Studies find supplement users tend to weigh less and experience less hunger
An article published online ahead of print recently in the British Journal of Nutrition revealed the finding of Canadian researchers that consumers of nutritional supplements, particularly men, weigh less on average than those who don’t use the supplements. Additionally, a second study reported in the article found an appetite suppressive effect in women associated with multinutrient supplementation.
For the first investigation, Dr Angelo Tremblay of Laval University and colleagues analyzed responses to a questionnaire and dietary and physical activity diary completed by 267 men and 320 women aged 20 to 65 who participated in phase 2 of the Quebec Family Study. Resting energy expenditure and body weight were measured, and body density, body fat, and fat mass were calculated. A subgroup of participants was questioned concerning dietary restraint, disinhibition, and susceptibility to hunger (a measure of an individual’s ability to cope with feeling hungry).
In the second study, 63 obese men and women with no nutritional supplement use within six months of beginning the study were enrolled in a weight loss program for 15 weeks. Participants received individualized daily calorie targets, and were divided to receive a multinutrient supplement or a placebo for the duration of the study.
The first study revealed significantly lower weight, fat mass and body mass index among male supplement users after adjusting for various factors, as well as greater resting energy expenditure. These characteristics were also found among female participants, but were less pronounced. In the subgroup analysis, women who reported that they consumed supplements were found to have significantly lower disinhibition and hunger, while men’s slightly reduced scores in these areas were not considered statistically significant.
Although the second study did not find increased weight loss among multinutrient supplement users compared with nonusers, it did find a reduction in appetite among women who used supplements, which could be useful in helping women cope with the increase in hunger that accompanies dieting and weight loss.
Because some nutrients are involved in the synthesis of peptides and neurotransmitters that control food intake, decreased intake of these vitamins and minerals may interfere with signaling pathways involving appetite. Additionally, suboptimal micronutrient intake could result in signaling to the brain’s centers to increase food intake so that the body’s needs for these nutrients might be met.
“These results strengthen the plausible role for vitamins and minerals in the control of appetite and ultimately energy intake,” the authors write.
The government's answer to the growing epidemic of obesity has been to recommend more exercise and a balanced diet. While there is no doubt these strategies are important, they also display an incomplete understanding of the biological and hormonal changes that underlie obesity among aging adults. The fact is that as we age, we undergo physiological changes that encourage weight gain. These include hormonal changes and alterations in the way our bodies process nutrients.
Life Extension believes that, in addition to a sensible, balanced diet and exercise, the only way to successfully lose weight is to address the underlying hormonal imbalances that promote weight gain. Ideally, by using bioidentical hormone replacement, dieters can restore their hormonal profile to what it was at the age of 25, an age at which weight gain is less often a problem. In addition, numerous dietary nutrients have been shown to encourage weight loss.
Chromium polynicotinate (600 mcg daily for two months) given to modestly dieting and exercising African-American women caused a significant loss of fat and sparing of muscle compared with placebo (Crawford et al 1999). A formula including chromium polynicotinate reduced appetite, inhibited fat synthesis, and decreased body weight in 60 moderately obese subjects in an eight-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (Preuss et al 2004).
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