The body breaks down food to extract the nutrients it needs to generate the energy it requires to support the functions of different organs and systems. The process of breaking down food to produce energy is what’s known as metabolism. The faster the metabolism, the quicker the body burns calories thus the lower the chances of gaining weight. However, the metabolic rate slows down as people age. The use of certain vitamins and minerals can help ensure that the metabolic rate remains steady as we age. Custom vitamins ensure that you get exactly what your body needs. Metabolism boosting vitamins and minerals can be sourced from supplements, but whole foods are widely accepted as the best sources. Below are the five types of vitamins and minerals that help boost and maintain various body functions including metabolism and body weight management.
- B Vitamins
The body depends on a variety of B vitamins to sustain a proper metabolic function. The vitamins play different essential roles in the generation and dispersal of energy throughout the body. The B Vitamins the body needs include:
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
While each of the types of B vitamin has a particular role in the body, deficiency in any one of these B vitamins can disrupt the essence of the others thus affecting a person’s metabolism. For instance, the body needs vitamin B12 for the metabolism of fats and proteins; however, this only works well if there are folate and vitamin B6. Also, thiamine is essential for the proper metabolism of carbohydrates as well as fats and protein. The ability to process proteins, carbs, and fats ensure the body gets the energy it needs to function. As such, having a healthy metabolism makes sure these nutrients are adequately broken down. It ensures fats are burnt to generate energy rather than be stored in tissues and cells thus leading to weight gain and health complications. Therefore, it is imperative the people include a healthy amount of B vitamins in their diet. Sources: People can get the B vitamins from food sources such as seafood, whole grains, lean meats, and eggs. Nuts, seeds, and fruits such as grapes, bananas, watermelon, and apples are a good source of B vitamins. Vegetables such as squash, spinach, and potatoes also contain B vitamins. Interestingly, vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, and this places vegans at a disadvantage. Other sources of B12 include fortified breakfast cereals, some spreads like marmite, fortified plant-based milk, and nutritional yeast.
- Vitamin D
According to two different studies that research the correlation between vitamin D and weight in children and women, the findings show that candidates with lower vitamin D levels have more fat in their systems compared to those with adequate vitamin D. However, there are inconclusive findings that would suggest that low vitamin D levels can lead to obesity. Overall, the researchers attribute things such as having an active lifestyle, proper blood sugar management, and dieting as influential factors in maintaining healthy body weight. But then again, studies on blood sugar show that vitamin D helps to control the sugar levels and can help improve insulin resistance in people with diabetes. The fun fact about this particular vitamin is that while it can be sourced from some foods, people get it in abundance when they expose themselves to the sun. But it is imperative to point out the need for people to exercise safe exposure to the sun to minimize the harmful effects of over-exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Vitamin supplementation alone is not sufficient to improve weight. As such, people how are overweight should take up a more active lifestyle to help with weight loss. Nevertheless, the intake of vitamin D can help with blood sugar control as suggested by a study done in 2016 that focused on postmenopausal women struggling with type 2 diabetes. The research showed that the women had reduced inflammation and better blood sugar levels after eating yogurt fortified with vitamin D. A different study on the combined use of vitamin D and calcium showed a slight reduction in the risk of postmenopausal women gaining weight. Health experts recommend an annual check for vitamin D levels so that those will low levels can be advice on the best supplements to help increase vitamin D in their bodies. Sources: Other than the sun, people get vitamin D from sources such as beef liver, fortified breakfast cereals, seafood (sardines, salmon, mackerel), some mushroom varieties, egg yolks, fortified dairy, cod liver oil, and fortified plant-based milk.
As mentioned above, calcium has been found to play a significant role in having and maintaining a healthy metabolic rate. It also is vital for blood sugar control besides being a primary element in the promotion of bone health. According to a study done in 2010, a combined intake of calcium and vitamin D can help enhance the outcomes of a diet-related weight loss. Moreover, different research done in 2007 discovered that diets with a high dairy calcium amount were beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes that are on a weight loss program. Nevertheless, more studies that can substantiate how effective this is as part of a weight loss strategy is still ongoing. Sources: While people can take calcium supplements, the best food sources for calcium include dairy products such as yogurt and milk, seeds, fortified orange juice, fortified cereals, almonds, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Iron is necessary for the proper growth and development of the body. It also is vital for sustaining a healthy metabolism. The body needs iron for the production of some hormones and the proper function of cells. The red blood cells depend on an abundant supply of iron for the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. An iron deficiency can result in the low delivery of oxygen to body organs, muscles, and tissue. If the oxygen in the muscles and tissue is low, then the burning of stored fat is affected. That means that low levels of iron in the body will inhibit optimum metabolism in the body. But as vital as iron is for our health, high doses of it can be toxic. Therefore, opting to take iron supplements should only be after lengthy consultations with a doctor or dietitian and dosage given as per the doctor’s prescription. Sources: Sources of iron include nuts, beans, brown rice, soybeans, meat, liver, tofu, fortified cereals, and dark green, leafy vegetables.
The metabolic reactions in the body take place thanks to different chemical reactions that are supported by the presence of magnesium in the body. As such energy production in the body cannot take place without magnesium. Magnesium supplements are an advisable alternative for people with an acute magnesium deficiency. However, taking such supplements without a doctor’s approach can have adverse effects. Source: The best sources of magnesium include foods such as whole grains, spinach, nuts, bananas, potatoes, seeds, halibut, legumes, and salmon.