Obese Adults More Likely to Lack Vitamins and Minerals


A new study finds that obese adults have a significantly lower vitamin and mineral intake compared to those of normal weight.

Compared to normal weight adults, obese adults more likely to lack key vitamins and minerals in their diets, a large new study suggests.

Recently published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers evaluated total nutrient intakes from foods and supplements in more than 18,000 subjects participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008. The subjects were categorized by body weight status as either normal weight (body mass index [BMI] < 25), overweight (BMI ≥25 to < 30), or obese (BMI ≥30).

The researchers found that more than 40 percent of adults had inadequate intakes of vitamins A, C, D, E, calcium and magnesium, according to the study authors. Moreover, compared to normal weight adults, obese adults had 5 to 12 percent lower intakes of these nutrients.

“We conclude that obese adults compared to normal weight adults have lower micronutrient intake and higher prevalence of micronutrient inadequacy,” the study authors wrote.

Vitamins and minerals are essential for normal body function, maintenance, and metabolism. Because the human body cannot produce vitamins and minerals, they must be consumed from dietary and supplemental sources. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, recommends that Americans consume foods with more calcium, vitamin D, potassium, and fiber—as well as less sodium, added sugar, and solid fat—to meet their nutrient goals (2).

While multiple studies have examined the differences in nutrient intakes from different populations, few have actually compared the vitamin and mineral intake status of overweight and obese adults with normal weight adults (3-5). Notably, more than two thirds of the U.S. population is either overweight or obese and is at higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes (6).

Overfed, Undernourished

Even when in an overfed state, obese individuals have high rates of low micronutrient intakes (7). The current dietary recommended intakes for vitamins and mineral are established for healthy individuals—not individuals with obesity or chronic disease (8).

The authors of this study note that the dietary recommended intakes may not necessarily meet the needs of obese individuals who may require greater intakes of essential nutrients, especially under more restrictive eating such as during weight loss.

Some researchers have also hypothesized that low vitamin and mineral intakes may be contributing to weight gain and the development of metabolic issues (7). These suboptimal intakes in obese people may affect several bodily functions, the immune system, resulting in an increased risk of poor health outcomes (9). For instance, sufficient vitamin A intake may inhibit creation of fat cells (10), enhance fat loss (11), and regulate hormones (12), playing an important role in regulating body weight. Lack of vitamin D and calcium may also negatively influence energy balance, blood sugar, and insulin response (13).

This new study confirms that obese people are at an increased risk for nutrient inadequacy or deficiency, which may be worsened by following a restrictive diet plan without nutritional support. The study highlights the need for properly dosed vitamins and minerals in a weight-management program to ensure the body is functioning at optimal levels and to avoid the common pitfall of nutritional inadequacy.


  1. Agarwal S, Reider C, Brooks JR, Fulgoni III VL. Comparison of Prevalence of Inadequate Nutrient Intake Based on Body Weight Status of Adults in the United States: An Analysis of NHANES 2001GÇô2008. J Am Coll Nutr 2014;1-9.
  2.  McGuire S. US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, January 2011. Adv Nutr 2011;2:293-4.
  3. Damms-Machado A, Weser G, Bischoff SC. Micronutrient deficiency in obese subjects undergoing low calorie diet. Nutr J 2012;11.
  4. Tidwell DK, Valliant MW. Higher amounts of body fat are associated with inadequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D in African American women. Nutr Res 2011;31:527-36.
  5. Gillis L, Gillis A. Nutrient inadequacy in obese and non-obese youth. Can J Diet Pract Res 2005;66:237-42.
  6. Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Ogden CL, Curtin LR. Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. JAMA 2010;303:235-41.
  7. Kaidar-Person O, Person B, Szomstein S, Rosenthal RJ. Nutritional deficiencies in morbidly obese patients: a new form of malnutrition? Obes Surg 2008;18:1028-34.
  8. Hellwig JP, Otten JJ, Meyers LD. Dietary Reference Intakes: The Essential Guide to Nutrient Requirements. National Academies Press, 2006.
  9. Garc¡a OP, Long KZ, Rosado JL. Impact of micronutrient deficiencies on obesity. Nutr Rev 2009;67:559-72.
  10. Xue JC, Schwarz EJ, Chawla A, Lazar MA. Distinct stages in adipogenesis revealed by retinoid inhibition of differentiation after induction of PPARgamma. Molec Cell Biol  1996;16:1567-75.
  11. Kim HS, Hausman DB, Compton MM et al. Induction of Apoptosis by All-trans-Retinoic Acid and C2-Ceramide Treatment in Rat StromalGÇôVascular Cultures. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2000;270:76-80.
  12. Menendez C, Lage M, Peino R et al. Retinoic acid and vitamin D (3) powerfully inhibit in vitro leptin secretion by human adipose tissue. J Endocrinol 2001;170:425-31.
  13. Pittas AG, Lau J, Hu FB, Dawson-Hughes B. The role of vitamin D and calcium in type 2 diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2007;92:2017-29.


