BlogNutritionVitamins and Minerals for Weight Loss: How Do They Work and Where to Find Them?

Vitamins and Minerals for Weight Loss: How Do They Work and Where to Find Them?

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Written by Mariia Roza on May 11, 2021

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Looking for a secret pill that will help you lose weight overnight? Vitamins and minerals supplements won’t help you here. However, some of them might speed up your weight loss, and what’s more, their deficiency will surely make your journey to the body of your dreams longer and more tiresome. Check out the list of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that can affect your weight loss. 

Why vitamin and mineral deficiency is bad for weight loss?

Micronutrients are necessary for living: They help you stay healthy and produce enzymes and hormones essential for the proper conversion of food into energy. Some vitamins and minerals are essential even for fats, carbs, and protein metabolism, and food digestion. When you lack some vitamins and minerals, the absorption of other nutrients by your body is complicated.

Your body understands that it’s lacking some crucial nutrients and if it can’t produce them by itself, it tries to get them from food. Vitamins or minerals deficiency can become a reason for constant hunger and strange food cravings. For example, if someone eats only highly processed food with no essential nutrients, like candies, alcohol, soft drinks, and white bread, his or her body is constantly deprived of essentials and it always asks for more food as it hopes to get some nutrients. People can be overweight, eat more calories than they spend, and still have health problems as if they were starving.

Minerals deficiency that can lead to sugar cravings

Minerals like zinc, magnesium, vanadium, and chromium play a crucial role in various metabolic processes, namely in blood sugar regulation. Their deficiency can slow down weight loss and be harmful to your health in many ways. Your body sends you signals to prevent minerals deficiency. However, sometimes, it does so by asking for sugary snacks. 

Below is the list of minerals whose deficiency can lead to sugar cravings. Next time you feel like eating a whole chocolate bar, try to nourish your body with minerals first. We’ve gathered some healthy options that will help manage your sweet tooth.

Zinc

zinc for weight loss
zinc for weight loss

Zinc is a great helper to battle the common cold. It produces stomach acid that breaks down fats and proteins into energy or muscle mass. What is more, zinc deficiency can lead to interruptions in insulin secretion. 

Where to find it? 

  • Oysters
  • Crab
  • Lobster
  • Oatmeal
  • Almonds
  • Chickpeas
  • Yogurt
  • Pork
  • Beef 

What’s the norm? The norm is 11mg for men and 8mg for women. This is about 1.5 cups of baked beans. Pregnant women might need a bit more of this mineral.

Magnesium

magnesium for weight loss
magnesium for weight loss

Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels and produce insulin. It also takes part in the production of more than 300 enzymes by our body.

Where to find it?

  • Brown and white rice
  • Spinach
  • Oat bran
  • Bread
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Pumpkin seeds 

What’s the norm? FDA recommends(1) 400-420mg of magnesium for men and 310-320mg for women. This is about 2 ounces of pumpkin seeds or 10 bananas.

Chromium

chromium for weight loss
chromium for weight loss

Chromium is crucial for blood sugar regulation as it frees energy from glucose. Its deficiency can result in intense sugar cravings.

Where to find it?

  • Grape or orange juice
  • Ham
  • Whole wheat
  • Turkey breast
  • Apples
  • Bananas

What’s the norm? The norm is 30-35 micro-grams for men and 20-25 micro-grams for women. This is about four cups of grape juice. 

Vanadium

Vanadium is responsible for the correct bone growth. There is even research(2) that states that vanadium can be beneficial for diabetics.

Where to find it?

  • Sweetened drinks
  • Mushrooms
  • Grains
  • Parsley

What’s the norm? You don’t need much, only 0.01 mg a day is enough.

If you constantly crave something sweet, make an appointment with your doctor to make sure you don’t have these minerals deficiency.

Calcium

calcium for weight loss
calcium for weight loss

Calcium plays role in muscle contraction and converts fatty acids into energy. Thanks to calcium, insulin is produced properly and you face fewer(3) insulin spikes. According to some studies(4), the combination of calcium and vitamin D supplements can boost weight loss.

Where to find it?

  • Plain yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Sardines
  • Milk
  • Salmon 

What’s the norm? The recommended intake of calcium for men and women is 1,000 mg. You can get this quantity from six ounces of mozzarella or from five cups of whole milk.

Vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for weight loss

There are 13 vitamins that take part in enzymes and hormone production and conversion of food into energy. They are all necessary for our health. 

