Are You Getting Enough Vitamins?
You are what you eat, so here’s hoping that you’re getting plenty of vitamins.
Vitamin deficiencies can cause a variety of
neurological disorders, digestive problems
and other issues.
If you don’t get the vitamins you need, you may experience some unpleasant changes in your body, such as tingling in your hands and feet, severe fatigue or even hair loss—all things you’d probably like to avoid.
Since our bodies require us to obtain vitamins from external sources, such as food, beverages, supplements, etc., it’s fairly easy to make sure you meet your daily needs. And fortunately, it’s not too difficult to determine how much you need either.
Way back in WWII, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences developed the Nutritional Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs) to serve as a guide to ensure soldiers and civilians received the nutrition needed to survive. And the RDA, which outlines a healthy range for various types of vitamins and nutrients the body needs to function properly, is still used as a helpful tool today.
All you have to do is follow it. Of course, not everyone pays attention to the RDA.
If you have a vitamin deficiency, it may take some time for symptoms to show. But when they do, they can cause a variety of issues, such as neurological disorders, digestive problems, anemia and more. While the type of problem depends on the vitamin your body needs, most issues can be resolved with dietary changes or by taking a supplement.
Here are some common deficiencies and how to treat them:
If you’re not getting enough Vitamin A, you may have poor night vision, dry or cracked skin, dry mucous membranes, nerve damage, slow wound healing or a reduced ability to taste, hear and smell. To get more Vitamin A, be sure to eat plenty of leafy greens and colorful vegetables, including carrots, sweet potatoes and red bell peppers. Dairy products are also a great source.
Rickets, which causes weak muscles, delayed tooth development and soft bones, is common among children who are unable to absorb Vitamin D. Adults may also develop soft, porous bones that can break easily if lacking this essential vitamin. To increase your intake, opt for fatty fish, eggs and foods fortified with Vitamin D. You should also spend some time in the sun, since Vitamin D can be made in our skin when exposed to sunlight.
Not getting enough of this vitamin can cause harm to your central nervous system, lead to neurological disorders and make it difficult to absorb healthy fats. You can find Vitamin E in nut oils, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, spinach and whole grains.
A deficiency of Vitamin K, which is essential in helping blood to clot, often makes people more prone to bruising and bleeding. Be sure to include Vitamin K-rich foods into your diet, such as green leafy vegetables, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, fish, meat, eggs and cereals.
The most common result of Vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, which can cause bleeding gums, bruises, poor wound healing, anemia and more. Foods that have plenty of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, cantaloupe, watermelon and vegetables such as spinach, green and red peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, brussel sprouts and potatoes. You can also find it in milk and fish.
There are many different types of B Vitamins, which help you metabolize carbohydrates, fat and protein to keep your body energized. A couple of the most common deficiencies include Thiamin and Vitamin B12.
A Thiamin or Vitamin B1, deficiency can result in heart problems, poor appetite, weight loss, stomach problems, depression and inability to concentrate. Whole grain products, lean meat, legumes, nuts, dairy products and vegetables such as cauliflower, spinach and kelp are great sources.
Vitamin B12 is important for making our body’s genetic material and even red blood cells. A deficiency can cause fatigue, increased heart rate, pale skin, sore tongue, bruising, upset stomach, diarrhea, nerve damage and even dementia. You can make sure you get plenty of this vitamin by consuming meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products and eggs.
Looking for more information or guidance on improving your diet? Crozer-Keystone offers nutrition counseling to help you navigate your specific nutritional needs. To request an appointment, please call 1-800-CK-HEALTH (1-800-254-3258).