Over the last three years, there has been a rise in the number of people choosing to live healthier lives. People are now mindful of the necessity of vitamins and minerals and are endeavoring to increase the vitamin content in their bodies utilizing natural methods. Even though there is a wealth of data on the internet, there are still some people who are not informed about vitamin deficiencies and how they could be the source of typical health conditions.
Learning the significance of vitamins and their ability to make a person’s lifestyle healthier is always advantageous. Continue to read on to find out the details about the most widespread vitamin shortages.
What Is A Vitamin Deficiency?
You can suffer from inadequate levels of vitamins when you do not give your body the necessary nutrients over an extended duration. This may result in health problems that can affect your daily activities. There are two kinds of vitamin deficiencies: primary and secondary. The lack of sufficient vitamins can lead to the first condition, while the second one can be brought about by a genetic abnormality or an underlying disorder, for example malabsorption. Examine the information below to understand the most prevalent vitamin deficiencies and the ways to treat them on your own.
Common Vitamin Deficiencies
1. Vitamin D Deficiency
It’s common knowledge that Vitamin D promotes proper bone growth. However, few people are aware that it is also beneficial for strengthening the immune system, nervous system, and muscles. This vitamin is essential as it aids in maintaining the calcium level in the blood while simultaneously reinforcing healthy tissue. It is referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” for a purpose. One’s skin takes in the UVB rays and makes a compound in the skin into vitamin D3. This is sent to the liver and then ultimately to the kidneys, being finally modified into usable vitamin D., But sunlight alone is not enough.
This can be caused due to many reasons:
- A diet that lacks vitamin D foods.
- Your body can’t absorb vitamin D effectively due to a medical condition or even medication.
- People who are older or stay indoors are more likely to develop a vitamin D deficiency.
One’s body can create vitamin D in response to sunshine, but there are also certain food items that can aid in enhancing vitamin D amounts in the body. Seafood such as wild-caught salmon, sardines, and canned tuna, as well as egg yolk and mushrooms, are all sources of healthy amounts of vitamin D. Research has demonstrated that consuming wild-caught salmon and certain mushrooms, specifically morels, is an excellent way to gain Vitamin D.
2. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is necessary for a moist environment and plays a role in DNA construction and supplying the body with energy. Exercise can guarantee that the nervous system is in tip-top shape and working at its maximum potential.
Causes of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
- Age: As you age, it becomes more difficult for the body to absorb this vitamin. If you have pernicious anemia (a type of B12-specific anemia) it can also make absorption difficult.
- Chronic conditions: Medical conditions like Chron’s disease or celiac disease can lead to this vitamin deficiency.
- Too much alcohol: Heavy drinking can affect the way your body absorbs nutrients.
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble nutrient that is not kept in the human body. Therefore, it is extremely important to replenish this vitamin through the use of dietary supplements and food. Vitamin B12 is found in clams, sardines, trout and mushrooms like shitakes. Additionally, foods like cereal can be fortified with vitamins.
3. Calcium Deficiency
It should come as no shock that calcium is an essential nutrient that your body requires. This nutrient is necessary for the mineralization of bones and teeth and is especially important for children, as it is essential for their development and growth of bones. But it doesn’t stop at just bones! Calcium is necessary for the proper functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves. For people who do not have enough calcium, as a result of this vitamin deficiency, it is normal for the bones to start utilizing calcium that is already stored in them, which may lead to osteoporosis.
Causes of Calcium Deficiency
- Lack of Vitamin D: This vitamin is important for the absorption of calcium, which is why most people assume that vitamin D deficiency is related to only bone health.
- Hypoparathyroidism: This condition happens when the parathyroid glands don’t produce enough parathyroid hormone, which is in charge of regulating calcium levels in your blood.
You can include multiple calcium-rich foods in your diet to enhance the amount of calcium in your body. Chia and poppy seeds are the finest providers of calcium, having beneficial fats and proteins. Other foods rich in calcium include yogurt, legumes, lentils, whey protein, and vegetables like kale and spinach.
