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26.02.2011


A multivitamin pill a day helps you maintain your weight

People who take multivitamins are slimmer than those who don't. Researchers at Laval University in Canada came to this conclusion after analyzing data on 267 men and 320 women aged between 20 and 65.

Study

A multivitamin pill a day helps you maintain your weight
The men and women participated in the Quebec Family Study in the 1990s. Their ancestors all came from Canada. In the Study researchers examined the relationships between health, lifestyle and genetic factors.

The reason that the Canadians looked a supplement taking is that in the past other researchers have reported that taking extra vitamins and minerals reduces the chance of overweight. In 2005, for example, researchers at Bastyr University in the US published the results of an epidemiological study which indicated that overweight people who took multivitamins and multi-minerals didn't put on more weight so easily. [J Altern Complement Med. 2005 Oct; 11(5): 909-15.] Taking extra vitamin B6, B2 and chromium also inhibited weight gain.

A mechanism that may be at work here is that taking extra vitamins and minerals suppresses appetite, the Canadians speculated. Vitamin C and B6 play a key role in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin. If you don't synthesise enough serotonin, you eat more.

Results
The researchers discovered that the supplement takers in their research population indeed had a couple of kg less fat. And per kg bodyweight they burned more calories. The figure immediately below shows the data for men and the one underneath the data for women.


A multivitamin pill a day helps you maintain your weight


A multivitamin pill a day helps you maintain your weight


Mechanism
The effect of supplementation was clearest among the men. The women who took supplements reported reduced feelings of hunger, but this was not the case for the men.

The researchers did another experiment with a different group to see whether supplement taking did indeed reduce appetite, but the results were inconclusive: women felt slightly less hungry when they took supplements, and the men reported no effect. The subjects in this experiment were put on a diet. The researchers speculate that taking multivitamins and minerals under these conditions does not lead to a clear reduction in appetite.

Although it's not clear how, it seems that taking multivitamins does help people to maintain a healthy weight. Rather than recommending people take supplements, the researchers say they need more money research.

Source:
Br J Nutr. 2008 May;99(5):1157-67.

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