5 Common Nutrient Deficiencies You Need to Know
We have so much food around us, and many of us have more than enough to eat. Although we are overeating, we are still malnourished. This is because the typical American diet of today is mostly composed of processed foods and genetically modified ingredients. These foods wipe out all nutrient content we need to function normally, leading to many common deficiencies that could be avoided through proper whole food consumption and supplementation. Here is a list of common nutrient deficiencies and what to add in your diet to increase them.
One of the most common that affects 25% of people worldwide, and in menstruating women, it is up to 30%. Also, vegans and vegetarians are at risk because they are consuming non-heme iron, which is not absorbed as well as heme found in animals. You may feel tired and weak if you are iron deficient. Most commonly, people develop anemia. The recommended intake for men is 8mg a day and 18 mg for women aged 19-50.
Heme: Red Meat, Organ Meat, Shellfish, and Canned Sardines
Non Heme: Beans, Seeds, Broccoli, Kale, and Spinach
Vegans and vegetarians may want to consider a supplement to make up for the heme they are not getting from animal-based foods. In contrast, consuming vitamin C through foods, like bell peppers and oranges, helps with iron absorption.
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Iodine is essential to help regulate the thyroid. The thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolism, growth, and brain development. When someone is deficient in iodine, they may have an enlarged thyroid, experience weight gain, shortness of breath, and increased heart rate.
Dairy, eggs, seaweed, and fish. Adding sea salt to foods is also helpful, but proceed with caution. Over salting food can lead to heart disease.
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Involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, magnesium is essential for daily function. In addition, it is vital for energy production and bone health. Finally, magnesium can prevent headaches and improve PMS symptoms for all you ladies out there suffering monthly!
The recommended intake:
400-420mg per day in men
310-320mg per day in women
Deficiency symptoms can include leg cramps, insomnia, anxiety, and constipation.
Whole grains, nuts, leafy green vegetables, and dark chocolate.
Important note: Stress causes the body to waste magnesium, so even though you eat well, your mental health can contribute to a deficiency.
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One of the vitamins your body is not able to produce, so we must consume it through nutrition. B12 is necessary for all cells in the body to function correctly, and aids in the production of DNA. B12 is known to assist with the breakdown of foods and increase energy. This is why some conclude it boosts metabolism leading to weight loss. However, there is no scientific evidence that b12 helps you lose weight.
You should be consuming about 2.4 micrograms of B12 daily. Those that are deficient may have impaired brain function, anemia, fatigue, and numbness in limbs. Unfortunately for vegans and vegetarians, b12 is only found from animal sources, which is why supplementation is essential. However, others can get the nutrient through shellfish, eggs, milk products, and organ meat.
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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and assists with calcium absorption. In addition, it is essential for immunity and cell growth. Vitamin D is mainly attained through sun exposure and converted from cholesterol in the skin. There are no immediate recognizable symptoms of deficiency, and it may be experienced over time. Deficient individuals are at risk for muscle and bone weakness. Other health effects of low Vitamin D include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and immune system disorders.
Other than the sun, other sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, and fortified dairy. Vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for those who are not in a sunny climate or vegan. Check out a great Vitamin D supplement here.
Although these are not all of the nutrient deficiencies, these are the most common ones. It may be possible that a person could be deficient in all of these micronutrients, and can attribute how they feel daily to a lack of proper nutrition. In addition, those who are vegan and vegetarian may want to examine their diet to make sure they are getting adequate nourishment since many of the mentioned nutrients are only found in animal sources. The best way to avoid these issues is to make sure you are eating a nutrient-rich whole food balanced diet.