Health & Wellness - Science Nutrition Lab

Omega-3 Deficiency: Symptoms & Solutions

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats you must get from food sources. If you don’t get omega-3 fatty acids from food sources, then you may have omega-3 deficiency.

Symptoms of omega-3 deficiency can include skin irritation, brittle or thinning hair, joint pain and stiffness, brain fog, dry eyes, and fatigue.

Fortunately, omega-3 deficiency is easy to address: you can take an omega-3 supplement or add more of certain types of food to your diet.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, including symptoms and possible solution.

How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Work

Your body needs multiple types of fats to function. Your body can make most of the fats it needs on its own.

Your body cannot, however, make omega-3 fatty acids. They’re considered essential fats, which means your body cannot make these fats on its own. Instead, you need to get omega-3 fatty acids from food sources.

Omega-3 fatty acids play critical roles throughout the body. Studies have linked omega-3 fatty acids to cardiovascular health, hormone production, and critical tasks at the cellular level.

There are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids, including:

  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
  • Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

ALA is the most common omega-3 fatty acid. It’s the type found in vegetable oils, nuts, and leafy vegetables. EPA and DHA, meanwhile, are considered marine omega-3 fats because they mostly come from fish.

10 Common Symptoms of Omega-3 Deficiency

If you’re deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, then you could experience a range of symptoms – from minor issues to major symptoms to no symptoms whatsoever.

Here are the 10 most common signs you may have omega-3 deficiency:

  1. Skin Irritation & Dryness: One of the first symptoms of omega-3 deficiency is skin dryness or irritation. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for supporting your skin’s barrier effect, and increased skin inflammation or other issues could be a sign you’re deficient in omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Dry Eyes: Your eyes rely on omega-3 fatty acids to stay lubricated.
  3. Joint Pain & Stiffness: Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for keeping joints healthy and controlling inflammation. Lack of omega-3 fatty acid could increase joint pain issues.
  4. Changes in Hair Quality or Thinning Hair: Changes to hair could indicate an omega-3 deficiency. Your hair needs omega-3 fatty acids for good structure, and poor hair quality or a sensitive scalp could indicate omega-3 fatty acid deficiency.
  5. Increased Dandruff: In addition to a sensitive scalp, you could notice increased dandruff because of your omega 3 deficiency.
  6. Brittle Nails: Omega-3 affects more than just your hair; it also affects your nails. Brittle, thinning, nails could be a sign of omega-3 deficiency.
  7. Mental Fog: Omega-3 is crucial for cognition, and some studies have even connected omega-3 fatty acids to degenerative brain conditions. If you experience symptoms of mental fog – including confusion, poor concentration, and lack of attention – then it could be omega 3 deficiency.
  8. Depression or Mood Changes: There’s some evidence omega-3 is important for mood, and some studies have connected depression and other cognitive conditions to omega-3 fatty acids.
  9. General Fatigue: Do you regularly feel tired? You could be deficient in omega-3.
  10. Increased Thirst & Other Signs of Dehydration: If you regularly feel thirsty or have a dry mouth and throat, then it could be a sign of omega 3 deficiency.

Surprisingly, some people with omega-3 deficiency also experience excessive buildup of earwax because of their condition.

Science-Backed Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Researchers have linked omega-3 fatty acids to a range of effects – from cognition to heart health. Below, we’ll review some of the scientific evidence explaining why omega-3 fatty acids are critical for multiple aspects of health.

Cardiovascular Health

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be beneficial for heart health, and multiple studies have validated this claim.

Studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids help with cholesterol, blood pressure, and overall heart disease:

  • A 2007 study, for example, found the polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish oil were linked to a lower risk of fatal cardiac events. In that study, researchers were attempting to determine why people who ate fish regularly tended to have better cardiovascular health than people who did not.
  • A separate study from 1999 examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on heart attack survivors. Participants took 1g of omega-3 fatty acids every day for three years. In a follow-up, researchers found participants in the omega-3 fatty acid group were significantly less likely to experience a second heart attack, stroke, or sudden cardiac event than a group taking a placebo. In fact, those in the omega-3 fatty acid group had a 50% lower risk of sudden cardiac death.
  • Another study involving 18,645 patients examined the effects of 1,800mg of EPA with statin versus statin only. Researchers found sudden cardiac death and coronary death did not differ between groups, although patients in the EPA group had a 19% relative reduction in major coronary events overall.

