If you think vitamin deficiencies don’t exist in modern times, think again. We’ve all heard the stories of sailors having scurvy due to lack of citrus fruits and vitamin C, right? Vitamin deficiencies do exist even today, and here are some of the common ones.
Most adults do not get enough Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin. Your body produces vitamin D in response to your skin’s exposure to sunlight. A cascade reaction forms and creates essential components that help the body use calcium to strengthen bones. Vitamin D is not just important for bones; it is also crucial for your cardiovascular system, cognitive health, and is an important weapon against cancer. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are subtle, but can often include bone pain and muscle weakness.
Vitamin D can be found in egg yolks and some fish like salmon or tuna naturally; other foods like milk and grains are fortified with it. Docs recommend three servings of these foods per day, and don’t forget to get a little sun too!
Calcium is also a deficiency which can affect your bones and also your nerve and muscle function. If you have severely low calcium levels, you might have abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps and fatigue. Again, doctors recommend three servings of calcium-rich foods per day, like milk, yogurt, cheese, and leafy dark greens like kale or spinach.
Potassium is the wonder vitamin that keeps many of the body’s tissues and organs, like the heart and kidneys, functioning properly. People with low potassium experience symptoms like weight loss and muscle weakness. People with eating disorders or who have had severe diarrhea or vomiting can develop a potassium shortage as a result, as can people who have experienced excessive sweating or have been on certain antibiotics for an extended period of time. Be sure to eat plenty of vegetables, especially peas and beans, and whole grains, bananas, and milk, all of which are rich, natural sources.
Iron is a very important nutrient because it helps your red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues. Iron depletion can cause red cells not to form, leading to anemia and severe fatigue. You may start to lose hair and your skin may become pale and very dull and thin. Many foods are fortified with iron, including cereals and many foods like beef, beans, oysters, and spinach naturally are rich in iron.
B12 is a basic building block of your DNA and it helps make brain neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 is found in animal sources like fish, chicken and milk. As more people become vegan, doctors are seeing much more B12 deficiency. People who have had weight loss surgery are also at risk. Symptoms of low B12 include fatigue, leg and hand numbness, and loss of balance.