Essential Nutrients
20 May 2024

7 Signs You're Missing Out on Essential Nutrients

About 3 months ago, I found myself in the hospital for a routine check-up, where I discovered I was low on magnesium. As I lounged back at home, pondering my nutrient levels, it dawned on me to dive deeper into the world of nutrient deficiencies and their tell-tale symptoms. And voila! Here's my take on the 7 most common deficiencies and the sneaky signs they're messing with your mojo. Forget the image of scurvy-ridden sailors from centuries past - vitamin and mineral deficiencies are still a real concern today. Don't be fooled by the fancy technology and advancements in modern nutrition, our bodies still require essential nutrients to keep things running smoothly.

Nutrient deficiencies can mess with everything from your basic cellular functions to your metabolism. We're talking water balance, enzyme function, nerve signaling - all that good stuff. And let's not forget about the diseases that can rear their ugly heads when your body is lacking key vitamins and minerals. Brittle bones and energy-zapping anaemia are just a couple of the surprises that could be waiting for you if you're not getting enough calcium, vitamin D, or iron. So, how do you know if you're running low on the good stuff? Look out for those tell-tale symptoms! Keep reading to learn how to spot 7 common nutrient deficiencies before they wreak havoc on your health.

Vitamin D Deficiency
  • Vitamin D Deficiency: Fatigue, Bone Pain, & Mood Shifts

Vitamin D, your trusty sidekick for strong bones and protection against certain severe diseases, is truly an unsung hero in the world of vitamins. The symptoms of a deficiency are about as clear as a blurry selfie - fatigue, bone pain, mood swings, and muscle aches or weakness may creep up on you when you least expect it. A prolonged lack of this vitamin could result in bones as soft as a marshmallow left out in the sun. But there is a solution, for there are ways to ensure you get your daily dose of vitamin D. Michelle Zive, PhD, the nutrition coach straight out of San Diego, recommends getting 15 micrograms of vitamin D daily if you're an adult, and 20 micrograms if you're over 70. So, we recommend sipping on some fortified milk or yogurt, chow down on fatty fish like salmon or tuna, and bask in the sunlight like a glamorous reptile for 10 to 30 minutes a few times a week. But hey, let's be clear about it - relying solely on food and sunshine to meet your vitamin D needs is like trying to win a staring contest with a blinking competition champion. That's where a high-quality Vitamin D supplement swoops in to save the day, ensuring you're getting all the goodness that this essential vitamin has to offer. So go on, embrace the power of this supplement and let your bones thank you later. Learn More About Vitamin D here.

  • Iron Deficiency: The Silent Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore

Did you know that iron is the master behind the scenes, making sure your red blood cells can carry oxygen throughout your body? Unfortunately, when iron levels dip too low, it can lead to a little condition called anaemia. Who's at risk? Well, menstruating women, growing folks (like kids and pregnant ladies), and those rocking the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, that's who. Anaemia may sneak up on you with symptoms like feeling weak, tired, and out of breath, sporting a ghostly pallor, dealing with headaches, and even developing a strange hankering for things like dirt (yep, you read that right). So how do you combat this iron deficiency fiend? Load up on iron-rich goodies like fortified cereal, beef, oysters, beans, lentils, and spinach. And don't forget your daily iron goals: 8 mg for adults over 50, and 18 mg for the younger ladies. It's time to pump up those iron levels and protect your body from anaemia! Learn More About Iron Here.

Potassium Deficiency
  • Potassium Deficiency: Muscle Weakness, Constipation, & Heart Health

Potassium is like the unsung hero of the nutrient world – quietly working behind the scenes to keep your heart, nerves, and muscles in tip-top shape. Not only does it help deliver nutrients to your cells and flush out waste, but it also swoops in to save the day when sodium is wreaking havoc on your blood pressure. Talk about a multitasking superstar! But beware, potassium levels can quickly plummet for a variety of reasons, from a nasty bout of diarrhoea to hitting the gym a little too hard. Suddenly finding yourself low on this essential nutrient could lead to muscle weakness, constipation, and even some funky heart rhythms – not exactly a recipe for a happy, healthy body. Luckily, nature has our back with an array of delicious potassium-packed foods such as bananas, milk, and legumes. So whether you're whipping up a lentil stew or slicing into a juicy acorn squash, you can rest easy knowing you're giving your body the love it needs. So remember, keep that potassium intake up to snuff – your heart and muscles will thank you later. And who knows, maybe you'll even find yourself doing a little victory dance for making such a smart health choice.

