7 COM­MON VI­TA­MIN DE­FI­CIEN­CIES

EVEN IF YOU EAT A BAL­ANCED, WHOLE-FOODS DIET, YOU MAY STILL BE MISS­ING VI­TAL NU­TRI­ENTS. EVEN LOWLEVEL VI­TA­MIN DE­FI­CIEN­CIES CAN SAP EN­ERGY, DI­MIN­ISH IM­MUNE FUNC­TION, AND LEAD TO MOOD SWINGS AND BRAIN FOG. HERE’S A LOOK AT SOME OF THE MOST COM­MON DEFICIENCI

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Lisa Turner

Even if you eat a per­fect diet, you could be at risk for nu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies. Look out for these warn­ing signs.

What causes nu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies? It’s not al­ways a mat­ter of just fail­ing to eat a bal­anced diet. Long-term use of pro­ton­pump in­hibitors (PPIs), choles­terol-low­er­ing statins, di­uret­ics, and other med­i­ca­tions can in­ter­fere with the body’s abil­ity to pro­duce, ab­sorb, or uti­lize cru­cial nu­tri­ents. Celiac disease, in­flam­ma­tory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease, and many other di­ges­tive prob­lems can re­duce ab­sorp­tion of nu­tri­ents and also lead to de cien­cies. And other fac­tors, such as chronic di­et­ing, ex­ces­sive co ee or al­co­hol in­take, and stress, can de­plete vi­ta­mins and min­er­als, fast.

If you’re eat­ing right, but still not thriv­ing, you may not be truly nour­ished. But the good news is that it’s easy to rem­edy these is­sues and get your­self back to vi­brant. Here’s how.

1 VI­TA­MIN D

This fat-sol­u­ble vi­ta­min is es­sen­tial for bone strength, im­mune func­tion, brain health, and mood. But un­less you spend time out­side sans sun­screen, you may be de­fi­cient. In ad­di­tion, peo­ple with dark skin, those who live in north­ern cli­mates, and peo­ple who are obese are more likely to be de­fi­cient in vi­ta­min D. De­fi­cien­cies aren’t ob­vi­ous, and symp­toms may take years to man­i­fest. Signs that you’re lack­ing in D in­clude poor im­mune func­tion, fa­tigue, mus­cle weak­ness, bone loss, and de­pres­sion.

Food sources: It’s hard to get sig­nif­i­cant vi­ta­min D from food—cod liver and fatty fish such as sal­mon and sar­dines are the only good sources. If you sus­pect you may be lack­ing in D, get your lev­els tested. For more in­for­ma­tion on how to make sure you're get­ting enough D, visit the Vi­ta­min D Coun­cil at vi­ta­mind­coun­cil.org.

Sup­ple­ment facts: Be­cause vi­ta­min D is hard to get from food, you’ll prob­a­bly need to sup­ple­ment if you’re low in it. Choose vi­ta­min D3 (chole­cal­cif­erol), the form your body nat­u­rally makes when it’s ex­posed to sun­light.

2 MAG­NE­SIUM

Crit­i­cal for bone and tooth health, this min­eral is also in­volved in de­tox­i­fy­ing heavy me­tals and other tox­ins from the body, and it plays a part in hun­dreds of enzy­matic re­ac­tions. But be­cause it’s de­pleted by an­tibi­otics, cor­ti­sone, painkillers, stress, and ex­cess sugar con­sump­tion, some 48 per­cent or more of Amer­i­cans may be lack­ing this crit­i­cal nu­tri­ent. Low lev­els are marked by ir­reg­u­lar heart­beat, mus­cle cramps, rest­less leg syn­drome, crav­ings for chocolate, and fa­tigue. Long-term de­fi­cien­cies can lead to os­teo­poro­sis, heart disease, di­a­betes, high blood pressure, and stroke.

Food sources: Nuts, seeds, leafy greens, dark chocolate, sea veg­eta­bles, beans, and whole grains are the best food sources. Be­cause most foods to­day are lack­ing in mag­ne­sium and other min­er­als as a re­sult of soil de­ple­tion, sup­ple­ments can help.

