Get a Boost: These Are the Best Vitamins for Metabolism
- Vitamins for metabolism help turn the food you eat into usable energy for everyday activities.
- Not getting enough of these vitamins can lead to ill effects that impact your overall health and wellness.
- Aside from a balanced diet, the right vitamin supplements can help top up your daily intake of these essential nutrients.
Have you ever wondered how the foods you eat transform into energy to fuel your every move? How does a meal of veggies, fruits, nuts, and lean meats help your body run smoothly? It all boils down to one important biological phenomenon called metabolism.
For metabolism to take place, we rely on vitamins. Specific vitamins for metabolism (which you’ll learn later) break down macromolecules like carbohydrates, protein, and fats into simple molecules that your body can absorb. Because optimal energy production is the key to a life well-lived, we’ll show you the best vitamins for metabolism and how to include them in your everyday diet.
What Is Metabolism, and Why Is It Necessary for Good Health?
Metabolism is a catch-all phrase for the various chemical reactions that occur in every cell in your body. It’s a vital biological process that gives you the energy you need to carry out daily activities in school, at work, and in every other aspect of life.
How fast energy is produced when your body is at rest is scientifically known as the “basal metabolic rate” or BMR. Several internal and external factors, such as your genes, diet, exercise routine, and age, influence your BMR. In other words, someone with your height and weight may metabolize slower or faster than you.
One thing is for certain, though, your metabolism slows down as you age. Fret not, as there are ways to speed up your metabolic rate. For example, certain exercises like resistance training are proven to boost your metabolism. Another simple but effective method is to include vitamins for metabolism in your daily meals.
The Best Vitamins for Metabolism You Need To Know
So, what are the best vitamins for metabolism?
For starters, B vitamins play a central role in many metabolic processes as coenzymes. This means that these micronutrients work alongside enzymes to break down the food you eat into usable energy. Vitamin C and vitamin D are also MVPs when it comes to metabolism. Key minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, are involved in energy metabolism, too.
In the next few sections, we'll spotlight how each vitamin helps boost metabolism for the better. Most importantly, you'll learn how to eat enough of these essential nutrients through a balanced diet and add dietary supplements where needed.
If you haven’t heard, one key group of vitamins for metabolism would be the eight water-soluble B vitamins:
- Thiamine (vitamin B1)
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- Niacin (vitamin B3)
- Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- Biotin (vitamin B7)
- Folate or synthetic folic acid (vitamin B9)
- Cobalamin (vitamin B12)
A 2006 paper by Bridgewater State University explained how the various B vitamins work together:
- Thiamine converts glucose into energy.
- Riboflavin helps your body derive energy from glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids.
- Niacin breaks down carbohydrates and fatty acids when you work out.
- Pantothenic acid assists with extracting energy from fatty acids.
- Pyridoxine transforms one form of amino acid into another. It also teams up with folate and vitamin B12 to reduce homocysteine levels, which correlate with high cholesterol.
- Biotin turns carbs into glucose and fats into fatty acids. It also converts protein to amino acids and amino acids to glucose.
- Folate helps your cells to make specific proteins and assists with protein breakdown.
- Cobalamin helps activate folate, which keeps your nervous system running smoothly and produces DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that affects brain function.
As you can see, B vitamins are essential to everyone's diet. A 2020 review in the journal Nutrients emphasized that an adequate supply of B vitamins is non-negotiable for energy production. A lack of any of these vitamins can have "potentially severe metabolic and health consequences." For instance, the children of vitamin B12-deficient mothers are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases later on in life.
The good news is that you can get the full spectrum of B vitamins from whole-food sources such as:
- Oranges and orange juice
- Legumes, like lentils and sunflower seeds
- Whole grains, like oatmeal and brown rice
- Lean meats, like chicken and turkey
- Vegetables, like mushrooms and spinach
If you find it hard to get enough of each B vitamin, you can try a vitamin B complex. Or take a multivitamin, like Llama Naturals’ Plant-Based Daily Multivitamin, which includes other essential vitamins for metabolism.
Vitamin C is another star player when it comes to vitamins for metabolism. Of interest, this antioxidant carries out fat oxidation. This means that people who get enough vitamin C in their diet burn calories more efficiently than those who don't.
Here's how vitamin C works:
- Vitamin C, along with two other enzymes, is used to produce carnitine (a chemical) in your body. Carnitine helps transport long-chain fatty acids into the cells, where they’re converted into energy. Insufficient carnitine levels (usually due to a lack of vitamin C) lead to muscle aches and weakness.
- Ascorbic acid (a vitamin C derivative) regulates the transport and uptake of non-heme iron. This helps ensure sufficient iron levels in your bloodstream.
- Vitamin C also helps make cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. These are hormones and brain chemicals that prep your body for the "fight or flight" response.
So, how much vitamin C should you aim for daily?
NutritionFacts.org recommends 200 milligrams (or as advised by a licensed healthcare professional). You can easily get 50 milligrams of vitamin C from one serving of fruits and veggies. Go for whole-food sources such as oranges, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, and cantaloupes. If you still don't get enough vitamin C from your diet, consider a vitamin C supplement.
Vitamin D is the last on the list of vitamins for metabolism. But that's not to say it isn't as important as the other antioxidants we've listed.
For starters, vitamin D manages your entire body's metabolism. Vitamin D receptor proteins are present in many key organs involved in energy metabolism. Case in point: the kidneys, pancreas, liver, and muscles.
It's also worthy to note that low vitamin D levels are associated with metabolic issues like diabetes and obesity. Recent scientific evidence highlighted that this antioxidant regulates energy metabolism in cancer cells, displaying "anti-cancer effects."
Before you down this vitamin for metabolism, take note there are two forms of vitamin D:
- Vitamin D2: From fungi (think mushrooms) and yeast
- Vitamin D3: From sun exposure, as well as animal- and select plant-based sources of food
What you may not know is that your body does a better job of absorbing vitamin D3. Also, if you aren't vitamin D-deficient in the first place, taking vitamin D2 won't help much. That's why we use vitamin D3 from plant-based lichen in Llama Naturals' Vitamin D Supplement for optimal bioavailability.
Don’t Skimp Out on Vitamins for Metabolism
So far, you've learned how vitamins for metabolism help your body perform at its best. While many of these vitamins for metabolism are present in whole-food sources, a busy lifestyle and other personal commitments can make it hard to eat enough of these vital micronutrients.
If you need some help in this department, try Llama Naturals' gummy vitamins. Wholly plant-based, our supplements provide you with the necessary vitamins for metabolism in tasty bites.
Llama Naturals is a plant-based nutrition brand that has created the World's First Whole Fruit Gummy Vitamins that are made with no added sugar and whole-food vitamins. They are USDA Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free, free of common allergens, and are slow-cooked on low heat to retain rich phytonutrients & fruit flavor. It’s a win-win gummy vitamin that the whole family will love.