  • Calcium Deficiency: Abnormal Heart Rhythm & Numb Fingers

Calcium isn't just for building strong bones and teeth? It also plays a crucial role in keeping your muscles and nerves in tip-top shape, according to the researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Now, don't fret - we're not here to scare you with tales of numb, tingling fingers and wonky heart rhythms that can occur with severe calcium deficiency, as the Cleveland Clinic so kindly reminds us. In fact, the sneaky thing about calcium deficiency is that there are no immediate red flags to warn you of its presence. Fortunately, The Mayo Clinic has your back with some solid advice: most adults should aim for 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily, while seasoned individuals (yes, we're looking at you, ladies over 50 and gents over 70) may need a bit more at 1,200 milligrams. Fortunately, getting your daily calcium fix doesn't have to be a chore. After having done some calcium research, I recommend 3 daily servings of milk or Greek yogurt. That should do the trick. And if dairy isn't your thing, no worries! Cheese, fortified plant-based milks, and even your favourite bowl of breakfast cereal can help you reach your calcium quota. So whether you're sipping on a glass of milk or munching on some kale and broccoli, rest assured that you're taking care of your bones and muscles like a true calcium connoisseur. Cheers to strong bones and healthy bodies!

Magnesium Deficiency
  • Magnesium Deficiency: Appetite Loss, Nausea, Fatigue, & More

Let's talk about the mighty king of bone health and energy production - magnesium! According to the NIH, adults need around 310 to 420 mg of this magic mineral, depending on factors like age and sex. While deficiency is pretty rare in healthy folks, certain meds and health issues can throw a wrench in your magnesium levels. Are you feeling fatigued, weak, or just not yourself? It could be a lack of magnesium causing your woes, says the Cleveland Clinic. Severe cases might even bring on muscle cramps, seizures, or irregular heart rhythms - yikes! But there’s no need to despair! To get your magnesium mojo back, load up on tasty treats like almonds, spinach, and black beans. In addition, a quality magnesium supplement will do the job as well. Your bones and energy levels will thank you! Learn More About Magnesium Here.

  • Folate Deficiency: Fatigue, Diarrhoea, & Smooth Tongue

Folate, that fancy B vitamin also known as folic acid, is like the super sidekick for women in their baby-making years. It's the MVP in prenatal vitamins because it plays a crucial role in supporting healthy growth and preventing birth defects, especially the ones messing with the brain and spine, according to the medical experts. But watch out, because not getting enough folate can lead to a shortage of cells, oversize red blood cells, and some serious trouble with that neural tube in your little bun in the oven. So, keep an eye out for signs like tiredness, crankiness, stomach issues, slow growth, and a tongue that feels like it swapped places with a soft blanket. Ladies thinking about kicking off the baby-making process should be on the lookout for 400 mcg of folic acid daily, on top of chowing down on folate-filled foods, says the CDC. And get this - the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health spills the tea that your body prefers to absorb this vitamin in supplement form, with a whopping 85% absorption rate compared to only 50% from food. So ditch those sad salads and opt for fortified cereals, beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, eggs, and those dark leafy greens to get your folate fix. Learn More About Folate Here.

  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Numbness, Fatigue, Swollen Tongue, & More

Do you feel like your brain is running on dial-up while everyone else is on fibre optic? Maybe you need a little boost from vitamin B12! This little powerhouse nutrient not only helps your body produce red blood cells and DNA, but it also keeps your neurotransmitters firing on all cylinders. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, or if you've had weight-loss surgery, you might be at risk for a B12 deficiency. And trust us! You don't want to mess around with that. Symptoms can range from feeling like your legs, hands, and feet are asleep, to walking like a drunken sailor, to straight up forgetting where you put your keys (again). Not a fun time. But the solution is simple. Adults need just 2.4 mcg of B12 a day, which you can easily get from animal products like fish, chicken, milk, and yogurt. If you're on team plant-based or just not a fan of those particular foods, try fortified options like plant-based milk or breakfast cereals. And if all else fails, there's always the trusty multivitamin or B12 supplement. So fuel up with some B12 and get those brain cells firing at lightning speed. Who knows, with a little help from this vitamin, you might even remember where you left your phone for once. Learn More About Liposomal Vitamin B12 Here.

Nourishing Your Body

Transitioning from a Lack of Nutrients to Nourishing Your Body Through Healthy Eating

If you're feeling a bit off-kilter and suspect your body may be missing out on some important nutrients, don't fret - just have a chat with your doctor. In most cases a simple blood test can help pinpoint any deficiencies you may have. And if you are running low on essential vitamins and minerals, your doctor can send you packing to a registered dietician or suggest some trusty food supplements. What is the key to dodging these nutrient deficiencies? Well, make sure to consume a variety of wholesome foods and if you're walking a tightrope of potential deficiencies, consider popping a premium multivitamin supplement for added insurance. There are certain groups at higher risk, like the elderly, mamas-to-be, and people sticking to diets that might be missing some key nutrients (ahem, vegans, vegetarians, and fans of the good old fast-food diet). If you find yourself in one of these groups, it might be worth tapping your doc for a chat about your personal risk level. Stay healthy, wealthy (in nutrients), and wise! Learn More About Multi Vitamins & Minerals Here.

“The bulk of human health issues can be traced to diet and deficiencies in minerals, metals, vitamins and hormones.” - Steven Magee