3 Ways Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Weight Gain

Did you know that 100% of Americans, eating common American foods, are NOT getting recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals? Did you know that those same Americans who obtain the lowest amounts of vitamins and minerals gain the most weight? Both of these facts have been proven through research, and they are not going to change any time soon.

In fact, vitamin/mineral deficiency is getting worse instead of better. The health impact is devastating. Consider just a few of the medical problems associated with deficiencies of key vitamins and minerals:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dementia
  • Cancer

It does not take much reading about vitamins and minerals in any nutrition textbook to understand how crucial they are for health. There is a reason they are referred to as “essential nutrients”. Without them, health deteriorates, sometimes to the point of severe disease and death.

One of the ignored consequences of vitamin/mineral deficiency is unwanted weight gain. Let’s consider 3 ways that missing out on recommended vitamins and minerals will contribute to unwanted progressive weight gain, sometimes 5-10+ pounds per year.

Nutrient Deficiency and Weight Gain

Those getting the least nutrients end up weighing the most, and those with more nutrients end up weighing less. In medical language, those with the lowest intake of vitamins and minerals have the highest BMI (references below).

Here are 3 reasons for this unwanted progressive weight gain:

Reason #1 - Cravings
Low nutrient levels in the appetite center of the brain can trigger a ravenous appetite and uncontrollable cravings! Our brain’s appetite center has receptors that know if we are deficient on key nutrients like iron, vitamin D, or B-vitamins. If we are deficient, our appetite center gets turned on and we will eat more. Often the cravings are excessive, relentless, and irresistible, especially for tasty, high calorie foods that cause excessive weight gain.

Reason #2 – Fatigue
Low nutrient levels cause fatigue, limiting activity. When we are tired, we are less active. Chores, shopping, and fitness activities just don’t get done! This fatigue, often the result of missing key nutrients, will sabotage the best intentions to be fit and active. More unwanted weight gain occurs from less activity.

Reason #3 – Slow Metabolism
Missing nutrients slows the metabolism. Essential nutrients play key roles in our body chemistry. Nutrients build muscle and bone, create energy, burn sugar and fat, and keep mood normal. If you aren’t getting all your vitamins and minerals, a slow metabolism will also contribute to progressive unwanted weight gain.

Conclusion: Nutrient deficiencies WILL lead to unwanted, progressive weight gain!

Now you understand why getting adequate vitamins and minerals is so important and why so many Americans are gaining weight against their will! So, how do we avoid the cravings, fatigue, and slow metabolism that is so common in America? We must get our essential nutrients!

To avoid nutrient deficiency, health-seeking individuals need to embrace two simple strategies to make certain they consume every essential nutrient every single day.

Strategy #1: Eat wisely! Follow your recommended food plan!
Yes, when recommended for you, DO eat those 7-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, along with other nutrient-rich foods. Eat and enjoy… nuts, seeds, berries, fish, olives, colorful vegetables, and beans are just a few of the nutrient rich foods we recommend for long-term maintenance of Optimum Health (after achieving your weight goal). Consume nutritious foods in abundance!
Note: For protein needs, health-promoting amino acid rich meal replacements and recommended lean protein foods, should also be included in meals and snacks every day!

Strategy #2: Supplement wisely, daily, and long-term.
I also recommend everyone, regardless of age, take nutritional supplements daily. Supplements are the only realistic way to consume all the recommended vitamins and minerals that our bodies require for Optimum Health.

Now you know why I created our Essential Nutrients Package and why I named it such! Based on available research regarding our need for vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids, our Essential Nutrients Package contains all the key “essential” micronutrients that we need. Other supplements, like iron or extra vitamin D, may be recommended on a case-by-case basis.

At this time, there is nothing to replace a comprehensive, high quality, research-based nutrient supplement plan! Take it daily and long-term, especially as you age and disease risks increase.

Proper nutrition is truly essential for Optimum Health. Embrace healthy foods and quality vitamin and mineral supplements, and you will KNOW that you ARE getting your essential nutrients each and every day…

For Optimum Health,

Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H.


References: JISSN 3(1):51, 2006, JISSN 2010, 7;24, Econ Hum Biol 2007, Dec;5(3):471, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (96;483-91).

Rick Tague, M.D., M.P.H. & T.M. is a medical obesity specialist and the Founder & Medical Director of the Center for Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, P.A.

Dr. Tague is an Alpha Omega Alpha honors graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He also holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Tulane. Dr. Tague is board certified by the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Family Practice. His medical practice has focused on nutrition, weight loss, and bariatric medicine since 1996.

  • Kathy Sudduth

    I started your program 6 weeks ago. My potassium level was very low as well as my vitamin D. I was on the edge of being diabetic. I am happy to say all are now in the normal ranges.
    Still can use some improvement, but I am very happy with the progress that I am making.
    Thanks.