What Are The Most Common Deficiencies
Having a vitamin or mineral deficiency is often followed by any of the following symptoms: fatigue, weakness, poor appetite, weight loss, insomnia, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, numbness and tingling in the hands, and feet, muscle cramps, and chest pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult your doctor to see if you need to take supplements.
The most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are: vitamin B12, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin D. Lets take a closer look at each of them.
- Vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal sources and is needed to produce red blood cells, DNA, and the protective sheath around the nerves.
- Iron deficiency can lead to anemia which causes tiredness, weakness, pale skin color, rapid heart rate, headache, and decreased immunity.
- Calcium deficiency symptoms include numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, and tooth decay.
- Magnesium deficiency includes fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting weakness.
- Zinc is involved in the development of cells and tissues as well as wound healing. Symptoms of deficiency include delayed growth in children, poor sense of taste or smell, white spots on your nails, hair loss, and frequent infections.
- People who dont get enough vitamin D may experience muscle weakness, bone pain, and an increased risk of fractures.
Is There Really Any Benefit To Multivitamins
Half of all American adultsincluding 70 percent of those age 65 and oldertake a multivitamin or another vitamin or mineral supplement regularly. The total price tag exceeds $12 billion per yearmoney that Johns Hopkins nutrition experts say might be better spent on nutrient-packed foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
In an editorial in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine titled Enough Is Enough: Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements, Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed evidence about supplements, including three very recent studies:
- An analysis of research involving 450,000 people, which found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for heart disease or cancer.
- A study that tracked the mental functioning and multivitamin use of 5,947 men for 12 years found that multivitamins did not reduce risk for mental declines such as memory loss or slowed-down thinking.
- A study of 1,708 heart attack survivors who took a high-dose multivitamin or placebo for up to 55 months. Rates of later heart attacks, heart surgeries and deaths were similar in the two groups.
Will a Daily Vitamin Help Keep Your Heart Healthy?
Bumps On Hips And Hands
- Vitamin D deficiency. Research showed that people who lack vitamin D often suffer from periodontitis.
What to do:
- A diet which includes foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D is very important for the health of your teeth. Eat dairy products, brown rice, tomatoes, beans, fish, citrus, and grapes.
Dont Miss: How Much Is A Megadose Of Vitamin C
Recommended Reading: Can Prenatal Vitamins Cause Constipation
Treating Vitamin D Deficiency
For adults, the RDA of vitamin D is 600 IU . Foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, herring, sardines, canned tuna, oysters, shrimp and mushrooms. Or, choose cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, oatmeal and cereals that are fortified with vitamin D.
You can also get your daily dose by going out into the sunshine for 10 minutes without sunscreen .
For severe deficiencies, your doctor might prescribe a vitamin D supplement.
Unlike other vitamins and minerals, vitamin D levels are regularly tested in routine blood tests at your annual physical, so it’s easy to identify deficiencies.
How To Raise Magnesium Levels
Food Though it is hard to get adequate magnesium through food, we always recommend eating a chlorophyll-rich diet. A good way to increase your magnesium intake through food is to juice green leafy vegetables daily or use a powdered greens supplement, such as Organify.
Supplementation There are many forms of magnesium out there, some of which can give you diarrhea, so you have to be careful with the ones you use. We avoid the use of magnesium oxide or magnesium citrate, as they are not well-absorbed. The forms we use are magnesium glycinate, magnesium malate, or magnesium threonate and typically aim for 400-800 mg daily, though we will often go higher. Magnesium threonate is especially interesting because it is a form of magnesium that crosses the blood-brain barrier, which means it readily is absorbed into the brain.
It is difficult to overdose on oral magnesium, as your body does a fantastic job of regulating absorption.
Epsom salts A simple and effective way to raise magnesium levels is to take epsom salt baths. Magnesium sulfate, the main ingredient in epsom salts, is well-absorbed through the skin. This method also helps with muscle relaxation.
Recommended Reading: Why Is Vitamin C Good For Immune System
People Differ In Their Vitamins And Mineral Requirements
Many factorsbody size, sex, health conditions and medications, stage of life, activity level, and otherscan affect peoples micronutrient needs, as well as how they absorb and use them.
Thats partly why we didnt include a recommended daily intake range for the above nutrients. It just varies too much. Consider the needs of a menstruating Crossfit athlete versus the needs of a sedentary, elderly male on multiple medications.
Generally, though, people have deficiencies for three reasons:4
- Insufficient intake due to low appetite, restricted diets, illness, or any other situation where certain food groups or calories are reduced or not absorbed properly
- Increased need due to illness, injury, surgery, intense physical training , or periods of growth
- Increased loss due to excessive sweating, diarrhea, bleeding, or medical conditions or procedures that lead to a loss of nutrients through urine or other body fluids
If any of these reasons apply to you or your client, be extra wary of deficiencies. Of course, always work with a qualified medical professional when addressing medical issues or clinical deficiencies.
Essential Vitamins Your Body Needs: Vitamin C
Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, is an essential vitamin and important for your body.
Why you need Vitamin C: Strengthens blood vessel walls promotes wound healing and iron absorption helps prevent atherosclerosis supports immunity serves as a key antioxidant.
Where to get Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, juices, melons, berries, peppers, broccoli, potatoes.
Also Check: What Is Vitamin B6 Good For In The Body
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.
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.
Read Also: What Is The Best Vitamin C To Use
Read Also: What Is The Best Vitamin Brand On The Market
Cracks In The Corners Of Your Mouth
What to do:
- Try eating more poultry, fish , eggs, beans, and nuts. We also recommend combining these foods with vegetables because vitamin C helps fight infection and improves the metabolism of iron.
It’s important to remember that all these signs really mean that you lack the vitamins you can get simply by changing your diet. However, these signs can also mean that you have problems which have nothing to do with vitamin deficiency.
Do you take vitamins often? Or do you prefer to employ a healthy diet? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
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.
How To Buy Vitamins
Supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration or USDA. So how do you know youre getting safe supplements?
Patton recommends doing the following before buying:
- Consult your doctor. Before adding any supplements, make sure you talk to your doctor to make sure you need them and that they wont interact with any medications.
- Look for third-party testing. Some companies will send their products to an outside company to verify that the ingredients are accurate.
- Look for the USP seal. The United States Pharmacopeia is an independent, nonprofit organization whose goal is to supply safe, quality products.
- Consider ingredients. Stick with the basics. Vitamins with added ingredients or claims arent necessary and can cause side effects.
So while supplements can be helpful, be mindful of your diet and what you eat. Dont use supplements to replace healthy eating, says Patton.
The Vitamin Alone Is Not The Answer
Proper balance and adequate levels of essential nutrients is important for a range of complex processes in our body. When vitamins are taken as supplements, they are introduced into the body at levels that could never be achieved by eating even the healthiest of diets.
Supplementation can also result in large doses of a single vitamin being eaten alone. When vitamins are consumed from foods, they have many companions to help them along the way. For instance, provitamin A in food is accompanied by hundreds of its carotenoid relatives.
Simply taking a vitamin pill is not an instant fix for feeling run down or lacking in energy. It is the combination of a whole range of compounds in foods that gives us the protection . When you artificially remove one of them and provide it completely out of context, it may not be as effective and, in the case of some vitamins, can have negative effects.
Dont Miss: Which Vitamins To Take When Pregnant
Recommended Reading: What Vitamins Should A 24 Year Old Woman Take
Best Labs To Check Vitamin D Level
25-hydroxyvitamin D This is the best measure of inactive vitamin D in your blood and the test most likely to be ordered by your doctor. We like to see levels between 35-60 ng/mL and around 50 in patients with autoimmune disease, as it appears to have a protective effect.
1,25-hydroxyvitamin D This is the active form of vitamin D and helps indicate if your body has appropriate amounts. This test isnt often ordered, but can be useful in helping determine stealth infections and autoimmunity. Normal levels are between 40-110 pmol/L, while levels above 110 indicate a possible infection or autoimmune disease.
What Vitamins Should I Take
With so many vitamins out there, how do you know which ones you need to take? This health quiz will determine the right vitamins for you based on your lifestyle.
We will get to know you by asking some questions about your physical health, age, weight, and exercise habits to recommend the right vitamin for your lifestyle.
This test is not based on any scientific study whatsoever.It is intended for fun only so do not treat the result too seriously 🙂
Do not think about the answers too long. If you think you answered incorrectly, you can always go back to any question and change your answer.
