There are specific vitamins, minerals, and all-natural supplements that can help you lose weight. Many times it’s not about running a surplus of a particular vitamin, but rather making sure you don’t have a deficiency that’s holding you back. It’s a good idea to visit with a holistic doctor that can do blood work to find out what you’re lacking so you can fill in your specific nutritional gaps.
African Mango – Also known as Irvingia, this is not the typical mango that you can buy in your local supermarket, although it does resemble it quite closely. In fact, what you’re really looking for in terms of weight loss is the extract from this fruit. It’s been lauded as an all natural way for you to lose weight, and Dr. Oz said that it forces the body to start processing foods the way a naturally thin person does.
When selecting which African mango extract to go with, you want to make sure that you go with a brand that is of high quality, and provides the right amount so you can take it daily without worrying if you’re getting enough, or if it’s pure enough.
Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – This one comes with its share of possible side effects, but the potential benefits seem to outweigh them. Studies have shown promising results in this helping with cardiovascular disease, general inflammation of the body, migraines, dysfunction of the organs, staving off Alzheimer’s, aging concerns, and erectile dysfunction.
Getting your organs and cardiovascular systems to function more properly will be a big boost to your weight loss efforts, and any other side benefits are just icing on the cake. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting out on this to see if there are any contraindications you should be aware of.
Apple Cider Vinegar – This has long been associated with weight loss, and is said to help you feel more full when you drink it, therefore allowing you to eat less, or have fewer cravings. It’s definitely all natural because it’s made from pressed apples. When taken in small amounts there are few side effects linked to it.
If you do end up taking it you don’t have to go overboard. Success was reached in a study in Japan in which the participants who lost the most weight only consumed 30ml of it per day. You definitely don’t need to chug it or drink copious amounts of it to feel fuller and see the benefits.
Beta-Glucan – This is one possible way to increase your fiber intake, and may provide assistance in losing weight. It’s soluble, meaning your body can’t digest it, so it passes through undigested and should provide a similar benefit to eating foods that are high in fiber.
You don’t have to worry about being overloaded with grains like oats and barley, especially if you’re on a diet that doesn’t allow eating them. You can find it in supplement form, and simply take a pill. It also helps with the immune system, and is a relatively inexpensive supplement.
Bitter Orange – This works for weight loss by suppressing the appetite, but is an extract from citrus fruit, so it doesn’t rely on artificial stimulants to get the job done. Recently it has been used as a less harmful substitution for other ingredients that have been known to have harsh reactions in the body.
It’s unclear as to whether this actually works, and there hasn’t been much formal testing in regards to the adverse effects it can have on the body, so it might be one of those all natural supplements to use with caution.
B Vitamins – Here’s the lineup of B Vitamins that you get in a complex: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12. You don’t have to go overboard on these, especially if you don’t have a deficiency in any one of them. You can take them singly if it’s discovered that you’re lacking in only a few. There are plenty of ways that these vitamins help the body in all of its processes, and a lack of them will trip up your weight loss efforts.
Vitamin B12 usually gets the most attention, and some dieters even get injections of it in order to help boost energy levels and help with losing weight.
Capsaicin – There’s a bit of debate as to whether this actually helps with weight loss or not, but one thing that it seems to be good for is not gaining the weight back that you do lose. This makes it a good supplement to take while you’re dieting so you don’t experience the classic rebound and gain the weight back that you’ve lost.
This is found in spicy red peppers but you don’t have to eat them in order to get the benefits. They’ve pulled out the extract and have put it in pill form so that it’s more convenient to take – and not spicy!
Chia – Chia seeds made it onto our list of superfoods for their high levels of Omega-3. It provides a non-fish oil way of introducing more omega-3 into the body, and also contains healthy amounts of alpha-Linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is often added to healthy diets.
Chia seeds are pretty easy to incorporate into your diet, since they don’t have a distinctive flavor and aren’t like a typical seed that you have to crunch up, you can basically sprinkle them on anything you want and enjoy the benefits they bring.
Chitosan – A lot of debate has arisen, and companies have been given warnings by the FDA for claiming that this can help with weight loss, or to what degree it can help. These products refer to Chitosan as a fat binder, with the idea being that they’ll grab fat in move it through the digestive system.
So while you may want to wait for further studies to come out regarding its effectiveness as a fat binder, it’s still been shown to be a soluble fiber, and is all natural, although better options may exist, like beta-glucan.
Choline – It’s possible to have a choline deficiency, so this is one nutrient that you want to make sure you’re getting enough of. Natural sources of choline include cauliflower and other veggies in the cruciferous family. Eggs and lean meats are also good sources.
