Krause (2000) defined underweight as being 15 to 20% below the normal weight range for age and height.

In practical terms, this means that if you are a typical woman between the ages of 25 and 50, you should weigh about 59 kg if you are not underweight. You should also be about 1.63 meters tall.

In terms of body mass index, our standard woman weighing 59 kg would have a BMI of 22. As her weight drops, her BMI would reduce to 18,8 (-15% of body weight), which is just still within the normal range, or 17,7 (-20% of body weight), which is below the normal range. As soon as your body weight falls to 50 kg (-9 kg or -15%), or even 47 kg (-12 kg or -20%), you are underweight.

Reductions of 15% and -20% of body weight would lower our standard man’s weight to 60 kg and 57 kg, with BMIs of 19,4 and 18,4 respectively. For a man aged 25 to 50 years with an average height of 1,76 meters, a normal body weight with a healthy BMI of 23 would be 71 kg.

Causes — There are numerous physical and psychological factors that can contribute to underweight.

  1. Physical causes of underweight

    If you’ve had a particularly bad case of the flu and a high temperature, you might lose a few pounds, but you’ll probably gain those pounds back once you feel better.

Significant weight loss and underweight have five main medical causes:


If your thyroid hormone production is normal, everything will be fine with your health, metabolism, and weight. The thyroid gland, which produces the hormone thyroxine, is frequently referred to as the “conductor” of the “orchestra of the body.”

However, if your thyroid gland’s operation is compromised to the point where it produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, your metabolism will be disrupted, as will a number of bodily processes like heart rate, body temperature, etc. You will also notice a noticeable loss of weight.

The symptoms of this condition, also known as hyperthyroidism, thyrotoxicosis, or overactive thyroid, include nervousness, fatigue, weight loss despite adequate food intake, elevated body temperature with profuse sweating, elevated heart rate, and in some patients, exophthalmos (bulging eyes).

You should get checked out by a doctor and have thyroid function tests done if you experience sudden weight loss coupled with any of the symptoms mentioned above, such as goiter, excessive sweating, and fatigue.


Additionally, rapid weight loss, exhaustion, a lack of appetite, nausea, and a failure to put on weight can all be signs of malignancy or cancer.

Due to the severity of malignancies, it is crucial to have a thorough physical examination by your doctor, as well as blood and other tests, to ascertain whether you might have cancer or another disease like leukemia.


In South Africa, the wasting disease known as tuberculosis (TB) is very prevalent.

Again, it is critical that you determine whether your weight loss is caused by TB in order to get the right care.


While excessive weight loss, fatigue, excessive thirst, and frequent urination are all signs of diabetes, many patients with insulin resistance and diabetes also tend to be overweight.

Particularly important in families with a hereditary tendency to diabetes is the need to test patients exhibiting these symptoms for diabetes by measuring their blood glucose and insulin levels.

  1. HIV/Aids

HIV/Aids, which was formerly known as “slim disease,” causes pronounced weight loss and prevents weight gain, and is likely the main factor in excessive or wasting weight loss in South African patients.

You should get an HIV test as soon as you can if you think you might have HIV/Aids and find that your weight is consistently dropping despite eating a lot of food.

You can slow the spread of this illness, increase your chance of survival, and enhance your quality of life by using the right medications and diet.


One of the main causes of underweight, aside from anorexia and/or bulimia (which we won’t discuss today), is depression.

If you have any reason to suspect that you may be experiencing depression, it is imperative to seek help from clinical psychologists or psychiatrists as soon as you can to stop your weight loss. Patients with depression not only frequently have a reduced appetite, but they may also actively lose weight at an alarming rate.

Other signs of depression include irritability, exhaustion, a strong desire to sleep the entire day, difficulty performing routine daily tasks, the conviction that “life is not worth living,” and suicidal thoughts.


Other elements that may be preventing weight gain or contributing to weight loss include the following:

  • Medication – Talk to your pharmacist if you recently started a new medication and are now unintentionally losing weight. Many medications either suppress appetite or actually cause weight loss.
  • Excessive exercise – You might be overdoing your workouts to the point where your diet is unable to support the added demands.
  • Extreme stress: People who are under a lot of stress may stop eating because they are unable to eat, feel queasy, or are preoccupied with their worries.
  • Deficits in digestive enzymes or stomach acid may also prevent food from being properly digested and absorbed, which results in weight loss.
  • Inability to gain weight is also a symptom of other illnesses like cystic fibrosis and coeliac disease (gluten allergy).


ALFALFA Q-Giving ten drops three times a day before food is the recommended dosage for this specific weight-gaining remedy.

IODUM 30–Iodum is an effective treatment for gaining weight. It works best for people who continue to lose weight despite eating a healthy diet; these people have a good appetite and eat well, but they still appear thin and emaciated. Other complaints include great debility, nervousness, and heated sensations. Iodum is also thought to help underweight people who have an overactive thyroid gland.

GENTIANA LUTEA QGive 5 drops of this excellent weight-gaining remedy before each meal. It acts as an atonic and increases appetite.

**NATRUM MUR 30-**Natrum Mur is another top medication for gaining weight in people who lose weight and start to look emaciated due to loss or depression. People who need Natrum Mur have severe depression; they constantly reflect on the past and isolate themselves from society. Weeping and a lack of self-care are key symptoms. Such people avoid meals and look extremely thin. Natrum Mur helps these people recover their health.

CHINA 30People with long-term diarrhea typically have low weight, noticeable weakness, and fainting spells, as well as other complaints like excessive flatulence and bloating in the abdomen. China is one of the best medications for restoring the healthy state that has been destroyed by chronic diarrhea.

CALCAREA PHOS 30-Calcarea Phos is a great medication for promoting weight gain in underweight children who are emaciated, thin, and exhibit weak and delayed development. These children also suffer from weak bones that are thin, brittle, and prone to fractures.

FERRUM MET 30-Ferrum Met is one of the best medications for gaining weight in underweight anemic people who also experience palpitations, blue circles under their eyes, weakness, lack of stamina, debility, pallor of the face, and weakness when they exert themselves.

Wine and coffee cravings are heightened by LECITHIUM 3X.

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