Vitamins and minerals keep our body functioning healthily and allow us to go about our day feeling great. When we have the right vitamins in our bodies, we feel awake, ready for the day ahead, and generally feel good.
Unfortunately, when we’re deficient in certain vitamins, we can start to feel a bit “off” and irritable. From being sick, getting poor sleep, or experiencing more serious consequences, a vitamin deficiency can cause serious problems.
Vitamin deficiencies are not all that uncommon. While eating a well balanced and healthy meal can prevent vitamin deficiencies from occurring, not all of us eat the meals that we should.
Here’s 7 Common Vitamin Deficiencies & How You Can Prevent Them
Here are some of the most common vitamin deficiencies that you may experience, and what you can do to prevent them. Keep in mind that a true diagnosis for a vitamin deficiency will need to be done by your doctor.
Next on our list of vitamin deficiencies is iron. Like vitamin B12, iron is frequently found in meats, especially beef. Iron can also be found in beans, seafood, and spinach.
Iron is a crucial component of our body’s production of red blood cells. It helps to carry oxygen throughout your body. If you have low iron levels, you may notice pale skin, thinning hair, and fatigue.
Prevention: To boost your iron levels, you’ll want to eat foods like chickpeas, white beans, or kidney beans. Oysters and lentils are also great options for boosting iron levels.
It’s probably been drilled into your head since elementary school that you need to drink your milk to get strong bones. But the connecting factor between milk and strong bones is the vitamin calcium. When we are calcium deficient, our bones may take a beating.
Prevention: If you have a calcium deficiency, you may experience fatigue, a low appetite, and muscle cramps. Abnormal heart rhythms may also occur with a calcium deficiency.
Milk is a great way to ensure you’re getting enough calcium. Other foods high in calcium include citrus fruits and leafy greens.
While you may be tempted to reach for a calcium supplement, you may want to think twice. Although calcium deficiencies can be dangerous, getting too much calcium can also cause problems. If you’re getting too much calcium, you may be at risk for a heart attack or a stroke.
3.) Folic Acid
Folic acid, which can also be called folate, is another vitamin that we may run the risk of becoming deficient in. Although folic acid is important for individuals of all ages, it can be especially harmful for women that are pregnant or may become pregnant. Folic acid is crucial in the development of babies and if the mother is deficient during pregnancies, it may cause defects.
You may have a folic acid deficiency if you are experiencing fatigue, mouth ulcers, tongue swelling, or graying hair.
Prevention: Folic acid can be found naturally in leafy greens, oranges, lentils and beans. If you are pregnant or hope to become pregnant soon, you should also consider taking a prenatal supplement with folic acid to ensure the growth and development of your baby goes according to plan.
4.) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the last deficiency that we will talk about on this list, but it is a serious one. Unlike many of the other deficiencies on this list, a vitamin D deficiency doesn’t always come from eating an unhealthy or incomplete diet. It can also come from not getting enough sunlight.
For individuals who work inside or otherwise do not have the opportunity to get some much needed time in the sun, a vitamin D deficiency can be a real probability. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, you may experience fatigue, get sick easier, or weight gain. You may also experience a bit of sadness, which is why a vitamin D deficiency is often linked to seasonal depression.
Prevention: To increase the amount of vitamin D you’re getting, try to spend 15-20 minutes in the sun every day. You will also want to increase your intake of foods with vitamin D, such as fish, yogurt, and milk.
5.) Vitamin E
Vitamin E has number of benefits, but we still don’t seem to be getting enough of it. Vitamin E is important for our brain health and maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
If you have a vitamin E deficiency, UMD Medical Center says you may experience muscle weakness, have difficulty seeing, or may even experience a loss of muscle mass. Vitamin E deficiencies may also contribute to difficulty walking.
Prevention: To increase your vitamin E, you should eat nuts, seeds, and green vegetables. Hazelnuts, almonds, olive oil, and legumes are all great sources of vitamin E.
6.) Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for our bodies, although it is the first on our list of most common deficiencies. Vitamin B12 is usually found in animal products, including fish, diary, poultry, and meat, meaning it is particularly low in individuals who may be vegan or vegetarian.
Everyday Health says, vitamin B12 is important for our bodies because it helps create new neurotransmitters and DNA.
If you are low in vitamin B12, you may experience numbness in your hands, feet, or legs that can make it difficult to walk. You may find that your balance has also been compromised. Other common symptoms of a vitamin B12 can include memory loss, fatigue, hallucinations, and paranoia.
Prevention: To boost your vitamin B12 levels, you’ll want to reach for food items that are rich in the substance, including meat substitutes and non-dairy milk.
According to Mercola.com, magnesium is important for keeping our bodies clean and free of environmental toxins. It can reduce our risk of developing diabetes and even prevent migraines. Even so, magnesium is one of the most popular vitamin deficiencies around.
If you have a magnesium deficiency, you may experience fatigue, nausea, or even vomiting. When magnesium gets very low, you can experience seizures, muscle cramps, and numbness.
Prevention: To ensure you’re getting the appropriate amount of magnesium, you’ll want to reach for dark, leafy greens, including spinach or kale. Other foods high in magnesium include avocados, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and beans.
If you believe you have a vitamin deficiency, you’ll want to talk with your doctor about the appropriate way to restore vitamin levels. Because it can be difficult to know severe your deficiency is without the help of a doctor, you will want to go through the proper diagnosis and treatment to balance your levels.
To prevent deficiencies from occurring, be sure to eat a full, well rounded diet.