You can also get it in supplement form, although it’s always best to get it through food so that your body processes it naturally and can easily get rid of what it doesn’t need. There are other side benefits like brain and memory function that make this worth seeking out.
Chromium Picolinate – The theory behind this compound is that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces cravings, and should lead to weight loss. Stabilized blood sugar levels means more energy throughout the day, and fewer crashes. And reduced cravings mean that you’ll feel less deprived when on a diet, and more satisfied overall with the foods you’re eating.
Be cautious of companies making claims that sound too good to be true with this supplement, it’s meant to act as an aid in weight loss, not to cause you to drop pounds on its own.
Coconut Oil – Nothing stirs debate better than bringing up the good fat/bad fat discussion. Coconut oil falls into that talk because it has higher amounts of saturated fat. Proponents of using it for weight loss say that the saturated fat it does contain is not your run of the mill saturated fat that fast food is laced with.
So who to believe? You’ll have to do some research into it and decide for yourself, as there is plenty of scientific studies and sound points on both sides of the debate. But compared to some oils it does appear to have healthy properties that could lead to weight loss.
Coenzyme Q10 – This has so many positive benefits listed that you’ll want to make sure you’re not running low on it. They say it keeps your energy levels up, and helps you burn more fat than you otherwise would without it. It’s also supposed to help with the immune system, help with the heart, migraines, and is even been looked into as a possible cancer treatment.
Fish is the most easily accessible food that contains Coenzyme Q10, as many aren’t willing to add more organ meats to the menu. It’s also available as a supplement which makes it easy to take.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – In addition to being touted for it’s fat loss properties, this is actually a fat itself. It’s a healthy fat that you can find in dairy products, but in order to get the amount needed to assist in weight loss you’ll want to go with the supplement form.
But before you start taking it you may want to talk to your doctor. Several studies have shown that it may not have the weight loss properties it once was thought to, and it may not be essential to your diet and reaching your weight loss goals.
Diatomaceous Earth (Food Grade) – This is a fine powder made from fossilized algae. Proponents say that the silica it contains allows it to detoxify the body, and weight loss occurs as a natural and effortless side effect. They also say that there are no reported side effects to it, and that daily supplementation is not only possible, but recommended.
Silica is sold separately as a supplement, but the reported benefits of a daily intake of diatomaceous earth include healthier hair, teeth, and gums, lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. Make sure you get the food grade version, and not the kind for cleaning pools.
Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) – DMAE is a supplement to consider taking because it not only assists with weight loss but can improve the appearance of your skin, increase your muscle tone, and acts as an anti-inflammatory. You can buy it as a supplement, or you can increase your intake of cold water fish in order to get it into your system.
Other side benefits include a possible improvement in your focus, as well as it being able to help elevate moods. This is a supplement you’d want to check in with your doctor on first to make sure it’s right for you.
Ephedra – Even with all of the proven side effects, warnings, and controversy surrounding ephedra, it’s still being used by the supplement industry in various weight loss products. Apparently it’s just too effective at what it does, and it has been proven to provide some short-term results, but the risks don’t seem to outweigh the benefits.
The problem with trying to use ephedra is that it comes in such a wide array of doses, and there is very limited information about how much is the right amount to take, and for how long. It’s also unclear whether the weight lost is kept off, or regained after you stop taking it.
Fucoxanthin – This is an algae-based supplement that has shown promising results from research trials in Japan. The good news, it specifically attacks the fat so it’s not just overall weight loss that is experienced, but fat loss. It was first discovered in animal test subjects, but a human trial showed obese women were able to lose weight with it..
For best results while using this you’ll want to get more active. Start doing cardiovascular exercises and weight training if you aren’t already, as it helps with the effectiveness of the fucoxanthin. It doesn’t have to be intense, just try not to be sedentary.
Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) – Dr. Oz and Dr. Perricone both recommend GLA as a way to help with weight loss, but they both have different reasons for why they say it works. Oz says that it helps to reduce stress, and therefore helps switch the body from fat-storing mode. Perricone says that it speeds up your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories with the same effort.
Regardless of why it works, it also has plenty of side benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. We don’t produce it, so you’ll either have to supplement it or increase your intake of foods that contain it.
Glucomannan – This is a dietary fiber that gained notoriety when Dr. Oz gave it his nod of approval. It’s showing some promising results, including being able to lose weight simply by taking it before a meal. It’s a soluble fiber, so it helps move things through your digestive system so they foods don’t linger around and cause problems.
