Other Factors To Consider
Safety and quality are the most important factors to consider when shopping for vitamins and supplements. However, there are other aspects to think about as well.
For example, some coatings and added ingredients in supplements may be derived from animal products. As a result, if youre following a vegan diet, youll want to look for products that are certified vegan.
Similarly, supplement products may contain gluten or other common allergens, such as soy or dairy.
Under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, foods and dietary supplements are required to explicitly state the presence of any of the eight major allergens (
Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance should choose a product thats certified gluten-free.
Read this guide for more information on what to look for on supplement labels.
Other aspects to consider include how often you have to remember to take it and what form you prefer, such as a liquid, tablet, powder, or gummy.
Finally, even if its a high quality product, its important to buy from a reputable source. Most supplements should be stored in a cool, dry place, and some even need to be refrigerated.
As a result, youll want to choose a retailer that you trust to handle products properly.
Youll want to look for supplements that adhere to any dietary restrictions you may have. How often you need to take the supplement, as well as its form, such as capsules or chewable gummies, should also be considered.
Asking Better Questions For Better Answers
Figuring out what we need means exploring the often overlooked details of our lifestyle and diet. Thats when it become more important than ever to ask better questions. Care/of has done just that. Theyve designed a revealing 5-minute quiz that delves into your diet and lifestyle habits to uncover the exact supplements you should be taking. Starting with the basics about your health, youre asked questions about your goals, any specific health concerns, your exercise habits, your stress level, your sleepeven whether you prefer large or small pills. With this quiz, you end up getting answers that are right for you not just the issue or concern youre trying to address. As a result, some of the questions in this quiz just might surprise you.
Where To Get A Vitamin And Mineral Deficiency Test
NHS vitamin and mineral tests The NHS offers blood tests that can be done at your GPs or a local hospital. A trained nurse or doctor will take your blood, usually a venous sample.
Home vitamin and mineral tests Its possible to order home vitamin and mineral test kits online and do it yourself. For this test, youll use a lancet to collect a finger-prick blood sample. Your results will be reviewed by a GP and are available for you to view online.
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Brittle Hair And Nails
A variety of factors may cause brittle hair and nails. One of them is a lack of biotin.
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, helps the body convert food into energy. A deficiency in biotin is very rare, but when it occurs, brittle, thinning, or splitting hair and nails are some of the most noticeable symptoms.
Other symptoms of biotin deficiency include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, cramps, and tingling in the hands and feet .
Pregnant women, heavy smokers or drinkers, and people with digestive disorders like Crohns disease are at the greatest risk of developing biotin deficiency.
Also, the prolonged use of antibiotics and some anti-seizure medications is a risk factor .
Eating raw egg whites may cause biotin deficiency as well. Thats because raw egg whites contain avidin, a protein that binds to biotin and can reduce its absorption (1,
Vitamin A And Carotenoids
Vitamin A is crucial for our bodies, and it does a lot more than help our peepers. Vitamin A supports a healthy immune system, reproductive system, cell health, and vision. Because vitamin A helps produce healthy cells, it also affects our vital organs like the heart and lungs. Some research has even linked taking vitamin A with improving measles and some types of cancer.
Vitamin A comes in two forms, and we need to get them both from our diets. First there is provitamin A, which is found in darkly-colored fruits and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cantaloupe, and squash. Once we eat those fruits and vegetables, our bodies convert the provitamin A into vitamin A that our tissues can use. The most important type of provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene. The second type is preformed vitamin A, which is found in animal sources like dairy, fish, and meat. We can also get carotenoids from supplements, liver and fish oils, as well as palm oil, algae, and fungi. Mmm one order of algae and fungi to go please!
Most multivitamins contain vitamin A, and women should aim for about 770 micrograms of vitamin A per day.
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Always Talk With A Professional
While the nutritionists we spoke to agree that supplements can be helpful, it’s important to always talk with your healthcare provider before jumping in with a vitamin regimen. Most vitamin supplements contain 100 percent of the recommended daily amount, so if you’re already consuming a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, you would be taking in way more than the National Institutes of Health recommends.
Unfortunately when it comes to vitamins, you really can have too much of a good thing.
According to the National Institutes of Health, a meta-analysis of studies looking at more than 400,000 people found that a daily vitamin supplement was associated with an increased cancer risk. A separate study of women found that a daily supplement was linked to an increased risk for skin cancer.
Taking vitamin A supplements with beta-carotene has been proven to increase the risk of lung cancer in study participants. In one study, the increased risk was a whopping 28 percent, which caused the researchers to actually end the study early.
