What vitamins can I take to boost my metabolism?

Dominique Adair
There’s a long and a short answer to this question, and you probably want both! First, the short, the foods and supplements we ingest do not DIRECTLY influence our metabolism. In other words, all those “fat burners” that are sold will either do nothing, or, if they contain stimulants, they may accelerate your heart rate, but that’s not the same as metabolism. 

The longer answer is that vitamins, especially the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, biotin, and folic acid) do contribute to energy metabolism, by helping your body turn carbohydrates, proteins, and fats into utilizable energy. That said, “More does not mean faster.” In other words, if you are eating well, you will have plenty of vitamins to accommodate metabolism. Many people asking this question are actually asking, "Can I do anything that will speed up my metabolism?" The scientific truth is that metabolism is VERY resistant. One way to modestly increase metabolism is to change your body composition. Lean skeletal tissue (muscle mass) requires more calories to do its job than fat does. 

So, if through regular cardiovascular and strength training exercise you are able to gain lean mass and lose fat, that may have a small impact on metabolism. The short, SHORT answer -- eat well and move more, and you will optimize the metabolism that genetics has assigned to you.
There are no individual vitamins that will boost your metabolism and help you to lose weight simply by taking a pill. The key to boosting your metabolism and keeping it "revved up" is eating a well-rounded diet overall, making sure to consume enough calories to provide the energy your body needs, and exercising to burn excess calories and stay energized. Some weight loss supplements include ingredients like Asian ginseng and green tea extract because of preliminary research findings that they may nudge up the metabolic rate. However, there is no solid scientific proof that they work.
Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet may also ensure that you don’t experience nutrient deficiencies that could slow down your metabolism. For example, the B vitamins are essential for helping your body turn the food you eat into energy. Too little vitamin B12 (found in animal foods such as meat, eggs, poultry, and fish) may make you feel tired and less likely to exercise. Iron is also vital to maintaining energy. Too little iron may cause anemia, a condition that can lead to extreme fatigue.
Check with your doctor about the best ways for you to lose weight and about whether taking dietary supplements is right for you.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.