Top 5 nutrient deficiencies (B6, B12, C, D, and Iron)

Studies show that 31% of Americans are low in at least one vitamin or mineral crucial to optimal health. Unfortunately food does not contain the same nutrient content as food grown fifty years ago, and for this reason we need to maximize nutrient consumption and digestion.

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for optimum health. Even though being low may not show any signs right away, it increases your risk of developing a number of dangerous illnesses that can harm your bones, brain, heart, blood, immune system, metabolism, and other vital organs. Your body depends on nutrients to keep all of its systems functioning properly. A delicate equilibrium that is necessary for your health and well-being might be upset by one or two missing elements. That’s because the majority of nutrients have a variety of essential tasks in the body rather than just one.

How would you even be able to tell whether you might be at risk for vitamin deficiencies? Vitamin deficiencies are not always evident. Sometimes symptoms take a long time to manifest, and other times they are incredibly vague and non-specific. For instance, a nutritional shortage might be indicated by symptoms like weariness, irritability, aches and pains, impaired immunological function, and heart palpitations. This page discusses the five nutrients that are most frequently deficient, some of the more pronounced symptoms, and foods that are abundant in each nutrient so you can eat enough of them.

Vitamin B6: The most prevalent vitamin deficiency in the US. This vitamin supports healthy blood, brain function, and metabolism. The production of hemoglobin in the blood is aided by vitamin B6 (the part that carries oxygen around). It also helps to maintain homocysteine levels at normal ranges (high levels of homocysteine are linked with heart disease).

Vitamin B12: Like vitamin B6, vitamin B12 is crucial for healthy blood and the brain. It is necessary for the production of healthy red blood cells and the development of myelin, the protective layer that surrounds nerve cells and is crucial to their optimal performance.

It can be a little challenging to absorb vitamin B12 from your diet. The stomach must contain enough acid and digestive enzymes to promote absorption. This is due to the fact that the vitamin is very tightly bonded to the proteins in food, and stomach acid and enzymes assist in releasing the vitamin from these bindings and allow your body to absorb it. We dive deep into this issue in the Gut Healing Program.

Vitamin C: Via a protein called collagen, vitamin C is essential for the formation of neurotransmitters, metabolism, and immune system health. Additionally, vitamin C functions as an antioxidant to lessen the harm done by free radicals, which can exacerbate a number of illnesses, including several cancers and heart disease. Iron is one of the top five nutrient deficiencies mentioned in this article, and it is made worse by a lack of vitamin C, which aids your body in absorbing this crucial mineral.

Vitamin D: Commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is crucial for maintaining healthy bones. It enhances the absorption of calcium. Your body can maintain healthy bone mineralization and avoid muscle issues that cause cramping and spasms when there is an adequate supply of calcium in your system. Getting adequate calcium and vitamin D can also help stave off osteoporosis. Along with all of these effects on bones and muscles, vitamin D also helps to lower inflammation and regulate immunological response and sugar metabolism. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones might become fragile, deformed, or thin.

Iron: For your blood to carry important oxygen throughout your body every second of every day, the mineral iron is necessary. Iron also nourishes your muscles (like Vitamin D) and your connective tissue through a process known as “hemoglobin,” which is a substance in your red blood cells (like Vitamin C). For healthy physical development, neurological growth, hormone production, and cell function, you need enough iron.  Menstruating women typically have decreased iron levels due to their regular blood loss, which is known as “anemia,” a condition when there is an iron shortage.

In the US, up to one-third of the population may be lacking in one or more nutrients. The most often insufficient nutrient is vitamin B6, but many people also have deficiencies in iron, the vitamins B12, C, and D. Since everyone requires vitamins and minerals on a regular basis for optimum health, they are considered essential nutrients. A deficiency in one vitamin alone can have significant negative effects.

Everyone can attain their nutritional and health goals by eating a nutrient-rich diet that includes a range of foods. Keep in mind that optimal digestion is absolutely imperative so that you can make use of the vitamins and minerals you’re consuming.

Feeling “off” or having symptoms that concern you? Want inspiration on how to meet your health goals through a nutritious diet? Book an appointment with me to see if my programs can help you.

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About Ishbel

For the last twenty years, I have helped people take charge of their health and feel better. I have been in your shoes - sick, tired, and overwhelmed by how to actionably care for myself. If you want to feel better, but don't know where to start, you've come to the right place. Learn More >

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