Can Vitamin A Cause Weight Gain?
In healthy individuals, vitamin A has not been associated with weight gain. It does, however, appear to have a positive impact on contributing to healthy growth, including weight gain.
The research relating to vitamin A and its effects on weight gain is primarily directed at observing the negative effects of vitamin A deficiency on weight gain and normal growth and development. Two studies outline the positive impact of vitamin A for weight gain in deficient individuals.
Vitamin A Supplementation Increases Growth
The first of such studies was conducted by the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, the largest of USDA's human nutrition research facilities. The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, set out to examine the relationship between poor growth in children and vitamin A deficiency. Forty-four growth stunted preschoolers from Central America were given vitamin A supplements for six months. The study concluded that vitamin A supplementation had a significant effect on increased height and weight gain. [Smith Jr, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition]
Vitamin A Supplementation Protects Low Weight Gain
The second study explored the relationship between the gestational weight gain of HIV infected women and vitamin A. Researchers from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, divided more than 1,000 participants from Tanzania into 4 groups that were to receive either a multi-vitamin, vitamin A, or a combination of the two on a daily basis. The final group received a placebo. The researchers concluded that both the multi vitamin and vitamin A protected against low weight gain in the second and third trimester. [Villamor, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition]