Vitamins and Weight Loss
Vitamins can play a very important role in maintaining an ideal body weight. Controlling diet and exercising alone cannot ensure weight loss, if they are not assisted by vitamins, that regulate the vital biochemical processes and metabolism. The food that we consume is either converted into energy or stored as fat for future use. The crucial decision regarding whether food is to be used for producing energy, or stored as fat is determined by the rate of metabolism, and a number of biochemical reactions taking place within our body. The smooth operation of these reactions or processes requires a number of important enzymes, vitamins and minerals. In other words, vitamins and minerals determine the rate of metabolism and hence, in fat burning and weight loss. In addition to this, certain vitamins can ensure proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which is again important for preventing weight gain.
Natural Vitamins for Weight Loss
The best vitamins for weight loss are the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Out of the B vitamins, the most important vitamins for weight loss are, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12. Now, let's have a look at how these vitamins can assist us in losing weight.
- Vitamin B1 or Thiamine: This vitamin takes part in carbohydrate metabolism or conversion of carbohydrates into energy and maintain a healthy nervous system. Foods rich in vitamin B1 include, whole wheat, soybeans, banana, pear, mango, meat and molasses.
- Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin: Riboflavin is required for carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism, proper functioning of the thyroid gland and repair of skin, nails and hair. Important food sources are almonds, milk, cheese, eggs, wheat gram and leafy green vegetables.
- Vitamin B3 or Niacin: The main role of niacin in human body is to ensure normal functioning of the thyroid gland, and to convert fat and carbohydrate into energy. Chicken, eggs, meat, barley, brown rice, tuna, wheat bran, cheese and dried fruits are some of the rich sources of niacin.
- Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid: It plays a key role in energy generation, and the functions of the adrenal gland. Deficiency of it can impair the utilization of fat. Food sources of this vitamin are chicken, eggs, meat, beans, green vegetables, nuts, wheat bran, oats, molasses, barley, etc.
- Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine: It is required to regulate fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, and production of thyroid hormone. Chicken, beef, eggs, molasses, banana, dried fruits, brown rice, sardines, mackerel and cabbage are good sources of vitamin B6.
- Vitamin B12 or Cyanocobalamin: Vitamin B12 is one of the most crucial vitamins, deficiency of which can cause pernicious anemia. It plays a vital role in protein synthesis, fat and carbohydrate metabolism and digestion.
- Choline: Another B complex vitamin that is essential for fat metabolism. It is synthesized in the liver and its deficiency can cause fat to get blocked in the liver. Important sources include, beef liver and heart, egg yolk, lecithin, peanuts and cauliflower.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can aid conversion of glucose into energy. Best food sources of this vitamin are citrus fruits, apples, bananas, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi fruit, Brussels sprouts, blackcurrants,cabbage, etc.
Herbs for Weight Loss
Apart from vitamins and minerals, intake of certain herbs have also shown efficacy in weight control. Such herbs include, cayenne pepper, green tea, alfalfa, seaweed, cardamom, cinnamon, flax seeds, kelp, nettle and ginseng. However, before taking these herbs, one should talk to a health care professional. This is because many herbs, if taken in excess amounts or along with other medications, can produce some serious side effects.
Along with all these herbs and vitamins for weight loss, we have to give equal importance to physical activities and a healthy diet in order to lose weight. A healthy diet means a diet that includes lots of fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and less of saturated fats and refined carbohydrates. If we cannot get enough vitamins from food, we can consider taking vitamin supplements for weight loss. Again, a health care professional should be consulted before going in for vitamin supplements.