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Wednesday 26 October 2022

These Seven Nutrient Deficiencies Are Incredibly Common

Sharing an article by Adda Bjarnadottir, MS RDN (Ice) she writes:
"Many nutrients are essential for good health. While it’s possible to get most of them from a balanced diet, the typical Western diet is low in several very important nutrients.

This article lists seven nutrient deficiencies that are incredibly common.

1. Iron deficiency
Iron is an essential mineral. It’s a large component of red blood cells, in which it binds with haemoglobin and transports oxygen to your cells.
The two types of dietary iron are:
Heme iron. This type of iron is very well absorbed. It’s only found in animal foods, with red meat containing particularly high amounts.
Non-heme iron. This type, found in both animal and plant foods, is more common. It is not absorbed as easily as heme iron.
Summary: Iron deficiency is very common, especially among young women, children, and vegetarians. It may cause anaemia, fatigue, a weakened immune system, and impaired brain function.

2. Iodine deficiency
Iodine is an essential mineral for normal thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are involved in many bodily processes, such as growth, brain development, and bone maintenance. They also regulate your metabolic rate. Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting nearly a third of the world's population.
Summary: Iodine is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. It may cause enlargement of the thyroid gland. Severe iodine deficiency can cause mental retardation and developmental abnormalities in children.

3. Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that functions like a steroid hormone in your body. It travels through your bloodstream and into cells, telling them to turn genes on or off. Almost every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced from cholesterol in your skin upon exposure to sunlight. Thus, people who live far from the equator are likely to be deficient unless their dietary intake is adequate or they supplement with vitamin D.
Summary: Vitamin D deficiency is very common. Symptoms include muscle weakness, bone loss, an increased risk of fractures, and — in children — soft bones. It is very difficult to get sufficient amounts from your diet alone.

4. Vitamin B12 deficiency (see also related posts below)
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is essential for blood formation, as well as brain and nerve function. Every cell in your body needs B12 to function normally, but your body is unable to produce it. Therefore, you must get it from food or supplements.
B12 is only found in sufficient amounts in animal foods, although certain types of seaweed may provide small quantities. Therefore, people who do not eat animal products are at an increased risk of deficiency. Studies indicate that up to 80–90% of vegetarians and vegans may be deficient in vitamin B12. More than 20% of older adults may also be deficient in this vitamin since absorption decreases with age.
Summary: Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common, especially in vegetarians, vegans, and older adults. The most common symptoms include blood disorders, impaired brain function, and elevated homocysteine levels.

5. Calcium deficiency
Calcium is essential for every cell in your body. It mineralizes bones and teeth, especially during times of rapid growth. It is also very important for bone maintenance. Additionally, calcium serves as a signalling molecule. Without it, your heart, muscles, and nerves would not be able to function. The calcium concentration in your blood is tightly regulated, and any excess is stored in bones. If your intake is lacking, your bones will release calcium. That is why the most common symptom of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis, characterized by softer and more fragile bones. Symptoms of more severe dietary calcium deficiency include soft bones (rickets) in children and osteoporosis, especially in older adults.
Summary: Low calcium intake is very common, especially in women of all ages and older adults. The main symptom of calcium deficiency is an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

6. Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It helps form and maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones, and cell membranes. Furthermore, it produces eye pigments, which are necessary for vision. There are two different types of dietary vitamin A - Preformed vitamin A. This type of vitamin A is found in animal products like meat, fish, poultry, and dairy. Pro-vitamin A. This type is found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables. Beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, is the most common form.
Summary: Vitamin A deficiency is very common in many developing countries. It may cause eye damage and blindness, as well as suppress immune function and increase mortality among women and children.

7. Magnesium deficiency
Magnesium is a key mineral in your body. Essential for bone and teeth structure, it’s also involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions. Almost half of the U.S. population consumes less than the required amount of magnesium. Low intake and blood levels of magnesium are associated with several conditions, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and osteoporosis. The main symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and migraines. More subtle, long-term symptoms that you may not notice include insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Summary: Magnesium deficiency is common in Western countries, and low intake is associated with many health conditions and diseases.

