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  • Writer's pictureFeather & Leaf Acupuncture

The Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies

I remember my grandmother and parents always making sure I took my vitamins as a kid. My grandmother used to joke around with me saying the reason why I'm so tall is due to taking my vitamins. She wasn't wrong about my growth spurt but also my grandmother was a petite woman, so most of the grandchildren towered her.

We all know we need vitamins as a means of staying healthy. They are needed for growth, cellular function, repair, and several bodily functions.

So what is a vitamin? A vitamin is a micronutrient that is needed by the body to keep us healthy. We need to acquire these by consuming them in our diet since our body cannot make them naturally.

Vitamins are placed into two categories of fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble meaning these particular nutrients are dissolved with fat and stored within the body. Water-soluble vitamins are dissolved with water in order to be absorbed by the body. These vitamins are then flushed out of the through urine. So they are not stored as fat-soluble vitamins.

A balanced diet of a variety of color foods should provide what is needed to stay healthy. Most multivitamins contain the necessary vitamins and some minerals added, with the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for general health. Some feel by taking a multivitamin daily will do the trick. However, multivitamins should be more of a support rather than the main source of getting in all the necessary nutrients in. Outside of that, what doctors and scientists are finding is that even with a multivitamin part of a daily regimen, most adults in the U.S. are still deficient in several vitamins.

Let's take a closer look at some of the most commonly deficient vitamins and why they are essential to our health.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is a fat-soluble nutrient that is needed for eye sight, teeth and bone health, and cellular growth. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to blurry vision, difficulty seeing at night, blindness, and a weakened immune system.

In the U.S., most individuals get enough of Vitamin A through their diet. However, in developing countries, a higher percentage of children and adults experience an issue with eye sight and bone development due to a deficiency in Vitamin A.

Vitamin A can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, oranges, red bell pepper, dark leafy greens, beef liver, fish oils, and eggs.

Vitamin B 6, B 9, B 12

The B Vitamins are a group of different nutrients that are important for cellular health, nerve communication, DNA wiring, and chemical reactions within the body. Theses are water-soluble vitamins that get easily lost through our urine and are needed for important functions throughout the body. When there is a deficiency in any one of these, there are noticeable symptoms to let you know.

Vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine) is needed to keep the immune system strong, assists in the making of red blood cells, and the breaking down of food. When there is a deficiency in this vitamin, an individual could get sick more easily, develop rashes or flaky skin, and could experience depression.

This vitamin is commonly found in foods like tuna, salmon, chickpeas, and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B 9 (Folate/Folic Acid) is needed for building and repair of DNA and RNA and making red blood cells. It is also important for fetus development during pregnancy.

A deficiency of this vitamin could result in significant symptoms such as weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, low blood pressure, dizziness, poor absorption of other nutrients, and anemia.

It is commonly found in a wide range of foods such as dark leafy greens, beans, sunflower seeds, eggs, and liver.

Vitamin B 12 (cobalamin) is also needed for the making of red blood cells, DNA, and brain and nerve development. A deficiency could lead to anemia, nerve damage or numbness and tingling, memory loss, and even dementia.

It can be found in a number of foods such as fish, shellfish, eggs, red meat, liver, and dairy products.

Vitamin D

This is a fat-soluble vitamin that is used as a steroid hormone that is produced from cholesterol in the body. It is commonly said for individuals to sit out in the sun for about 15-30 minutes to get their dose of Vitamin D. For locations with limited sun exposure or individuals who sit indoors more often throughout the year tend to experience subtle tells of a deficiency of this vitamin.

Some deficiency symptoms can show up years later such as muscle and bone weakness, and delayed growth in children.

Vitamin D can be found in foods such as egg yolks, Cod liver oil, mushrooms, and fatty fish.

These are just some of the common Vitamin deficiencies that are seen. Nutrition is a great way to get in the nutrients needed. However, if you prefer to go the route of supplements, it is always recommended to speak with your physician and to have your levels checked before supplementing.

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