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Are You Deficient in Any of These Essential Vitamins?
A balanced diet loaded with nutrients is vital when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. Ideally, you want to be consuming all essential vitamins and minerals daily.
Vitamins are a necessity. Not only do they help keep your body healthy, but they also work to fight off diseases.
If you are lacking certain nutrients, your body might physically react. Here are some ways to know if you are lacking in vitamins, as well as which vitamins are significant to our health.
What vitamins do we need?
With all of the vitamins you see on the shelf in the store nowadays, you may be wondering what exactly you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Although you are faced with many different options of vitamins to take, there are a few that are more essential than others. Here is some information to help learn about which vitamins you might want to focus on.
Vitamin A is necessary to have and helps with many different parts of our body, including supporting a healthy immune system, vision, and maintaining our skin.
Vitamin A also has antioxidants that protect our cells against harmful substances our body may come into contact with.
A good way to get the appropriate daily intake is from fruits and vegetables, especially those that are green, orange, or yellow: broccoli, carrots, and squash.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin because it helps our bodies absorb calcium.
We receive the majority of our Vitamin D from the sun, but it can also be found it certain foods. Receiving vitamin D from the sun may be harder to do if we’re trying to protect our skin from the sun’s harsh rays, or when it gets too cold to be outside during the winter months.
You can also increase your vitamin D intake with foods like fish, eggs, or even orange juice!
Vitamin B6 plays an active role in hundreds of the chemical reactions that take place in our bodies.
It is crucial when it comes to managing sleep and appetite. Vitamin B6 also helps your body make red blood cells, which transports oxygen throughout the body. Vitamin B6 boosts our cognitive and immune functions as well.
You can easily increase your vitamin B6 levels with meat, whole grains, and vegetables.
How do I know if I’m deficient?
Knowing whether or not you are deficient in any particular vitamin can be tricky. Everyone’s body reacts differently, and most people have one or more vitamin deficiencies without even knowing it.
However, here are some tell-tale signs to know if you are experiencing a vitamin deficiency. Symptoms of any vitamin deficiency could be similar to those of a more serious health issue.
If you have a health concern, always consult your doctor first. Your doctor can provide you with insight on your vitamin deficiencies or health issues as well as give you professional advice on how to stay healthy.
Here are a few common vitamin deficiencies and their symptoms.
Brittle Hair or Hair Loss
Dry hair, split ends, and hair loss are common concerns for many reasons.
While numerous factors can lead to either of these, a lack of biotin is one. Biotin, or vitamin B7, is what helps our bodies convert food to energy. With a biotin deficiency, you may experience cramps or muscle pain, fatigue, or tingling in the limbs.
Foods that are rich in biotin include meat, fish, dairy, and whole grains.
Another reason for a vitamin deficiency that causes hair loss is iron because it is part of the makeup of DNA in hair follicles. If someone is deficient in this, it could cause hair fallout or stunted hair growth.
Foods that are rich in iron include red meat, seafood, beans, and vegetables.
If you think you may be deficient in one of these vitamins, you can typically buy these at a local pharmacy or grocery store. You can also work to incorporate more foods into your diet that contain these vitamins.
Ulcers in or around the mouth are very uncomfortable, even if you are not eating. Mouth ulcers can link back to various health issues, with vitamin deficiency being one.
A lack of iron or vitamin B-12 can cause someone to have ulcers.
For example, if someone is deficient in vitamin B-12, there is reduced red blood cell production and less oxygen reaching the tongue. This is because red blood cells carry oxygen that help power the tissues in our mouth.
If you are struggling with mouth ulcers, here are some tips to ease the pain according to Medical News Today:
- Avoid spicy or acidic foods
- Rinse mouth with warm, salt water
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash
To avoid these ulcers, try increasing your iron intake with your diet. Foods rich in iron include meat, fish, leafy greens, legumes, and whole grains.
Pain or Muscle Weakness
Pain throughout your body and muscles can be frustrating. If you are experiencing pain in your body or muscle weakness, this could be a sign of a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is needed for your body to function properly. It allows our body to absorb calcium, reduce inflammation, and many other things.
A lack of vitamin D is common for people who like to stay out of the sun, have milk allergies, or stick to a plant-based diet.
To increase your vitamin D intake, there are a few options:
- Spend time outside in the sun while wearing sunscreen
- Try to consume more fish, which is the best source for vitamin D
- Try different milks including dairy, almond, and oat. These all contain vitamin D
How do I know if I’m getting enough vitamins?
Because many of these symptoms could be caused by other health issues, it’s hard to tell whether or not your symptoms are strictly from a vitamin deficiency.
However, living a healthy and balanced lifestyle can help ensure you are getting the right nutrients, vitamins and minerals included.
A healthy diet consisting of whole foods will give your body the vitamins it needs. Here are some good choices when it comes to eating foods loaded with vitamins, according to Harvard Health Publishing:
- Low-fat protein
- Dairy products
- Whole grains
Continue your education
There are many vitamins out there. Now that we’ve covered a few that your body needs, and how to know if you may be deficient in one, you are on the right track to learn more about all the necessary vitamins.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- Solan, Matthew. “The best foods for vitamins and minerals.” Harvard University, Harvard Health Publishing. February 6th, 2019. Accessed December 4th, 2020. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-best-foods-for-vitamins-and-minerals#:~:text=The%20best%20approach%20to%20ensure,fat%20protein%2C%20and%20dairy%20products.
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- “These Vitamin Deficiencies Can Cause Hair Loss.” WebMD, webmd.com. Accessed December 4th, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/connect-to-care/hair-loss/vitamin-deficiencies-that-can-cause-hair-loss.
- Burgess, Lana and Amin, Shilpa. “What are the symptoms of vitamin B-12 deficiency?” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. January 23rd, 2019. Accessed December 8th, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324265#mouth-pain.
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- “11 Scientific Benefits of Being Outdoors.” Mental Floss, mentalfloss.com. Accessed December 4th, 2020. https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70548/11-scientific-benefits-being-outdoors.
- “Vitamin D Deficiency.” WebMD, Nourish by WebMD. Accessed December 4th, 2020. https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency#1.
- “Vitamin D.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health. October 9th, 2020. Accessed December 4th, 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/.
- “5 Vitamins You May Need More of and Where To Get Them.” Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials. May 29th, 2020. Accessed December 7th, 2020. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-vitamins-you-might-be-missing/.
- “Vitamin A.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. November 13th, 2020. Accessed December 8th, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-a/art-20365945.
- “13 Essential Vitamins Your Body Needs to Stay Healthy.” Reader’s Digest Magazines, Reader’s Digest Canada. April 7th, 2020. Accessed December 7th, 2020. https://www.readersdigest.ca/health/healthy-living/13-essential-vitamins-your-body-needs-stay-healthy/.