The bottom line
It is possible to be deficient in almost every nutrient. That said, the deficiencies listed above are by far the most common. Children, young women, older adults, vegetarians, and vegans seem to be at the highest risk of several deficiencies. The best way to prevent deficiency is to eat a balanced diet that includes whole, nutrient-dense foods. However, supplements may be necessary for those who can’t obtain enough from diet alone."

The above words have been taken from Adda's article, but are just a snippet of her full article which contains all relevant research links and can be seen here

Related Posts/Information:
Diagnosing and Treating Vitamin B12 Deficiency, see it here
B12 deficiency is a serious situation. Maybe it would help all concerned to remind themselves of the damage that can be caused by B12 deficiency by watching this video, especially if you use metformin (as many diabetics do), as Metformin can deplete B12.

Metformin beyond it's blood sugar lowering properties, see it here
Metformin is believed to be the most widely prescribed diabetes drug in the world. It was introduced into Britain in 1958 but not licensed for use in T2 diabetes in the US until 1994. It works by blocking the production of glucose in the liver and also by helping the body to utilise insulin properly.
It appears to be most effective in helping with weight loss and thus reducing insulin resistance. This effect is not maintained at the same rate after the initial period of weight loss and treatment, but many patients, including those not overweight at diagnosis, continue to take it for the cardiovascular protection it is said to afford.

Do I need vitamin supplements? - The UK NHS site here

Please note that articles within this blog are provided for general information only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.

Dear reader, you will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog. It is important to note, that not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e., use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan


chica said...

Importante post e explicações. Podemos estar atentos ao que nos falta e tentar suprir! beijos, chca

aussie aNNie said...

Very informative thanks xx

CJ Kennedy said...

Wow, so many!

NanaDiana said...

I just paid to have a full blood panel done. My Vit D and B12 were almost undetectable . I had plenty of iron and calcium which is good for someone my age. I have been taking supplements and can tell the difference.

Valerie-Jael said...

Very informative, thanks!

Tom said...

...I remember when they sold Geritol for iron poor blood.

Sandi said...

People on low fat diets have trouble absorbing certain nutrients because fat is need to metabolize them correctly. It seems the push for low fat, high carb did a number on health in more ways than one.

OLga said...

Dobbiamo avere una dieta equilibrata!Ciao.

Sondra said...

I am taking Folic acid to help with any anemia during chemo.....

Jo said...

An interesting post.

eileeninmd said...

Great information, I probably could use more calcium.
Take care, enjoy your day!

Inger said...

Thanks for this helpful information, which I forwarded to my email. Hope that's OK, but I felt it is so important.

Elephant's Child said...

Scary isn't it?

Teresa said...

Me ha encantado este reportaje de hoy. Besos.

My name is Erika. said...

I was familiar with a couple of these-iron in particular, but not all of the others. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Kirkland said...

I am deficient in Vitamin D and Folic Acid. I had to start taking supplements.

Practical Parsimony said...

Mt vit D was barely detectable! But, a year of high supplements, 50,000 and it is barely any better! I eat fortified food, also, and get sun. Doctor is wondering where the D goes and hides in my body.

Linda said...

Good information. Recently my doctor took me off Metformin because he did not feel my A1c levels are a problem at this time. I’m happy about that.

Chatty Crone said...

I take a powdered vitamin - so I get most of it. I also take metformin - have not lost weight on it!

Ananka said...

I take a multi vitamin, B12, Iron and D. They have tested me over the years and even before I was a vegetarian.... I was still low in iron and B12. They said I don't absorb well perhaps due to my coffee and tea intake.

happyone said...

Thanks for all the information!!

J.P. Alexander said...

Muy buen análisis. Te mando un beso.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Such good information. Good quality health care is so important to pick up on needed supplements. And you are so right a varied diet is imperative.

William Kendall said...

Iron levels occasionally go too low for me.

Debbie-Dabble Blog and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

Thanks so much for all the great info!! And thanks a lot for taking the time to stop by!!
Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

Margaret D said...

Good to read Jan.
Thank goodness for a good balanced diet.

Jeanie said...

Very interesting Jan. You always find the most intriguing and helpful info to share!

handmade by amalia said...

A lot of really good information here, Jan. Thanks for sharing!

neuriwoman said...

Un blog muy interesante. Saludos

Divers and Sundry said...

I do try to eat a balanced diet, and I take a couple of supplements. said...

Good to know, thanks.

Conniecrafter said...

I have a couple of these and take supplements