The most interesting study showed that in 2 month’s time it can drastically reduce cholesterol levels. All that participants in the study did was take it an hour before they ate. Since it’s a fiber you’ll want to make sure to drink a full glass of water with it.
Green Tea Extract – You’ve probably heard a lot about the benefits of drinking green tea, mostly for its antioxidants. But recently green tea extract has been making the news as an effective weight loss supplement for its ability to increase your metabolism. It’s been shown to change the form of your fat at a molecular level so that it can use them for fuel.
And since its derived from green tea there are few instances of adverse reactions, and it also contains EGCG, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties and other positive qualities.
Guar Gum – This is a common food additive and it has been getting some attention in the weight loss community because it leads to a feeling of fullness. This is because once it’s ingested it expands and can help decrease your appetite, which leads to eating less, which leads to losing weight.
This is an all-natural supplement sourced from the guar bean. Aside from making you feel full it also helps with digestion and can be used as a laxative to relieve constipation, or as a way to stay regular. It can also help regulate blood glucose levels, which also assists in weight loss.
Guarana – You may recognize the name guarana from reading it on the ingredients list of an energy drink. This is because it contains caffeine, which helps these drinks create the buzzed and alert feeling they refer to as “energy”. Even though it’s been dubbed generally safe by the FDA, there are still several side effects to consider.
These effects are very similar to those associated with high doses of caffeine, which is not surprising since that’s what’s in it. Some have argued that it would be cheaper and just as effective to use caffeine instead.
hCG – The HCG Diet is based on using in order to lose weight. Since it’s a hormone it’s considered an all-natural approach to weight loss. Proponents of the diet say that it produces dramatic results in a short period of time, but it also involves following a pretty extreme diet, so it’s unclear if it’s the dieting or the hCG that is producing the results.
The main reason it gets so much attention is that it’s supposed to leave muscle tissue alone, while primarily attacking the fat, resulting in the lean and toned look that people really want.
Iodine – Iodine is supposed to help with the thyroid gland, which in turn helps to regulate how your body functions and will help you lose weight when it’s working properly. If your thyroid is out of whack, you’ll have a tougher time slimming down because your metabolism will also be out of line, and you’ll retain more water.
So how does it help your thyroid? Your thyroid needs certain levels of iodine in order to do its job, so a deficiency in this area will lead to poor performance. It’s not a matter of beefing up your levels of iodine, but filling in a deficiency if one exists.
L-Carnitine – Aside from assisting in weight loss, this has a lot of benefits as an antioxidant and is a great addition to a healthy lifestyle and overall well-being. They say that it hasn’t been proven to cause weight loss on its own, but what it has been shown to do will help your efforts immensely.
It’s been shown to help maintain energy levels, increase your muscle mass, and decrease your fat mass, which most people would say will help lead to weight loss, and a more fit body over time.
L-Glutamine – There are too many good reasons to start supplementing your diet with glutamine. It has a host of benefits including strengthening the immune system, improving the digestive tract, helping with muscle growth and recovery, and increasing your metabolism.
That last one is what most dieters are going to focus on, because any time you can increase your resting metabolic rate you are going to see an improvement in your weight, and overall fitness level. Because of its effects on your muscles it’s a great addition to any strength training routines you have in place.
Maitake Mushroom Extract – This is an interesting supplement because it’s currently being studied on a number of different potential benefits. The one we’re most interested with here is can it help with weight loss? Dr. Oz recommends having it during snack time to stop cravings, and the weight loss effect is due to the blood glucose regulation it provides.
In addition to this it’s showing signs of being able to help treat cancer due to its ability to help strengthen the immune system. And since it comes from a mushroom it doesn’t get more natural than that.
Omega-3 – This fatty acid is the most widely known and get the most attention than the rest. The reason they’re focused on so heavily is that the body doesn’t produce it, but it’s needed in order to have a proper metabolism. Fish oil is the most commonly recommended way to supplement this, and Barry Sears brought this into the mainstream with his book The Zone Diet.
The benefits of supplementing omega-3 are wide and varying, with some of them proven, and others only claimed. They include an improvement in heart health, increased metabolism, and overall anti-inflammatory effects in the body.
PAGG – This was first popularized in the book The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. It’s a stack of four different ingredients, Policosanol, ALA, Garlic, Green Tea, which when combined together are supposed to help with weight loss. It’s split up into two formulations, one that you take during the day, and another at night.
Reviews have been mixed as to whether or not this is effective, but Ferriss gives solid reasons for why it works, and there is a lot of room for error when taking them, so it’s good to do your research before trying it out.