Eating differently alone will not be enough to make up for any kind of deficiency. It is essential to incorporate calcium supplements as a part of your everyday regimen as well. For calcium, supplements with Collagen are the best. This enables the bones to absorb Calcium and use it optimally so as to remain strong while granting lateral flexibility, allowing them to stay strong regardless of shock. Compounds such as hyaluronic acid and resveratrol can be advantageous to the bones as they can increase the volume of minerals in the bones.
4. Vitamin A Deficiency
It has been suggested that vitamin A is connected to sight. Except for manufacturing eye colors, this vitamin that dissolves in fats is necessary for an individual to have smooth skin, strong teeth, strong bones, and cell walls. Absence of vitamin A can likewise bring about night vision deficiency.
A lack of sufficient quantities of this vitamin over a period of time can cause a shortage. The absorption rate may be impacted by a few risk factors, such as liver problems, continuous loose bowels, cystic fibrosis, and gluten intolerance, among others.
Regarding incorporating food sources containing vitamin A into your diet, there are two varieties: those that contain already-formed vitamin A and those that contain provitamin A. Retinol can be obtained from certain types of fish, and meat organs such as the liver, dairy products, and eggs. Concurrently, the latter type of substance is comprised of carotenoids, principally beta-carotene, and can be located in fruits and vegetables. Carotenoid is converted into retinol by the body.
Go the extra mile by investing in vitamin A capsules that have additives like omega oil to support your eye well-being.
5. Vitamin C Deficiency
Vitamin C has grown to be an important part of the beauty world lately, but did you know that its effects go beyond what gives you a glowing complexion? This vitamin is required for the strength of your resistance, supporting the development and mending of bones, keeping blood vessels and tissues running smoothly, and keeping cells safe from injury due to radicals. Consuming Vitamin C is beneficial for the body as it helps with the absorption of iron and the production of collagen. This compound has antioxidative properties, shielding cells from free radical harm.
Increasing your vitamin C levels begins with your diet. Consume oranges, peppers, strawberries, blackcurrants, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and potatoes in your nutritional intake to make certain you have an adequate amount of this vitamin.
6. Iron Deficiency
Iron-related weakness and anemia are the most widespread dietary shortcomings in the global population, particularly in women. The World Health Organization states that this nutritional deficiency is a major issue for children and women living in underdeveloped nations, and even those in more industrialized societies are not immune to it, making it the only worldwide deficiency of its kind.
Roughly 3 billion people around the globe are thought to have anemia, often from their lack of iron in their diets. Iron deficiency/anemia can trigger feelings of fatigue, baldness, muscle fragility, mental cloudiness, head pains, discomfort and other concerns.
Older ladies, those afflicted with anemia, vegans, and vegetarians should consult a medical professional to ensure they are obtaining the appropriate amount of B vitamins and iron since they are most susceptible to lacking in such areas.
Young women are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiencies, and it is essential for all women to make sure they are getting enough of this mineral on a regular basis, especially during their periods when the need for iron is heightened because of the amount of blood that is lost. To boost your iron intake, have a selection of foods that contain iron, as well as foods that assist in maximizing iron absorption (such as high vitamin C production), plus a supplement of iron.
7. Calcium Deficiency
Females between the ages of 9 and 18 and females over the age of 50 are thought to be the groups most vulnerable to having reduced calcium levels.
In total, many individuals still don’t get the proper amount of calcium despite dietary sources and calcium supplements, which can be attributed to unsatisfactory absorption and certain medications and physical activity, causing a depletion of calcium.
It is of critical importance to postmenopausal women to prevent calcium shortages in their diet, as this can be a factor in weakening of the bones and an elevated chance of fractures or osteoporosis.
Women who have difficulty digesting lactose or follow a vegan diet may also not be getting adequate calcium due to not consuming dairy-based foods, which are often a simple way to increase calcium intake. Age over 70 and inadequate Vitamin D levels can impede calcium absorption from the gastrointestinal system. Vitamin D is necessary for correct calcium intake.