For all of these reasons and more, doctors may recommend omega-3 fatty acid supplements to anyone concerned about cardiovascular health.

Diabetes & Cholesterol

Diabetics tend to have higher cholesterol levels than non-diabetics. Taking omega-3 fatty acids can help lower triglycerides and raise HDL, helping diabetics support overall heart health.

Studies suggest diabetics can particularly benefit from EPA and DHA as opposed to ALA (which comes from flaxseed and certain types of nuts). In other words, fish-based omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

As Mount Sinai explains, studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids could help people with osteoarthritis, although more research is needed to verify this connection.

Studies have found omega-3 fatty acids could reduce joint stiffness and pain, improve grip strength, and increase walking pace in people with osteoarthritis, for example. Meanwhile, a large review found some people with osteoarthritis experienced significant pain relief after taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

Cognition & Certain Cognitive Conditions

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to impact the brain and overall cognition in multiple ways. Some studies have even linked omega-3 fatty acid supplementation to relief from certain cognitive conditions.

  • In a 2015 review published in Integrative Medicine Research, researchers found a connection between omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and relief from depression. Researchers found multiple studies showing omega-3 fatty acids were “proving to be very effective against the treatment of major depression disorder” and certain other psychiatric disorders. However, researchers cautioned more evidence was needed to verify this connection.
  • Some small studies have also connected omega-3 fatty acid supplementation to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, with people relieving certain symptoms of either condition with omega-3 fatty acid supplements.
  • Other studies suggest children with ADHD tend to have lower levels of essential fatty acids (including EPA and DHA) than children without ADHD. However, studies have not conclusively determined omega-3 fatty acid supplements can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
  • There’s some evidence omega-3 fatty acid supplements have protective effects against Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other degenerative cognitive conditions. Many people take omega-3 fatty acid supplements daily for that reason. According to the Alzheimer’s Society of the United Kingdom, there is “good evidence” that eating fish “is good for your health” and there are “reports that it may reduce the risk of developing dementia,” although they cautioned more evidence was needed to verify this connection.

Check Your Blood for Deficiencies with a Painless, Accurate Blood Test Today

Science Nutrition Lab specializes in testing blood to provide crucial insight into your health.

Do you feel tired? Do you experience mental fog? Do you suddenly have joint pain or a general feeling of being unwell? None of these things are normal – and a deficiency could be to blame.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to check how your bloodwork compares to an optimal range. 

9 Surprising Everyday Changes to Look Younger Today

You can find plenty of tips online for looking younger.

If you stop smoking, limit alcohol, and eat a healthy diet, for example, you can probably look younger in the very near future.

However, there are other underrated strategies, lesser-known tips, and science-backed ways to look younger as soon as today.

Keep reading to find some of the best and most surprising lifestyle changes you can make to look younger today.

Avoid Products that Irritate Your Skin

Certain skincare products irritate your skin. Some people continue to use these skincare products because they like how their bodies become used to the products over time. However, that’s not a good idea: your skin never adjusts to irritants in skincare products; if a product is burning, it could be making you look older.

Many popular skincare products contain common skin irritants. Many are sensitive to retinol, for example. Despite its popularity as an anti-aging cream, retinol may or may not be the right choice for you.

Talk to a dermatologist to find the optimal anti-aging skincare products while avoiding irritating your skin.

Make a Conscious Effort to Relax Your Face

This tip sounds funny, but it can make a meaningful difference in the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Some people keep their face in a scrunched or irritated position naturally. Think of how your face feels when watching TV or sitting at your desk.

Are you sitting at your desk relaxed? Or are you watching TV with your brow furrowed? The more you relax your face, the easier it will be to make fine lines and wrinkles disappear.

Check your Vision

Speaking of scrunched faces, poor vision can increase the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines – especially around the eyes.

If you need to squint to read or see items in the distance, then you may need to visit an eye doctor to update your prescription – or get glasses or contacts for the first time.

Don’t let declining vision make you look older than you really are. Sometimes, all you need is a simple optometrist visit to ensure you have the right prescription – and to avoid squinting your eyes.

Moisturize Your Hands

Many people moisturize their face and neck to look younger. However, a growing number of people are recognizing the importance of moisturizing their hands.

