It is well known that vitamins and minerals can help support a healthy immune system and overall well-being, but according to new research, vitamins may also fight weight gain.
A study published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition has found that the amount of vitamins and minerals you consume could be intrinsically linked to how much you weigh.
Falling short on essential nutrients such as vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin A for example, could mean you are more likely to put on weight and find it harder to lose it.
The research leading to this conclusion involved 18,000 Americans, whose responses from a seven-year nutrition survey were analysed.
It was found that compared to those of normal weight, obese adults had five to 12% lower intakes of essential micronutrients.
Specific deficiencies that stood out included low intakes of vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium. Compared to normal-weight adults, 20% more obese adults were lacking in these nutrients.
They were also low on vitamin D, calcium and vitamin E.
It could be assumed that vitamin deficiency in individuals with a high BMI is due to a lower intake of nutritious foods.
However, according to the study authors, inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals may actually be contributing to obesity.
For example, the paper notes that vitamin A can help to regulate fat cells and the hormones they release. As a result it could play a key role in the release of leptin – the hormone that controls our hunger and how much fat is stored in the body.
A deficiency in vitamin A could therefore impact body weight in the long-term.
Interestingly, vitamin deficiency doesn’t just lie with those who are overweight. The study showed that 40% of all adults, regardless of weight, are not consuming recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals – notably vitamins A, C, D, E, magnesium and calcium.