  • A vitamin is essential for eye health.
  • K vitamin is crucial for blood clotting.
  • E vitamin is an antioxidant that defends the body from oxidative stresses and inflammations.

However, there is scientific evidence that some of them can help you in your weight loss. For example, some researchers(5) state that vitamin D supplements can promote weight loss in obese children, and B group vitamins are told to boost metabolism. Let’s get into details.

Vitamin D 

vitamin D for weight loss
vitamin D for weight loss

Vitamin D takes part in glucose metabolism and calcium absorption. It is necessary for the healthy mineralization of bones and mental health. Vitamin D can be produced by the body thanks to the UV rays and can be metabolized from food.

Multiple(6) surveys(7) claim(8) that vitamin D can boost weight loss, namely in the abdominal fat mass. As there are multiple benefits for your health along with a good physique, why don’t you add some products rich in vitamin D to your diet? 

Where to find it?

  • Cod liver oil
  • Salmon
  • Mushrooms
  • Ordinary and plant milk
  • Rice
  • Almonds

What’s the norm? FDA(9) states that a person needs 20 micrograms of vitamin D per day. This is about a half tablespoon of cod liver oil.

B vitamins

There is research(10) that states that B vitamins can increase metabolism in rats, however, there is no strong evidence of vitamins boosting metabolism capacity in humans. With this being said, B vitamins are extremely important in metabolizing glucose, food into energy conversion, and insulin production, so their deficiency can drastically affect your weight. There are eight vitamins of the B group: 

B1 or thiamine

B1 for weight loss
B1 for weight loss

It takes part in producing enzymes that are necessary to break down blood sugar. Converts food, particularly carbohydrates into energy.

Where to find it?

  • Rice
  • Black beans
  • Trout
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mussels

What’s the norm? The norm of B1 for men is 1.2 mg and for women is 1.1 mg. You can get this amount from ½ cup of white rice or from 1.5 cups of black beans.

B2 or riboflavin

B2 for weight loss
B2 for weight loss

It is engaged in metabolizing food and being an essential component of several enzymes, plays a major role in converting food into energy.

Where to find it?

  • Beef liver
  • Milk
  • Clams
  • Mushrooms
  • Almonds

What’s the norm? The RDA(11) for riboflavin is 1.3 mg for men and 1.1 mg for women. One portion of fortified cereal is enough to get your daily norm.

B3 or niacinamide

B3 for weight loss
B3 for weight loss

Niacinamide is necessary for more than 400 enzyme production in the body. Particularly, it participates in cell growth and genome integrity, and conversion of food into energy.

Where to find it?

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Chicken breast
  • Rice
  • Peanuts
  • Potato 

What’s the norm? The recommended daily allowance for B3 is 16 mg for men and 14 mg for women. You can get this amount from 7 baked medium potatoes or from 5 ounces of chicken breast.

B5 or pantothenic acid

B5 for weight loss
B5 for weight loss

Pantothenic acid produces energy and hormones and converts food into energy. It is also needed for enzyme production that synthesizes fatty acids.

Where to find it?

  • Beef liver
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Broccoli
  • Eggs 

What’s the norm? The recommended adequate intake of B5 for men and women is 5 mg. One cup of shiitake mushrooms will be sufficient to get your daily norm.

B6 for weight loss
B6 for weight loss

B6 is responsible for the formation of red blood cells, it is also a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in sleep, appetite, and mood. B6 is needed for the production of enzymes that are responsible for protein metabolism. 

Where to find it?

  • Chickpeas
  • Beef liver
  • Fatty fish
  • Chicken breast
  • Bananas 

What’s the norm? The RDA for B6 is 1.3 mg for both men and women. You can get this quantity from four cups of boiled potatoes or from 1.5 cups of chickpeas.

B7 or biotin

B7 for weight loss
B7 for weight loss

Takes part in metabolizing protein, fat, and carbs. Biotin synthesizes glucose and breaks down fatty acids. It can be partially produced by the human body.

Where to find it?

  • Beef liver
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pork chops 

What’s the norm? The adequate intake of biotin for both men and women is 30 mcg. Three eggs will cover your daily needs in B7 vitamins.

B9 or folic acid

B9 for weight loss
B9 for weight loss

Participates in DNA production and amino acids metabolism.

Where to find it?

  • Spinach
  • Rice
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli 

What’s the norm? The recommended daily intake of folic acid is 400 mcg for both men and women. One and a half cups of spinach will fill your body with this quantity.

B12 or cobalamin

B12 for weight loss
B12 for weight loss

B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. As it is mostly contained in animal products, vegans often face B12 deficiency and have to take supplements of this vitamin. 