Raspberry Ketones – After being featured on the Dr. Oz show the demand for, and interest in raspberry ketones went through the roof. It’s touted as an all natural weight loss supplement sourced from raspberries. But because its an extract you don’t have to eat the hundreds of raspberries it would take to get the same benefit.
The reason it’s claimed to be effect: it helps to regulate the metabolism, and helps your body break down fat cells so you can get rid of those pesky problem areas. On the show it was said that 100mg a day is what is needed for results.
Resveratrol – Resveratrol is one of the reasons why doctors recommend a daily glass of red wine, but it’s also being used as a dietary supplement to help you lose weight. It can help with levels of “bad” cholesterol, which helps the heart, and it helps with blood glucose sensitivity, which is what helps keep your weight in check as well.
There may also be the possibility that it can help you live longer, as they’ve proven this in rodents, and are waiting to see if the same effects can be found in humans. That would be a nice side benefit, and a good reason to take it.
Senna – This is often used for its laxative properties, and if you’ve noticed a problem with sluggish digestion it could aid in clearing out your system which then helps foods digest better. You should be aware that you wouldn’t want to use this for the long term, as your colon might become dependent on it, and when you stop using it your digestion might be worse than before.
There are also other reasons not to use this for the long term, including dehydration, a loss of electrolytes, and diarrhea.
Taurine – You can find taurine in foods like meat and seafood, and most popularly it’s in energy drinks in large amounts. The reason people are making the connection to weight loss is because it’s been known to increase your metabolism, which means you’re burning more calories, even when you’re not being active.
You don’t have to, nor should you, use energy drinks to get your taurine levels up. You can find it in supplement form. Be sure to limit your intake to 3000mg, and keep in mind this isn’t meant for long term use.
Vitamin C – Some dieters take higher doses of Vitamin C in order to facilitate weight loss. The body doesn’t need more of a substance than what it requires, and there is little evidence that you have to take it in large doses to get the benefits.
You may also find that your regular diet gets you enough Vitamin C, but if you suspect you’re running a deficient you may want to fill in the missing amounts. Your doctor will be the one to best tell you if you’re getting enough or not.
Vitamin D – It’s relatively easy to run low on Vitamin D, especially if you live in climates where it’s not always easy to go outside and get some sun. It’s not only a mood-booster, but it helps strengthen the immune system, and it plays a big part in how your body functions.
Studies have shown that those that are deficient in Vitamin D are more likely to gain weight. Supplementing is not the same as having your body produce it naturally, which it can if you get some sun. Not enough to burn, but you don’t need to hermit yourself from it, either.
Vitamin E – Not only is this an essential vitamin to have in your body, it can also help you get more out of your workouts. It helps your muscles recover from a session, and can help you lift more and have more energy to exercise.
There are plenty of superfoods that are high in Vitamin E, so you should only consider using supplements if you’re having trouble increasing your intake of foods containing it.
Whey Protein – While not contributing to weight loss directly, whey protein is often advised to those that are trying to increase their lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolism. This means that you’ll be burning more calories 24 hours a day – yes, even while you’re sleeping.
The common whey proteins on the market also include amino acids that helps your body function, and helps your muscles heal faster. The kind of whey protein you use will vary depending on your fitness goals, and what kind of training you’re doing. Most fitness instructors can recommend a good protein supplement specifically for you.
White Bean Extract – This is a relatively new supplement that started getting attention after Dr. Oz had it on his show and said it helps rev up your metabolism. It’s also said to be able to block carbs from being absorbed by the body, so it will no doubt become popular with those that are following a no-carb or low-carb diet plan.
The other benefit to taking this is that it has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. Even if you’re not diabetic this can be helpful because it will keep you from spikes that can cause that lethargic feeling after eating a meal, and helps you nix cravings.
Zinc – You can’t miss out on zinc, it just has too many weight loss properties that can’t be overlooked. For starters it can help you if you have a slow metabolism. This alone will help with everything else you’re doing to lose weight. It also gets your body producing more of the thyroid hormone responsible for maintaining your healthy weight.
No need to buy it in supplement form unless you aren’t getting enough meat, seafood, nuts, and other zinc-containing foods, in which case it is available in pill form.
No Way Around It
None of these supplements are a replacement for a healthy diet and regular exercise. There’s just no getting around this duo if you’re serious about losing weight. You should start with that foundation, and then fill in what you’re missing in an effort of overall health and wellbeing. All of these add-ons work better when the body is getting the right foods, and is getting daily exercise, even if it’s just a 30 minute walk.