Four Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Your body needs a healthy diet full of essential vitamins and minerals to thrive. Although a healthy diet provides this, sometimes you just fall short of the important vitamins that your body needs. Other factors also contribute to the way your body absorbs nutrients, which could lead to specific deficiencies.

At Commonwealth Musculoskeletal Medicine, our skilled team helps you to make sure your nutrition goals are met, along with your physical fitness goals. Dr. Mark Conliffe, our in-house specialist, is knowledgeable about physical medicine, which also involves proper nutrition for a strong body.

Why nutrients are important

Nutrients and vitamins are vital to our bodies not only for survival, but to ensure properly functioning body systems that work together. Many of the cells in your body need certain nutrients not only to work correctly, but also to carry out certain tasks and functions throughout the day.

Vitamins and minerals also help keep your immune system healthy. An immune system that’s running properly helps you fight off viruses and bacteria that can affect your health. They also are vitally important for normal growth and development.

Most vitamins and minerals are found in foods, while others are found in the soil and water. However, even with eating a healthy diet, you could be deficient in one or more vitamins or minerals in your body.

Nutrient deficiencies are pretty common, as you probably don’t eat a completely balanced diet every day of the year. Other factors also play a role in the way your body absorbs certain nutrients, which could also lead to deficiencies. 

Nutrient deficiencies that are common

Although your body needs many different types of vitamins and minerals, some nutrient deficiencies are more common than others. Vitamin A and C are pretty common in your diet, but others like folate and iodine are harder to come by. The following are four of the most common types of deficiencies that you may experience:

1. Vitamin D

You need vitamin D for optimal bone health. Unfortunately, your body doesn't make this vitamin, so your only source is from sunlight, supplements, and certain foods. If you lack vitamin D in your body, it leads to loss of bone density. This leads to your bones breaking easily and eventually to osteoporosis. Good food sources of vitamin D include salmon, eggs, and mushrooms.

2. Iron

Iron is literally contained in every single cell in your body. This vital nutrient is critical for the production of hemoglobin in your red blood cells and myoglobin in your muscles. These two proteins are important because they help carry oxygen to the rest of your body. If you’re iron-deficient, it can lead to a condition called anemia.

Anemia just means that your blood is lacking the proper amount of healthy red blood cells. Signs of anemia include brittle nails, headaches, and fatigue. Foods that contain iron include red meat, spinach, and broccoli.

3. Calcium

Calcium is important for several different functions in your body, such as bone health and proper muscle movement. Calcium also plays a role in the transportation of signals through nerves from the brain to the rest of your body. 

Calcium deficiency is more common among post-menopausal women and people who are lactose-intolerant. If left untreated, severe calcium deficiency can lead to symptoms like numbness, seizures, and irregular heartbeat. Milk, cheese, and broccoli are all good sources of calcium.

4. Vitamin B12

This vitamin is important in the overall function of your body. Vitamin B12 not only aids in the production of nerves and red blood cells, but also in the creation of DNA. Your body doesn’t naturally produce vitamin B12, so it relies solely on getting it from food or supplements. Foods that you can eat to increase your vitamin B12 are eggs, fish, and dairy products.

Does supplementation work?

So what can you do if you find out you have a deficiency? If you have a mild vitamin deficiency, Dr. Conliffe suggests eating certain foods that contain that specific vitamin or mineral that your body’s lacking. He also suggests over-the-counter supplementation to help boost your numbers.

If your deficiency is a little more severe, Dr. Conliffe might suggest prescription supplementation. Sometimes, a chronic disease or disorder prevents you from properly absorbing supplements that are taken by mouth. In this case, you may need to receive supplementation by an IV in your arm.

Once you get your body back to normal levels of the nutrients you were lacking, Dr. Conliffe suggests a supplement plan to keep you on track and your body healthy.

If you’re concerned you aren’t getting proper nutrition or feel like you’re deficient on certain vitamins, call our office at 502-771-1012, or book an appointment online today.

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