If you’ve read this column regularly you know that the mantra of “calories in versus calories out” is not the total picture when attempting to lose fat and shape up. Our bodies are in constant flux in the never-ending efforts to maintain homeostasis — the state of equilibrium and balance.


Nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalances are quite often the underlying issue holding people back from losing, and then effortlessly maintaining, fat (weight) loss. Below are six supplements you might want to learn more about to help in your efforts to lose fat and shape up.




The science is a little slim on L-carnitine, but some studies do prove that carnitine increases muscle mass, decreases fatigue levels and reduces fat mass, which are all key components of weight loss. Carnitine reportedly works by carrying fatty acids into cells so they can be burned for fuel. Some studies have indicated that it is especially helpful in reducing visceral (belly) fat stores.




Low magnesium levels can impede a person’s ability to use glucose for fuel. Instead of the body burning the energy, it stores it as fat. Correcting a magnesium deficiency stimulates metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity. High insulin sensitivity is very good; it means your body reacts quickly to rises in blood sugar levels, uses a smaller amount of insulin and returns to a balanced state quickly. Some studies have shown that magnesium may also inhibit fat absorption.


Vitamin D


Experts from all over the world are verifying that a very high percentage of the population is deficient in vitamin D3 and that supplementation is essential. Vitamin D3 is actually a pro-hormone and plays a huge part in a wide range of cellular functions. A deficiency in Vitamin D is strongly linked to poor metabolism of carbohydrates. Furthermore, the genes that are regulated by Vitamin D may change the way fat cells are formed, making it easier to store fat. According to experts, Vitamin D3 may be the single most important supplement we can take for our health




Zinc plays a primary role in anabolic hormone production. Ample zinc allows for more healthy release of the three most important anabolic hormones; testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). These hormones are some of the best fat-burning substances your body can produce.


Deficiency of zinc also reduces leptin, a beneficial hormone that regulates appetite. Leptin signals the brain telling you when you’re full and satisfied. We find that people with low leptin levels or impaired leptin function tend to overeat and therefore put on fat.


B Vitamins


B vitamins help with energy production, fight fatigue and lethargy, improve healthy nervous system, correction of the adrenal glands’ functioning and aid in the production of substances to regulate the nerves and hormones. Good digestion is another benefit of a Vitamin B complex. It helps with proper digestion by aiding healthy production of hydrochloric acid (HCl); the acid breaks down carbohydrates, fats and proteins more efficiently.


For fat loss specifically, vitamins B5 & B3 are ones to watch. B5 lowers body weight by activating lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that burns fat cells. One study linked B5 supplementation to less hunger when dieting. B3 (niacin) has been shown to increase adiponectin, a weight-loss hormone secreted by fat cells. Clinical trials have shown that niacin-bound chromium supplements help reduced body weight.




Makes the body more sensitive to insulin, helping to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle.


Your diet should first and foremost focus on developing optimal cellular function. If your internal environment is out of balance your system will find it hard to build new lean tissue (muscle) and burn the excess fat stores. Nutrient deficiencies are common and really set you back, especially if you have increased your activity levels.


If this information interests you, get in touch with a professional to discuss testing and treatment, if necessary.


Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763, at his website bodyexpertsystems.com or through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com)

Phil Kelly

Phil is an avid sportsman and loves most things fitness. With the final realisation that he would not be an All Black, he turned his full focus to studying the human body in regard to improving movement and posture, developing strength, function and performance, as well as scrutinising the conventional wisdom of nutrition for fat loss and performance. He loves challenging the 'norm' and is dedicated to the prosperity and health of his clients and the community. He has a mission to educate and empower people to "be all they can be" by providing accurate, research proven and industry leading information. 

Website: bodyexpertsystems.com

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