This article has been updated on 2/27/19.
It’s a story that’s all too familiar to many people: you watch your diet closely and you exercise religiously, but you still can’t seem to burn fat. For better or for worse, your metabolism may be the reason why you are struggling with your weight loss efforts.
Your body’s metabolic systems are responsible for converting the food you eat into the energy your body uses to function, and how efficiently your body processes food is known as your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is affected by your gut health and many other things.
Your resting metabolic rate accounts for the majority of your daily energy burn and dictates how many calories your body needs each day to perform basic functions like breathing and circulating blood. The rest of your calories go to other activities/exercise. If your metabolism is low, your daily caloric needs will be, too—and any excess calories will be converted into fat. When you boost your metabolism, you burn more calories each day, significantly helping in your quest to reach your ideal body weight. Diet and exercise can help—but if that’s not enough, metabolism booster supplements may be able to increase your metabolism and help you burn calories faster.
How to Boost Metabolism: Pills, Supplements, and More
If metabolism boosting is your goal, it’s always a great idea to try to include foods in your diet that naturally produce this result. However, to more effectively boost metabolism, pills/supplements can help propel your efforts. They can also be a great option for adding some vitamins and minerals if you have certain dietary restrictions. There are many weight loss pills sold in the United States which claim to increase fat-burning efforts. We’re not advocates for unhealthy methods of losing weight, and you should always verify what ingredients are in any metabolism booster or weight loss supplements. If you want to feel good from the inside out, fueling your body with the proper diet is key. The items listed below are vitamins, minerals, and other nutritional elements which have been found to be beneficial to support a healthy metabolism.
9 Natural Metabolism Booster Supplements
For many people, their morning cup of coffee provides the desired burst of energy to help them start their day. Unsurprisingly, then, caffeine can also help increase metabolism rates and your caloric expenditure. Taking 270 milligrams of caffeine per day—the equivalent of about three cups of coffee—helps to stimulate the body’s energy expenditure and increase calorie burn. (1)
A type of antioxidant found in tea, catechin is the main component in green tea extract and is thought to help treat heart disease. Another benefit of a catechin supplement: the substance can help protect your body’s natural stimulants that boost cell activity and thus energy consumption. Indeed, studies have found that a daily supplement of 690 milligrams of catechin can lead to reduced body fat. (2)
Perhaps best known as the chemical that makes jalapeños hot, capsaicin also has the potential to help boost metabolism and improve weight loss. After reviewing 20 studies on capsaicin’s effects, researchers concluded that supplementing with capsaicin daily can increase your metabolic rate by about 50 calories each day. (3) That may not sound like much, but it works out to about one additional pound lost every two months!
Known as CLA for short, conjugated linoleic acid is a healthy fat that can be found in dairy products and meat. Studies have found that taking a CLA supplement can help lower body fat by about a pound per month in addition to helping increase muscle. (4) You can add CLA into your diet through food sources such as organic milk, grass-fed beef, and eggs—or just take a 3.2-gram supplement each day.
Getting enough fiber in your diet is key to maintaining a well-functioning digestive tract, but fiber can also help combat the damaging metabolic effects of sugar and bad fats. Researchers have discovered that rats who were given a daily fiber supplement maintained a healthier weight while on a high-fat, high-sugar diet than those who weren’t. (5) So while you should probably avoid too much fat and sugar while trying to lose weight, supplementing your fiber intake can help you avoid the worst side-effects when you do indulge.
Your thyroid plays an important role in regulating your metabolism through hormone production, and an underactive thyroid can lead to a drop in your metabolic rate. Several nutrients help promote a healthy thyroid, and selenium is one of them. Indeed, too little selenium can lead to thyroid disease—and thus a lower metabolism. (6) The average adult can benefit from 55 to 70 micrograms of selenium per day, with pregnant or breastfeeding women needing more.
Like selenium, getting adequate amounts of zinc is critical for maintaining proper thyroid function and supporting your metabolism. Studies have found that zinc deficiency can reduce your thyroid’s ability to produce key hormones that affect your metabolic system. (7) Supplementing with about 8 to 11 milligrams of zinc a day is enough to avoid these negative effects. As an added benefit, there’s evidence that zinc can help you control your appetite as well.
