Nutritional Deficiency Information
Many millions of people today suffer from chronic health issues. For some, it is the battle of the bulge that constantly bests them. For others, the issue is one of blood sugar imbalances which can lead to hypoglycemia or diabetes.
For still others, they suffer from “mystery ailments” such as generalized fatigue, lower back pain, anxiety, irritability or poor digestion.
What do all of these health concerns potentially share in common? Surprisingly, the answer might well be as simple as a nutritional deficiency.
In this article, learn about 10 common nutritional deficiencies that are now known to contribute to certain health problems.
10 Common Nutritional Deficiencies & Their Related Health Problems
1. Potassium Deficiency: Constipation.
No one likes to experience constipation. Yet it is a very common and sometimes chronic issue many adults deal with daily.
Constipation can be triggered by many factors, but one identified key, according to Everyday Health, is a potassium deficiency.
Potassium is a critical nutrient for the heart, the muscles, the kidneys and the bowel. Without sufficient potassium intake, the muscular contractions required to push fecal matter out of the body will not happen.
RDI (recommended daily intake) for adults: 4,700 mg/daily.
2. Calcium Deficiency: Osteoporosis.
Brittle bone syndrome is very common among adults, and especially adult and senior women. The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) states that one out of every three women and one out of five men will experience a bone fracture or break due to osteoporosis.
Not only can calcium deficiency lead to brittle bones, but it can also contribute to muscle cramps and heart arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) over time.
RDI for adults: 1,000 mg/daily.
3. Vitamin D Deficiency: Depression, Disease & Early Death.
Human beings, unlike most other creatures, cannot make their own Vitamin D. People need access to sunlight or supplementation to get sufficient daily intake of Vitamin D.
As Prevention states, Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a whole host of the “worst of the worst” health issues, including depression, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, dementia, cancer and (not surprisingly) early death.
RDI for adults: 600 IU/daily.
4. Iron Deficiency: Anemia.
While low iron levels is slightly less common in first world cultures such as in North America, worldwide, Healthline cites iron deficiency as the current leading nutritional issue globally, with an estimated 30 percent of the population affected.
Depleted iron levels can cause anemia. Anemia in turn leads to poor and low red blood cell production. With fewer red blood cells to deliver oxygen to all the cells in the body, symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, hair loss and increased infections.
RDI for adults: 17-19 mg/daily (women) and 19-20 mg/daily (men).
5. Vitamin A Deficiency: Vision Impairment or Blindness.
Vitamin A is critical for proper functioning of the eyes and the reproductive system.
The World Health Organization (WHO) highlights that a lack of Vitamin A during the growing up years can cause blindness. In adults, it can cause night blindness and increasing risk of infections.
RDI for adults: 2,300 IU/daily (women) and 3,000 IU/daily (men).
6. Magnesium Deficiency: Cramps, Spasms, Seizures.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has released a Health Professional Fact Sheet highlighting the many risks of magnesium deficiency.
At one time, magnesium deficiency was virtually unheard of, since magnesium is present in many natural foods. But with the modern diet of processed fast foods, the magnesium intake for many people has decreased markedly.
Because magnesium is a nutrient the body relies on for so many important processes, chronic deficiency can produce its own set of severe health consequences. At the mild end, muscle cramps and fatigue/weakness may occur. At the severe end, seizures and coronary spasms can be life-threatening.
RDI for adults: 310-320 mg/daily (women) and 400-420/daily (men).
7. Zinc Deficiency: Immune System Deficiency.
Zinc plays an important role in the body’s immune system function. Whenever a bacteria, virus or germ enters the body, the immune system will mobilize to fight it off.
Without sufficient zinc, infections increase, childhood development is delayed, wounds don’t heal, the gastrointestinal system doesn’t work well to absorb nutrients and eliminate properly and there is decreased alertness and energy.
RDI for adults: 8 mg/daily (women) and 11 mg/daily (men).
8. Vitamin B-12 Deficiency: Memory Loss, Incontinence.
Harvard Medical School states that Vitamin B-12 is one of those vitamins is one of those nutrients the body can’t do without.
From making cells and neurons and DNA to keeping memory, taste, smell and mood balanced, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can mimic other potential issues. Two particularly unwelcome side effects of Vitamin B-12 deficiency include memory loss and incontinence.
RDI for adults: 2.4 micro-grams/daily.
9. Iodine: Goiter.
Iodine, like magnesium, used to be one of those nutrients everyone seemed to have enough of. But once salt-free foods and salt substitutes, as well as Iodine-free salts, came out, that all changed.
The American Thyroid Association points out that goiter, an enlarged thyroid gland, can be caused by insufficient iodine, since the thyroid requires iodine to manufacture hormones the body needs.
RDI for adults: 150 micro-grams/daily.
10. Vitamin B-9 (Folate) Deficiency: Stroke, Birth Defects.
For pregnant woman, folate is well known. Most ob-gyn practitioners prescribe a folate supplement when a woman conceives.
However, what many people don’t realize is that pregnancy isn’t the only cause of folate deficiency. Patient Info states folate deficiency can also cause stroke and reduce resistance to some cancers.
RDI for adults: 400 micro-grams/daily
The Case for Multivitamins
More so than any other health aid, simply consuming a balanced and complete daily diet is still the hands-down best way to ensure daily nutritional intake is adequate to the body’s needs.
However, far fewer adults consume such a diet on a regular basis. Web MD relates that this is a primary reason why health practitioners commonly recommend that all adults – men and women – take a multivitamin each day.
By taking a multi-vitamin formulated for the adult nutritional needs of men and women, dietary deficiencies will not contribute to ongoing health issues.
The best way to begin taking a multivitamin is to consult a doctor and have an initial round of blood work. This will highlight any serious nutrient deficiencies, which could guide the choice of multivitamin.
Before choosing a multi-vitamin, be sure to take a look at the ingredients list to verify these 10 nutrients are represented. Also check the levels to be sure any individual nutrient deficiency issues are properly addressed by that multivitamin (it can be good to take the help of a doctor for this). You should also do research online, here are two good lists to start on: Top 10 Multivitamins for Men & Top 10 Multivitamins for Women from Top10Supplements.com.