I was recently asked which supplements will boost metabolism and aid in weight loss. I feel like I’m wading into murky water on this one. Supplementation is a tricky subject because there are so many products on the market that claim to ‘torch calories’, ‘melt fat’ and ‘rev up your metabolism’ it’s incredibly hard to separate fact from fiction.
Most of these claims are exaggerated or downright false. If there was a miracle pill that could give us energy, increase our metabolism, and keep us at our ideal weight, most of us would be taking it.
Still, there are some supplements that may help you with energy metabolism, increased exercise endurance and a boost to your immune system which are all important when you’re trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle. These supplements won’t actually torch calories, but they may very well enhance your mood or give you the energy to do that extra 15 minutes on the treadmill which is what most of us are looking for.
Four Supplements That Can Give You The Boost You Need
Vitamin B 12 – Vitamin B 12 and the other B vitamins are some of the most controversial in the discussion on whether or not supplementation will provide energy and boost metabolism. B vitamins have been promoted for years as energy boosters that will increase energy and reduce fatigue. I remember as a child when my mother would get tired she would go to the doctor to get her B12 shot. They did indeed seem to help her because she had a B12 deficit.
The problem is there is no clear scientific evidence to support the claims that suggest that B12 can help anyone feel more energetic except those that are B12 deficient.
The primary function of vitamin B12 is to support nerve and energy functions. It is a critical vitamin that helps to form myelin, a fatty cover that insulates your nerves, and helps produce energy from fat and proteins. It also aids in the production of hemoglobin which is a component of the red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body. Vitamin B12 regulates the growth, maintenance and reproduction of each and every cell.
People that are deficient in vitamin B12 suffer from a number of conditions including anemia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, irritability and depression. Since this segment of the population does benefit from B12 supplements, it has helped promote the idea that we will all feel better if we have a little extra in our system.
If you already have a sufficient amount of B12 in your system, will adding to it give you that energy boost as many web sites claim? You may want to ask your doctor for a blood test or buy some over-the-counter supplement so you can try it for yourself to find out.
Foods that supply B12 are beef liver, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and nutritionally fortified cereals.
Coenzyme Q10 – Q10 is an enzyme that is crucial for energy production and if you have an adequate amount you make energy at an optimal rate. The absence of Q10 is believed to accelerate the aging process and the need for the enzyme rises dramatically when you are under stress. It is believed that Coenzyme Q10 can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
Because of Q10’s impact on energy production, it is a good supplement to take to prevent free radical damage and reduce exhaustion when working out. Vague studies have shown that Q10 can boost fat burning during exercise. The combined benefits of the antioxidants in Q10 and the assistance with energy production make this is a supplement that you may want to consider to keep your system working at its peak.
One of the reasons supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 may be beneficial are the foods that contain the highest levels are not the most popular. Pork and beef heart are the foods with the highest amounts of coenzyme Q10 followed by beef and pork liver, and ham. Soybean, rapeseed, sesame, cottonseed and corn oils all have high amounts of Q10 as do sardines, mackerel, cuttlefish and tuna.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C has always been the supplement that we turn to reduce the effects of the common flu and cold. It’s known as an immune booster, but recently has been found to increase energy levels as well. A small study was done on a group of office workers where half of them were given an I.V. injection of vitamin C and the others were given a placebo. The workers that were given the vitamin reported that they felt less fatigued within two hours; the placebo group reported no change.
A study a few years ago showed that that people with lowest amounts of vitamin C in their system had the highest percentage of body fat and were not able to efficiently oxidize fat. Again, in a research project, one group of participants were given a vitamin C supplement. The others received a placebo. Over the course of the four week study the placebo group’s vitamin C levels dropped 27percent. As their vitamin C levels fell so did their ability to oxidize fat.
More studies need to be done, but Vitamin C does show promise that it may have a direct impact on increasing energy and reducing body fat.
Foods high in vitamin C are red and green chili peppers, bell peppers, guavas, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kiwis, oranges and strawberries.
Vitamin D – Long known as the sunshine vitamin, research has found that being deficient in Vitamin D can make us tired, moody and achy. New research shows that not having sufficient amounts may also make us exhausted.
A recent study led by Dr. Skash Sinha shows that muscle function improves with Vitamin D supplements. The research measured the response to exercise in 12 patients with severe Vitamin D deficiency both before and after supplement treatment. According to Dr. Sinha, the results showed that “those with very low D levels improved their muscle efficiency significantly when their vitamin D levels were improved”. Further, all patients reported an improvement in their levels of fatigue after taking the supplements.
The primary source of vitamin D is from the sun. People that live in locations that experience the four seasons have fundamentally low levels of Vitamin D as it is nearly impossible to store enough D from the sun during the summer months to last the rest of the year. And, foods that provide sufficient amounts of vitamin D are sparse.
You can however find vitamin D in fish, cod liver oil, eggs, mushroom, and fortified dairy and grain products. It’s becoming common practice for patients to ask their doctors for a vitamin D test. A simple blood test and will tell you where you are and how much of a supplement you need to take to reach optimal levels.
Find What Works For You
Vitamins and other supplements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Since there is no product endorsement from the FDA, the money required to conduct the research needed to find out if these supplements can really boost our energy levels and metabolism isn’t available.
Individuals that feel they could benefit from supplementation will need to do some of their own research and conduct their own trials to determine if a dose of C, B12, D or Q10 – or the numerous other supplements on the market – will help them feel better, workout longer or help with maintaining a healthy weight. I personally take B12 and D3 on a regular basis and believe it helps my energy levels.
People that are reducing their calories to lose weight may not be getting all of the nutrition they need from the foods they eat so supplementation may protect them from having a deficit of these important nutrients.
If you do decide to invest in any of the supplements listed, take an honest, subjective approach and don’t go in with the expectation that any of them will do the work for you. After taking any supplement for a few weeks, you should be able to decide for yourself whether or not they are effective in helping you reach your goals.
There is no harm is buying these supplements and testing them yourself. Taking so much of a supplement that you reach toxicity would be nearly impossible if you follow the dosing instructions on the package. If you have any questions, please consult your physician.
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