A healthy person can get all of the vitamins and minerals he or she needs from food alone if they eat a well-balanced diet. Dietary supplements are not intended to replace eating healthy foods; rather, they are meant to do exactly what their name implies: supplement a diet.
However, there are times when the foods we eat do not provide all of the important nutrients that our bodies require, resulting in a nutrient deficiency. Here's a rundown of five nutrient deficiencies that are more common than you think.
Calcium's Best Friend: Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is arguably the most common nutrient deficiency. According to some reports, up to 95% of the U.S. population aged 19 and up does not meet recommended vitamin D intake levels. This is most likely due to the fact that there aren't many naturally occurring vitamin D food sources. Furthermore, the most abundant source of vitamin D—fortified dairy products like milk—tends to be foods that we consume less of as we age.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids in the absorption of calcium by the bones. It can be found in fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, as well as certain mushrooms. Because your body naturally produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, but most of us don't spend much time outside, fortified dairy products like milk and yoghurt will be your best vitamin D food sources. Adults between the ages of 19 and 70 should aim for 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. If foods do not provide that amount, your doctor may advise you to take a supplement.
Vitamin E: Eat It Instead of Taking Pills
Vitamin E is the next nutrient on the list that you may not be getting enough of. Vitamin E, like vitamin D, is a fat-soluble vitamin found in fatty foods such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.
Approximately 94% of adults over the age of 19 consume less vitamin E than the estimated average requirement. However, because of the potential health risks associated with high doses of vitamin E pills, widespread supplementation is not routinely recommended. Instead, change your diet to include a variety of healthy fats that will help you increase your vitamin E levels from food-based sources to meet your needs.
Make Magnesium a Priority in Your Diet
Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 300 enzymatic pathways in the body. It aids in the production of proteins, regulates blood sugar and blood pressure, promotes bone health, and is required for the production of DNA, RNA, and the antioxidant glutathione.
Despite its critical role in the body, more than 60% of adults over the age of 19 do not meet the estimated average magnesium requirement. You can increase your intake by eating more dark green leafy vegetables and whole grains. Breakfast cereals, for example, are fortified with this important mineral.
Iron: This one's for the ladies.
Approximately 14-18% of Americans currently take an iron supplement, and iron supplement users are overwhelmingly female. Because of biological factors such as menstruation and lower intakes of high-heme-iron foods such as meat, fish, and poultry, women are at a higher risk for iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia.
Infants, young children, teenage girls, pregnant women, and premenopausal women are among those at high risk of iron deficiency, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Animal foods, such as meat, fish, and poultry, are high in heme iron, an easily absorbed form of iron.
Although plant foods contain iron, it is in the form of non-heme iron, which is less easily absorbed. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vegetarians is 1.8 times that of meat eaters. If you are concerned about your iron status, consult your primary care provider, who can test for deficiency and anaemia before recommending that you begin taking iron supplements.
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