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Download Our New Isagenix 12-Month Skidmore Study Flyer

Dr. Cho shares the Skidmore study results at NYKO in Palm Springs.

Dr. Cho shares the Skidmore study results at NYKO in Palm Springs.

The results of Isagenix latest study are finally in! You can download our now updated Skidmore Study Flyer with 12-month results.

The year-long collaboration with nutrition researcher Paul Arciero Ph.D., of Skidmore College was designed to test the long-term success using Isagenix for sustained weight loss, and its effect on detoxification, and metabolism. The results showed extraordinary advantages to following the Isagenix system over a traditional heart-healthy diet.

The study consisted of 40 obese or overweight participants who followed an Isagenix system for initial weight loss. After 10 weeks the subjects were divided into two groups. To test the long-term effects of the products, one group then continued with an Isagenix maintenance system and the other group followed a heart-healthy diet for the remainder of the 12 months.

At the 2015 New Year Kick Off event in Palm Springs, Calif., Isagenix Chief Science Officer, Suk Cho Ph.D., shared his excitement over the long-term results of the Skidmore College study showing that subjects that stayed on the Isagenix maintenance plan were more successful with sustaining their weight loss. After one year, participants who continued with the Isagenix maintenance plan were able to maintain, if not increase overall weight loss, lean body mass, and continue to decrease their percent body and visceral fat. In comparison, those who followed the heart-healthy diet with the help of a dietitian on average found that they gained back most of their weight initially lost, along with a majority of the body fat.

Dr. Arciero plans to submit the research for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. In the meantime, feel free to share these exciting results and the new tool that meets legal compliance, now made available to all to view and download.

Skidmore study 640x400

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Women Taking Multivitamins Long-term Have Healthier Hearts

woman taking vitamin tablet

A new study finds that long-term multivitamin use is associated with improved heart health in women.

Women who take a multivitamin-mineral supplement (multivitamin) daily for three years or more have better heart health, a new study suggests.

The researchers evaluated a representative sample of adults 40 years and older from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III) between 1988 and 1994. The participants completed detailed surveys regarding multivitamin and dietary supplement use and underwent a battery of physical, anthropometric and biochemical tests. The researchers also evaluated health and lifestyle behaviors.

They published the results of the six-year observational study in the Journal of Nutrition, concluding that they found no significant association between cardiovascular status and multivitamin use overall. However, they did find an association between multivitamin use of three years or more with cardiovascular health in women.

The researchers controlled for age, race, education, BMI, alcohol, aspirin, serum lipids, blood pressure, and other metabolic indicators.

Close to half of the U.S. adult population reports using a daily dietary supplement with multivitamin ranking as the most commonly consumed (3,4). Previous studies have also shown that certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C, D, and E are positively associated with better cardiovascular health In addition, adequate mineral status such as magnesium is positively associated with better cardiovascular health (5).

Decades of research specific to the use of multivitamin supplements exist; however, a definitive answer regarding heart health and longevity benefits is yet to come from randomized controlled trials (4). However, given that women reporting advanced levels of education and micronutrient-rich diets make up the largest demographic of daily multivitamin users, it may be that they also are more likely to engage in other heart-healthy habits such as exercising regularly and not smoking. Also, individuals with lower education levels and micronutrient-deficient diets tend to be the least likely to comply with daily multivitamin-mineral supplement use.

The newly published results now add additional weight to current evidence that use of supplements containing vitamins and minerals can support cardiovascular health. Free of supposition, other factors of a healthy lifestyle are required for optimal benefit that includes avoiding smoking, eating right, and exercising regularly.