Sup­ple­ment facts: The best choices are mag­ne­sium amino acid chelates, mag­ne­sium cit­rate, and mag­ne­sium thre­onate, all of which have high lev­els of ab­sorp­tion. Avoid mag­ne­sium ox­ide, a cheap form of the min­eral that’s poorly ab­sorbed. Soak­ing in Ep­som salt baths— high in mag­ne­sium sul­fate, which is ab­sorbed in small amounts into the body via the skin—can also in­crease your body’s lev­els of mag­ne­sium.

OMEGA- FATS

These healthy fats are crit­i­cal for heart and brain health, and to pro­tect against in­flam­ma­tion. But be­cause they ex­ist in a bal­ance with omega-6 fats—preva­lent in the pro­cessed Amer­i­can diet—most peo­ple tend to be de­fi­cient in omega-3s. Low lev­els man­i­fest in dry, flaky skin; fa­tigue; re­duced im­mune func­tion; and mood dis­or­ders. Long-term de­fi­cien­cies can lead to in­flam­ma­tion, de­pres­sion, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and other se­ri­ous diseases.

Food sources: Sar­dines, sal­mon, mack­erel, and tuna are the best sources of EPA and DHA, the types of omega-3 fats used by the body. Veg­e­tar­ian foods such as wal­nuts, fl ax, and chia seeds con­tain a type of omega-3 fats called ALA, which the body con­verts into us­able forms. Un­for­tu­nately, the con­ver­sion rate is very low, so if you don’t eat fish, it’s wise to con­sider a sup­ple­ment.

Sup­ple­ment facts: Be­cause omega-3 fats are prone to ox­i­da­tion—do­ing more harm than good if you take them— it’s crit­i­cal to choose a high­qual­ity oil. It should smell like the ocean, but not like old or rot­ten sh—a strong lemon or lime scent may be an at­tempt to mask shy odors. Krill oil con­tains as­tax­an­thin, an an­tiox­i­dant that pre­vents the fats from ox­i­diz­ing, but is lower in to­tal omega-3 fats com­pared to sh oil. Al­ways choose a sh oil that meets in­ter­na­tional stan­dards for tox­ins to be sure it’s free of heavy me­tals.

4 IRON

This es­sen­tial min­eral is re­spon­si­ble for trans­port­ing oxy­gen to cells and reg­u­lat­ing cell growth and dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion. De­fi­cien­cies are com­mon, es­pe­cially in preschool chil­dren, preg­nant women, veg­e­tar­i­ans, ve­g­ans, and women of child-bear­ing years. Low-grade iron de­fi­ciency leads to ane­mia, and man­i­fests in weak­ness, fa­tigue, im­paired im­mune re­sponse, and di­min­ished brain func­tion.

Food sources: ere are ac­tu­ally two types of iron. Heme iron, found only in an­i­mal foods, is es­pe­cially well-ab­sorbed and uti­lized by the body—one rea­son ve­g­ans and veg­e­tar­i­ans are more sus­cep­ti­ble to iron de cien­cies.

e best sources of heme iron are red meat, dark-meat poultry, or­gan meats, mus­sels, oys­ters, clams, and sar­dines. Non-heme iron is found in both an­i­mal and plant foods. It’s more com­mon, but harder for the body to ab­sorb. You’ll

nd non-heme iron in beans, legumes, seeds, greens, and dried fruit. Eat them with bell pep­pers, straw­ber­ries, or­anges, and other foods high in vi­ta­min C, or with acids such as vine­gars and toma­toes, to en­hance the body’s abil­ity to ab­sorb non-heme iron. Sup­ple­ment facts: If you sus­pect that you’re ane­mic, be cau­tious with sup­ple­ment­ing, as too much iron can be toxic.

e body is lim­ited in its abil­ity to ex­crete iron, and when lev­els build up, it can dam­age cells and in­crease the risk of heart disease. Ask your health care provider to test your iron lev­els be­fore sup­ple­ment­ing.

5 IODINE

This vi­tal min­eral reg­u­lates thy­roid func­tion and the pro­duc­tion of thy­roid hor­mones, nec­es­sary for growth, meta­bolic rate, bone health, and brain de­vel­op­ment. De­fi­cien­cies are com­mon,

es­pe­cially in peo­ple who avoid salt or use sea salt, and in ve­g­ans and veg­e­tar­i­ans. De­fi­cien­cies can lead to goi­ter (en­larged thy­roid gland), weight gain and obe­sity, cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment, psy­chi­atric dis­or­ders, and fi­bromyal­gia. Some newer re­search also links iodine de­fi­ciency to breast can­cers and high rates of fi­bro­cys­tic breast disease.

Food sources: e best di­etary source of iodine is sea­weed; as lit­tle as ¼ tsp. of most types of kelp pow­der will more than meet the RDI. Other good sources in­clude sea­weed, sh, shell sh, milk, and eggs. Ta­ble salt has vary­ing lev­els of added iodine, so don’t count on it for your iodine con­tent.

Sup­ple­ment facts: Like iron, iodine is toxic in high doses, so check with your health care provider rst. If you do sup­ple­ment, choose io­dide, which is iodine in its ion­ized form, and don’t take more than the rec­om­mended dosage.

6 VI­TA­MIN E

This pow­er­ful an­tiox­i­dant pre­vents free rad­i­cal dam­age, pro­tects the heart, re­duces the risk for Alzheimer's disease, and pre­vents cancer. In one landmark study, vi­ta­min E (al­pha to­co­pherol) lev­els were as­so­ci­ated with a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in over­all mor­tal­ity, as well as a 21–42 per­cent re­duced risk of prostate cancer, stroke, lung cancer, and res­pi­ra­tory disease. Even so, as many as 93 per­cent of Amer­i­can men and 96 per­cent of Amer­i­can women don’t con­sume the rec­om­mended di­etary al­lowance of vi­ta­min E.

Food sources: Wheat germ and wheat germ oil, sun­flower seeds, al­monds, spinach, Swiss chard, and av­o­cado are the best food sources. Sup­ple­ment facts: Vi­ta­min E is ac­tu­ally a group of eight pri­mary an­tiox­i­dant com­pounds, made up of four groups of to­co­pherols and four groups of to­cotrienols. e best sup­ple­ments are full-spec­trum com­pounds that com­bine a mix­ture of to­co­pherols and to­cotrienols. Look for “d” forms, such as d-al­pha to­co­pherol, rather than “dl” forms.

7 VI­TA­MIN K

This fat-sol­u­ble vi­ta­min is crit­i­cal in build­ing strong bones, pro­tect­ing the heart, and en­sur­ing proper brain func­tion. Vi­ta­min K is pro­duced in the in­testines, and the amount of vi­ta­min K the body can ab­sorb from the diet is di­rectly re­lated to gut health and pro­bi­otics—so if you suf­fer from chronic di­ges­tive dif­fi­cul­ties or bowel prob­lems, you may be at risk. Choles­terol-low­er­ing statins and ex­tended pe­ri­ods of an­tibi­otics also com­pro­mise the gut and make it dif­fi­cult for the body to ab­sorb ad­e­quate amounts of vi­ta­min K. Low lev­els of vi­ta­min K can man­i­fest as bleed­ing and bruis­ing eas­ily, tooth de­cay, and weak­ened bones. Long-term de­fi­cien­cies can lead to os­teo­poro­sis, car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease, and cancer, as well as a shorter life span. In one re­cent study, peo­ple with the high­est in­take of vi­ta­min K were 36 per­cent less likely to die from any cause, com­pared to those with the low­est in­take.

Food sources: ere are two main types of vi­ta­min K: K1, found in spinach, cab­bage, leafy greens, eggs, and sh, and K2, found in grass-fed an­i­mal prod­ucts, fer­mented foods such as sauer­kraut or natto, and cer­tain cheeses, in­clud­ing Brie.

Sup­ple­ment facts: e body needs both K1 and K2, al­though K2 ap­pears to have the most pro­nounced e ects. MK7, or menaquinone-7, is an es­pe­cially bioavail­able type of K2.

Mer cola Vi­tam in Dr. K2

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