What it Really Means to Have a Nutrient Deficiency
When you lack some of the essential nutrients your body needs to function optimally, you have a nutrient deficiency. You may also have a nutrient deficiency if you are taking a pharmaceutical like an antibiotic or a long-term drug like a statin, as commonly used over-the-counter drugs can cause potentially serious nutrient depletions. Nutrient deficiences can impact your body in a variety of different ways. Sometimes the signs are subtle, like you may feel “off” or a little more tired than usual. In other instances, the symptoms may be more obvious like your feet are tingling or you’re having uncontrolled muscle spasms.
Tricia L. Psota, PhD, RDN, from the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health in Washington, DC says, “Nutrient deficiences alter bodily functions and processes at the most basic cellular level. These processes include water balance, enzyme function, nerve signaling, digestion, and metabolism. Resolving these deficiences is important for optimal growth, development, and function.”
The 7 Most common Nutrient Deficiencies
Calcium is a very important mineral, needed to maintain strong bones and to carry out many important functions of the body. According to the National Institutes of Health, Calcium is needed for muscles to move and for nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part. Though insufficient levels of calcium do not produce short-term, obvious symptoms, overtime it may cause low bone mass (osteopenia) and increase the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, obtained from the sun, foods and supplements. It promotes calcium absorption in the gut. Without sufficient Vitamin D levels, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. According to the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin D deficiencies can occur when usual intake is lower than recommended levels over time, exposure to sunlight is limited, or absorption from the digestive tract is inadequate.
Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body. It is critical for heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscle function. Keeping the right amount of potassium in the body depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Some symptoms of a potassium deficiency include muscle weakness and stiffness, abdominal bloating, dizziness, frequent urination and numbness in the hands and feet.
Iron is a mineral used to carry oxygen in the hemoglobin of red blood cells throughout the body so cells can produce energy. Iron helps to remove carbon dioxide. When the body’s iron stores become so low that not enough normal red blood cells can be made to carry oxygen efficiently, a condition known as iron deficiency anemia develops. When levels of iron are low, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and headaches can result, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Sufficient levels of Vitamin B12 are needed by the body to reduce homocysteine levels, protect the heart and arteries, support the weight of brain matter, promote mental energy and mood, protect memory function and support hearing. A Vitamin B12 deficiency can exhibit many symptoms, including weakness, fatigue, light-headedness, rapid heartbeat and easy bruising.
Folic acid, or Folate, is a water-soluble B-vitamin, specifically known as Vitamin B9. It is found in vitamin supplements, fortified foods, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and beans. Studies show that is greatly benefits the heart and circulatory health and may support blood pressure already within a normal range. A folate deficiency can cause anemia, where you have too few red blood cells in the body, depriving your tissues of oxygen. Many doctors recommend pregnant women to take folate, as a deficiency has been shown to lead to birth defects during pregnancy, according to Healthline.
Magnesium is a crucial mineral that your body needs to maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It is among the top five most abundant minerals in the body, assisting in over 300 chemical processes. Older adults have a higher risk of magnesium deficiency than younger adults, since the integrity of the kidneys is lower and the mineral may be lost in the urine. Signs of a deficiency include appetite changes, nausea, muscle tension, cramps and lack of energy. More severe deficiency signs are abnormal heart rhythms and spasms, according to Jerry Hickey, R.Ph of InVite® Health.
A Superior Multivitamin to Combat Nutrient Depletions
We live in an increasingly polluted environment, loaded with toxins; the soil we grow our food in is often nutrient-depleted and many consume processed, factory-made foods supplying scant nutrients. Add that depletion with less time spent outdoors, minimal exercise, prescription drugs and medications, and chronic stress and the result is that many individuals are truly nutrient depleted. For these reasons, healthcare professionals are advising their patients to start taking a safe, reliably-made, high-quality multivitamin mineral formula on a daily basis to fill the nutritional deficits in their diet. InVite®’s superior multivitamins are designed around a core of energy-producing nutrients along with powerfully protective food-derived antioxidants, designed to address the replenishment of core nutrients depleted by commonly prescribed drugs, to support physical activity, and to support the increased need for particular nutrients during the aging process.
If you suspect a nutrient deficiency, speak with your doctor before starting a vitamin regimen. Make sure you are eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet, as well.