Most people have lived with extra body weight at one point in their lives, and know how difficult it is to sustain healthy weight loss.
Of course, the best way for healthy weight loss is through a well-rounded diet and exercise routine, but using the principles of integrative medicine can help support different hormones, neurotransmitters, and metabolic reactions that work with your individual physiology to help you burn body fat more efficiently.
Check out these superfoods, amino acids, and special botanicals to see which can give you a natural push in the right direction.
Do Weight Loss Supplements Really Work?
You’re right to be skeptical about using a supplement for weight loss, which is why it’s important to choose safe supplements supported by functional medicine.
The body has hundreds of reactions and metabolic processes going on at any given time, and supplements for weight loss that work facilitate processes involved in fat oxidation (burning), steady energy levels, and the healthful use of body fat for fuel.
There are several mechanisms we can influence when choosing the best weight loss supplement. Berberine, for example, promotes a healthy response to insulin, which, when it remains high promotes the storage of body fat.
Some amino acids also spare glucose during the breakdown of fuel sources, allowing the body to opt for easier fat burning.
Controlling cravings and appetite play a significant role for many chronic snackers, and to quiet those cravings, we can use ketogenic supplements for weight loss like MCT, spirulina, or collagen peptides.
There’s a functional weight loss supplement to support every goal when used properly, and integrative medicine can show you how to leverage the best supplements for weight loss to help you reach your goals.
Some of our top 10 supplements for weight loss even have other great benefits like promoting a healthy liver, normal blood sugar levels, and healthy detox function!
Integrative Medicine for Safe, Effective Weight Loss
If you’ve continued to struggle with weight loss efforts, or your weight loss has plateaued, your functional medicine provider can help you navigate your unique chemistry to restore balance to systems that are holding you back.
Working with the support of integrative medicine will give you access to genetic testing, nutrient deficiency tests, and a health coach who can truly help you implement the changes that others continue to struggle with.
If you’re ready for real weight loss results, it’s time to use the support of integrative medicine.
Top 10 Natural Supplements for Weight Loss
This bioactive compound is part of a class of plant alkaloids, naturally occuring in shrubs like oregon grape and barberry, and it might be one of the most effective natural supplements ever.
Berberine has a long history in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, but lately this extract has received much attention for its ability to promote healthy blood sugar levels and insulin response, two factors that are key for weight loss (1).
In one meta-analysis, berberine was as effective as oral glucose-lowering drugs in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels (2).
Berberine also activates an enzyme called AMPK, which stands for AMP-activate protein kinase. This enzyme has been unofficially labeled the body’s “metabolic master switch”, and activating it can provide benefits similar to exercise.
2. Carnosine or L-Carnosine
Carnosine is an amino acid, which you’ll commonly see labeled l-carnosine, which is the form more readily used by the body’s cells.
Carnosine has been shown to modulate the effects of metabolic syndrome, which affects nearly 1 in 6 people in the U.S (4). Metabolic syndrome can make it difficult to lose weight due to the dysregulation of insulin, blood sugar, and inflammatory proteins called advanced glycation end-products (AGEs).
Carnosine helps modulate the production of these “AGEs”, supporting not only metabolic health, but aging gracefully as well (5).
Carnosine is made in the body by combining the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. However, when carnosine supplements enter the stomach, the protein is quickly broken down into its individual amino acids, histidine and beta-alanine.
For this reason, studies show that supplementing with beta-alanine has been shown to raise carnosine concentrations in muscle more efficiently than carnosine itself, leading to benefits in muscle performance especially during high intensity exercise (6).
So if you’re looking to make your workout work a little harder, a clean pre-workout including beta-alanine may be your new go-to.
Carnosine may be of special importance for vegetarian and vegan diets, as plant-based diets provide little to no carnosine compared to diets that contain meat.
Could inflammation be driving your weight gain? Diets low in omega-3s are linked to higher inflammation, which leads to decreased insulin sensitivity in cells (7). The less sensitive our cells are to the message insulin sends, the more body fat we’re likely to store.
Fish oil and omega-3s have become one of the most recommended supplements by conventional and functional medicine doctors alike, which isn’t surprising considering their role in not only inflammation levels, but the health of your heart, brain, and overall cellular function.
This blue-green algae is packed with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, including antioxidants, tocopherols, and phenolic compounds, making it one of the hardest working superfoods out there.
