We all know how important vitamins are to our health –but most of us assume that we’re probably getting enough.
The fact is, though, that vitamin deficiencies are not just something that sailors of old were susceptible to –they’re more common than you might think. For instance, it’s estimated that 25 percent of people worldwide are deficient in iron, while in the US, about 42 percent of the population is thought to be vitamin D deficient.
These deficiencies are not something to gloss over; many serious health issues stem from inadequate vitamins and minerals –and ensuring that you’re getting enough nutrients in your diet can help to stave off many health conditions.
With this in mind, here’s a look at some of the most common vitamin –as well as mineral deficiencies –and the impact that they can have on your health.
Magnesium supports bone health and promotes energy production. But almost half of the US population –48 percent, consumed less than the required amount of magnesium in 2005-2006. Magnesium is essential for bone and teeth structure –and is also involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions! Common symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps, fatigue, and migraines.
Vitamin B12 a powerful vitamin –and one that’s is needed for blood formation, as well as brain and nerve function. But up to 15 percent of people aren’t getting enough. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause exhaustion, rapid heartbeat, and brain fog. Vitamin B12 can be obtained from common animal sources such as meat, eggs, shellfish, organ meat, and milk products.
According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is by far the most common nutritional disorder in the world. It’s also the only nutrient deficiency prevalent in developed countries. A shocking 2 billion people, more than 30 percent of the world’s population, are anemic –something that’s often due to iron deficiency. Symptoms of iron deficiency include tiredness, fatigue, a weakened immune system, and even impaired brain function. Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t supplement with iron unless you are truly deficient. Too much iron can be dangerous.
Vitamin D is crucial for bone health. But about 42 percent of people in the US may be vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D can be found in cod liver oil, fatty fish, and egg yolks. It is also absorbed by exposure to sunlight. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in adults includes muscle weakness, bone loss, and increased risk of fractures. In children, this deficiency can cause growth delays and soft bones.
While it’s important to eat a varied and balanced diet –and to try to get most of your nutrients from your food, conventional crops that are grown in mineral-depleted soil today just doesn’t have the same nutritional content that they did 100 years ago. Additionally, we’re often busy, with fast-paced lifestyles –and many people don’t have the time to prepare nutritious meals from scratch. For these reasons, it’s not always feasible to obtain all of your required vitamins from diet alone. If you feel that you’re lacking in vitamins, a supplement may be a good way to help add more nutrients into your diet!
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