It is a well-known fact in the medical world that vitamins are essential for normal body function. There are a variety of vitamins in our food with some vitamins being synthesised in our skin upon exposure to sunlight. The B vitamins in particular are important in a number of metabolic processes that occur within our body. More recently however, there has been interest in vitamin B12 and vitamin B6 in particular, as they are now considered to play an important role in weight loss. We are going to cover off Vitamins B6 and B12 for Weight Loss in this article.
Vitamin B12 is also called cobolamine as it contains the element cobalt within its structure. It is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential in maintaining the function of a number of different organ systems in the body, particularly the brain and nervous system. In addition to this, it is essential for the synthesis of haemoglobin and patients who are deficient in vitamin B12 can be anaemic.
Vitamin B12 is available in a number of animal foods. Deficiency of vitamin B12 is seen in people who consume a strict vegetarian diet. Patients who are deficient in vitamin B12 tend to suffer from tiredness and lethargy. In such a situation, patients may be administered vitamin B12 injections which can help them recover from this tiredness and regain the normal energy levels.
Vitamin B12 as a weight-loss drug
There has been a fair bit of discussion regarding vitamin B12 being effective as a weight-loss supplement. However, there does not appear to be any strong evidence from scientific studies that confirms this. In fact, a low vitamin B12 levels can cause weight loss by itself and supplementing the patient with vitamin B12 should help patients regain their lost bodyweight. On the other hand however, vitamin B12 is required to break down carbohydrates ingested in the diet into usable sugars. Whether or not this will actually aid weight loss is questionable.
It has to be borne in mind that taking vitamin supplements over and above what the body requires can actually be harmful. While no significant harm has been shown by excessive intake vitamin B12 through food, artificially supplementing it through injections may be harmful. In simple terms this could be explained by the fact that the body will only absorb what is required from the diet and not anything over and above that.
Vitamin B6 is also called pyridoxine and like vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. It occurs in a variety of forms most of which are active within the body. Vitamin B6 is essential for the breakdown and use of protein molecules (amino acids) and also in the synthesis of glucose within the body. It also helps break down fats as well.
Vitamin B6 is also available in a variety of foods such as whole grain, nuts, vegetables and meat. Low consumption of vitamin B6 and consequently low levels in the blood can cause skin disease and inflammation of the tongue and cheeks.
Vitamin B6 as a weight-loss drug
As is the case with vitamin B12, there does not appear to be any strong evidence supporting the role of vitamin B6 in weight loss. However, if one were to look at the functions of vitamin B6, it is evident that it is required to break down food and burn excess fat by stimulating the metabolism of lipids.
The problem of course is that getting excess vitamin B6 can actually be harmful as it can over-stimulate the thyroid gland. By doing so it can actually cause weight loss but this is an unhealthy way to go about doing it.
Vitamin B6 & B12 For Weight Loss – Final Thoughts
Vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 are essential for normal body functioning. However their role in weight loss is not backed by any strong evidence. Diet and exercise remain the best ways to lose weight and should be observed more strictly.
For more information on the IAPAM’s Physician Medical Weight Loss Training, visit our event website at the Aesthetic Medicine Symposium or call 1-800-219-5108 ext. 708.