Can I Use Vitamins for Weight Loss

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  • Weight Loss Isn’t Easy

    Weight Loss Isn’t Easy

    We’d all be thin as reeds if weight loss were a simple matter of popping a vitamin or supplement, or submitting to a vitamin shot. We could just settle in on the couch and watch Netflix while the vitamin or supplement did all the work. If only.

    Find out if diet pills really work »

  • The Claims

    The Claims

    When you scan the vitamin and supplement shelves, you’re likely to see weight loss touted as a benefit of vitamin B12, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and green tea supplements. The purported benefits range from “revving up your metabolism” and “flipping a switch in your body” to “signaling your cells to burn fat.”

    However, there is not any hard scientific evidence to bolster these weight-loss claims.

  • B12 a Bust for Weight Loss

    B12 a Bust for Weight Loss

    Whether you get it in pill form or as a pricey injection at a day spa, don’t expect vitamin B12 to boost your metabolism and spur weight loss. Your body needs B12 to nourish nerve and blood cell function, as well as to produce DNA.

    Your best bet for getting the 2.4 micrograms you need a day? Integrate B12 into a healthy, lean eating plan. Have fortified whole-grain cereal for breakfast, a tuna sandwich or salad for lunch, and snack on low-fat yogurt. If you’re a fan of beef liver or clams, those pack the most B12. 

  • Vitamin D = No Dice

    Vitamin D = No Dice

    Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and keeping your bones sturdy. But loading up on it in supplement form won’t help you unload extra weight. One study showed that overweight postmenopausal women who achieved healthy or “replete” vitamin D levels with supplements had greater weight loss and body composition improvement compared with women who didn’t reach replete levels. But researchers haven’t yet sorted out the implications for weight loss, whether they can be replicated or if they apply to other populations.

    Until we know more, reach for low-fat dairy products, juices, and cereals fortified with vitamin D. These foods, along with fatty herring, mackerel, and tuna, deliver modest amounts of vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight helps your skin manufacture some of the 600 IU you need every day. A 10- to 15-minute stroll in the sun three times a week will do the trick, boosting your vitamin D and providing regular exercise that helps you shed pounds. 

  • Omega 3s: The Weight-Loss Fish Story

    Omega 3s: The Weight-Loss Fish Story

    There is insufficient evidence to tout omega-3s for weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.   Including fish in your healthy diet is an excellent part of your weight-loss strategy, provided the fish isn’t fried. Try broiling or baking it instead.

    Rich in omega-3s, which may help to control blood clotting and building brain cell membranes, a 3.5-ounce serving of fish also may dish up protection to help defend against heart disease and stroke. 

  • The Calcium-Weight Calculus

    The Calcium-Weight Calculus

    Will calcium supplements help you lose weight? The evidence points to “no.” One theory behind a potential link between calcium consumption and weight loss is that the mineral may reduce calcium in fat cells and spur fat breakdown. The other speculation is that calcium may interfere with fat absorption by binding with fat during digestion. But research doesn’t support either contention, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.

    Your body depends on calcium not only for bone health, but also for muscle, nerve, and blood vessel function, as well as hormone secretion. So serve up the 1,000 mg you need daily in kale salad, steamed broccoli, low-fat dairy products, or a tofu stir-fry. Slim in fat but high in nutrients, these foods can be part of your weight-management tactics. 

  • Green Tea Won’t Trim You Down

    Green Tea Won’t Trim You Down

    Tempting as it seems to curl up with a good book and a cup of green tea—or green tea supplement—a brisk walk will do more to melt that ring around your middle. The catechins in green tea are a source of antioxidants and may have cardioprotective effects. But an analysis of data on green tea supplements and weight loss showed only statistically non-significant weight loss in overweight or obese adults. And green tea had no effect on keeping the weight off. 

  • Fatten Your Wallet

    Fatten Your Wallet

    Shelling out money for vitamins or supplements that claim to be weight-loss aids reduces the size of your wallet, but not your waistline.

    Rather than buying these products, consider growing some vitamin-rich food. Gardening is great exercise. And when you plant, weed, and water your peppers, spinach, or beets on a bright day, you get vitamin D, too. Fill your plate with your home-grown bounty, add some low-fat dairy and a serving of whole grains. You’ll save money while you slim down.