Spirulina has been shown to decrease appetite, inflammation, and body fat in one study over the course of 12 weeks (8). In addition studies show it also modulates the production of oxidative stress produced by excess body fat. This may be one mechanism by which it supports a healthy inflammatory response.
Spirulina is a key ingredient in Belly Fix to restore digestive function and promote a healthy metabolism.
5. Collagen Peptides
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, helping to support dozens of different processes from joint health, skin elasticity, to a healthy appetite and digestive function.
It’s power to heal the gut and satiate appetite might be behind it’s use for weight loss. Collagen, like other proteins, helps to activate your fullness hormone, leptin. Leptin communicates to your brain that you’ve had enough and it’s time to stop eating.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) aren’t new, but they’ve boomed in popularity as a main ingredient in high-fat coffee blends as part of ketogenic weight loss supplement. Proponents of MCT swear by their appetite lowering benefits while still helping to bring energy to the brain. How is this possible? This special fat might be worth its weight in gold to those trying to lose weight.
Because of their special molecular structure, MCTs bypass normal digestion and are passively diffused straight to the liver, where they are further broken down into free fatty acids. From there, they’re sent to the brain or muscles helping to promote mental clarity and steady energy for our muscles.
In addition, once in the liver, MCTs promote the utilization of other fatty acids already present in the liver, further promoting satiety and reduced cravings and appetite (9).
The best part about MCTs is that we don’t store this type of fat if our body has no need for it at the time. So MCTs help keep cravings at bay, while promoting healthy energy levels, and the body’s own use of fat for fuel.
Belly Fix contains coconut MCTs in addition to superfood spirulina and collagen peptides in a simple, complete digestive health supplement to restore digestion and promote a well-functioning metabolism and the healthful use of body fat for fuel.
Healthy gut bacteria are the key to many different metabolic processes, and healthy weight loss is one of them. Studies comparing intestinal flora have found a reduced number and type of these friendly bacteria in obese individuals as compared to those at a healthy weight (10).
8. B Complex
B vitamins are some of the most valued nutrients in the body. Their functions are vast, and their ability to support a healthy and robust metabolism are crucial.
There are 8 different B vitamins, and they function optimally synergistically, or when combined with one another in the proper ratios. The B vitamins that make up a B complex are:
- B1 (thiamine)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B5 (pantothenic acid)
- B6 (pyridoxine or pyridoxal-5-phosphate)
- B7 (biotin)
Vitamin B1 helps the body utilize carbohydrates for energy, while B6 is essential for facilitating movement, metabolism, and blood flow, and for the adrenal glands response to stress. B12 is necessary for dozens of metabolic functions, in addition to energy expenditure (11).
When incorporating B vitamins, it’s important to look for fully methylated sources free of additives or dyes.
When trying to lose weight, we often overlook the hardest working organ in our body that’s at the root of a healthy weight, properly functioning metabolism, and helps to clear unwanted substances from causing damage in our body.
The truth is, your liver has much more to do with optimal well-being AND a healthy weight than most people realize.
Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and leeks, or any vegetable in the cruciferous family are helpful for supporting natural detox pathways that play a role in a well-functioning metabolism. You can also opt for any deeply-colored green veggie for similar benefits.
If your diet is low in these kinds of foods, adding a high-quality greens supplement can support your weight loss goals, and can promote healthy insulin function and normal blood sugar levels, in addition to detox pathways.
Rest is not typically thought of as a supplement, but good quality sleep is too important to neglect if you’re working on safe, effective weight loss.
Your body is a finely tuned machine of hormones and chemical messengers that control every function within your body, including your appetite.
What does sleep have to do with the hormones that control appetite? When we’re sleep-deprived, we experience a rise in the hunger hormone, leptin, and a decrease in the fullness hormone, called ghrelin.
This means you may be able to handle a few nights of not-so-great sleep, but with prolonged poor sleep, you’re likely to stay hungry and crave carbohydrate-dense, high sugar foods that pack on extra weight quickly and dramatically.
Other Functional Weight Loss Recommendations
There are many common problems we ALL face when trying to lose weight, but for every aspect we have in common, we have just as many unique factors that set us apart from our neighbor. What works for you may not work for any of your friends or family, and vice versa.
This is why it’s incredibly important to work with a functional provider or health coach to identify aspects of your physiology that work best with different kinds of weight loss techniques.
Weight gain has a different root cause for each person, and it’s important you identify and correct imbalances within the body that will open the door for not only weight loss, but optimal whole-body wellness.