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Could Micronutrients Be the Missing Link in the Fight Against Obesity?

By Calton Nutrition

If you've been keeping up with the news about obesity lately, you might have noticed the American Medical Association has now declared that obesity is a disease.

Of all the debilitating health-related conditions and diseases in America today, perhaps none is as widespread and potentially devastating as obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP), more than one third of the adult population of the United States is obese. According "F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012," a report released by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, if obesity continues to grow at its current rate, in just 17 more years: "13 states could have adult obesity rates above 60 percent, 39 states could have rates above 50 percent, and all 50 states could have rates above 44 percent."

While nutritional and medical experts from around the world are working diligently to try to understand the root causes of the obesity puzzle, the American people are trying just about everything they can to lose weight.

While science seems to be missing an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to slowing, stopping and eventually reversing obesity, one recent study found a connection between being deficient in essential vitamins, minerals, and vitamin-like substances, such as CoQ10 (micronutrients) and overweight/obesity that may be worth a closer look. Published in December 2007 in Economics and Human Biology, the study found a direct link between having a micronutrient deficiency and being overweight or obese. Monitoring mothers and keeping all variables constant, the researchers concluded that the odds of being overweight or obese were 80.8 percent higher for the study’s micronutrient-deficient participants when compared to the study's non-deficient participants.

Other studies lend credibility to this theory. A group of researchers out of the Medical College of Georgia set out to determine if another essential micronutrient (vitamin D) played a role in childhood obesity. Their research, presented to the American Heart Association, showed that when 650 teens between the ages of 14 and 19 were tested, the students with the lowest vitamin D intake had the highest percentages of both body fat and abdominal fat. In a related study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers concluded that a deficiency in vitamin D could potentially be linked to increased body fat in young women.

While some may argue that micronutrient deficiency is too rare in America to be a probable cause for the obesity epidemic, recent statistics disagree. A 2011 report revealed that nine out of 10 Americans fall short of key nutrients in their diets. Essential nutrients including vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber.

To add to America’s micronutrient deficiency epidemic, according to a 2008 report by the National Center for Health Statistics, more U.S. adults are taking prescription drugs than ever before. The problem with this, is that many drugs (prescription and over-the-counter) can cause depletion of one or more micronutrients. Making matters worse, even those individuals who religiously take their daily multivitamin pills are not immune to becoming micronutrient deficient. It turns out that due to something called “micronutrient competition,” many of the vitamins and minerals found in the typical multivitamin may end up "canceling each other out." Research published in both the British Journal of Nutrition and Harvard Health Letter shows that natural competitions for absorption between many vitamins and minerals (including copper and zinc and calcium and iron) could make it so that unless a multivitamin is specially formulated to prevent micronutrient competition, many of the micronutrients in the multivitamin are simply not absorbed by the human body.

The fact is, new research is showing that micronutrient deficiency is much more of a widespread problem than previously thought. With so many Americans affected by overweight/obesity, coupled with the recent research showing links between micronutrient deficiency and overweight/obesity, shouldn't we examine this potential connection?

Readers - What do you think? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

-Mira and Jayson

Through their unique charismatic personalities and relatable qualities, the husband and wife dynamic duo of Mira Calton, CN and Jayson Calton, Ph.D. prove that two are better than one. In addition to authoring their books, Naked Calories, and Rich Food, Poor Food, the Caltons are the founders of Calton Nutrition and the Calton Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, and are columnists, contributing editors and quoted experts in multiple national publications and media outlets, including FOX and FRIENDS, Happening Now, America Live, Headline News, SHAPE, Dr. Steve, Cosmopolitan, Readers Digest, LIVESTRONG, The Daily Buzz, Daytime, NBC, ABC, Body Checklist, AOL Travel, Prevention, and many more. They are extremely proud nutreince their reinvention of the multivitamin, and love hearing the inspiring testimonials of those who take it.

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