  1. Bailey RL, Fakhouri TH, Park Y et al. Multivitamin-Mineral Use Is Associated with Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Mortality among Women in the United States.  J Nutr 2015;114.20474
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm
  3. Bailey RL et al. Dietary supplement use in the United States, 2003–2006. J Nutr 2010; jn-110.
  4. Huang HY et al. The efficacy and safety of multivitamin and mineral supplement use to prevent cancer and chronic disease in adults: a systematic review for a National Institutes of Health state-of-the-science conference. Ann Intern Med 2006; 372-385.
  5. Muir KW. Magnesium in stroke treatment. J Postgrad Med 2002; 641-645.


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Myth: Cleanse Days and Exercise Are a “No Go”

Cleanse Days and Exercise is a match

Cleanse Days and exercise are a match.

False! Despite whether you’re incorporating Cleanse Days or not into your program, you can always benefit from exercise. While Cleanse Days add a powerful tool to the Isagenix system, exercise offers its own unique benefits that support healthy weight management.

Cleanse Days with Isagenix offer a fasting period where minimal energy is consumed, so some would argue this might be detrimental to exercise and recovery. However, a recent study from researchers at University of Missouri investigating the effects of fasting on exercise-induced muscle damage concluded just the opposite (1). So as long as you’re overdoing it, new research suggests that exercise isn’t a problem.

The study included a total of 29 young women who participated in a six-session exercise protocol where they were divided into a fed and fasted group. The fasting group completed an exercise session in the afternoon after a daily water-only fast. All participants performed three sets of 12 maximal muscle contractions to cause temporary muscle damage. Indicators of muscle damage were collected before and after exercise sessions for five days of fasting after their exercise. The researchers found that fasting had no effect on exercise-induced muscle damage or muscle recovery.

Another study investigated the combination of fasting and exercise on body weight, body composition, and cardiovascular risk factors in sedentary obese adults (2). This study divided subjects into four groups for 12 weeks: a combination group (fasting plus exercise), a fasting-only group, and an exercise-only group. The study concluded that fasting plus exercise produced superior changes in body weight, body composition, and improvements in cardiovascular disease risk factors compared to fasting or exercise alone.

Principal investigator Surabhi Bhutani noted, “the combination group lost more weight (about 13 lbs.), and experienced greater decreases in fat mass (about 11 lbs.), when compared to individual interventions after 12 weeks. The combination therapy also elicited retention in lean mass.”

Adding or preserving muscle is highly important during weight loss as lean body mass maintains metabolic rate (3). Simply, having more muscle while restricting food intake ensures a higher metabolism that can allow for a greater energy-burning capacity and greater weight loss. Exercise prevents, not increases, fasting-induced muscle breakdown by providing a signal for the body to better hold on to muscle. Even during times of substantially low food intake, exercise prevents the increase in the rate of total muscle degradation (4).

However, halting muscle breakdown in a fasted state is not the only benefit of exercise during a regimen involving Cleanse Days. The body shifts metabolism toward the breakdown of fat during fasting, while exercise helps to get rid of the increased levels of fatty acids released by fat tissue. You can release all the fat you want from fat stores, but If your body does not “burn” the fat off by energy use, it will not only be stored again, but could also affect insulin and leptin sensitivity (5;6). So any type of regimen, whether it includes a Cleanse Day or not that is intended to improve body composition makes little sense without including an exercise component.


  1. Dannecker EA, Liu Y, Rector RS et al. The effect of fasting on indicators of muscle damage. Experimental gerontology 2013;48:1101-6.
  2. Bhutani S, Klempel MC, Kroeger CM, Trepanowski JF, Varady KA. Alternate day fasting and endurance exercise combine to reduce body weight and favorably alter plasma lipids in obese humans. Obesity 2013;21:1370-9.
  3. Sparti A, DeLany JP, Jacques A, Sander GE, Bray GA. Relationship between resting metabolic rate and the composition of the fat-free mass. Metabolism 1997;46:1225-30.
  4. Kasperek GJ, Conway GR, Krayeski DS, Lohne JJ. A reexamination of the effect of exercise on rate of muscle protein degradation. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 2006;263:E1144-E1150.
  5. Boden MD. Free fatty acids–the link between obesity and insulin resistance. Endocrine Practice 2001;7:44-51.
  6. Shintani M, Nishimura H, Yonemitsu S et al. Downregulation of leptin by free fatty acids in rat adipocytes: effects of triacsin C, palmitate, and 2-bromopalmitate. Metabolism 2000;49:326-30.


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