Don’t Forget Your Minerals When It Comes To Weight Loss

May 2, 2018

blog_mineralsMaybe it’s because they are easy to remember with their alphabetic ABCDE arrangement, but vitamins always seem to upstage their just-as-critical mineral counterparts. But minerals really are the unsung heroes of good health, and it’s worth knowing how each plays a role in keeping your engines running. When it comes specifically to weight loss, there are five main minerals that are worthy of particular praise.



Everyone knows (or should know) you need your calcium to build strong bones. However, most people don’t understand calcium’s role in weight loss. Essentially, calcium works with your muscles to convert the food you eat into energy. In 2005, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism conducted a study that showed subjects, especially those with calcium deficiency, who were provided additional calcium saw better heart health and decreased body weight. This was due to calcium’s ability to ensure proper insulin levels. Insulin plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels, which means a sufficient amount of calcium can help maintain better energy levels over time. Its metabolic advantage of fat burning and proper storage combined with its commonly known function of supporting proper bone health makes calcium a great mineral to aid in weight loss. The FDA recommends between 1,000 mg-1,200 mg of calcium a day depending on age. So, grab a glass of milk or a bowl of oatmeal and get your daily calcium.


Magnesium is involved in so many of our bodies daily operations that it’s difficult to pinpoint its best role. From regulating nerve function and blood sugar levels to manufacturing proteins for our bodies to use, magnesium is heavily involved in every bodily process. In terms of weight loss, magnesium plays an important role in muscle contraction. This improves muscle synthesis, which improves fat burning and can influence metabolism. Essentially, magnesium helps the body move and by moving, you can lose weight. A 2013 study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that decreased magnesium intake was associated with lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin, both of which are factors of fat and weight gain. The FDA recommends a daily allowance of about 320 mg for women and 410 mg for men. Overall, a person with a magnesium deficiency would have low energy levels, have difficulty breaking down food, and would struggle to lose and keep weight off. Most nuts are rich in magnesium, so a few handfuls of almonds, cashews, or peanuts can do wonders for your magnesium intake.


Phosphorous plays an essential role in every cell in your body. A 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition and Diabetes indicated that, Phosphorus supplementation for 12 weeks significantly decreases body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and subjective appetite scores. The benefits of phosphorous are accessible and can be reached through a diet full of meat, poultry, nuts and beans. The impact that phosphorous can have on weight loss is tremendous, due to the abundance of phosphorous in the body. After calcium, it is the second most abundant mineral in your body. These two work together to build healthy bones and keep your skeletal system running properly. Over time, the role of phosphorous in weight loss is becoming clearer. The FDA currently recommends 1,000 mg per day, but this number is subject to change as new studies are conducted. While more research needs to be done, phosphorous other benefits are clear. The mineral helps balance hormones naturally and synthesize the nutrients from the foods you consume.


If you find yourself getting a cold, you may quickly reach for a bottle of zinc tablets. Zinc is often given credit for its immune system boosting properties, but the mineral also contributes to weight loss and maintenance, as the mineral improves protein synthesis, which boosts muscle recovery and improves metabolism. Furthermore, studies have shown those with low levels of zinc don’t produce enough insulin, which leads to low levels of energy and overall fatigue. This often leads to more eating to compensate and can deter weight loss efforts. A 2013 study found that obese patients who had been prescribed additional zinc had increased leptin levels, which are the hormone responsible for telling the body that it is full. The FDA suggests an intake of 8 mg of zinc for women and 11 mg for men. Like many of the other minerals on this list, zinc can be found in a variety of nuts. Beyond its own role, zinc also helps your body process other nutrients, which will lead to more energy, optimized intake in your body, and better health overall.


Potassium is essential for good health, and most people get the daily recommended amount. However, when losing weight, it is important to increase your potassium intake, as lowering calorie intake can cause potassium deficiencies and reduce the enzyme activity involved in the flow of both potassium and sodium. Everyone knows that bananas are a great choice but adding sweet potatoes or yogurt to your diet can also help you get the suggested amount. A 2001 study in the British Medical Journal showed that increased potassium intake had a significant role in lowering blood pressure in subjects with hypertension. The recommended daily intake is 4,700 mg, though most people get this in the food they eat throughout the day. Low potassium levels may lead to muscle weakness, lack of energy, and cramps, so if you are feeling any of these, grab a banana and see if potassium is the problem.

Even though it may be easier to recall the alphabetic arrangement of vitamins, minerals shouldn’t play second fiddle when it comes to weight loss. Overall, it’s important to have a nutrient-dense diet consisting of your daily required vitamins and minerals. If you cannot get your daily allowance, taking supplements to increase your vitamin and mineral intake will allow you to reach your goal. Consult your medical provider to learn what supplements would be best for you.

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