Where to find it?

  • Clams
  • Fatty fish
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Beef 

What’s the norm? 2.4 mcg of B12 per day is enough for men and women. You can get this amount from less than an ounce of cooked tuna.

There is a connection between B vitamins deficiency and excess weight

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid

vitamin C for weight loss
vitamin C for weight loss

Ascorbic acid is an antioxidant that strengthens the immune system. It takes part in protein metabolism and is essential for body tissue regeneration. Vitamin C is also told(12) to help manage stress and decrease the cortisol level. Thanks to this capacity, ascorbic acid might be a useful supplement during weight loss as we know how strongly stress can affect(13) weight. 

Where to find it?

Unlike many animals, humans cannot produce vitamin C in their bodies, so we have to take it with food. Fortunately, most of the vitamin C sources are quite tasty. 

  • Oranges
  • Kiwis
  • Grapefruits
  • Pepper
  • Strawberries

What’s the norm? The recommended intake of vitamin C for men is 90 mg and 75 mg for women. A ½ cup of red pepper will be enough to cover your daily needs in ascorbic acid.

Note! With all these being said, it’s important to understand that if your goal is to lose weight, you shouldn’t increase your daily calorie intake trying to get all your vitamin norms. Studies(14) show that excess vitamin intake can result in weight gain. If you decide to opt for vitamin or mineral supplements, don’t prescribe them by yourself and consult your doctor to find the mix of supplements your body will benefit from.

Summing up

When composing your eating plan, we try to include the best sources of minerals into your diet. To do so, we always consider your preferences. 

Even though you can get most minerals through food, some of them are easier to obtain through mineral supplements. This is especially true if you’re vegetarian, vegan, or allergic to some food groups.

Sources:

  • Food and Drug Administration. (2016, May 27). Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/05/27/2016-11867/food-labeling-revision-of-the-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels
  • Orvig C., Thompson K. H., Battell M., McNeill J. H. (1995, February). Vanadium compounds as insulin mimics. Metal Ions in Biological Systems. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8564818/
  • Pittas A. G., Lau J., Hu F., Dawson-Hughes B. (2007, June). The Role of Vitamin D and Calcium in type 2 diabetes. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2007-0298
  • Zhu W., Cai D., Wang Y., et al. (2013, January 8). Calcium Plus Vitamin D3 Supplementation Facilitated Fat Loss in Overweight and Obese College Students with Very Low Calcium Consumption: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrition Journal. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-12-8
  • European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology. (2018, September 27). Vitamin D supplements may promote weight loss in obese children. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180927215656.htm
  • Khosravi Z. S., Kafeshani M., Tavasoli P., et al. (2018, July). Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Weight Loss, Glycemic Indices, and Lipid Profile in Obese and Overweight Women: A Clinical Trial Study. International Journal of Preventive Medicine. DOI: 10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_329_15
  • Rosenblum J. L., Castro V. M., Moore C. E., Kaplan L. M. (2011, December 14). Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation Is Associated with Decreased Abdominal Visceral Adipose Tissue in Overweight and Obese Adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.111.019489
  • Mason C., Xiao L., Imayama I., et al. (2014, March 12). Vitamin D3 Supplementation during Weight Loss: A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.113.073734
  • U. S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020, May 5). Daily Value on the New Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels. https://www.fda.gov/food/new-nutrition-facts-label/daily-value-new-nutrition-and-supplement-facts-labels#1
  • Zheng Y., Ma A.-G. Zheng M.-C., et al. (2018, February). B Vitamins Can Reduce Body Weight Gain by Increasing Metabolism-related Enzyme Activities in Rats Fed on a High-Fat Diet. Current Medical Science. DOI: 10.1007/s11596-018-1862-9
  • Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). (2021, March 26). Riboflavin. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute of Health. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/
  • Moritz B., Schmitz A. E., Rodrigues A. L. S., et al. (2020, November).The role of vitamin C in stress-related disorders. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2020.108459
  • Chao A. M., Jastreboff A. M., White M. A., et al. (2018, April 1). Stress, Cortisol, and Other Appetite-Related Hormones: Prospective Prediction of 6-Month Changes in Food Cravings and Weight. Obesity (Silver Spring). DOI: 10.1002/oby.21790
  • Zhou S. S., Zhou Y. (2014, February 15). Excess Vitamin Intake: An Unrecognized Risk Factor for Obesity. World Journal of Diabetes. DOI: 10.4239/wjd.v5.i1.1