6 Common Nutrient Deficiencies & How To Solve Them
What are common nutrient deficiencies?
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
With all the agricultural, medical, and scientific progress over the last few decades, you might think nutrient deficiencies are a thing of the past — food is easier to get nowadays, after all. But even with all the “good” food you eat, you may be missing some of the essentials your body needs to function optimally.
Nutrient deficiencies can affect your body’s systems and processes at the cellular level, and eventually lead to serious disease and illness. While common, most deficiencies have telltale symptoms you can look out for. Here’s how to recognize the most common nutrient deficiencies, and how you can address them.
Iodine is a mineral your body needs for normal hormone production. It supports thyroid function and is used in the production of thyroid hormones. These hormones are involved in various other systems, such as body growth, brain development, bone maintenance, and metabolic rate.
As needed as it is, iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting almost two billion people worldwide. This deficiency’s symptoms are an enlarged thyroid gland (also known as a goiter). It can also cause rapid heart rates, sudden weight gain, and breathing difficulties. Severe deficiency can cause developmental issues in children.
Magnesium is another key mineral your body needs for various functions. It’s used in bone and teeth structure and plays a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions. These enzymatic reactions are used for protein synthesis, energy production, proper muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation, and more reactions in your body.
However, about 10% to 30% of the world’s population lacks this mineral, and this becomes more prevalent in older adults. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency are an abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure, fatigue, migraines, restless leg syndrome, and muscle cramps. Low magnesium levels are also linked to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis.
Calcium is one of the most used minerals in our body. It’s needed for building our bones and teeth, for efficient communication between our body and brain, and in proper muscle movement and cardiovascular health. Calcium is needed for our body’s maintenance — without it, the heart, muscles, and nerves would not be able to function.
The calcium levels in your body are tightly regulated. When you lack calcium, the excess stored in your bones will be released. This leads to the most common symptom of a calcium deficiency — soft and fragile bones, which could lead to osteoporosis. Unfortunately, more than 3.5 billion people are at risk of severe calcium deficiency.
Potassium is an essential nutrient used by your heart, nerves, muscles, and soft tissue to work efficiently. Potassium is also used to deliver other nutrients to cells, and remove waste from our bodies. It can also offset high sodium levels, which eases its negative effect on our cardiovascular health.
Conditions like kidney disease can make it hard for your body to absorb potassium. Diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sweating can cause potassium loss. Additionally, some antibiotics and medications can hinder your body’s use of potassium. Symptoms of a deficiency are muscle weakness, constipation, a numb or tingling sensation, and heart palpitations.
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that supports the production of red blood cells and DNA. It is also used in the development and repair of brain and nerve cells. Vitamin B12 plays a role in neurotransmitter functions as well.
People who don’t eat meat are at higher risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency, as plant foods lack this vitamin. Those who have undergone weight loss surgery may also struggle to store vitamin B12, as this procedure makes it difficult to extract the vitamin from food.
Symptoms of low levels of B12 deficiency include anemia, fatigue, problems with walking and balance, swelling and inflammation, numb hands and feet, and cognitive problems. These symptoms can either show up quickly or gradually and with such a wide range of symptoms, some people are unaware their condition is due to a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is used to regulate the calcium and phosphorus levels in your body, helping in the proper maintenance of your bone structure. Vitamin D also regulates your immune system and the neuromuscular system. Nearly all of your cells have a receptor for vitamin D, as it facilitates their life cycles.
It’s so important that your body can produce it on its own — after exposure to sunlight. Sadly, many people are unable to get enough sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D. This leads to a deficiency, and its symptoms are subtle and may develop over years or decades. Muscle weakness, weak immune systems, and bone mass loss are common but are often mistaken for other deficiencies.
How to prevent nutrient deficiencies
The simplest way to prevent nutrient deficiencies is to have a wholesome diet that includes all food groups. But, this is easier said than done — some people have diet restrictions, certain foods may be hard to find in your area, or you simply don’t have the time to shop and cook up nutrient-dense dishes every day. And, even with a healthy diet, you may still be missing the optimal balance of nutrients.
If you’re concerned about how many vitamins and minerals you’re having every day, supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin — like Essential Supplement’s CellSentials from USANA — is completely safe.
Be at your best every day with CellSential’s Core Minerals and Vita Antioxidant tablets. These specially formulated supplements deliver a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals to avoid these common deficiencies and offer much more for comprehensive health support.
Without proper nutrition, you are at risk of various health issues and certain diseases. Luckily, there are ways to combat common nutrient deficiencies. With a well-balanced diet, supported by CellSentials — a potent, safe, and high-quality multivitamin — you’re able to overcome nutrition problems and build up towards optimal health!
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