Calcium supplements have not been proven to improve bone density. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants taking a daily calcium supplement were more likely to suffer a hip fracture.
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Vitamin B Testing
Vitamin B6, folic acid , and vitamin B12 play a key role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. While pregnant women are not routinely tested for vitamin B deficiencies, nearly all pregnant women are encouraged to take prenatal vitamins, which include B vitamins. Folic acid, in particular, can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine when taken during pregnancy.
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Three Tests Your Doctor Should Be Ordering But Isnt
AUGUST 14, 2018 by DR. HEATHER MODAY, MD
As part of every work up with a patient, I order testing for vitamin and mineral levels. After reviewing the tests, my patients are often shocked. They often ask- Why doesnt my doctor order vitamin and mineral levels on me? I wish I had an answer to that question as I consider nutritional evaluations an inherent part of assessing someones overall health. Every biochemical process in the body requires certain nutrients to work properly. When we dont have adequate stores, that is when disease develops.
A body with suboptimal levels of vitamins and minerals is like a building constructed with poor materials: it doesnt work well and eventually will fall apart. As we age, if we accumulate deficiencies along with cellular damage, we age faster and develop disease. The conventional fix is to start a new medication which often causes more deficiencies and strain on our system. The better fix is to focus on our nutritional stores and make sure that our diet is adequate to keep up with our needs.
It is true that many conventional doctors dont bother to order these tests. Perhaps they dont believe that nutrition matters in health, or that they will be able to interpret them correctly and counsel you correctly. Or most sadly, they wont offer the testing because they feel insurance wont cover it. Most nutrition testing is at least partially covered and at most cost less than a nice pair of shoes.
Vitamins And Minerals: How To Get What You Need
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals found in food that nourish your body and help keep you healthy. They are essential to your overall health.
Choosing foods each day that are rich in vitamins and minerals is the best way for your body to get what it needs to be healthy. However, research consistently finds that most Americans dont get enough vitamins and minerals in their diets.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture , adult Americans do not typically get enough of the following nutrients:
- vitamins A, C, D, and E
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Mouth Ulcers Or Cracks In The Corners Of The Mouth
Lesions in and around the mouth may partly be linked to an insufficient intake of certain vitamins or minerals.
For instance, mouth ulcers, also commonly referred to as canker sores, are often the result of deficiencies in iron or B vitamins.
One small study notes that patients with mouth ulcers appear to be twice as likely to have low iron levels .
In another small study, around 28% of patients with mouth ulcers had deficiencies in thiamine , riboflavin , and pyridoxine .
Angular cheilitis, a condition that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, split, or bleed, can be caused by excess salivation or dehydration. However, it may also be caused by an insufficient intake of iron and B vitamins, particularly riboflavin (
If you experience these symptoms, try adding the foods above to your diet to see if your symptoms improve.
Summary People with mouth ulcers or cracks at the corners of the mouth may want to try consuming more foods rich in thiamine, riboflavin, pyridoxine, and iron to alleviate symptoms.
How To Find Out If You Have A Vitamin Deficiency
This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support , Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support , Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Tennessee in 2006.There are 17 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 6,393 times.
Vitamins are tiny molecules that are essential for healthy, normal cell function. If you have a vitamin deficiency, it may cause serious medical issues. The good news is its usually not too tricky to figure out if you have a deficiency. Keep an eye out for some common signs and symptoms and see your doctor if you think you have one. Theyll be able to identify the cause and recommend treatment options.
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Find Out Which Vitamins You Need To Stay Healthy
In this inspiring article, were going to delve into detail about four essential vitamins that everyone needs to incorporate into their lives. This information is vital for your health, and you should share it with those that you love as well.
Fortunately, weve been spending plenty of time working on achieving a healthy, balanced diet. Even though you might think you need supplements to achieve a balanced blend of vitamins, many of the most essential building-blocks are available in the foods that we love.
In addition to finding out which vitamins you might need more of, well give you detailed information about each of these essential building-blocks. Well discuss exactly what each of the vitamins on this list does for your body, and well go into detail about how you can achieve enough of each vitamin.
Take a Look at Which 4 Vitamins You Need
1: Vitamin A
The main benefit of incorporating vitamin A into your diet is to promote a healthy immune system. However, this vitamin is also very good for your vision. Each eye is similar to a motion detector when you are low on this vitamin, you might have to strain to see. You may even have problems seeing in the dark.
2: Vitamin D
Did you know that vitamin D is important for bone health? Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to osteoporosis.
