Vitamins, Minerals and Weight Loss

By: Nicolette Dial

In the struggle to lose weight, often we neglect our daily intake of vitamins and minerals, as we are cutting down on our caloric intake. This is a definite dieting mistake, and can even contribute to weight loss failure.

There are certain vitamins and mineral that are essential to the ways in which we convert food to energy, rather than into fat. Our bodies run much more efficiently when we are consuming the recommended daily levels of vitamins and minerals.

The Vitamin B complex is an important part of dieting. These vitamins play an important role in metabolizing food, and thus contribute to physical energy, as well as the rate at which calories are burned. Vitamin B6 partners with zinc to influence the quality of the digestion of food. When food is properly digested, it is used more efficiently and less likely to end up as stored fat. Vitamin B2, B3 and B6 are associated with the function of the thyroid gland. Deficiencies can affect the way this gland works. A symptom of a disruption in thyroid function is a disruption of the body's metabolism, which helps to determine the rate at which calories are burned off.

Zinc is one of many minerals that can affect the success of a diet. This mineral can affect the way that foods taste, and also has a role in appetite control. Zinc also partners with Vitamin A and Vitamin E to produce thyroid hormones.

Another important aspect concerning dieting and nutrition has to do with the ways that nutrition affects mood. Dieting can be emotionally stressful, and deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can contribute to depression. For many people with weight problems, food serves as a means of self-medicating during times of stress and depression. Therefore, allowing deficiencies of vitamins and minerals that can contribute to mood disorders or depression puts the weight loss efforts in grave danger of failure.

It is nearly impossible to overstate the value of the Vitamin B complex in overall mental health and functioning. Deficiencies in the vitamins that make up the B complex can result in numerous mental symptoms, including confusion, anxiety, depression, dementia, paranoia, and can even contribute to the development of psychosis. Furthermore, deficiencies in the Vitamin B complex can bring about insomnia, which can make any one of those symptoms much worse.

Vitamin C is another vitamin that is important to mood and the general feeling of well being. A little investigation will uncover several vitamins and minerals that serve to positively affect mood, especially through their role in the production of serotonin and dopamine, and the maintaining of chemical balance within the brain. Because all aspects of mood are related to the levels of various chemicals in the brain, which are in turn influenced by the nutrients we consume, avoiding deficiencies is particularly important during times in which we may be especially vulnerable to our moods or to stress.

Nutrition is especially important to the success of any weight loss diet. Dietary supplements, taken according to accepted dosages, can be an excellent way to maintain nutrient levels while reducing caloric intake.

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Nancy Dean is a freelance author and a full time health professional. She specializes in writing about nutrition and wellness, and frequently contributes to several websites, including Vitamin Spot

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