Moisturize your hands like you moisturize your face. It can help keep away the appearance of wrinkled, veiny hands (not that there’s anything wrong with naturally older-looking hands!).

Add Oily Fish to Your Diet

Eating oily fish twice a week can help you look younger. Oily fish can be healthy for many reasons, but they also contain a compound called dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), which is the same DMAE found in many “mature” anti-aging skin creams.

DMAE supports muscle tone and skin elasticity, helping you look and feel younger. Eating oily fish regularly can help you look and feel younger while giving you the benefits of high-end skin creams.

Eat Antioxidant Rich Fruits, Vegetables, and Superfoods

Antioxidants are trendy for good reason: they help fight the effects of aging.

As your body gets older, you breathe oxygen and oxidize your body, leading to visible effects of aging. Antioxidants help fight back against damage caused by free radicals, helping you look and feel younger.

Many experts recommend eating a colorful diet – with colorful berries and vegetables – to maximize antioxidant levels. You can also check the ORAC level of certain foods to verify their antioxidant value.

Some of the best antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and superfoods include:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Spinach
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus

Avocados, beets, lettuce, sweet potatoes, collard greens, kale, and coffee and tea are also rich with antioxidants.

From anthocyanins to vitamins A and C, the right foods can help you add considerable antioxidant value to your diet.

Avoid Foods & Drinks that Stain Your Teeth

Toothpaste commercials aren’t lying: your smile is one of the first things people notice about you.

If you have a bright, white smile, you tend to look younger than someone with a yellow smile. That’s why many anti-aging experts recommend avoiding foods and drinks that stain your teeth.

Some of the worst teeth staining offenders include:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee (especially coffee without a creamer or whitener)
  • Tea
  • Soy sauce
  • Dark-colored sodas
  • Balsamic vinegar

Seeing your dentist regularly can also help you look younger. Dentists can spot oral health issues before they become serious, helping you avoid dealing with serious tooth problems as you get older.

Make the Obvious Anti-Aging Strategies Part of Your Everyday Routine

There are obvious everyday anti-aging strategies you can implement today to make a meaningful difference in the appearance of your skin, the visibility of your wrinkles, and your overall physical and cognitive energy.

Here are some of the obvious anti-aging tips to make part of your ordinary routine:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Stay out of the sun
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Use a moisturizer
  • Stop smoking
  • Practice a healthy, balanced diet and exercise routine

Take A Blood Test to Identity Nutritional Deficiencies

A single blood test can reveal changes to your body long before symptoms appear.

Unfortunately, the average blood test isn’t very good. A lab compares your bloodwork against a random selection of patients who recently visited.

A Science Nutrition Lab blood test is different. You visit a trusted lab near you, and we compare results to an optimal range based on your physiology. Then, our Dr. Jason Jumper reviews your results and builds a plan to address deficiencies.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to spot deficiencies in your blood – and address those deficiencies – before they become more serious symptoms.

Liquid Chlorophyll & Chlorophyll Water: Does It Really Work?

Some people drink liquid chlorophyll – also known as chlorophyll water – daily for purported health benefits.

Like many trendy health supplements that have come before it, liquid chlorophyll has supporters and detractors.

Some claim the liquid chlorophyll wellness craze improves skin health, helps with weight loss, and detoxifies the body, among other benefits. Others claim liquid chlorophyll has no real scientific evidence and tastes gross.

Does liquid chlorophyll really work? What’s the science behind chlorophyll water? Keep reading to find what science says about one of the newest trends in health and wellness.

Fast Facts About Liquid Chlorophyll

  • Liquid chlorophyll has been a growing wellness trend in 2022, fueled by TikTok stars and other social media influencers
  • Some claim adding chlorophyll to water helps with skin, weight loss, detoxification, and more
  • One company has already trademarked the term Chlorophyll Water and sells a branded version of Chlorophyll Water online
  • Most liquid chlorophyll studies are small, and there’s limited largescale evidence proving specific benefits in humans
  • However, most studies suggest liquid chlorophyll is safe for humans to take in normal doses with no side effects

What is Liquid Chlorophyll?

Chlorophyll is the natural chemical in plants that makes them green. Plants use chlorophyll to absorb different wavelengths of light.

