For IDEAL WEIGHT, a multivitamin including a B50 complex with minerals offers essential adrenal nutrients, thyroid nourishment, and is needed for hormone balance. Optimizing endocrine function brings increased energy and exercise capacity, encouraging a healthy weight. Specialized multivitamins for weight control and enhanced performance or energy often include specific vitamins and minerals in high potency that are needed by the adrenal and thyroid glands.
Concentrated B-complex vitamins formulated with essential mineral cofactors, vitamin C, and other nutrients are needed for weight management, and for optimal levels of the endocrine hormones which strongly affect metabolic rate. There is an intricate balance between many important hormonal systems: Low thyroid function; depressed levels of estrogens, progesterone or testosterone in men; and high adrenal steroid hormones can all trigger weight gain.
Stress can impede any of these systems as weight gain or loss is possible during and after times of elevated stress. Heightened stress causes the adrenal glands to release either too much or inadequate amounts of their hormones including cortisol, DHEA, and adrenaline. Sometimes hormone levels do not stabilize even after stress subsides. Prolonged high cortisol levels have negative effects including weight gain, loss of bone density, poor sleep, and high blood pressure and sugar. Low thyroid function contributes to fatigue, weight increase, low stamina for exercise, poor immune function and skin healing, symptoms of low metabolism and elevated blood sugar.
To attain an optimal weight, adrenal, thyroid and blood sugar balance all need ample amounts of particular vitamins and minerals, in correct proportions. Cortisol itself prepares the body for action by increasing blood sugar, blood flow to muscles, and alertness. In addition, cortisol has an intricate relationship with the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar. When cortisol levels are too high, cells can become resistant to insulin. In turn, this may lead to increased blood sugar and weight gain.
Adrenal exhaustion can follow chronic stress. After cortisol levels drop excessively, blood sugar levels may decrease, causing a cycle of weight imbalance and a low stress tolerance. The thyroid and adrenal systems each influence the other: If thyroid function is sluggish, the adrenals are forced to step up and work harder. Also, healthy cortisol levels are necessary for the thyroid gland to make its hormones, and to convert thyroxine from the thyroid into the more active T3 form. Sluggish adrenals can lead to low thyroid activity, reduced energy and ability to exercise, and weight gain.
The vitamin B-50 complex comprises 50mg each of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6. They are all essential for maintaining a healthy weight, because they are needed to metabolize carbohydrates and fats, for protein formation, and to release stored energy in food. Optimal body weight requires all of these metabolic functions. Ample tissue levels of the B vitamin group along with carotenes and selenium are necessary for stable thyroid and adrenal function, male and female hormone levels, and for maintaining adequate output of glucagon, which stores glucose and insulin. B vitamins are water-soluble: the body is unable to store them and to achieve ample tissue levels so they must be included in the diet or boosted with supplementation for a fully functioning metabolism.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency is also associated with obesity. Thiamine helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. Low levels of this vitamin can slow the metabolism, leading to lower energy production, poor carbohydrate breakdown, and difficulty losing weight. Several studies have shown improved mineral and B vitamin status in the body after taking a high-concentration multivitamin. A 2015 study published in Advances in Nutrition found that up to 29% of patients seeking weight-loss surgery were deficient in vitamin B1.4
Vitamin B12 behaves differently than other B-complex vitamins: it occurs in few foods naturally, and is poorly absorbed, and so insufficient levels are common. If there is any deficiency of crucial nutrients, the body slows its metabolism to conserve what it has, leading to weight gain. Because vitamin B12 is important for energy production, people with low levels are reluctant to exercise, making weight loss harder. Vitamin B12 is also needed for red blood cell formation and oxygen transport, heart health, and nervous system function. A 2013 study with 976 patients found that vitamin B12 deficiency is correlated with obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Vitamin B12 level was significantly lower in overweight patients than healthy individuals.3
Natural carotenes are a group of red, orange, and yellow pigments found in the chloroplasts and chromoplasts of plants including fruits, vegetables, algae, and whole grains. They shield plants from sun-induced free radical damage, providing powerful protection for a lifetime in the sun.
Plant carotenoids are water-soluble and do not accumulate in our bodies, so toxicity is almost unheard of. More than five hundred carotenoids are known, some of which convert into active vitamin A in our tissues. Generous amounts of natural mixed carotenes aid with weight balance, because they protect key organs including the adrenals, thyroid, and gonads from oxidative injury, ensuring that those organs produce their hormones at peak efficiency to maintain a brisk metabolic rate. In a study of 60 obese volunteers, researchers noted that those in the high vegetable consumption group with better serum levels of carotenoids (a biomarker for vegetable and fruit intake) enjoyed improved loss of weight and fat.5 We recommend only natural mixed carotenes, derived from plants, and never synthetic beta-carotene.
