Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are serious health issues. Unfortunately, many people are unaware they have a deficiency.
You might think you eat a healthy diet, for example, only to realize you’re deficient in several key vitamins and minerals.
Vegans and vegetarians, meanwhile, are often deficient in vitamin B12, which is only available through animal sources or supplements.
Here are some of the most surprising causes of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
1) You Have a Disease Linked to Poor Nutrient Absorption (Like Crohn’s Disease or Celiac Disease)
Some diseases interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. If you have celiac or Crohn’s disease, for example, then your body might struggle to absorb nutrients even if you’re eating a healthy diet.
2) You Don’t Eat Enough Fruits and Vegetables
This one is obvious: if you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, then you may be deficient in several vitamins and minerals. Approximately 75% of Americans don’t get their recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables, and many of us are nutrient deficient without knowing it.
3) You’re a Vegetarian or Vegan
A well-planned vegetarian or vegan diet is nutrient-rich and healthy. A poorly-planned diet, however, can leave you lacking crucial vitamins and minerals. Many new vegetarians or vegans are unaware they need to take a vitamin B12 supplement, for example, because there are no plant-based sources of vitamin B12 (it’s mostly found in meat, eggs, and milk).
Vitamin B12 is crucial for energy. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, then consider taking a nutrient test. The test could allow you to flex your prowess. Or, it could identify crucial deficiencies.
Vegetarians and vegans also have a higher risk of iron deficiency because your body struggles to absorb plant-based sources of iron.
4) You Take Certain Medications
Certain medications can interfere with vitamins and minerals in your body.
- People who take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), for example, may have multiple nutrient deficiencies, including low levels of vitamin C, vitamin B12, calcium, and iron
- Similarly, people who take antacids and diabetes drugs may have low vitamin B12 levels
- Or, anti-seizure medications can block the absorption of folate
If you are taking medication, then a nutrient deficiency test can determine if those medications are interfering with your diet.
5) You’re Pregnant
When you’re pregnant, you’re growing another person inside of you. Understandably, your body needs more vitamins and minerals than normal. People who are pregnant have a higher risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Consider taking a test to verify that you and your baby are meeting nutritional needs.
6) You’re a Woman
Women have a higher risk of vitamin and mineral deficiency because of physiological differences. Due to periods and pregnancies, women have a higher risk of iron deficiency linked to blood loss.
Your body needs iron to make red blood cells, which carry oxygen around your body. A lack of iron could lead to weakness, tiredness, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
7) You Don’t Get Enough Sunlight
If you live at northern latitudes, or if it’s the middle of winter, then you might have limited sunlight exposure. Your body needs sun to make vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels are linked to immune dysfunction, weakness, tiredness, and muscle and bone pain.
Low vitamin D can also increase the risk of depression. Some develop Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) every winter, for example, because of limited exposure to sunlight.
Many people are surprised to discover they have low vitamin D levels. You might get plenty of sunlight every day, for example, yet have low vitamin D levels. If you live at northern latitudes during the winter, then the sun may not be powerful enough to produce sufficient vitamin D – even if you’re outside all day. Consider taking a test or a vitamin D supplement.
8) You Have Folate Deficiency Anemia
Folate, or vitamin B9, is a nutrient found in fruits and leafy vegetables. If you don’t eat enough leafy greens or vegetables, or if you aren’t eating the right types of vegetables, then you might have folate deficiency anemia.
Making things worse is that your body may struggle to absorb folate even after you’ve addressed the cause. Your body has unlearned the ability to absorb folate in the small intestine, which means you have may need to take a folate supplement regardless.
Common causes of folate deficiency anemia include:
- Celiac disease
- Excessive drinking
- Removal of small intestine
- Damage to small intestine
- Use of certain prescription drugs, including anti-seizure medication
9) You Drink a Lot
If you abuse alcohol, then you might struggle to absorb folate, vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals. Alcohol interferes with your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients you need. Alcoholism is also associated with a poorer overall diet.
For all of these reasons, alcoholics (or anyone who drinks alcohol excessively) may have an increased risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
10) You Have Imbalanced Gut Bacteria
People are treating gut health more seriously than ever. Good gut health is crucial for immunity, weight management, and overall health and wellness. Good gut health is also associated with better nutrient absorption.
If you have imbalanced gut bacteria or poor probiotic levels, then you might have low levels of multiple vitamins and minerals. Abnormal bacterial growth in your stomach can interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12, for example.
How to Solve your Nutrient Deficiency
The best way to solve your nutrient deficiency is:
Step 1) Take a vitamin and mineral deficiency test (available at a clinic or through a home testing kit)
Step 2) Get results
Step 3) Take supplements or adjust your diet to solve deficiencies
It sounds like a simple process. Unfortunately, many people ignore vitamin and mineral deficiencies until it’s too late.
Take a test today to discover your vitamin and mineral deficiencies – and how you can quickly solve those deficiencies.
Science Nutrition Lab specializes in at-home nutrient deficiency testing kits.
Order your testing kit today!