins, Metabolism and Body Weight

There are 13 vitamins considered essential for healthy physiological functioning. When you don't get enough of one or more of these vitamins, you may begin to experience a number of health problems that can affect your weight. For example, fatigue and depression can occur with certain deficiencies, explains Dr. Rick Tague, a medical obesity specialist, on his website. Fatigue and depression can make it harder to get the exercise you need to lose weight and can also make you more susceptible to overeating and craving fatty, sugary foods.

B Vitamins

Certain vitamins specifically support healthy metabolism, the process by which your body turns the food you eat into energy. Not getting enough of any of the eight B vitamins can cause your metabolism to slow down, making it harder for you to lose weight. You may also feel fatigued with a B vitamin deficiency, so you feel you just can't fit your workout in at the end of a long day. People at risk for B vitamin deficiency include the elderly, vegans and people with certain digestive disorders such as Crohn's disease.

Vitamin D

If you have dark skin, don't get much exposure to sun, are elderly or are obese, you're more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, which is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight and also found in fatty fish and fortified orange juice, cereal and dairy. A vitamin D deficiency can also slow weight loss. In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota, participants who had lower blood levels of vitamin D at the start of an 11-week calorie-restricted diet lost less weight than those with normal or above normal levels of the vitamin. The study findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in 2009.

Getting What You Need

Vitamin supplements, especially fat-soluble ones like vitamin D, can pose risks when taken in excess. It's best to get the vitamins you need through a diet that includes all the food groups -- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. When dieting, eat enough calories from nutrient-rich foods to keep your energy levels up and your metabolism revved. If you have a digestive disorder that causes malabsorption problems, are obese or follow a vegan diet, speak to your doctor about whether you need a supplement.