Your body requires various nutrients to function properly. While it’s possible to get most of these nutrients from a balanced diet, the typical American diet is low in several key nutrients. Even if you eat a well-balanced diet and live a healthy lifestyle, you could still have a deficiency in one of these essential nutrients. Here are the most common nutrient deficiencies and how you can combat them.
1. Iron Deficiency
One of the most common nutrient deficiencies is iron, affecting more than 25% of the population worldwide. Iron is an essential mineral that helps your blood transport oxygen to your cells. There are two types of iron found in food. Heme iron is easily absorbed by the body and is only found in animal products. Non-heme iron can be found in both animal and plant products, but it’s not as easily absorbed. If you have an iron deficiency, you may experience weakness, tiredness, a weak immune system, and impaired brain function. You can add more iron to your diet with red meat, organ meat, shellfish, beans, seeds, and leafy greens.
2. Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is another one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts like a steroid hormone and tells your cells to turn genes on or off. You can naturally absorb vitamin D from sunlight. If you live in an area with little sunlight, you’re more likely to be deficient in this vitamin. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you may experience bone loss, muscle weakness, and reduced immune function. To combat this deficiency, you can try adding foods that contain this vitamin to your diet, such as cod liver oil, fatty fish like salmon and sardines, and egg yolks. It’s difficult to consume sufficient amounts of vitamin D through diet alone, though, so supplements may be necessary.
3. Calcium Deficiency
Calcium is a mineral that is essential for every cell in your body. It’s most known for strengthening bones and teeth, but it also serves as a signaling molecule for your heart, muscles, and nerves. If you have a calcium deficiency, you will likely experience softer and more fragile bones, leading to osteoporosis. It’s difficult to get enough calcium from just your diet, which is why this is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. To increase your calcium intake, try adding foods to your diet like dairy products, boned fish, and dark green vegetables. Calcium supplements may also be necessary if you aren’t getting enough in your diet alone.
4. Iodine Deficiency
Iodine deficiency is one of the lesser known but most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting almost a third of the population worldwide. Iodine is a mineral that is necessary for proper thyroid function and the production of thyroid hormones, which are involved in many of your body’s processes. The most common symptom of an iodine deficiency is an enlarged thyroid gland. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and weight gain. Severe iodine deficiency can cause mental and developmental abnormalities in children. Iodine is naturally found in soil and ocean water, so good dietary sources of this mineral are seaweed, fish, dairy, and eggs. Table salt is often enriched with iodine as well to combat this common deficiency.
5. Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for blood formation and brain and nerve function. Each cell in your body requires this vitamin to function properly. Your body can’t produce vitamin B12, so it needs to get it from diet and supplements. This vitamin can primarily be found in animal products, which means vegetarians and vegans have a much higher risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. A common symptom of this deficiency is enlarged red blood cells, a condition known as megaloblastic anemia. Symptoms may also include elevated homocysteine levels and impaired brain function. Some of the best sources of vitamin B12 are shellfish, red meat, organ meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Vitamin Supplements at Moore’s Compounding Pharmacy
These are some of the most common nutrient deficiencies and how you can combat them with your diet. However, it’s not always possible to get all the nutrients you need from diet alone. It’s often necessary to take supplements to make sure your body is getting sufficient amounts of the nutrients it needs. That’s why we carry a number of high-quality supplements at our pharmacy so you can experience the best nutrition and health possible. Shop our supplements online to keep your body healthy and functioning at its peak!