Natural Foods Merchandiser

Multivitamins linked to weight loss in women

Taking a multivitamin may help some women slide more easily in to those jeans, according to a new study published by the International Journal of Obesity. Significantly lower body weight, body mass index and fat mass were linked to multivitamin and mineral consumption in obese Chinese women, the Harbin Medical University-study found.

Ninety-six women between the ages of 18 and 55 participated in the trial and were randomly assigned to one of three groups. One group received a multivitamin and mineral supplement, the second received a calcium supplement, and the third received a placebo. Those given the multivitamin and mineral lost on average of 3.6 kg (about 7.9 lbs) of body weight, researchers reported. The calcium and placebo groups lost 0.9 kg and 0.2kg (about 2 lbs and half a pound), respectively.

The multivitamin group also saw a drop in LDL-cholesterol, an increase in HDL-cholesterol and significant reductions in BMI and waist circumference. While other clinical trials are still needed, multivitamins and minerals may potentially be touted for their weight loss effects, researchers wrote.

Over the last 30 years, obesity rates have dramatically increased in the U.S.—15 percent of the population was obese in 1980, compared to 34 percent today, according to figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Meanwhile, half of the American population regularly uses dietary supplements. The National Institutes of Health estimates consumer supplement spending to be over $20 billion.

"To our knowledge, this study is the first to evaluate the effects of multivitamin and mineral supplementation on lipid profile in obese subjects,” researchers wrote.

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