Even if you eat a balanced diet of whole foods, and avoid processed foods, you may not be getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Where your food was grown can influence the nutritional value of foods, as can soil quality and storage time. Your personal metabolism and state of health also affects how well your body uses food.
There are 11 common nutritional deficiencies. Here are the top 5:
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency affects people of all ages, especially people who spend little time outdoors in the sunshine, or those who use sunscreen. It is critical to bone health. Warning signs are being over 50, having darker skin, obesity, achy bones, depression, sweating of the head and poor immune function.
The best way to get enough is to spend a quarter hour every day in the sunshine. Supplements are also available.
2. Omega-3 Fats
Low concentrations of omega-3 fats (EPA and DHA) are linked to health problems such as heart disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.Signs of a deficiency include dry, flaky skin, alligator skin, dandruff or dry hair, soft brittle nails, fatigue, menstrual in women, and poor attention span.
Build up your supply with healthy fats like coconut or olive oil and avocado. Krill oil is an excellent supplement.
3. Vitamin K2
K2 is essential for bone strength,blood clotting, artery health, tissue renewal and cell growth,and cancer prevention. You may be deficient if you bruise or bleed easily, or have calcification in an area of cartilage.
Raw dairy products such as certain cheeses, raw butter, and kefir provide this vitamin. Only grass-fed animals (not grain fed) will develop naturally high K2 levels, so eat grass-fed beef.
Menaquinone-7 (MK-7) is the type of vitamin K2 that is the best supplement, as this form is extracted from real food.
80 percent of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This mineral is essential to proper metabolism and many of your body’s biological processes. It helps prevent migraines, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Elevated insulin is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
Green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are good sources. If you supplement, use the magnesium citrate form.
5. Vitamin B12
B12 (cobalamin) is critical for energy production, blood formation, synthesis of DNA and myelin formation. One in four Americans are deficient in B12; warning signs include a mental fog, memory problems, mood swings, apathy, fatigue, muscle weakness and tingling in the extremities.
Grass-fed protein is the best food source. To supplement, you can request an injection or use the sublingual spray.
If you suspect you are deficient, check with a health professional. Always research before supplementing, as some nutrients should be taken in conjunction with others, and some (iron is an example) can cause problems if you get too much.
In our next article, we will highlight the next 6 common nutritional deficiencies.