Nutrient deficiencies are health issues that occur when your body does not absorb proper nutrients it needs to function at its best. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to a wide assortment of health problems including digestive issues, skin problems, poor bone growth, excess stress, poor sleep, and even a lack of energy. Many of these health issues can be affecting your everyday health and wellness, often without you even realizing why.
Vitamin D, for example, is a nutrient that is essential for a healthy body and lifestyle. Vitamin D not only boosts your immune system but can also actually help prevent numerous health conditions. Despite the importance of this vitamin, it has been found that more than 41.6% of the overall US adult population is deficient in vitamin D. Further, vitamin D deficiency is closely related to ethnicity, as 82.1% of African-American and 69.2% of Hispanics in the US adult population were found to be deficient in this vitamin.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found that vitamin B6, iron, and vitamin D are associated with the three highest frequencies of deficiency in the US population. Conversely, deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin E, and Folate are the least prevalent nutrient deficiencies in the US adult population.
Nutrient deficiencies can occur for multiple reasons, including diet, lifestyle, medical history, and genetics. Because of this complexity, vitamins and minerals that your body needs is entirely unique to your body, and cannot be adequately approached with a generalized solution. An efficient and safe solution to filling your nutritional gaps requires a detailed assessment of both your DNA makeup and your lifestyle.
DNA and Nutrient Levels
Because essential nutrients are primarily obtained from diet, variation in nutrient levels has often been studied from an environmental perspective. While diet and lifestyle play a significant role in determining nutrient needs, genetic differences in your ability to absorb, metabolize, and store nutrients can play a major role in your risk of deficiency.
A 2013 study consisting of 12,865 people discovered a genetic mutation that resulted in 1.26% of a difference in blood calcium levels between study participants. Another study found significant genetic contributions to levels of blood copper, selenium, and zinc between study participants. It has also been shown that your genetic predisposition towards low vitamin levels can also impact your overall risk for specific diseases. A 2016 study found that people with a genetically determined predisposition towards low vitamin D levels had a 25% increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Similar studies have been conducted on many other vitamins and minerals, with research continuing to emerge that supports the relationship between DNA and nutrient levels, metabolism, absorption, and storage.
Ways That Nutrient Deficiencies Can Impact Your Health
According to National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 1 out of 75 people may experience stress related panic disorders. Nutrient deficiencies in the diet may be a cause of daily stress and depression. Nutrients such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin D, Magnesium, Vitamin B, and Folate have been shown to have an effect on stress and anxiety levels. Foods that are high in these nutrients such as fatty fish, leafy greens, dark vegetables, dark chocolate, and dairy can be added to your diet to help keep stress levels low.
2. Lack of Energy
A lack of proper nutrients causes low energy levels and can lead to serious fatigue. Iron is the most common deficiency among women, closely followed by deficiencies in magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12, and folic acid. Restrictive low carbohydrate diets may be contributing to fatigue, as many foods high in carbohydrates also are high in B vitamins. Fatigue is the first major warning sign that the body is dangerously low on the nutrients it needs to run properly. It is important to identify what deficiencies are present, as symptoms could worsen and sometimes lead to permanent damage.
3. Trouble Sleeping
Sleeplessness is a major health concern. Insomnia affects over 3 million people yearly and is very difficult to treat. Vitamins such as calcium and magnesium have a sedative reaction on the central nervous system, and deficiencies in either can cause sleeplessness. Supplementing with vitamins that have been linked with boosting melatonin levels in the body, such as magnesium, melatonin, and vitamin B12 can help provide relief from sleeplessness.
4. Digestive Issues
Many intestinal issues such as abdominal pain, bloating, chronic diarrhea, vomiting and constipation can be traced back to nutrient deficiencies. These issues are usually caused by a poor balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, and a lack of proper probiotics. Probiotics are live cultures that can improve digestion, clear up any irritations in the gut, and promote healthy hormone production in the body.
5. Body Weight
Nutrient deficiencies may be linked to obesity. There is a theory that if your body lacks micronutrients, it will continue eating until those nutrient needs are met. Similarly, nutrient deficiencies may cause intense cravings, as the body attempts to signal that it is deficient. Vitamin deficiencies that have been linked with obesity include vitamin D, B vitamins, and iron.
Treating Nutrient Deficiencies using Science
There is a massive amount of information available through TV, the internet, and amongst friends concerning the best diets to follow and the most useful vitamins and minerals to take. This information overload often leaves people confused as to the best nutritional approach, and this confusion is amplified by the overwhelming number of vitamin and mineral products in the ever-daunting supplement aisle at grocery stores.
So-called “fad” diets and supplements can often have unexpected side effects, and powerful interactions with other supplements, medications, and even foods that you eat. One of the most commonly taken medications, Lipitor, has been found to have a major interaction with a commonly taken supplement, St. John’s Wort, and a moderate interactions with vitamins such as A, C, D, and E. This research is at the core of personalized supplementation programs offered by companies such as Vitagene that allows you to make informed decisions about your health and wellness.
People of all ages are experiencing the effects of nutrient deficiencies, often without even realizing the cause. These effects can be so powerful that everyday quality of life is impacted, whether from developing certain conditions, a lack of energy to make it through the day, or difficulty getting a good night’s sleep.
A comprehensive treatment plan for nutrient deficiencies offered by companies such as Vitagene, considers a person’s DNA, lifestyle, medical history, and blood work. Matching this information to the most up-to-date research in the fields of genetics and supplementation allows you not only to understand where your long-term and short-term nutrient deficiencies may lie but also to select the right nutrients and diet plans for your unique health profile. This clarity and personalization are bringing about a new era in the world of diet and supplementation, promising consumers safer and more effective nutritional solutions.
This post was sponsored by Vitagene.