3: Vitamin C
4: Vitamin B12
Why Do You Need to Manage Your Vitamin Intake?
Do you want to have plenty of energy to enjoy every day to its fullest?
When To Take A Supplement
Most people can get the nutrients they need from diet alone. So if you dont have a nutrient deficiency, you shouldnt take a supplement just for the sake of it. Synthetic nutrients dont always match up to those found naturally in foods.
A good approach is to monitor your vitamin and mineral levels with a blood test. If youre low in a certain nutrient, you can up your intake of foods rich in these nutrients. However, supplements are definitely necessary in some cases.
Vitamin D supplements During autumn and winter, Public Health England advises that everyone should consider taking a 10 mcg daily vitamin D supplement from October to March. And if youre more at-risk, they recommend taking them year-round.
If youre someone who doesnt get much sunlight during the summer months, wear sunscreen top to toe, or have darker skin, then its recommended that you take a supplement all year.
Vitamin B12 supplements If youre a vegan or vegetarian then youre more at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. If a blood test shows that youre deficient or if you follow a strict vegan diet then its recommended that you take a supplement.
A cyanocobalamin supplement is a good choice as its a form that your body can easily use. Its also possible to get a vitamin B12 injection this is especially useful if your deficiency is caused by absorption issues in your stomach. The form of hydroxocobalamin can be given every three months.
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Iron: Fatigue Shortness Of Breath Cold Hands And Feet Brittle Nails And More
Iron is necessary to produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, according to the University of California in San Francisco. When iron levels get too low, there may be a deficiency in red blood cells, resulting in a condition called anemia. Some groups at increased risk of iron deficiency include menstruating women, growing individuals , and those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, Zive says.
Anemia can leave you with symptoms including weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, a fast heartbeat, pale skin, headache, cold hands and feet, a sore or swollen tongue, brittle nails, and cravings for strange things like dirt, according to the Mayo Clinic. The symptoms may be so mild at first that you dont notice somethings wrong, but as iron stores become more depleted, they will become more intense.
To boost iron levels, Patton recommends eating iron-fortified cereal, beef, oysters, beans , lentils, and spinach. Adult men and women over 50 need 8 mg per day, and adult women younger than 50 need 18 mg each day, according to the NIH.
Vitamins And Minerals For Older Adults
Vitamins help your body grow and work the way it should. There are 13 essential vitamins vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins .
Vitamins have different jobs to help keep the body working properly. Some vitamins help you resist infections and keep your nerves healthy, while others may help your body get energy from food or help your blood clot properly. By following the Dietary Guidelines, you will get enough of most of these vitamins from food.
Like vitamins, minerals also help your body function. Minerals are elements that our bodies need to function that can be found on the earth and in foods. Some minerals, like iodine and fluoride, are only needed in very small quantities. Others, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, are needed in larger amounts. As with vitamins, if you eat a varied diet, you will probably get enough of most minerals.
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Changes In Hair Texture
A change in the quality and texture of your hair can be a sign youre not getting enough folic acid, B12, B6, and/or iron. These nutrients help to support a healthy blood supply that carries oxygen to the hair and scalp. Poor intake can lead to reduced or fragile red blood cells, which can suffocate the hair and scalp, says Somer.
Do I Need To Take Supplements
Its better to get essential nutrients from foods, but your doctor may recommend supplements if your diet is lacking certain vitamin and minerals. Vitamin B12 for vegetarian or vegan diets is one such example.
However, you shouldnt start taking any supplements without getting tested and talking with your doctor first. This can prevent the unnecessary use of supplements and even vitamin or mineral overdoses.
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Common Vitamin And Mineral Result Ranges
Iron ranges There are several tests to check your iron levels. The ideal ranges for each test are:
- serum ferritin 13-150 ng/l for women and 30-400 ng/l for men
- haemoglobin 120-160 g/L for women and 130-170 g/L for men
- transferrin saturation 20-55% for both women and men
- total iron-binding capacity 45-72 umol/L for both women and men
- unsaturated iron-binding capacity 24.2-70.1 umol/L for women and 22.3-61.7 umol/L for men
Vitamin D ranges A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the best way to measure your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D reference range:
- between 50-175 nmol/L is normal
- between 75-100 nmol/L is optimal
Vitamin B12 ranges An active B12 test is the best way to measure your levels this measures the amount of vitamin B12 thats available for your body to use. You can also do a total B12. Vitamin B12 reference ranges:
- active B12 between 37.5- 188 pmol/L is normal
- total B12 between 300- 569 pmol/L is normal
- between 8.83-60.8 nmol/L is normal