8. Iodine Deficiency
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that females aged 20–39 have a minimal concentration of iodine in their urine in contrast to all other age ranges.
Women who are either attempting to conceive or who are expecting need to be careful about getting enough iodine, for it affects the brain growth of the baby in the womb. The production of appropriate quantities of thyroid hormones is also critical.
The thyroid needs iodine in order to synthesize the hormones T3 and T4, which are responsible for regulating metabolism.
Many individuals consuming a typical Western diet intake a significant quantity of iodized salt seen in prepared food and processed grain goods, which contains iodine deliberately put there to avoid a lack of iodine. One of the top methods to obtain iodine is by consuming foods that are full of this nutrient, such as marine vegetables and fish. These are among the major natural resources of iodine in one’s diet.
It is important to get enough iodine in your diet to stop illnesses such as hypothyroidism, goiters, weariness, hormone issues, and issues during childbirth from occurring.
How Do You Know If You Have a Vitamin Deficiency?
Various indications may be associated with shortages of vitamins and minerals. Some of the more common signs of a nutrient deficiency in women can include:
- Hair loss
- Mild cognitive impairment, such as changes in memory, concentration, thinking or behavior
- Low libido
- Pale and dry skin
- Red, swollen gums
- Heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeats
- Slow wound healing, yellowing of the skin, and bruising
- Impaired immune function
- Mood changes
- Bone and joint pains and, in some cases, bone fractures
- Dry eyes and vision changes
- In severe cases, vitamin deficiency diseases such as scurvy, rickets, beriberi, and pellagra (caused by very low vitamin C, vitamin D, and B vitamin levels)
When a Healthy Diet Is Enough vs. When It Might Not Be
What causes a vitamin deficiency? Is it necessary due to eating a poor diet?
Here’s what we know about women being at risk for vitamin deficiencies:
- As a woman, you’re more likely to experience low levels of certain key nutrients if any of these apply to you:
- eating a highly processed diet (one low in things like fresh vegetables and fruit)
- being a vegetarian or vegan
- being underweight or consuming too few calories in general (“underweight” is generally considered below a body mass index of 18.5 for women)
- being of reproductive age (the World Health Organization estimates that in poorer countries, 27 percent to 51 percent of women of reproductive age are deficient in key nutrients)
- being over the age of 65
- being of low socioeconomic status, lack of education, and poverty
- consuming high amounts of alcohol
- taking certain medications for an extended period of time (such as phenytoin, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, triamterene, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole)
- having a condition that interferes with normal nutrient absorption in the gut
Some women may be more likely to experience a deficiency in vital vitamins, even if they believe they are consuming a nutritious diet. Here are some special circumstances that make a woman a good candidate for taking a high-quality, food-based multivitamin supplement daily to prevent common deficiencies:
Those who abstain from consuming meat and only have a plant-based diet have a tendency to lack B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12, a type of vitamin that is only present in animal-based food items. Women who avoid consuming animal products may be lacking calcium, protein, omega-3s, zinc, iodine, and iron, thus suggesting the need for supplements. In 2009, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) advised vegans and vegetarians to meet their vitamin and mineral requirements by taking a daily multivitamin and omega-3 supplement.
When a female is expecting a baby, probably unlike ever before in her life, it is necessary to get an abundance of high quality nutrients for the sake of both mother and baby’s health. Many micronutrients are needed more often during pregnancy, particularly folate, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, and iodine in particular.
If you are a woman above the age of 55, B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and iron are especially significant to you. Incorporating natural, unprocessed food sources like spinach, eggs from free-range chickens, grass-fed beef, and organic/unsweetened dairy items (preferably in their raw form) into your diet can help you lower your susceptibility to conditions like osteoporosis, broken bones, heart diseases, diabetes, and cognitive deterioration.
The best way to prevent nutrient deficiencies is to ensure you are consuming enough calories overall, stay away from diets that promise fast results, refrain from pushing your body to its limits through extreme exercise, and eating sensible snacks with low amounts of ’empty’ calories.