If you’ve noticed that you haven’t been feeling your best, but there doesn’t seem to be sick or other medical issues going on, it may mean that you have a micronutrient deficiency. Some people know right away that they simply don’t feel right, but remember that some people have no idea that they are living with a deficiency.
While most people can get the nutrients that their body needs from a balanced diet, it’s not always the case for other people. The truth is, the Western diet that so many of us consume is pretty low in vital nutrients. Many people eat unhealthy processed foods that aren’t beneficial to the body at all. Because of this, it’s incredibly common for people to have a deficiency and not even realize it! Here are some of the most common micronutrient deficiencies.
Iodine is essential for proper thyroid function. If your body is lacking in it, then you may develop issues with your thyroid or thyroid hormone levels—iodine deficiencies impact about one-third of the population of the world. One of the most obvious signs that you may have iodine dysfunction is an enlarged thyroid gland. Having an enlarged thyroid gland can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath or weight fluctuations. You can increase your iodine levels by consuming foods like eggs, dairy products, fish, or seaweed.
Red blood cells are composed of iron and are responsible for transporting oxygen to your body’s cells. Iron deficiency is incredibly common and impacts 25% of the entire global population. Symptoms of low iron may include tiredness, weakness, inability to concentrate, and a weakened immune system. Nutritional deficiency anemia is the most common medical outcome for people who have low iron.
Furthermore, there are two types of iron in your body: heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is well-absorbed and is only found in animal meat. This is why it’s not unusual for vegetarians or vegans to have low iron because they are not consuming animal meat. The other type of iron, non-heme iron, is found in both animal and plant foods but is not as easily absorbed by the body as heme iron.
You can get heme iron from consuming foods like red meat, shellfish, and canned sardines. And non-heme iron can come from beans, seeds, and leafy greens.
Vitamin A makes sure that your body has healthy skin, teeth, and bones. Most people living in developed countries receive plenty of this nutrient, but developing countries are often lacking because they don’t have access to proper dietary sources such as meat, sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables. If you live with a Vitamin A deficiency, then you may have a suppressed immune system and a higher mortality rate. In some instances, it can even lead to blindness.
Vitamin B12 is critical for brain function as well as blood formation. If you have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, then you may experience impairment of your brain function or develop a condition called megaloblastic anemia that can lead to other health issues. The most significant amounts of B12 are found in animal food but can also be found in small amounts of seaweed. Of course, if you consume a vegetarian or vegan diet, then you may be at risk for a B12 deficiency. You can get B12 from meat, eggs, dairy products, and shellfish. If you don’t regularly eat meat, then you will likely need a supplement.
Vitamin D is important for your body because it travels through your bloodstream and signals to your cells when it should turn genes off and on. Vitamin D is created by the cholesterol in your skin once it is exposed to sunlight. People who don’t receive enough natural sunlight may have a Vitamin D deficiency.
Common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include bone loss and muscle weakness. You can get more Vitamin D by spending more time outdoors or consuming a diet of fatty fish, egg yolks, or cod liver oil. Keep in mind; it’s difficult to obtain enough Vitamin D through diet alone.
Calcium is extremely important for bone maintenance as well as heart, muscle, and nerve function. Signs of low calcium are soft bones in children and osteoporosis in adults. Calcium can be found in fish, dairy products, and leafy greens.
Magnesium is needed for healthy bones and teeth. Research indicates about half of the US population doesn’t get enough magnesium, and the deficiency can be linked to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and other medical concerns. To increase your levels, consume plenty of nuts, whole grains, dark chocolate, and green leafy vegetables.
How to Prevent Micronutrient Deficiency
The best thing you can do for the prevention of micronutrient deficiency is to eat a balanced diet. Many of the nutrients are found in healthy foods that your body needs to thrive. However, some people may be living with underlying medical issues that may influence their body’s ability to absorb or use certain nutrients properly. There are mixed findings when it comes to taking supplements to increase your body’s levels of nutrients. However, this may be a solution for someone who doesn’t get enough nutrients from their typical diet. Speak with your doctor before taking any supplements.
Schedule Your Next Appointment
Your body needs nutrients to function at its best. However, it’s’ not unusual for people to be lacking in one or several of these necessary nutrients. Nore Health is here to help you regain control of your health. If you suspect that you may have a micronutrient deficiency, then you should come in for further testing. We are happy to help you identify deficiencies and provide advice to get you back on track. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.