Enjoy and share
At the end of the quiz we will give you the result. You can share it with your friends 🙂
Recommended Reading: Do Almonds Have Vitamin D
Nutrients In Foods Vs Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
Eating a variety of foods is the best way to ensure that youre meeting your vitamin and mineral needs.
After all, different foods contain varying amounts and combinations of nutrients. For example, citrus fruits are known for being high in vitamin C, while leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamin K (
In contrast, supplements do not offer the same nutritional benefits. As theyre meant to supplement not replace a healthy diet, they generally provide only concentrated amounts of specific nutrients .
One observational study in 30,899 adults in the United States found that adequate intake of certain nutrients through food sources was associated with a reduced risk of death from heart disease, as well as death from any cause .
However, consuming the same nutrients in supplement form did not reduce the risk of death from heart disease or any cause .
Individuals with nutrient deficiencies or those at increased risk of inadequate nutrient intake, such as women who are pregnant, can benefit from taking supplements as recommended by a medical professional.
Whole foods contain more than just vitamins and minerals. A varied and balanced diet also provides other essential nutrients and important plant compounds for health. Supplements are meant to help fill gaps in your nutrient needs.
Essential Vitamins We Need To Live
The vitamins our bodies need can be broken down into two groups: fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. Our bodies need both types to function properly.
Fat soluble vitamins need body fat to be absorbed and used by our organs. Vitamin A, vitamin E, and carotenoids are all fat soluble vitamins. Because these vitamins rely on fats to be used, we must eat a diet full of healthy fats. “A lack of healthy fats in the diet can lead to fat-soluble vitamin deficiencies, leading further into disease and malnutrition,” nutritionist Amanda Henham of Vaga Nutrition tells us. “They can also become toxic, as they are stored in fatty tissue.”
The other class of vitamins, water soluble vitamins, cannot be stored in our tissues like fat soluble ones. They are found in food, and once our bodies have used them, they excrete the excess in the urine. Because our bodies can’t hang on to these vitamins, we need to take them in, either from food or supplements. Common water soluble vitamins include folate, vitamin C, and the B vitamins. According to Henham, everyone needs these vitamins in their diets everyday, and “the requirements increase in certain conditions such as immune disorders, poor kidney and liver health, chronic stress, and medication use.”
Read Also: Should You Take Vitamin D In The Summer
Supplements Containing Vitamins A C And D
Children aged 6 months to 5 years should take vitamin supplements containing vitamins A, C and D every day.
Find out more about vitamins for children or ask your health visitor for advice.
A GP may also recommend supplements if you need them for a medical condition. For example, you may be prescribed iron supplements to treat iron deficiency anaemia.
Should I Take A Supplement
Lots of people wonder if they should take vitamin or mineral supplements. If your diet includes a wide variety of foods including whole-grain products, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meats you probably get the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
There are many supplements on the market, and of course their makers want you to buy them. Beware of unproven claims about the benefits of taking more than recommended amounts of any vitamin or mineral. Healthy teens usually don’t need supplements if they eat a well-rounded diet.
Check with your doctor before taking vitamin or mineral supplements. Just because something is good for you doesnt mean that more is better. Some vitamins and minerals can cause health problems if you get too much of them.
Talk to your doctor or a dietitian if you’re skipping meals, dieting, are a picky eater, or have any concerns about your diet. They can answer your questions and help you create a healthy eating plan that includes the nutrients your body needs.
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Iv Vitamin Therapy Last
Still Wondering What Vitamins You Should Take Try Our Simple Approach To Finding Personalized Vitamins And Supplements For Your Unique Health Goals
Almost everyone has some experience with vitamins, even if the last ones you took were shaped like a cartoon family. However, with thousands of products on the market, the process of choosing the right vitamins and supplements can be overwhelming. The process is made even more complicated by contradicting information and misleading advertising. You know there is a way to improve your long-term health, but how can you make sure you are taking the right vitamins and supplements?
The key is to know what essential vitamins and nutrients to look out for, to carefully assess your diet, and to consider how your lifestyle and long-term health goals come into play. Remember that vitamins and supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet. Beyond nutrients, fresh fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fiber, all of which are important.