Nutritional Deficiencies

[typography font=”Myriad Pro” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#d41a1a”]Which Ones Should We Worry About

How Can We Avoid Them[/typography]

Nutritional deficiencies are not as common as the media would have you believe. For example, there is a lot of hype about a protein deficiency among the population in most first world countries, The truth is that unless there are situations in which people are literally starving, it is unlikely that anyone is suffering from a protein deficiency. If you choose to eat a healthy diet made up of whole foods as close to nature as possible, all of your nutritional needs will be met, including adequate protein. The only exceptions to that are vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Let’s explore those exceptions. . .

Vitamin B12

According to WebMD many people are suffering from a deficiency of vitamin B12 and it can cause problems. This vitamin does a lot of things for your body. For example, it helps make your DNA and your red blood cells. You may be getting enough from your diet, but you can also use supplements. Your body’s requirement depends on your age.

Natural Institutes of Health tells us that, “A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause many problems such as a type of anemia that can sap your energy. In addition to tiredness, you can experience weakness, constipation, appetite loss, nerve problems, depression and even dementia. What’s more, the damage caused by B12 deficiency, once neurological is not reparable.”

Anyone can suffer with the deficiency, but vegans and vegetarians are more prone to the problem. Vegans do not eat animal products, including meat, milk, cheese, and eggs and vegetarians do not eat enough eggs or dairy products to meet their vitamin B12 needs. Others on a regular diet may lack the “intrinsic” factors which help them metabolize the vitamin.

Vitamin D

WebMD states, “If you shun the sun, suffer from milk allergies, or adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, you may be at risk for vitamin D deficiency. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods — including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks — and in fortified dairy and grain products.”

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps the body use calcium from the diet,

Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease in which the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. But increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems

Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:

  • Increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults
  • Severe asthma in children
  • Cancer

You may be one of the many who spend limited time in the sun. You probably work inside and when you are outside, you wear sun screen to protect yourself from skin cancer. Unfortunately, sunscreen not only blocks out the harmful rays, it also blocks the benefit of the sunlight – vitamin D.

To make this issue even more complicated, it may take years for these deficiencies to show up and to cause problems, which makes them hard to combat. The best choice is to supplement your diet with low doses of both vitamins.

If you are noticeably deficient (showing any symptoms), talk to your doctor and get his recommendation for supplements.

According to WebMD, symptoms for B12 deficiency may cause only mild, if any, symptoms. But if untreated, it may cause symptoms such as:

  • Weakness, tiredness, or light-headedness
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing
  • Pale skin
  • Sore tongue
  • Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums
  • Stomach upset and weight loss
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Symptoms for vitamin D deficiency are: bone pain and muscle weakness. (Please, note that the symptoms can be subtle – easy to miss.)

A deficiency of either one should not be ignored. Just to be safe, get your blood levels check annually for blood serum levels. This is particularly important as the years begin to add up.

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