A Theory of Vitamin Deficiencies as a Risk Factor for Weight Gain
Many times I am asked why a medical center focused on weight loss would emphasize vitamins. After all, some might say, the people who need to lose weight have had an excess of nutrients, not a deficiency, right?
Well, the truth is that excess fat is deposited as a result of too many calories being consumed, in excess of the calories that are burned or used up by the body. But just because one has taken in too many calories in the form of (mostly) of carbohydrates and fats, this does not mean that the person has also had an excess of all of the essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids. In fact, a very interesting and surprising finding of our research and the research of other centers on seriously overweight or obese individuals was that a great many of them were very deficient in a number of key vitamins. Quite commonly, even seriously obese individuals will have profoundly low levels of vitamin D, B complex vitamins, and minerals like zinc and iron. But why is that important?
The reason that it is highly important is that these vitamin and mineral deficiencies contribute to symptoms like fatigue, loss of energy, depression and lower quality of life. You might recognize that these same symptoms are very likely to contribute to eating and weight gain. In fact, these vitamin and mineral deficiencies are found so commonly among obese individuals that I have begun to think that they may be an independent risk factor for obesity.
While we have not yet conducted research to try to establish this link, the theory makes sense: a poor diet that does not include all the vitamins and minerals necessary will lead to deficiencies of some nutrients that cause fatigue, loss of energy and depression, risk factors for reduced activity, excessive eating and weight gain.
Future research will tell us which comes first, the weight gain and its many side effects or possibly the vitamin deficiencies which lead to weight gain. You can certainly protect yourself and reduce your own risk of the side effects and symptoms of vitamin deficiency by taking vitamin supplements that we recommend.