12. Supplement vitamins and minerals
Your body needs a certain amount of essential vitamins and minerals to function properly. What happens when you don’t get enough of them? What happens when you eat too little food, or when the food you eat isn’t sufficiently nutritious? It is possible that our bodies catch on and reply by increasing hunger levels. After all – if we eat more, we increase the chances of consuming enough of whatever nutrient we are lacking.
On the other hand, reliable access to vitamins and minerals could perhaps mean decreased hunger levels and decreased cravings, thereby promoting weight loss.
The above is, of course, speculation without strong supporting evidence. But there are a few studies which suggest it might be reasonable.
A lack of vitamin D could be the most common vitamin deficiency in northern countries such as Canada, or most of the US. Three recent studies indicate that, when compared to a placebo, a vitamin D supplement could help decrease your body fat mass[1 2 3].
In one of the studies, 77 overweight or obese women received either a supplement of 1000 units of vitamin D, or a placebo, every day for 3 months. Although total weight was similar, those who took the vitamin D supplement decreased their body fat by 2,7 kg (6 pounds) – significantly more than the placebo group, who hardly decreased their fat weight at all.
A study from 2010 involved around a hundred women with weight issues, separating them into three groups. One group received a daily multivitamin supplement, the other a daily calcium supplement, and the last group only a placebo. The study carried on for half a year.
Unsurprisingly, the results showed that nothing had happened to the weight of the women receiving calcium or the placebo. However, the group which took the multivitamin lost more weight – about 3 kg more – and improved their health markers. Among other things, their basal metabolic rate (the rate at which the body burns calories when at rest) increased. Although the absolute changes were small, they were statistically significant.
Nutrient-dense, whole food is certainly the foundation of weight loss. But an adequate amount of vitamin D can be difficult to ingest via food, especially for those who are vegetarian or don’t eat fatty fish (the main dietary source of vitamin D). In the case of a lack of sun (such as during the darker months of autumn and winter), it may be wise to supplement for health reasons – and perhaps even for your weight.
In addition, if you’re overweight and not entirely sure that your diet provides enough nutrients, it may be worthwhile to take a multivitamin pill.
While the evidence is not strong, there is likely little downside and you may see a small benefit.
Read all posted tips on the How to Lose Weight-page.