B vitamins are the unsung heroes that help the body carry out various processes like releasing energy from the foods we eat, breaking down essential amino acids, and carrying oxygen and nutrients around our body. Recently there has been some buzz around some other functions of this range of vitamins, one of them being weight loss. But is there any truth to this, and are B vitamins that magic fix that can help you lose weight? Let's take a closer look to find out:
The Basics of the B
B vitamins are considered the building blocks of a healthy functioning body. The group is made up of 8 vitamins which are named:
While these vitamins are obviously grouped together, often found together in the same food sources, and share some similar properties, they aren't all the same. In fact, they each benefit the body in different ways.
Let's look at them in more detail below:
Supports energy production and helps with the functioning of the nervous system.
Plays a role in energy metabolism and is important for maintaining healthy skin and vision.
Essential for energy production, proper functioning of the nervous system, and maintaining healthy skin.
Involved in energy metabolism and the production of hormones and cholesterol.
Aids in metabolizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and is important for healthy hair, skin, and nails.
Necessary for DNA synthesis, cell division, and the production of red blood cells. It is particularly important for pregnant women.
Required for the formation of red blood cells, proper nervous system function, and DNA synthesis.
While some B vitamins may have overlapping functions, they still each have distinct roles, which means supplementation can have different outcomes. So it's no surprise that whispers about weight loss have surfaced. If we look at the list, we would see the weight loss trifecta present—better energy levels, digestion, and regulated appetites. I found that in some cases, vitamin B deficiencies often appear in those who are excessively overweight or obese, which leaves us wondering if supplementation of these vitamins can have the opposite effect—weight loss.
Breaking Down the Fat with B Vitamins
B vitamins indeed have a part to play in many of the functions that can promote or support weight loss. However, not all these functions have been properly investigated or explored. An animal study aimed at deciphering the effect of B vitamins on body weight found that energy metabolism (a process that generates energy from nutrients) is one way these vitamins trigger weight loss.
The trial involved groups on a high-fat diet, some paired with the administration of B vitamins and others that weren't. The results showed that the B vitamin-treated groups had better health marker readings and a drop in body weight, proving that B vitamin supplementation could effectively help with weight loss. This weight loss was observed in conjunction with improved energy metabolism-related body processes.
An improvement in energy metabolism can also help us lose weight by:
While this seems quite promising, we must remember that the data was collected from an animal study, so the effect on humans might not be the same. Other studies directly aimed at forming a link also used animal subjects which means that the link between B Vitamin consumption and weight loss in humans is a hypothesis at best.
Vitamin B12, The Key Player
Im sure you're no stranger to the hype surrounding vitamin B12 and weight loss. The media has placed quite a large amount of spotlight on it. However, it isn't as effective as it's made out to be, and there is a lot of conflicting evidence surrounding its efficacy.
I stumbled across evidence that lists weight loss as a symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency which simply means that the lack of the vitamin can cause us to drop pounds, so there's little to no chance, B12 supplementation can support fat elimination. The official function of Vitamin B12 —used for the formation of red blood cells, aid proper nervous system function, and DNA synthesis also has little to do with direct weight loss, which discredits the theory of supplementation triggering weight loss as well.
Further research found that high or unnecessary intakes of vitamin B12, like daily supplementation of 25 micrograms or higher, for proposed weight loss can do more harm than good. The daily supplementation of B12 can lead to an increased risk of bone fracture in some.
To date, no solid proof exists to support the direct correlation between weight loss and B12 consumption. Therefore, I feel that supplementation for weight loss should be avoided. Using a combination of B vitamins in appropriate doses is safer and more effective in helping the body with weight loss efforts (diet and exercise) than opting for Vitamin B12 alone as a fat burner.
B Vitamins, The Support Structure for Weight Loss
As I mentioned earlier, B Vitamins are great for our body, and supplementation can optimize different body functions, making it a great support structure for weight loss efforts. This is probably why most fat burners add them to their formulas. B Vitamins can serve as that extra push you need to get over weight-loss plateaus and can easily bridge nutritional gaps you may experience while on a weight-loss journey. You can get more B vitamins into your system by opting for supplements or a shot. If that's not for you, you can easily get your daily dose from the foods you eat.
Foods high in B Vitamins include:
While B vitamins are undoubtedly essential for overall well-being, there isn't enough scientific evidence to support the claim that they directly promote weight loss. They can, however, be used as a reliable support aid as they play a crucial role in converting food into energy, which is very useful when you want to intensify your exercise routines. They also help us maintain healthy metabolisms, which ensures we burn fat, not store it. So although you might not get the desired weight loss result from using B Vitamins on their own, you can add them to a diet and exercise regimen to achieve faster results.