The Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies and How to Correct Them

The Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies and How to Correct Them

Many Australians aren’t getting enough essential minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium – which could have detrimental effects on health, according to a dietitian.

Nutrient deficiencies can be caused by an imbalance of nutrients or growing media that’s too acidic, alkaline or overwatered. They also occur when plants’ roots are unable to absorb the essential nutrients you supply them with.

Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is an essential mineral that supports various bodily processes, such as blood clotting and muscle contraction. Additionally, calcium helps regulate nerve and heart rhythms.

Calcium deficiency can be a serious issue in the United States; in fact, more than 40% of its citizens don’t get enough through food intake.

In 2011, approximately 3.5 billion people worldwide were at risk of calcium deficiency. This includes those with lactose intolerance, vegans and postmenopausal women.

At first, a lack of calcium may not cause any symptoms; however, over time it can lead to osteopenia and osteoporosis – conditions which weaken bones and increase your risk for fractures. That’s why maintaining adequate levels of this vital nutrient in your bloodstream is so important.

Iodine Deficiency

Iodine is an essential nutrient your thyroid gland needs to produce thyroxine and triiodothyronine, two hormones vital for brain development. Eating enough iodine-rich food is particularly important, as iodine can be depleted through excessive consumption.

When your body lacks iodine, it can hinder thyroid hormone production and cause your metabolism to slow down and leave you feeling fatigued.

Your heart can also be affected by slowing down. When your pulse rate slows down, you may experience dizziness and feel sick.

Iodine deficiency is no longer as widespread as it once was around the world, but some people remain vulnerable to getting too little iodine through their food intake. These include pregnant or lactating women, those living in mountainous regions where plants containing iodine cannot grow, and those eating foods grown on soils lacking in iodine.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D is necessary for bone health and plays an integral role in your nervous system, musculoskeletal system and immune system. Not only that but it’s also beneficial to your mood and overall well-being.

Vitamin D is essential for optimal health and wellbeing, particularly during the winter months. You can obtain it through sun exposure on your skin or through supplements.

Older adults, those with dark skin, those who are obese and those taking certain medicines (anti-convulsants, gluco-corticoids and HIV medicines) have an increased likelihood of deficiency.

For optimal health benefits, supplement with 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily from either food sources or supplements. It’s best to consume vitamin D alongside calcium for maximum benefit.

Additionally, individuals with medical conditions that impair vitamin D absorption (e.g. Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis or celiac disease) may require more of this fat-soluble vitamin than recommended.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient necessary for making red blood cells and DNA, the central information storage system of most animals and plants. Without it, all cells in your body will malfunction improperly; consequently, deficiency can lead to physical, neurological and psychological issues if left uncorrected.

Vitamin B12 levels in humans can become low due to various reasons, but most often due to inadequate absorption from food sources. This could be caused by gastritis or pernicious anemia – a rare medical condition which prevents intrinsic factor production in the stomach, which makes Vitamin B12 absorption possible.

Other factors that may prevent your body from absorbing enough vitamin B12 include surgery (like a gastrectomy) or conditions in the small intestine such as Crohn’s disease or celiac disease. If one of these applies to you, your doctor may suggest taking vitamin B12 injections in order to improve absorption from food sources.

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