Do you take vitamins? If you’re on a very low calorie diet, it’s possible that you should be.

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “You might not be getting enough nutrients if you’re severely restricting calories.” And you  may “want to take a multivitamin to supplement across the board.”

I don’t take vitamins for losing weight, but I do take a variety of vitamins to supplement my diet due to absorption issues that I have (if I don’t take my vitamins I become anemic). I haven’t noticed that they help me lose weight, but I do notice that I have more energy when I take my vitamins on a regular basis, and it helps my hair and nails grow too!

I’m not a dietitian, so don’t take this as an exact guide of vitamins to lose weight, but these are the vitamins I take on a daily basis:

Vitamin B12 – I take B12 for my anemia, but I have heard that it  play a role in how well your body uses calories. I know some weight loss clinics give patients B12 shots claiming that the vitamin itself causes weight loss. This has never been verified, but I have heard that it gives you a boost in energy, so that could help you to exercise more and thus, lose weight.

Biotin – I have never been told I have a Biotin deficiency, but I take it for a rather more selfish reason – because I want my hair to grow! Seriously, I feel like I have been trying to grow my hair out forever. Finally, my hairdresser told me I should be taking Biotin because it specifically helps your hair and nails grow. And I think it really does! After taking it for a while I notice my hair is a lot thicker, and it breaks less – and my hair dresser even commented that it seems thicker too.

Calcium – According to the Mayo Clinic, “many Americans don’t get enough calcium in their diets.” Because I don’t drink a lot of milk, and I have vitamin absorption issues, and I’m a woman, I try to err on the safe side and take a calcium supplement.

Vitamin D – Again, I don’t take this vitamin to lose weight, but there could be a link to it. According to SmartyPantsVitamins.com, “Many overweight people have been found to have vitamin D deficiency, but it is unclear if the weight led to the deficiency or if the deficiency led to the weight gain. There have been studies that have shown that subjects with higher levels of vitamin D were more successful at losing weight on low-calorie diets, but the exact reason for this is still unclear.”

Daily Women’s Multi-Vitamin – You’d think with all the other vitamins I take, I wouldn’t need a multi-vitamin. But I want to cover all my bases. I take a women’s multi-vitamin because it contains some stuff that men don’t really need, such as folic acid. I also take my vitamins at different times of the day, so I feel taking the multi-vitamin increases my chances of absorbing more essential vitamins and minerals.

Iron – So…when I was 20 years old one day I just randomly passed out at work. It turns out I was anemic and I had severely-low iron levels. Ever since then I have taken an iron supplement to ensure that I don’t become anemic again.

Other stuff: As if all these vitamins weren’t hard enough to take every day, I actually have a “vitamin schedule” that I follow. I’ve been told that vitamins are more likely to be absorbed when taken with food than when taken on an empty stomach, so I try to take one batch with breakfast and one with lunch. The first batch is my multi-vitamin, vitamin D and calcium. This is because calcium needs vitamin D in order to be absorbed, and iron also inhibits the absorption of calcium. So you need to wait a few hours between taking a calcium supplement and an iron supplement. In my lunch batch I take my B12 (a sub-lingual [dissolves under the tongue] vitamin), iron, and biotin.

That’s my crazy vitamin schedule. I don’t suggest taking all of these specifically in the pursuit of losing weight. But if you are on a low-calorie diet, I think you should definitely take a multi-vitamin of some kind. Also, if you’re feeling tired and can’t really think of any reason why, you may want to go have your vitamin levels tested by a doctor as you could be vitamin deficient.