5 Deficiencies Almost Everyone Has (And Doesn’t Know About)

5 Essential Nutrients You May Be Missing From Your Diet

Although we live in a culture of abundance and have a wide variety of foods, many people still suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Some of the most common deficiencies are iron deficiency and vitamin D deficiency. These deficiencies affect many people but most don’t even know about it. It is extremely important to treat any deficiency as soon as possible to prevent long term damage.

This article will cover the five major vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You’ll find out how to spot these deficiencies and how to treat them. Many of us can have one or more of these nutritional deficiencies without even realizing it.

5 Common Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

1. Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 (also called cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin which plays an important role in the production of red blood cells and is required to keep nerve cells healthy.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can be sneaky and harmful according to Harvard Medical School.

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1 in every five adults has marginal levels of vitamin B12.

How to identify vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to a feeling of fatigue, tingling or numbness in the feet or tips of fingers and even depression. You can confirm vitamin B12 deficiency by having a simple blood test.

How to resolve vitamin B12 deficiency

Consume foods that have high levels of vitamin B12 such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Vegetarians have limited options and can mainly get it from eggs and nori.

Non-animal options of vitamin B12 include nutritional yeast and vitamin B12 fortified products, such as B12 fortified almond milk and cereals, and some breads. One medical study says that dried purple laver (nori) is the most suitable vitamin B12 source presently available for vegetarians.

If you cannot get enough vitamin B12 through your diet, you will have to start taking B12 supplements or even get vitamin B12 injections.

You can get a lot more information on how to spot this deficiency and treat it in my article about the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency and how to correct it.

 2. Iron deficiency

Iron is a mineral and it’s one of the essential nutrients the body needs.

How to identify iron deficiency?

An iron deficiency can make you feel constantly tired, lack energy, have a pale complexion, or cause frequent headaches. It can also cause pale skin and brittle nails.

Lack of iron can also lead to iron deficiency anemia.

You can find out if you have an iron deficiency by having a simple blood test. Anemia can also be detected using the MCHC blood test.

How to treat iron deficiency?

You need to consume iron rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Animal sources contain heme iron which your body can easily absorb.

Unlike vitamin B12, you can also get iron from non animal sources such as beans, tahini and green vegetables. But iron derived from plants is nonheme iron and is poorly absorbed into the body.

In some cases you may need to take an iron supplement so make sure to read my complete guide to choosing the best iron supplement.

You can increase iron absorption from the food if you combine it with vitamin C, which you can find in oranges, tomatoes and peppers. For example: a combination of chicken breast with orange juice can help you increase the absorption of iron from food.

There are some foods that interfere with iron absorption, such as calcium-containing foods or foods that contain caffeine. If you had meat for lunch, drink coffee two hours after the meal.

You can get a lot more information on how to spot iron deficiency and treat it in my article: Top Signs of Iron Deficiency and How To Increase Iron Levels In Your Blood.

3. Omega 3 deficiency

Omega 3 fatty acids are a family of polyunsaturated fats that are essential to your body. They come in different lengths: short chain fatty acids and long ones.

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • EPA and DHA that are mainly found in deep water fatty fish.
  • ALA which is found in plant sources such as flaxseeds.

EPA and DHA are the best types of omega 3 fatty acids. Your body is also able to use ALA, but it needs to convert it to DHA and EPA, and the conversion rate is very low.

DHA has a structural role in cell membranes, and is particularly dominant in the nervous system, brain and eye.

EPA has a beneficial effect on the heart and blood vessels. It helps to prevent depression and improves mood, cognition and concentration.

According a medical study, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory effects and they are good for your brain health.

High levels of omega 3 fatty acids help to reduce the risk of heart disease, blood vessel disease and stroke.

Having sufficient levels of omega 3 can also help to reduce insulin resistance, reduce the risk of depression, improve cognitive function and brain development. It can also help to prevent chronic diseases and cancer.

A review of scientific studies from 2013 found that a high intake of EPA and DHA is associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.

How do you identify lack of omega 3?

The best way to detect this deficiency is to have a blood test.

How to prevent omega 3 deficiency?

The most popular way to prevent this deficiency is to take high strength fish oil supplement (like this one) or krill oil supplement (like this one).

Alternatively you can consume at least two servings of deep water fish such as salmon twice a week.

If you are a vegetarian, consume flaxseeds daily as they are a good source of ALA and they have a lot of health benefits.

For more information, read my complete guide for omega 3.

4. Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium is an essential mineral for our body. According to the National Institute of Health, magnesium is an important mineral because it is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body.

Magnesium is especially important to keep your heart and nerve system healthy. It is also required to prevent muscle contraction.

A close relationship has been found between magnesium deficiency and an increased blood sugar levels, and therefore it is recommended for diabetics to consume it as part of maintaining sugar balance in their body.

How do you identify magnesium deficiency?

The warning signs of low magnesium levels in your body can be difficult to spot. A magnesium deficiency can show signs like muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, tingling in your hand, and constipation. You can get a lot more information in my article about the top signs that you have magnesium deficiency.

How to treat magnesium deficiency?

Consume foods that are high in magnesium. Some of the best foods that contain high levels of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds as well as whole grains.

You can also take magnesium supplements in powder form, liquid, capsules or tablets. You can find inexpensive products that feature magnesium citrate (like this one), which is among the most readily absorbed forms of magnesium supplements.

Consuming adequate amount of magnesium is also one of the 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health which will guide you how to take positive steps to improve your wellness and overall health.

5. Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D is important for a good overall health and it plays an important role in making sure our muscles, heart, lungs and brain function well.

Vitamin D is very important for the absorption of calcium in the body and it helps maintain bone density. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to decreased bone density and affects the function of the thyroid gland. There are 12 common diseases caused by vitamin D deficiency.

Lack of vitamin D is very common today in the Western world, partly due to the use of sunscreen and less sun exposure.

Other reasons for this deficiency are functional problems of the liver and kidneys.

How do you identify vitamin D deficiency?

You can check the level of vitamin D in a simple blood test.

How to treat vitamin D deficiency?

After consulting with your physician, you can take vitamin D supplement.

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