Some people blame multivitamins for putting on weight. But, do vitamins cause weight gain or is it just a myth?
A common question to many diet doctors and pharmacists is whether vitamins can cause weight gain or not. To be honest, this is not a simple “yes” or “no” answer, so let’s take it step by step.
In order to answer the question, first, we need to understand what vitamins are, how they work and how they are classified.
So, what are vitamins?
Vitamins are organic substances that are essential in minute amounts for normal growth and activity of living organisms. They have diverse biochemical functions (hormone-like, coenzymes, chemical groups or electron carriers etc) and can be found in any food source in various analogies.
Vitamin C and the vitamin B complex are water-soluble, meaning that they dissolve in water and can be excreted through the kidneys. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, on the other hand, are fat-soluble. They dissolve in fat and can be stored in the liver and other body tissues for a long period of time. This is why vitamin A toxicity, for example, damages the liver and can potentially be life-threatening.
All of them, have no calories but they function as catalysts in a great number of significant chemical reactions, thus affecting the metabolism. The recommended daily intake is of milligrams (mg) or even micrograms (mcg), depending on the vitamin.
The most notable vitamins are:
Now that we clarified what vitamins are, it is time to go back to the original question.
Can vitamins cause weight gain?
The answer is no.
Although vitamins affect considerably the metabolism, they themselves have minuscule caloric value. That means that they cannot directly cause weight gain.
But what about indirectly? It is well established that deficiencies of many vitamins can cause lower appetite. When that happens, supplements are necessary in order to bring the metabolism back on track. A boosted metabolism can result in an increased appetite, something that most people see as gaining weight.
That is not the case, though. It’s a person’s overall lifestyle that affects his/her weight, not the vitamins themselves. You cannot blame your body for wanting to replenish what’s lost. The choice of what you eat is yours.
To take this one step further, there is actually pretty convincing evidence that points to the opposite direction. Vitamin B12, for example, has been linked to weight loss and low vitamin D levels are associated with obesity. Meanwhile, vitamin C regulates the secretion of leptin, which is also known as the “hunger hormone”.
Even though there is yet not enough evidence to form definite conclusions, researchers don’t accept that vitamins can directly cause weight gain.
To sum this up, vitamins can be a great tool to boost your metabolism but they alone do not perform miracles. Taking multivitamins won’t make much of a difference unless you eat healthily and exercise. So, instead of abusing supplements that you don’t really need, emphasize on a balanced diet and start working out regularly.