We all know that a healthy, balanced diet is important for managing weight. On top of just eating vegetables and avoiding junk food, there are some nutrients and natural compounds that are particularly good at supporting a healthy metabolism. With your metabolism at peak efficiency, not only is less food converted into fat stores, but exercise is better at burning calories. Here is a look at a few types of supplements you can try if you are trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy shape.
A Note on Health and Safety
Pharmaceutical weight-loss products used to be popular. Today, most of these have been taken off the market, and with good reason. These drugs were notoriously dangerous, as they interfere with your cell’s abilities to generate energy from food. The prescription weight-loss medications today are mostly only used when a person’s weight presents a serious health risk. It is far better to manage your weight through diet, exercise, guidance from your healthcare practitioner, and natural products than through drugs if you can.
The supplements we discuss here are great for aiding your body’s natural digestion and energy processing. They will be most beneficial if you take them along with a healthy diet, and while exercising regularly.
Inside your intestines are trillions of beneficial bacteria. There, microscopic organisms help your gut stay healthy and process the food you eat. They can digest some compounds that we otherwise can’t, such as dietary fiber, and help reduce inflammation along your digestive tract. Having a flourishing gut microbiome is very helpful for managing weight and blood sugar. Probiotic supplements are a great way to maintain a healthy bacterial population and to support a healthy metabolism. Certain clinical trials have found that taking probiotic supplements may reduce BMI and weight, and improve the percentage of lean muscle mass.1
In addition to probiotics, prebiotic supplements should be considered as well. They can be taken on their own, or combined with probiotics. Prebiotics are dietary fibers such as fructooligosaccharides (FOS) which provide nourishment for your gut bacteria. People taking prebiotics may enjoy healthier gut flora and better digestion.2
Obesity and weight gain are frequently associated with hormonal imbalances. Women often experience weight gain with the onset of menopause, and men can see weight gain linked to decreasing testosterone levels as they age. Dehydroepiandrosterone, or DHEA, is a hormone that controls many biological processes and is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen. Supplementing with DHEA may support healthy testosterone levels in men and help regulate hormonal balance in women, as well as supporting glucose metabolism in your liver and other organs. Because of these effects, DHEA supplementation may help support a healthy weight.3,4
Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids
Your body needs several different vitamins and minerals to regulate its metabolism. Sometimes a deficiency in one or more of them may lead to weight problems or obesity. Conversely, supplementing with them can improve metabolic function and promote healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight.
5-hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) for example, is an important amino acid involved in multiple metabolic pathways including the production of the brain signaling chemical serotonin. Taking 250-300 micrograms a half an hour before each meal can help you feel more satiated, and as a result, eat less, through supported appetite control.5,6 Chromium, a trace element important for blood sugar balance may help support normal blood sugar and blood lipid levels. Supplementing with chromium may also help reduce weight associated with diabetes or dislipidemia.7
There are a number of plant-based organic compounds that may support the body’s metabolic processes. Called phytochemicals, these molecules can interact with receptors in your cells to modulate their activity. Some plant extracts contain phytochemicals that can help support normal blood sugar, cholesterol, triglycerides, and energy production. Herbal supplements including berberine – an organic compound produced in many plants – and extracts from specific plants such as American ginseng,8 holy basil,9 gymnema,10 and cinnamon11 may help support keep your healthy metabolism and body weight.
The Bottom Line
Weight loss can happen more efficiently when your metabolism is functioning at its best. Supplements that support digestion, energy production, and metabolism should be considered as part of a healthy weight management routine. For further more information about high quality supplements visit Vital Nutrients.