Naturally found in the skin of grapes, certain berries, and peanuts resveratrol has the potential to give your metabolism a much-needed kick-start. It is also said to protect against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes. (8) Researchers at the University of Georgia, Athens found that mice who were given a resveratrol supplement gained less weight when put on a high-fat diet than those that weren’t, indicating that resveratrol can help boost metabolic rate. (9)
The beneficial microorganisms known as probiotic supplements have a wide range of health benefits, from improving digestion to helping immune system function. Scientists have demonstrated that a probiotic supplement can also affect metabolic function by changing the makeup of microbes in the gut and influencing how the body absorbs fat. (10) Incredibly, research indicates that probiotics may even be able to treat metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes! (11)
Our Here’s the Skinny probiotic supplement is formulated with specific strains to support metabolism, improve energy levels, and increase nutrient absorption (all key to increased fat loss!).
Take all Health Factors into Account
While the above supplements are generally safe, anytime you are considering beginning a new supplement regimen, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice. You should stick to the recommended doses and consider your health history.
If you have a generally healthy diet and lifestyle, and you still struggle to lose weight or experience inexplicable weight gain, you may want to consult a healthcare professional as certain medical conditions could account for these symptoms. Blood testing and other tests can help identify issues/areas of concern.
Keep in mind that your metabolic rate is influenced by many factors: age, gender, and overall genetic makeup, to name a few. However, adding metabolic-boosting supplements to your daily routine in combination with exercise and a diet that supports gut health can help give you the push you need to overcome your weight loss plateau.
- Hursel, R, W Viechtbauer, AG Dulloo, A Tremblay, L Tappy, W Rumpler, MS Westerterp-Plantenga. “The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysis.” Obesity Reviews 12, no. 7 (2011): 573–581. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00862.x
- Nagao, T, Y Komine, S Soga, S Meguro, T Hase, Y Tanaka, I Tokimitsu. “Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men.” Am J Clin Nutr 81, no. 1 (2005): 122-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/81.1.122.
- Whiting, S, E Derbyshire, BK Tiwari. “Capsaicinoids and capsinoids. A potential role for weight management? A systematic review of the evidence.” Appetite 59, no. 2 (2012): 341-8. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.05.015.
- Lehnen, T, M Da Dilva, A Camacho, A Marcadenti, and A Lehnen. “A review on effects of conjugated linoleic fatty acid (CLA) upon body composition and energetic metabolism.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 12, (2015). doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0097-4.
- Cluny, Nina L, Lindsay K. Eller, Catherine M. Keenan, Raylene A. Reimer, and Keith A. Sharkey. “Interactive effects of oligofructose and obesity predisposition on gut hormones and microbiota in diet-induced obese rats.” Obesity 23, (2015): 769–778. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.21017.
- Wu Q, Rayman M, Lv H, Schomburg L, Cui B, Gao C, Chen P, Zhuang G, Zhang Z, Peng X. “Low Population Selenium Status Is Associated With Increased Prevalence of Thyroid Disease.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 100, no. 11 (2015): 4037–4047. doi: https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2015-2222.
- Ertek, S, AF Cicero, O Caglar, and G Erdogan. “Relationship between serum zinc levels, thyroid hormones and thyroid volume following successful iodine supplementation.” Hormones (Athens) 9, no. 3 (2010): 263-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20688624/.
- “Resveratrol Supplements.” WebMD. Last modified November 11, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/resveratrol-supplements.
- Baile, CA, JY Yang, S Rayalam, DL Hartzell, CY Lai, C Andersen, and MA Della-Fera. “Effect of resveratrol on fat mobilization.” Ann N Y Acad Sci 1215, (2011): 40-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2010.05845.x.
- Martin, FP, Y Wang, N Sprenger N, Yap I, Lundstedt T, Lek P, Rezzi S, et al. “Probiotic modulation of symbiotic gut microbial-host metabolic interactions in a humanized microbiome mouse model.” Molecular Systems Biology 4, (2008): 157. doi: 10.1038/msb4100190.
- Le Barz, Mélanie, Fernando F. Anhê, Thibaut V. Varin, Yves Desjardins, Emile Levy, Denis Roy, Maria C. Urdaci, et al. “Probiotics as Complementary Treatment for Metabolic Disorders.” Diabetes Metab J 39, no. 4 (2015): 291–303. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2015.39.4.291.