Vital Nature: Vitamin Deficiencies

In a country where “super-sized” meals have become the new standard, and where more than one-third of U.S. adults are clinically obese, it could be astonishing that nutrient deficiencies are as common amongst all ages as they are. Despite the abundance of food, a large number of Americans still suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Maybe you need to reconsider your student-diet of ramen and vending machine potato chips, for the better of yourself and the ecosystem you belong to.

Essential nutrients we commonly hear of are carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. Many privileged U.S. residence consume more than enough carbohydrates, proteins and fats but not enough of the right minerals and vitamins. Each of the essential nutrients plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s health and functionality, and when the body is deprived of certain nutrients, the effects are felt.
Lots of producers add vitamins and minerals to otherwise low-content products that appeal to many consumers but in reality are broadly ineffective. Pick up any non-organic cereal at your local grocery store and be amazed by the nutrient content! All that the product really is can be narrowed down to grains and sugars, funky coloring or flavoring and synthetic vitamins.

Synthetic vitamins are chemically synthesized, or extracted in a process that caused them to lose their natural properties. Vitamins are not a cure-all for the poorly nourished, and a healthy body requires a wholesome diet. Simple nutrients in the following paragraphs are fortunately available in organic products.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a key role in the formation of blood, brain and nervous system functions. One of the eight B vitamins, B12 plays an important role in the metabolism of body cells and DNA synthesis and regulation. Plants, fungi and animals lack the ability to produce vitamin B12, and only bacteria and archaea have the enzymes required to synthesize B12. Foods such as mussels, fish, octopus, beef and lamb contain B12 as a result of bacterial symbiosis with the animals they dwell within.

Iodine is a trace mineral with large implications for our health. Iodine is used by the body to produce and regulate thyroid hormones that control basic functions. Iodine deficiencies can contribute to thyroid problems, which can be exhibited by an inability to lose weight, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, puffy, dark under-eyes and loss of libido. Iodine can be safely incorporated into your diet by adding seaweed, fish, shrimp, and brazil nuts.

Magnesium seems to be lacking in the average diet, and much research suggest only around half of US adults consume the daily recommended amount. Insufficient magnesium intake are linked to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, colon cancer and heart diseases. Some symptoms of deficiency include insulin resistance, constipation, migraines, restless leg syndrome, cramping, and hypertension. Magnesium can be absorbed through leafy greens, nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, espresso and halibut.
Vitamin D is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight, and can be absorbed through foods such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, livers and mushrooms. It helps maintain strong bones, immune functionality, healthy muscle movement, and can help reduce inflammation. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with rickets, where the bones are soft and bend, and can influence asthma, impair cognitive thinking and increase risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Zinc plays a key role in immune defense. If your body is having a hard time fending off bacteria and viruses, or you take a while to successfully heal bodily injuries, experience hair loss or a decreased ability to taste food, zinc deficiency may be to blame. Try including beans, whole grains, nuts, oysters, red meat and poultry into your diet.