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for weight balance, for several reasons:
- It is needed for the adrenal glands to manufacture their stress-managing hormones including cortisol, which is essential for energy production and keeping an active metabolism. Both an excess or deficiency of cortisol destabilizes blood sugar and thyroid function, potentially leading to weight gain, high or low blood sugar, and a slowed metabolism.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that protects muscles, connective tissues, and all organs supporting optimal function and exercise capacity.
- Additionally, vitamin C shields the body against lipid peroxidation; protecting cells from the damaging free radicals and reactive oxygen species that form during normal metabolism, as well as from environmental exposure to toxins and pollutants.
- People who are deficient in vitamin C may have a harder time losing fat mass. A paper published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2005 suggested that getting enough vitamin C on a daily basis can help burn more fat during moderate exercise. Individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat during a moderate exercise bout than individuals with low vitamin C status; thus, vitamin C depleted individuals may be more resistant to fat mass loss.6
Selenium is a trace mineral in the soil; the natural seleno-methionine form is found in plants. Selenium is required for optimal thyroid function, which is essential for weight management. A healthy thyroid gland releases correct amounts of thyroxine and other hormones that affect the body’s use and clearance of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. A sluggish thyroid makes weight loss very hard.
Selenium also protects the thyroid from damage and over-stimulation by iodine which is a key mineral for making thyroid hormones including thyroxine, but iodine should only be ingested in moderate amounts. In addition, selenium is a cofactor for the enzymes glutathione, peroxidase, and catalase in the antioxidant defense system. These antioxidants protect the thyroid gland from oxidative injury, helping to keeping it strong. The mineral selenium serves as both an antioxidant and for thyroid hormone function.
In our clinic, for weight balance we always prefer a multivitamin B-50 complex for adrenal, thyroid, blood sugar, and weight support, and to boost energy and endurance. We recommend the full range of purely natural mixed carotenoids, including cis and trans beta-carotene isomers, alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and lutein, which are all potent antioxidants. We will not use any product with synthetic beta-carotene which has been shown to be relatively ineffective and potentially unsafe. We avoid large doses of animal-source vitamin A for patients over 50, as that can detract from bone density. Along with other antioxidants such as vitamin C and selenium, carotenes including lutein help protect all cells and tissues from scavenging free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and cell damage, and decrease harmful lipid peroxides. They boost the cells’ own protective glutathione levels, and superoxide dismutase and catalase enzyme action. Studies show a correlation between increased serum carotenoids (a biomarker of vegetable and fruit intake) and improved weight and fat loss.7 Since both vitamins and minerals are food derivatives, they will feel better in the stomach and be more efficiently absorbed when taken with meals.
Recommendation: A multivitamin formula including a B-50 complex, specifically thiamin (vitamin B1) 50mg, riboflavin (vitamin B2) 50mg, vitamin B3 (as non-flush inositol hexaniacinate) 50mg, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) 50mg, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCL) 50mg. We also like to see folic acid 500mcg, vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) 75mcg. And vitamin C 400-600mg buffered with calcium or magnesium and rosehips; citrus bioflavonoids 150-200mg, including rutin and hesperidin; natural mixed carotenes 5000IU; selenium in the form of L-selenomethionine 70-80mcg; iodine ideally from sea vegetables such as kelp 70-80mcg; vitamin D2 at least 200IU; vitamin K 10-15mcg. Take these totals daily, with meals, mostly with breakfast or lunch as adrenal function is highest in the first half of the day; or as directed by your health care provider.
- Yetley, EA. Multivitamin and multimineral dietary supplements: definitions, characterization, bioavailability, and drug interactions. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:269S-276S.
- Murphy SP, White KK, Park S-Y, Sharma S. Multivitamin-multimineral supplements’ effect on total nutrient intake. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:280S-284S
- Baltaci, Davut, et al. “Association of vitamin B12 with obesity, overweight, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, and body fat composition; primary care-based study.” Med Glas (Zenica) 10.2 (2013): 203-210
- Kerns, Jennifer C., Cherinne Arundel, and Lakhmir S. Chawla. “Thiamin deficiency in people with obesity.” Advances in nutrition 6.2 (2015): 147-153.