There are many reasons people undertake a weight loss regime – it could be to get fitter for sports, to increase self-confidence, or to combat the effects of obesity. After all, obesity is one of the major causes of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer.
Alongside a balanced diet and regular exercise, some people turn to vitamins, medications, and supplements to support their weight loss journey. There are several types of medication and supplements people can take. One popular form of medication now is GLP-1 for weight loss, a collection of drugs that found popularity in diabetes treatment.
They take the form of prescribed medication, such as the injection of liiraglutide, or a course of semaglutide. These are aimed at helping people with serious medical conditions lose weight, and do so by prolonging the presence of GLP-1 in the stomach, which suppresses appetite.
Perhaps medications are not quite as suitable for the average person wanting to shed a few pounds, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something you can take to help you along. There are some supplements and vitamins you can take that help you lose weight that is not prescribed by a doctor.
This article examines the use of vitamins and supplements in weight loss, exploring their potential benefits and limitations.
Vitamin D has gained attention for its potential role in weight management. Studies suggest that having low levels of vitamin D may be associated with obesity and difficulty in losing weight, which means it is a good option for those hoping to facilitate weight loss.
Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss and enhance fat metabolism. However, more research is needed to establish more than a causal relationship between vitamin D supplementation and weight loss.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish oil supplements, have previously been investigated for their potential weight loss benefits. These ‘healthy fats’ may help regulate appetite, decrease inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Some studies have demonstrated modest body weight and waist circumference reduction with omega-3 supplementation. However, the overall evidence regarding its effectiveness as a stand-alone weight loss aid is still limited.
Fiber plays a crucial role in weight management as it promotes satiety and helps control cravings, which is much the same as the GLP-1 drug group we discussed in the introduction. Incorporating high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into the diet is ideal, as they help you feel fuller for longer.
If you cannot intake those foods, fiber supplements can be a convenient option for individuals struggling to meet their fiber needs. These supplements, such as glucomannan or psyllium husk, can improve feelings of fullness and then reduce calorie intake.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea extract is often touted as a natural weight loss aid due to its catechin content, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Some studies suggest that EGCG can enhance fat oxidation and thermogenesis, contributing to increased calorie expenditure.
However, the weight loss effects of green tea extract are relatively modest and may vary among individuals. It is worth noting that excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects such as digestive issues and liver toxicity, so try to include green tea only as part of a balanced diet, not as the main focus of your supplementation.
B vitamins, including B6, B12, and folate, play essential roles in energy metabolism and can indirectly support weight loss efforts. These vitamins are involved in converting food into energy, and deficiencies can impact metabolism.
It’s worth noting that B vitamins often come as part of a multivitamin tablet, and can be taken in conjunction with something else from the list. However, supplementation should only be considered if a deficiency is diagnosed, as excessive intake of B vitamins is not associated with further weight loss benefits.
While vitamins and supplements can potentially support weight loss efforts, they should not replace a healthy diet and regular physical activity. The evidence surrounding their effectiveness varies, and individual responses may differ.
It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional before incorporating any supplements into a weight loss plan, as they may recommend a course of medical weight loss, rather than simple supplements.
However, even if you’re considering simply trying supplements, it is worth consulting a professional, particularly if there are underlying medical conditions or concerns.