science

Can Vitamins Boost Your Metabolism? What the Science Says

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Carla Montrond Correia ND, CNS

6 min read

a glass of sparkling water with fruits and berries inside

Your metabolism provides fuel for necessary health functions like breathing. Taking certain vitamins can help promote your metabolism’s health.

The health of your metabolism and the health of your body overall are inextricably linked. If your metabolism isn’t functioning properly, there are ways to improve it – both through slight lifestyle tweaks and upping your vitamin intake with supplements. Let’s take a closer look.

Why having a healthy metabolism is important

Having a healthy metabolism is directly linked to the health of your body overall.

The term “metabolism” often refers to your base metabolic rate, which describes how many calories your body burns while at rest. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn. But your metabolism concerns much more than that. Your metabolism converts nutrients from the foods you consume into the fuel your body needs to function. As a result, your body then has the energy it needs to move, breathe, circulate blood, repair damaged tissues and cells, and digest food.

Fortunately, there are many ways to promote a healthy metabolism.

Can vitamins boost metabolism?

The short answer is: Yes, vitamins can boost metabolism. The conversion of food into cellular energy (in the form of ATP) relies on the presence of micronutrients in the body. Therefore, your metabolism may benefit from your taking certain vitamins and supplements, particularly if you’re specifically addressing any vitamin deficiencies you have.

Taking vitamins isn’t a cure-all, though. Your vitamin routine will have a greater impact alongside other lifestyle adjustments. Some ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle include exercising, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and staying hydrated.

Vitamins and supplements that may help boost your metabolism

Green tea extract

Green tea extract is found in green tea. (Spoiler alert!) Green tea extract promotes health in a number of ways, including by acting as a metabolism-enhancer. Epigallocatechin3-gallate (EGCG) is a secondary metabolite found in green tea, and it has known antioxidant properties. Antioxidant properties, in general, are good for supporting a healthy metabolism. One study found that a diet of antioxidant-rich foods promoted stronger energy metabolism in healthy young men, when the diets were paired with consistent exercise.

B-complex

B-complex vitamins support the nervous system and help promote energy metabolism. Since B12 vitamins are largely found in animal-based foods, those eating plant-based diets often don’t get enough. Moreover, drinking too much alcohol can deplete your stores of B vitamins. If you’re concerned that you may be deficient in B vitamins, or if you’re eating a plant-based diet, supplementation might be a good step for you. Research has shown that B-complex vitamins play vitally important roles in the body, from helping you produce energy, to creating blood cells, and assisting in growth. The Care/of B-complex vitamin supplement is good for vegetarians and vegans, and it supports a healthy metabolism.

CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that is naturally produced by your body. CoQ10 plays a crucial role in generating cellular energy, as well as in enhancing your immune system and combating harmful free radicals. CoQ10 levels decrease naturally with age, but other factors also affect your body’s CoQ10 levels, including poor diet habits and stress. CoQ10 is made through a complex process involving the amino acid tyrosine; the process requires several different vitamins and nutrients. Since CoQ10 is found in metabolically active organs (heart, liver, muscle, pancreas), it’s possible that CoQ10 supplements have a positive effect on the health of your metabolism. Moreover, the broader effects of CoQ10 – enhanced immunity, more cellular energy, fewer free radicals – can have a positive impact on your metabolism.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, sometimes dubbed the “sunshine vitamin,” is essential for healthy bone mineral density and generally supports healthy bones. The importance of vitamin D is underscored by the fact that you have vitamin D receptors all over your body. Vitamin D is responsible for helping your body absorb calcium, phosphate, and magnesium. Moreover, vitamin D stimulates insulin production and modulates the function of activated T and B lymphocytes. Vitamin D has also been shown to boost testosterone levels. Moreover, increases in testosterone levels have been linked to increases in metabolism. You can boost your vitamin D levels through dietary consumption or by getting some sunlight on your skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the health of your immune system and is involved in protein metabolism. It also helps with collagen formation and with promoting L-carnitine levels. Furthermore, vitamin C is important for adrenal function; adrenals are glands that sit above the kidneys and help manage cortisol, which is sometimes called the “stress hormone.” One study found that vitamin C was helpful in combating oxidative stress in ultramarathon runners. Care/of’s vitamin C supplement is easy to digest and is formulated for absorption.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an abundant and vitally important mineral in your body. Found in more than 300 enzyme systems in our bodies, it regulates many important biochemical processes, many of which involve metabolism. Some of these processes include: blood pressure regulation, muscle and nerve function, and blood glucose control. Magnesium is also essential to bone and heart health. Indeed, the majority of magnesium can be found in the bone. Care/of’s magnesium supplement – dubbed “The Dream Weaver” – is highly soluble and is sourced from Irish seawater.

Iron

Iron is an important mineral that helps distribute oxygen throughout the rest of your body. Furthermore, iron supports thyroid function, which in turn supports a healthy metabolism. The thyroid hormone promotes several metabolic processes that involve carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids that help generate the energy your body needs. The thyroid hormone in general serves to regulate the metabolism of almost all of your body’s tissues.

Maintaining healthy iron levels is especially important during pregnancy. That said, you should always talk to a doctor before taking an iron supplement, since excess iron can be toxic. Your doctor will want to test your iron levels before proceeding to recommend a supplement routine.

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body. Since your body doesn’t make calcium, your body must obtain it from outside sources. Calcium is vital to promoting bone metabolism. Moreover, a study of postmenopausal women showed that taking calcium with vitamin D can support healthy weight management. Calcium is also useful for keeping blood pressure within normal limits during pregnancy.

Other natural ways to boost your metabolism

While upping your intake of the vitamins and minerals listed above can boost your metabolism, there are also other, natural ways to do the same. Some possible steps include:

  • Exercising. Exercising can burn calories while maintaining and/or building muscle.
  • Eating spicy foods. Spicy foods promote fat oxidation. Studies show that adding capsaicin to your diet may also boost metabolism.
  • Drinking a moderate intake of caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Consuming more protein. Studies have shown that consuming a high-protein diet can have positive effects on body metabolism.
  • Getting enough sleep.

When to seek medical attention

If you experience sudden or drastic changes in your health, you should consider seeking medical attention. A doctor can do blood work to help you figure out the underlying causes of your condition. As a general rule, you should have yearly exams to examine your lab values over time. It’s also a good idea to talk to a medical professional before adding any new supplement to your routine.

Final takeaways

The health of your body is closely associated with the health of your metabolism. You can improve your metabolism through lifestyle adjustments and through increasing your intake of certain vitamins and minerals. Talk to a medical professional about whether any of the vitamins and minerals listed above can help boost your metabolism.

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