This post has been updated since its initial publication date to include additional expert insights.
As we age, it can become more difficult to shed the stubborn belly fat that seems inexorably to hang around our midsections. Even if you’re eating a well-balanced diet, fueling your body with nutrients, and getting enough exercise, it can still prove to be quite a battle.
Luckily, ensuring proper nutrition to keep your metabolism high can be easier than ever when you add the right vitamins and supplements to the mix. While you should already be swapping out dietary choices to cut out added sugar and processed foods, an easy way to fill any nutritional gaps in your diet is to incorporate a metabolism-boosting vitamin into your daily routine. One of these vitamins is a B complex, which will allow you to take in a large amount of B vitamins every day.
Read more about metabolism-boosting benefits of B vitamins and a B-complex supplement, we spoke to Juliana Tamayo, a registered dietitian at Fitness Clone. She told us that these nutrients are an essential part of any healthy diet, especially if you want to lose weight.
B vitamins and metabolism
While most people get enough B vitamins from their daily food intake from things like pork, chicken, beans, lentils, whole grains, potatoes, fish and eggs, various factors including age, genetics and pregnancy all affect the body’s need for optimal B vitamin levels. Tamayo notes that metabolism-boosting B vitamins include thiamin (B1), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). “Although there are more B vitamins, including niacin, pantothenic acid, and biotin, these aren’t as involved in energy metabolism,” he says.
Tamayo points out that the best are B12 AND B6. “In most cases, vitamin B12 is the most important vitamin to supplement. It is particularly difficult for vegans and vegetarians to obtain this vitamin through their diet,” Tamayo points out, adding that this B vitamin is “directly related to cellular metabolism and is necessary for energy”, while thiamine “is directly essential for the conversion of carbohydrates into energy”.
Then there’s B6, or pyridoxine, which is “essential for macronutrient metabolism” and folate, which aids in cellular metabolism. A deficiency in any of these essential vitamins can be detrimental to overall health. “When you have low levels of any of these vitamins, you may feel tired, sluggish, and in a bad mood. Low vitamin B12 and low folate also lead to anemia, which is a common deficiency among older Americans,” warns Tamayo .
By starting your day with a B-vitamin supplement like B12 or B6, you’ll ensure that your body is getting the crucial nutrients it needs to boost your metabolism and function at its best. Opting for a B-complex vitamin is even better, as they contain all eight B-vitamins conveniently packed into one pill.
Aside from the supporting evidence that they can help reduce stress and symptoms of anxiety and depression by improving overall mood, B-complex vitamins play an essential role in energy metabolism. The primary function of a B-complex vitamin is to aid the body’s ability to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins, and fats as fuel for energy. A deficiency in the waist-trimming vitamin will instead cause the body to store these nutrients as fat instead of using them to fuel its calorie-burning system. “When you supplement with a B-complex, you provide your body with necessary levels of B vitamins to support bodily processes, including cellular metabolism, energy production, DNA regulation, and red blood cell production,” she explains Tamayo. Perfect!
The bottom line
At the end of the day, everything from hormone levels to physical activity can affect your metabolism. But proper nutrition and a balanced diet are essential for a better metabolism and that includes getting enough B vitamins. And there are so many B vitamins that can boost your metabolism. Tamayo specifically names B12 and B6 as the B-complex vitamins you should consider taking every morning to boost your metabolism. Just be sure to talk to your doctor to make sure B vitamins are right for you!
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