Is your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and slim down? Many people automatically assume this means hours spent running on the treadmill or cutting calories down to a sliver and feeling starved for days at a time. What it really means is eating better, working harder and addressing your weight loss smarter. We’re talking of course, about supplementation.
Supplements give people the edge as they embark on weight loss goals. No, not chemical-laden pills and powders you’d buy to bulk up. We’re talking about natural vitamins and food-based supplements that can kickstart your metabolism gently, to give you a running start as you strive for weight loss. Here’s a look at seven vitamins and supplements proven to boost metabolism, to give you the push you need to make good on your New Year’s weight loss goals.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is one of the most physiologically important compounds for our bodies. It aids in the regulation and control of many natural processes—metabolic regulation, among them. A lack of magnesium has been linked to everything from metabolic syndrome to unintended weight gain. Conversely, numerous studies have linked magnesium supplementation to a more robust metabolic function, helping you burn calories more efficiently.
- Calcium. Calcium supplementation, combined with moderate exercise, has been proven to induce weight loss and promote better weight management in people. This is largely due to calcium’s role in thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is your body’s ability to raise its core temperature safely. Efficient thermogenesis means your body is burning calories efficiently to create that temperature increase. Think of it like throwing logs on the fire.
- Iron. Iron has two important roles in promoting better metabolism—direct and indirect. Directly, iron is necessary for blood oxygenation, which is a vital part of metabolic burn. People with lack of iron (anemia) have a more difficult time burning calories without becoming winded, light-headed and weak. Indirectly, iron is a building block for muscle mass, which helps you work out harder and longer, boosting metabolic efficiency. Taking an iron supplement can give you a twofold advantage in kickstarting your metabolism.
- B Vitamins. The whole family of B Vitamins aid in metabolic function, and they often work together for compounding benefits. For example, Vitamin B-12 is instrumental in the direct metabolization of protein and fat; however, it relies on Vitamin B-6 to work effectively. Various other B Vitamins are also effective in aiding metabolic processes, helping your body burn calories more efficiently.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D has a more indirect effect on metabolism, but an important one nonetheless. Vitamin D enables calcium, which improves thermogenesis. It’s also been linked to everything from cardiovascular health to homeostasis qualities. The caveat here is that you need to supplement the right level of Vitamin D, which can vary from person to person. Studies that link Vitamin D to improved metabolism clearly indicate that these benefits are only achieved after individuals become replete with the vitamin.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is widely associated with a boost in metabolism, but that doesn’t mean you should chug a pot of coffee and hit the treadmill. It’s important to balance the diuretic effects of caffeine with its energizing effects. One great way to do this is by drinking green tea instead of coffee. While it might be tempting to take a caffeine pill, natural caffeine is often preferred because it tamps down on the jitters of dosing caffeine. Drink a cup of green tea about 30 minutes before working out and you’ll find that your workout is more energetic and that your fat burn is more efficient!
- Chili pepper. There are a surprising number of benefits associated with chili peppers—more specifically, the capsaicin in them. Like calcium, chili peppers and other peppers containing capsaicin boost thermogenesis, resulting in more efficient fat burn during periods of exercise, when the core body temperature rises. There are several studies linking capsaicin to anti-obesity treatments thanks to its metabolism stimulating properties.
It’s still going to take hard work in the gym and smart decisions in the kitchen to achieve your weight loss goals this coming year. That said, using these natural metabolism boosters to give yourself a kickstart in burning fat is a great way to start seeing the early results that will encourage you to persevere.
As with all vitamins and supplements, check with your doctor before adding any of these to your daily stack or morning routine. While they’re all generally recognized as safe, it never hurts to get a medical professional’s opinion!