Are you worried that you may have a vitamin D deficiency? It’s proven 31 percent of people in the United States are at risk for a deficiency in at least one vitamin or mineral essential for good health. It may be hard to imagine that we don’t get enough nutrition when we see an abundance of food available 24/7, but it’s true. A recent study showed the top five nutrients many of us need more of.
Should you be concerned about being low in one or two vitamins or minerals? In a word, yes. That’s because vitamins and minerals are essential for optimal health. Being low may not cause immediate symptoms, but it puts you at risk for many serious diseases that can affect your brain, heart, blood, immune system, metabolism, bones, mental health, etc. Nutrients are key pieces your body needs to maintain all your systems in good working order. Missing just one or two pieces can throw off the delicate balance you need to be healthy and feel great. That’s because most nutrients don’t have just one vital role to play within the body, they play many, many vital roles.
How would you even know if you’re at risk for a nutrient deficiency? It’s not always obvious. Sometimes symptoms aren’t felt for a long time and sometimes they’re very vague and non-specific. For example, fatigue, irritability, aches and pains, decreased immune function, and heart palpitations can be signs of many things, including a nutrient deficiency. This article goes over the five most commonly deficient nutrients, some of the more obvious symptoms, and foods that are high in each so you can get enough.
Worried about Vitamin D deficiency?
Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is very important for your bones. It promotes the absorption of the mineral calcium. When your body has enough calcium, it can maintain normal bone mineralization and prevent problems in the muscles that lead to cramps and spasms. Getting enough Vitamin D and calcium can also help protect against osteoporosis. In addition to all of these bone and muscle impacts, Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation and modulate both immune function and sugar metabolism.
With Vitamin D deficiency bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents these issues known as rickets (in children) and osteomalacia (in adults).
Your skin makes Vitamin D when it’s exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the sun and very few foods naturally contain it. There are a few foods that include D-rich nutrient which include fatty fish and fish liver oils (e.g., salmon, trout, cod liver oil). Other foods that naturally contain small amounts of Vitamin D include egg yolks, beef liver, and cheddar cheese. Some mushrooms can contain Vitamin D—particularly those exposed to UV light.
Most of the dietary Vitamin D that people in the US get is from fortified foods and beverages. These include some dairy products (mainly milk), certain plant milks (e.g., soy, almond, or oat milks), various breakfast cereals, and a few types of orange juice. Be sure to look at the nutrition labels to see if and how much Vitamin D is in each serving of the food or beverage.
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Up to one-third of people in the US are at risk for at least one nutrient deficiency. Most commonly, that deficient nutrient is Vitamin B6, but there are also many people deficient in vitamins B12, C, and D, as well as the mineral iron. Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients because everybody needs them on a regular basis for good health. Lacking in any one nutrient can have far-reaching consequences.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet with a variety of foods can help everyone achieve their health and nutrition goals.
To know if you’re at risk for a nutrient deficiency, consult a certified/credentialed/licensed/Master’s level, registered dietitian/nutritionist/nutrition professional who can review your foods and supplements. I can help. Here is my link to book a chat about making sure to meet your dietary needs. https://cherylbuckley.com/contact-us-2/
If you’re feeling “off” or having symptoms that concern, you? Want inspiration on how to meet your health goals through a nutritious diet? Need a personalized list of recipes and a plan to help you enjoy eating well? Book an appointment with me to see if my product/program/service can help you. https://cherylbuckley.com/contact-us-2/
Bird, J. K., Murphy, R. A., Ciappio, E. D., & McBurney, M. I. (2017). Risk of Deficiency in Multiple Concurrent Micronutrients in Children and Adults in the United States. Nutrients, 9(7), 655. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9070655
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 28). Iron fact sheet for health professionals.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 4). Vitamin B6 fact sheet for health professionals.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, March 30). Vitamin B12 fact sheet for health professionals.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 27). Vitamin C fact sheet for health professionals.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, October 9). Vitamin D fact sheet for health professionals.