Health & Fitness – Nutrient Deficiencies

By: Janet Hunt
I am not an advocate for dietary supplements. With a well-balanced diet, most people can obtain all of the vitamins and minerals needed from foods. However, there are some circumstances in which the foods we eat may not provide all of the nutrients we need.

Below are 5 of the most common deficiencies:
Vitamin D is the most common nutrient deficiency. That is probably because there aren’t a lot of naturally occurring food sources of vitamin D; and the largest source of vitamin D—fortified dairy products like milk—tend to be foods that we eat less of as we grow older. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as certain types of mushrooms. Your body forms vitamin D naturally when skin is exposed to sunlight. Adults aged 19-70 should aim to get 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. If foods don’t provide that amount, your healthcare provider may suggest a supplement.

Vitamin E is the next vitamin you may not be getting enough of. It is found in fatty foods such nuts, seeds and vegetable oils. Due to potential health risks associated with large doses of vitamin E pills, supplementation is not routinely recommended. Instead, shift your food intake to make sure you are eating a variety of healthful fats that will help you bump up your vitamin E levels.
Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in more than 300 enzymatic pathways in your body. It helps make proteins, controls blood sugar and blood pressure, supports bone health, and is needed for making DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione. Magnesium is found in dark green, leafy vegetables and whole grains. Fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, are also a good source of magnesium.

Iron deficiency is a higher risk for females due to menstruation and lower intake of the high heme-iron foods such as meat, fish, and poultry. The iron in plant foods is the less readily absorbed non-heme iron form; therefore the RDA requirement for vegetarians is higher than non-vegetarians.

Vitamin A is known for its role in vision, but it also impacts immune function, reproduction, and your body’s cellular communication. You can get plenty of vitamin A by eating preformed vitamin A from milk and eggs and pro-vitamin A, by eating leafy green vegetables, orange and yellow vegetables, tomatoes and fruits.

If you think you may be have a vitamin deficiency, I recommend you talk to your health care provider. I discourage self-medication. Not only is it unsafe, but it is wasteful to your pocketbook. Many over-the-counter supplements that advertise that they are for brain health, eye health, etc. are not safer.
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.