What are some natural dietary supplements that can help me lose weight, or at least manage it during the holidays?” –C.A., Gainesville, Florida
Answer: When it comes to weight management, nothing works better and faster than exercising and reducing your portion size. Do that alone and you can down a pound of pumpkin pie with no worries. There is no quick fix to circling the buffet three times in a row, however, there are lots of inexpensive vitamins and minerals that can assist you in your quest to manage weight. Everything below has scientific studies to back up my comments. Just follow label directions for dosage, and of course, ask your doctor if these are right for you:
Asparagine- This amino acid found in asparagus increases insulin sensitivity which helps the body store energy in muscle, rather than storing it as body fat.
Biotin- Best known for it’s beauty properties for hair and nails, this B vitamin boosts metabolism by stabilizing blood sugar (improving glycemic control) and reducing insulin. Fabulous, because insulin is known to store fat on us.
Zinc- This mineral improves immune function and protects the prostate, but it’s very closely tied to leptin. Low zinc reduces leptin, and that could cause you to feel hungry all the time. Restoring zinc could impact leptin and allow you to feel satisfied after one plate of stuffing instead of three.
Vitamin A- This vision vitamin just so happens to tell your genes to stop storing all the food you eat as fat! Studies suggest vitamin A is capable of shrinking fat cells.
Niacin- I recommend this B vitamin for people with high cholesterol, but it’s nice for weight loss because it increases adiponectin, a natural fat-burning hormone that you make.
Chromium- This mineral makes the body more sensitive to insulin, thus reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle; it helps balance blood sugar.
Lipoic acid- I recommend this for people with diabetes to help manage blood sugar; it helps shuttle glucose into the cells, and this helps you burn carbs more efficiently. Good for neuropathy too.
Magnesium- This mineral improves mood and regulates blood pressure. Low magnesium impairs your ability to convert carbs and sugar into fuel, so it gets stored on as fat on your thighs or butt. Correcting a magnesium deficiency helps stimulate metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity. It seems to also block fat absorption.
Do you think I’m suggesting you take all of these? I hope not. I’m only sharing options that might work for you. People often ask me what I do to stay thin. I don’t take anything above, however, I consistently work out. I eat a dairy and gluten free diet, in fact, I avoid all grains for the most part with the exception of rice since sushi is my big temptation. Hey you’ve got to live a little, it’s the spicy mayo I crave! Do you think that’s good with turkey?
Suzy Cohen, has been a licensed pharmacist for over 30 years and believes the best approach to chronic illness is a combination of natural medicine and conventional. She founded her own dietary supplement company specializing in custom-formulas, some of which have patents. With a special focus on functional medicine, thyroid health and drug nutrient depletion, Suzy is the author of several related books including Thyroid Healthy, Drug Muggers, Diabetes Without Drugs, and a nationally syndicated column.