Common Nutrient Deficiencies You Shouldn’t Ignore | 1MD Nutrition™

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Common Nutrient Deficiencies You Shouldn’t Ignore

Vitamins and minerals have a big effect on your health, and without them, your body cannot function at its best. Learn to recognize the most common nutrient deficiencies.

9 minute read

Last Updated January 28, 2022

Common Nutrient Deficiencies You Shouldn’t Ignore

Is your body trying to tell you something? More importantly, are you listening? Your body requires many essential nutrients for optimal health. And, when it does not get them, it lets you know. Vitamins and minerals might be micronutrients, but they have a big effect on your health. 

Several essential nutrients have to be obtained through diet and failing to get even those small quantities will stand in the way of your ability to take on seasonal and environmental threats. Nutrient deficiencies should not be ignored, so listen to your body because the signs will be there. 

Common Signs of Nutrient Deficiency

To feel well, you have to eat well. This means that your diet needs to include an array of vitamins and minerals to support the numerous targeted roles they have in your body. Without these nutrients, your body cannot function at its best, and your body will be the first to tell you about this. 

Nutrient deficiencies of any kind can produce generalized symptoms, so the best way to identify a deficiency is to speak with your doctor. Common signs to keep watch for include:

♦ Fatigue
♦ Unexplained weight loss
♦ Brittle nails
♦ Difficulty concentrating
♦ Irritability
♦ Lack of appetite

Some nutrient deficiencies can look like other health issues, so speak with your doctor first to correctly identify a deficiency. Simple blood testing can let you know if you are deficient. Then you can work on getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. 

Vitamins

11 Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Today’s typical diet lacks many of the vitamins and minerals your body needs, creating common deficiencies for many. Take charge of your health by knowing these common deficiencies so you can get your fill through food. And when your diet doesn’t meet your body’s needs, a daily multivitamin will have your back.

Table of Content

1. B VITAMINS
2. Vitamin C
3. Vitamin A
4. Vitamin D3
5. Vitamin K2
6. Vitamin E
7. IRON
8. CALCIUM
9. IODINE
10. MAGNESIUM
11. ZINC

1. B Vitamins

To ‘be’ in your best health, you need the B vitamins. These 8 vitamins are important for proper cell function and help the body convert food into energy, create new blood cells, and maintain healthy skin cells, brain cells, and other body tissues. While there are 8 types of B vitamins, the deficiencies most often seen are B1, B2, B6, B9, and B121. Symptoms will vary by the B vitamin you are deficient in, and any health changes should be discussed with your doctor. The good news is that B vitamins often occur together in the same foods, so you can get your fill by eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods.  

2. Vitamin C

There's a reason people reach for the orange juice when they are feeling under the weather. Oranges are full of vitamin C, which supports immune cell function so you can take on seasonal threats. Without vitamin C2, you may notice occasional fatigue, rash, and wounds that heal more slowly. It is easy to see the benefits of vitamin C for immune and antioxidant support, which is why you should grab as many citrus fruits as you can. If oranges aren’t your thing, you can get vitamin C from strawberries, peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin A good for eye health concept

3. Vitamin A 

To keep a close eye on your health, you need vitamin A. This antioxidant vitamin is essential for healthy vision, specifically optimal retinal function and proper eye lubrication. This essential vitamin also protects the cells responsible for vision from the harsh effects of blue light. Vitamin A deficiency3 impacts certain pigment production in the eye, so you may notice hazy, blurred, or double vision. Stay focused on eye health and fill up on vitamin A with oily fish like tuna and salmon, sweet potatoes, carrots, papaya, yogurt, and eggs.

4. Vitamin D3

This ‘sunshine’ vitamin can really brighten up your life. Vitamin D3 helps support brain health and mood, bone strength, and immune system function. However, it is only made when your skin is exposed to the sun, and the dangers of too much sun exposure keep too many people indoors. Too little vitamin D34 can mean everyday fatigue, occasional back and bone discomfort, and mood changes. But, look on the bright side because you don’t always need the sun. You can get vitamin D3 with fish like tuna and salmon, yogurt and eggs, and fortified cereals. 

5. Vitamin K2

Think back to the last time you were bleeding. Without coagulation, you still would be. Without vitamin K2, there is no coagulation. There is also an impact on your heart and bone health. Vitamin K2 is essential for blood clotting and promoting bone density and arterial health by directing calcium utilization. It’s not always easy to identify a vitamin K2 deficiency5, so speak with your doctor if you have concerns about nutrient absorption. To make sure you keep up vitamin K2 levels, eat plenty of leafy greens, blueberries, chickpeas, and chicken.

6. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a superstar in the nutrient world, protecting cells in your body from typical oxidative stress and unnecessary immune responses. Not to mention, it supports eye, heart, brain, and skin health. As impressive as vitamin E is, your body cannot produce it, and popular low-fat diets commonly contribute to deficiency. Your entire body will let you know if it is low on vitamin E6. Muscles may feel sore, you may need more frequent naps, vision gets blurry, occasional digestive symptoms appear, and wounds take longer to heal. To stay super, you need vitamin E from your diet, so grab all the almonds, avocados, salmon, mangos, and sunflower seeds you can.

Foods rich in iron

7. Iron

Your body needs iron to support red blood cells in delivering oxygen through the bloodstream to every cell in your body. When iron levels are low, cells may not get the oxygen they need and could have a hard time functioning7. This can leave you needing a nap, feeling short of breath, a little weaker than usual, and can impact how you take on seasonal threats. To pump your iron levels up, reach for some poultry, spinach, nuts, and vitamin C-rich foods like strawberries to help support iron absorption. 

8. Calcium

Make no bones about it; you need calcium. Along with supporting strong teeth and bones, calcium also supports nerve and muscle function. When you don’t get enough8, your body gets what it needs from your bones, impacting the health of your musculoskeletal structure.  As a result, your mood can change, or you may experience occasional bone and muscle discomfort and brittle nails. Bone up on calcium with fish, tofu, fortified cereals, beans, and leafy greens. Remember, calcium prefers teamwork, so load up on magnesium and vitamin D to ensure you get the most from the calcium you eat. 

9. Iodine

You may not realize that you need iodine, but without it, your thyroid is likely to get upset with you. This important gland requires iodine for thyroid hormone production, which is essential for proper heart and metabolic function. Iodine deficiency was thought to be a thing of the past with the creation of iodized salt, but this is not true. Iodine deficiency9 can leave you feeling sleepier than usual and dealing with occasional digestive symptoms, common muscle discomfort, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Even if you have iodized salt on the table, be sure you have some fish, yogurt, cheese, and eggs on the table too.

Foods rich in magnesium

10. Magnesium

Electrolytes are not only found in sports drinks. Magnesium is an essential electrolyte that holds a starring role in many internal processes. Whole-body health depends on magnesium, and deficiency10 can be hard to identify because symptoms are so varied. For example, you may feel more tired, or experience muscle discomfort, or changes in your blood pressure or sleep patterns. To keep your essential processes running smoothly, get your fill of magnesium with whole grains, dark leafy greens, black beans, almonds, and even dark chocolate.  

11. Zinc

For good health, you go from ‘a to zinc’. It may be at the end of the list, but zinc is essential for your health, specifically immune and metabolic function. Unfortunately, certain diets and health conditions can interfere with zinc absorption, making deficiency common11. Along with changes to your digestive processes and healthy weight management, you may feel symptoms associated with common seasonal threats, occasional fatigue, and reduced mental alertness. So, don’t leave zinc behind, and pack plenty of chicken, beans, nuts, spinach, avocados, and berries for your daily dietary trip.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes nutrient deficiencies are just a matter of a diet in need of a boost, or maybe a time of everyday stress. And sometimes, it can be a sign of something more serious. The bottom line is that you need to pay attention to nutrient deficiencies. 

With so many different vitamins and minerals your body needs, it can be hard to keep track of them all. But you can trust your body to let you know if something is missing. So keep an eye out for the signs of nutrient deficiencies so you can keep your body in good health. 

And should your diet need a little boost, a complete multivitamin packs the perfect punch you need!

1 Vitamin B12 deficiency affects roughly 20% of adults over the age of 60 and 6% of adults under 60, and vitamin B1 and B2 deficiencies are rare in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Isolated vitamin B6 deficiency is uncommon, according to NIH, and is usually associated with low concentrations of other B-complex vitamins. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from 2003-2006, the prevalence of vitamin B9 deficiency in the United States has decreased from 16% to 0.5% since the dietary folic acid fortification program started in the late 1990s.

2 Approximately 21 million Americans have serious vitamin C deficiency (NHANES).

3 Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

4 Vitamin D deficiency affects roughly 35% of adults in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

5 Vitamin K deficiency is very rare in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. (NIH).

6 Vitamin E deficiency is very rare in healthy people, according to the National Institutes of Health. (NIH).

7 According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 10 million people are iron deficient in the United States, including 5 million who have iron deficiency anemia.

8 Calcium deficiency affects roughly 70% of adults in the United States, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

9 According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), iodine deficiency is uncommon in the United States, although groups at risk of iodine inadequacy include pregnant women, vegans, and individuals who do not use iodized salt.

10 Magnesium deficiency affects roughly 61% of adults, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

11 Zinc deficiency affects roughly 35-45% of adults, aged 60 or older, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).