Vitamin deficiencies, in addition to causing a lot of other problems, have been shown to cause weight gain. According to research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, there is a link between how much you weigh and how many vitamins and minerals you consume. Falling short on essential nutrients such as vitamins B, C and D (and others) quite often results in weight gain. Research published in ISRN Endocrinology indicates obese individuals tend to have high rates of nutrient deficiencies.
A majority of Americans are overfed and undernourished.
Two factors should be considered: 1) many Americans are overweight or obese (close to 70%) and 2) many Americans are deficient in essential nutrients. (According to the CDC and the USDA, 90% of Americans are deficient in potassium, 50% are deficient in vitamins A, C and D, 70% are calcium-deficient and 80% are vitamin E-deficient.) In other words, a majority of Americans are overfed and undernourished.
Vitamins come in two forms: water-soluble and fat-soluble. There are nine water-soluble vitamins: vitamins B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, folate, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and biotin. These vitamins must be consumed daily because any excess is flushed out of the body naturally through urine. The fat-soluble vitamins such as D, E, A and K can be stored in the liver and fatty tissues; nonetheless it’s vital to regularly take in small amounts of each of these vitamins to prevent deficiencies.
How do vitamin deficiencies affect weight gain?
- Deficiencies in magnesium, iron or vitamin D can compromise your immune system as well as alter your metabolism, changing the efficiency of how food is processed in the body. A sluggish metabolism leads to weight gain.
- Shortages of vitamin B12, C and other water-soluble vitamins can occur quickly, as these must be replenished every day through fruits and vegetables in the diet. Without sufficient B and C vitamins the body loses energy, making it difficult to be active. Inactive bodies are prone to weight gain.
- Too often people compensate for their lack of energy by overloading on sugary energy drinks, sweets and simple carbs. That kind of diet obviously leads to weight gain.
- One of vitamin A’s jobs is to regulate fat cells and the hormones they release. In the absence of this regulatory function, insufficient vitamin A can lead to weight gain.
Micronutrient Testing is the Simplest Way to Discover Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
If you’re well aware that you don’t “eat right,” you should consider the possibility of having micronutrient deficiencies, especially if you’re gaining weight or have no energy. If your first impulse is to stock up on vitamin and mineral supplements from the drugstore, don’t!!! (Over-supplementation is not only expensive, but could be dangerous.) The sensible thing to do is to pinpoint exactly which vitamins and micronutrients you are deficient in. The best and most accurate way to do that is through Micronutrient Testing. The results of this simple test take the guesswork out of nutrition. Read more details about the test. Chances are you can easily “fix” any deficiencies simply by eating more of the foods that contain these vitamins and minerals or by getting customized supplements to address whatever deficiency the test results indicate.
While everyone can truly benefit from micronutrient testing, the younger you are gives you an advantage. We recommend that people in their 20s and 30s who are feeling good and are in good shape take a Micronutrient Test to establish a baseline. Then every 10 years or so, another Micronutrient Test should be taken to determine the track the body is taking as it ages. With age, nutrient requirements and levels change. Since so much of aging occurs on a cellular level first, this kind of information will be invaluable in helping you live healthier, longer.