Losing Weight in a Healthy Way: How to Avoid Vitamin Deficiency


Vitamins and minerals are essential for the normal and active functioning of our body. These are the organic compounds as well as microelements, indispensable amino acids, and fats, which, to a greater or lesser degree, regulate practically all processes in our body, from metabolism and producing hormones to forming tissues and generating energy. Most of the vitamins are not produced directly in the human body and should be taken with foods. Unfortunately, practically everyone around the world is deficient in vitamins irrespective of the level of economic development of the country of residence and the variety of available foods.

Why vitamin deficiency can be dangerous?

The daily needed dosage of vitamins and their healthy concentration in body tissues is not considerable. At the same time, prolonged vitamin deficiency can lead to the development of dangerous pathological diseases. One of the most important ones is scurvy (if there is a shortage of vitamin C), rickets (in case of insufficiency in vitamin D with children) and pellagra (in case of shortage of vitamins PP and proteins). Most physicians still recommend to aim at getting most of the necessary vitamins and essential substances from food and to take vitamin complexes and biologically active additives in case that such recommendations are impossible to implement and, especially, in the face of serious physical or emotional strain, as changing in the diet.

Do we need vitamins when losing weight?

As was noted above, our body cannot produce most of the vitamins on its own and needs to get it with foods or as supplements. When most of us are trying to lose weight, we limit our diet to a greater or a lesser degree, decreasing the amount of food we eat, cutting on some foodstuffs, or even whole food groups. As a result, we become prone to deficiencies in essential vitamins and microelements or exacerbate the existing deficiency. For example, the so popular Keto diet and Paleo diet lead to an increased deficiency in vitamin D since those foods that are rich in this vitamin and can help to eliminate the deficit, are not included in the list of allowed ones.

There is another factor, which can lead to vitamin deficiency when losing weight, and that is extra physical exercise. Most often, those who are actively exercising experience a deficiency in vitamin B, vitamins A, E, and D, as well as calcium, copper, and potassium (the latter is actively washed out from our body with sweat).

Finally, a deficiency in specific vitamins can block our attempts to lose weight, preventing our body from transforming accumulated fat into energy and slowing down our metabolism. All these factors prove that when planning how to lose weight, we should be aware of an almost inevitable deficiency in certain vitamins and microelements and, possibly, and consider taking synthetic vitamins and biologically active supplements.

Which vitamin deficiency prevents us from losing weight?

Taking vitamins boosts our body’s needs during dieting and it is important to our health. If we get all essential vitamins and minerals, we are more energetic and feel less urge for unhealthy foods (as we don’t have a deficiency in crucial substances), our metabolism is good at transforming calories into energy. Finally, we sleep better and cope with stress better, and these factors also influence our ability to accumulate extra weight and get rid of it. So, which vitamin deficiencies keep us from progressing and starting to lose weight?

  • Iodine

In the first place, iodine insufficiency affects the health of the thyroid, slowing down the production of thyrotropic hormones. The insufficiency of these hormones, in turn, can slow down metabolism and lead to swelling, which prevents us from getting slim and losing weight. So we should be mindful of getting enough iodine and take measures, if necessary.

  • Iron

The research published in Nutrients magazine in 2014 has confirmed the direct relationship between the deficit of iron and extra weight. Thus, those participants of the research who had a deficiency in iron were putting on excess weight faster and losing it slower. Besides, the deficit in iron is directly related to how much energy we feel, and if we are deficient in iron. 

  • Magnesium

Lack of magnesium negatively impacts our sleep. A research made in the year 2018 has confirmed that the less rest we have at night, the slower our metabolism is.

  • Carnitine

This amino acid transfers fatty acids through body cells, helping to burn the calories instead of accumulating them. The research published in Food and Nutrition Sciences magazine in 2013 has confirmed that intake of 500 mg of L-carnitine per day significantly increases the efficiency of any exercise, helping to burn more excess fat.

  • Dietary fiber

The dietary fiber or insoluble dietary fiber is needed not only for the active functioning of our gut, it fills in the stomach, helping us to feel ourselves full sooner and for a longer period of time. The high-fiber foods or synthetic dietary fiber helps us to cope with the restricted diet easier without falling into overeating.

Which vitamins and minerals do we lack when losing weight?

We are deficient in many vitamins and nutrients even when we don’t restrict our diet and do less exercise. Therefore, during even a short diet, such a deficiency may become critical. Here is the list of most widespread vitamins and microelements of which we should be mindful if we plan to restrict our diet.

  • Zinc

Our immune system needs this mineral: when we don’t have it enough, our body becomes more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. A diet and any food restrictions, as well as heavier workouts, create considerable stress for our body, which can affect our immune system. For this reason, we should control the level of zinc and replenish it when necessary.

  • Vitamin С

One of the lesser-known properties of this vitamin is its positive effect on the health of blood vessels, protecting them, and even decreasing the risks of stroke. In modern life, we rarely lack this vitamin, but some diets presume rejecting foodstuffs, which are rich in this vitamin, while additional stress can become a risk factor for people with weak blood vessels. Therefore, it’s essential to control your intake of vitamin C and take necessary steps if required.

  • Chrome

Chrome is very useful for people on a diet as it helps to control the level of glucose in the blood and increases cells’ sensitivity to insulin. Even if you don’t have diabetes or metabolic syndrome, chrome is essential for you since the stress hormone, cortisol, has a reverse effect: when the cells are subjected to it for a long time, they become less susceptible to insulin which increases the risk of developing type two diabetes.

  • B-group vitamins 

Most often, the vitamins belonging to this group are located in foodstuffs rich in carbohydrates, which are either completely excluded from the diet or heavily restricted. Meanwhile, the vitamins of the B group are essential for regulating our nervous system, the functioning of our brain, keeping us in good spirits, and even affect the stability of our gut.  Those who go on a diet even for a short time are most often deficient in these vitamins, which may be a reason to consider taking their synthetic equivalents.

  • Calcium

Calcium is essential not only for the strength of our bones, joints, and ligaments but also for regulating the health of our nervous system and heart. Most of us feel the deficit of calcium after 40 years, but after the age of 50, calcium is practically washed out of our body. During periods of losing weight, many of us skip dairy products or opt for skimmed ones (the milk fat is a prerequisite for calcium absorption; our body just rejects calcium without it), and the deficit can become dangerous. You are advised to discuss the intake of additives with your physician and control the level of vitamin D, which impacts how your body absorbs calcium.

Is a vitamin diet the answer?

Of course, this is an oversimplification, but there is some truth in it. When you plan any serious effort, whether psychological or physical, you should provide yourself with additional support. Diets, dietary restrictions, and intensive exercising make our body work in a new mode, pushing it to transform more quickly, put extra stress, and create a deficit of commonplace and required useful nutrients. We should control the level of most essential vitamins and nutrients, and take synthetic vitamins and additives, if needed, to avoid damage to our health, stay productive, and maintain our energy level.

What to learn more? Read here: