It has been proven that 31 percent of Americans are at risk of a lack in at least one essential vitamin or mineral for their health. Although it may seem hard to believe that we don’t have enough nutrition despite having plenty of food at our disposal, it is true. Recent research revealed that the top five nutrients we need more of.
Do you have to be concerned about a low level of one or two minerals or vitamins? Yes. Vitamins and minerals are vital for optimal health. Although you may not experience immediate symptoms, being low in vitamins and minerals can lead to serious health problems. These diseases include those that affect the brain, heart, blood, immune system as well as your bones, mental, and physical health. Your body requires essential nutrients to keep all your systems running smoothly. A few missing pieces can cause you to feel sick and unwell. This is because nutrients have many roles within the body.
How do you know if your body is at risk of a nutrient shortage? Sometimes it's hard to see. Sometimes the symptoms don't manifest for a long period of time, and other times they are vague and non-specific. A nutrient deficiency can manifest as fatigue, irritability and aches and pains. This article will discuss the most common deficient nutrients and some of the more obvious symptoms. It also lists foods high in each to help you eat enough.
1 - Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 was the most commonly deficient nutrient in the US. Vitamin B6 is essential for your brain, blood, and metabolism. Vitamin B6 aids in the formation of hemoglobin, which is the part of the blood that carries oxygen around. It helps maintain healthy levels of homocysteine. High levels are associated with heart disease. This vitamin is also important in the production and maintenance of neurotransmitters, chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate with one another. It's also involved in over 100 enzyme reactions, mostly metabolic.
Depression, confusion, convulsions and a form of anemia known as "microcytic", are some of the symptoms of a severe vitamin B6 deficiency. The symptoms of a less severe deficiency are not less severe. These include an increased risk of heart disease and Alzheimer's. Vitamin B6 has many health benefits that are why it is essential for your health.
Vitamin B6 can be found in all food groups. High-fiber cereals have higher vitamin B6 levels, as they are often fortified. Vitamin B6 can also be found in large quantities in potatoes, noncitrus fruits (e.g. bananas) and other animal-based foods like poultry, fish, organ meats, and others.
2 - Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12, like Vitamin B6, is important for your brain and blood. Vitamin B12 is essential for the production of healthy red blood cells as well as the formation of myelin, which is necessary for nerve cell function.
Vitamin B12 can sometimes be difficult to absorb from food. It is important that your stomach contains enough acid and digestive enzymes to improve absorption. Because vitamin bonds are very strong to proteins in food, stomach acid and digestive enzymes can help break these bonds and allow your body to absorb the vitamin.
A type of anemia known as "pernicious anemia" can lead to a Vitamin B12 shortage. An autoimmune condition called "pernicious anemia" can cause a deficiency in Vitamin B12 and affect the stomach's ability to absorb Vitamin B12. Anemia caused by a deficiency of Vitamin B12 could lead to "megaloblastic". A low level of Vitamin B12 can cause neurological damage due to impaired nerve cell myelination.
Vitamin B12 is not naturally found in many plant-based foods. However, it can be found in nutritional yeast products. Vitamin B12 is found naturally in milk, eggs, fish and poultry, as well as in meats. It is especially high in salmon, beef liver and clams. Vitamin B12 is added to many breakfast cereals.
Vitamin B12 supplements and foods fortified with Vitamin B12 are not as important as absorbing the vitamin from food. Vitamin B12 is easier to absorb when it's added to food and supplements.
3 - Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for wound healing (via a protein known as collagen), neurotransmitter production, metabolism, and proper functioning of your immune system. Vitamin C can also be used as an antioxidant to limit the damage done by free radicals, which can lead to many diseases like certain cancers and heart disease. Vitamin C is also essential for the absorption of iron, which is also one of the five most important nutrient deficiencies.
Collagen is an essential component of connective tissues and this describes the symptoms of scurvy, a deficiency. Scurvy symptoms include weak connective tissues, bleeding, wounds that don't heal and even loss of teeth.
Vitamin C can be found in many fruits and vegetables. Bell peppers, oranges and orange juice are some of the best sources of Vitamin C. You can also get Vitamin C from kiwifruits, tomatoes, cucumbers, Brussels sprouts and tomato juice. Vitamin C isn't naturally found in grains but certain breakfast cereals have been fortified with it.
Choose the freshest foods when choosing Vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C levels naturally decrease the longer food is stored. Vitamin C-rich foods should be eaten raw as much as possible. You can cook them but steaming or microwaving is better than long boiling. Vitamin C is water-soluble and destroyed by heat.
4 - Vitamin D
Vitamin D, also known by the "sunshine Vitamin", is essential for your bones. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. Your body can retain normal bone mineralization. It can also prevent muscle spasms and cramps by having enough calcium. Vitamin D and calcium are important for osteoporosis prevention. Vitamin D is important for bone and muscle health, as well as helping to regulate sugar metabolism and inflammation.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Without it, bones can become brittle and brittle. Vitamin D helps prevent these problems, also known as osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
Vitamin D is made by the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet rays. Very few foods contain it naturally. Vitamin D-rich foods are fatty fish, fish liver oils, and cod liver oil. Egg yolks, beef liver, cheddar cheese, and other foods naturally rich in Vitamin D are some of the others. Vitamin D can be found in some mushrooms, especially if they are exposed to ultraviolet light.
Fortified foods and beverages account for most of the Vitamin D consumed in the United States. These include certain dairy products (mainly milk), some plant milks (e.g. soy, almond, or even oat milks), a variety of breakfast cereals, as well as a few kinds of orange juice. Make sure you read the nutrition labels carefully to determine how much Vitamin D is contained in the food or beverage.
5 - Iron
Iron is an essential mineral for healthy blood. It can transport vital oxygen throughout your body every minute of every day. This is done through a compound found in your red blood cells, called "hemoglobin." Iron supports your muscles (like Vitamin D), and your connective tissues (like Vitamin C). A good supply of iron is essential for your physical growth, neurological development and hormone production as well as the function of your cells.
Anemia is a condition where iron levels are low. This is due to the regular loss of blood.
Iron is found in large quantities in the blood. However, there are some iron stores in the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Iron deficiency is gradual. It starts with depleting your iron stores (mild iron deficiencies), and then gradually reduces the number of red cells (marginaliron deficiency), until you reach full-blown iron deficiency.
Iron can be found in many foods naturally in either heme or nonheme form. The more absorbable form of iron found in animal-based foods is the heme. Nonheme iron is naturally found in plant-based foods. Vitamin C is here to help. Vitamin C is essential for your body to absorb nonheme iron from plants. This is why it's important that you eat iron-rich and Vitamin C-rich foods in the same dish.
Fortified cereals and oysters are some of the best sources for iron.
One-third of Americans are at risk for nutrient deficiencies. The most common deficient nutrient in the US is Vitamin B6, however, there are many people who are deficient in Vitamins B12, C and D as well as the mineral Iron. Everyone needs vitamins and minerals on a regular basis to maintain good health. A lack of any one nutrient could have devastating consequences.
Everyone can achieve their nutrition and health goals by eating a varied diet rich in nutrients.
If you're at risk for a nutrient deficiency, or looking for help with reaching your nutrient requirements on the low FODMAP diet, consider Casa de Sante low FODMAP multivitamins. They are highly recommended!:
My stomach didn't rebel!
My B12 got so low I needed injections. So many vitamins upset my stomach so I've been bad about taking them. But these are fine and are pretty tasty too.
Amy Sutherland September 13, 2021, 10:37 AM
Bird, J. K., Murphy, R. A., Ciappio, E. D., & McBurney, M. I. 2017 There is a 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, 2020). Health professionals can download the iron fact sheet.
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2020, February 4, 2020). 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, 2020). 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