Liquid chlorophyll is a synthetic version of chlorophyll (i.e. chlorophyll created in a lab) designed to support specific benefits in humans.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen chlorophyll supplements rise in popularity: over the past decade, we’ve seen chlorophyll gels, tablets, and softgels. Today, liquid chlorophyll seems particularly popular.

To be clear, liquid chlorophyll supplements contain a different type of chlorophyll than what is found in plants. Supplements contain a human-made version of chlorophyll called chlorophyllin. Scientists have re-created chlorophyll in a lab by making minor changes to the natural ingredient.

How Do Liquid Chlorophyll Supplements Work?

Liquid chlorophyll supplements contain chlorophyll in or sodium copper chlorophyllin (SCC), two synthetic versions of chlorophyll. Some research suggests these nature-derived chemicals can support certain benefits.

You take chlorophyll supplements orally, and your body absorbs a certain amount of chlorophyll. Absorption varies depending on whether you’re taking liquid chlorophyll or other chlorophyll supplements.

One of the most promising studies on liquid chlorophyll was published in 2018, when researchers found chlorophyll exhibited anticancer effects against pancreatic cancer cells. Because of that study and others, a trial is underway to see if chlorophyll supplements can help with radiation therapy for pelvic cancer.

A separate study, performed on mice, found liquid chlorophyll could support gut health by balancing bacteria in your gut. Good gut microbiota balance is associated with good immunity and strong overall health.

Chlorophyll has shown some evidence of working when applied topically. A 2014 study, for example, found applying topical chlorophyllin (synthetic chlorophyll) could help support your skin’s natural defense against acne.

Another study, meanwhile, found chlorophyll could protect your body from the effects of carcinogens, or cancer-causing chemicals. However, researchers did not find enough evidence to remove chlorophyll supplementation for anti-cancer effects.

Chlorophyll detractors, meanwhile, point to other studies showing your body only absorbs a small amount of supplemental chlorophyll. This study, for example, found most chlorophyll is excreted via your feces and very little ends up in your bloodstream – even when eating a diet rich in chlorophyll or taking chlorophyll supplements.

Purported Benefits of Chlorophyll Supplements

Liquid chlorophyll and other chlorophyll supplements have surged in popularity. Social media and certain wellness practitioners have promoted the trend with various benefits.

Some of the purported benefits of chlorophyll supplements, according to various dubious claims online, including:

  • Clear your skin and help with acne, scarring, rosacea, and other conditions
  • Lose weight
  • Boost digestion
  • Help prevent cancer
  • Detoxify your body
  • Reduce inflammation, help with mental fog, and support general health and wellness

One writer at The Beet, for example, claims she noticed significant effects within days of drinking chlorophyll water for the first time. She reduced appetite cravings, cleared her skin, improved her digestion, and experienced other effects after taking chlorophyll for one week.

How to Drink Liquid Chlorophyll

On TikTok, Instagram, and other major social media, you can find plenty of influencers drinking weird, green-colored potions daily to support skin health and other benefits.

Most people take liquid chlorophyll by adding a few drops of concentrated liquid chlorophyll to a glass of water or a shake. Then, just drink it daily.

Liquid chlorophyll supplements come in a highly-concentrated liquid. You take 5 to 20 drops of this liquid daily to support the purported benefits (or follow the recommended dosage instructions on your liquid chlorophyll supplement).

Expect an unusual taste with liquid chlorophyll. Some never get used to the taste, while others require a few days to get used to it. Others mask it with strong-tasting shakes or smoothies.

Is Liquid Chlorophyll Safe?

Liquid chlorophyll and other chlorophyll supplements appear to be safe to take. Although evidence for their benefits is mixed, studies have linked liquid chlorophyll to few serious side effects when consumed in normal doses.

According to the FDA, it appears safe for healthy adults to take 100mg to 200mg of chlorophyll per day, and there’s no evidence chlorophyll is toxic. If you exceed the recommended maximum dosage of 200mg per day, however, you could experience side effects like:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Discolored stools

When applied chlorophyll supplements topically (directly to your skin), watch for signs of skin irritation. Some develop rashes or other irritation because of topical chlorophyll creams.

Other Ways to Increase Chlorophyll Intake

You could take a liquid chlorophyll supplement to boost chlorophyll intake. Or, you could eat certain chlorophyll-rich plants and foods.

Some of the best chlorophyll-rich foods include:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Arugula
  • Green beans
  • Collard greens
  • Parsley

These plants contain natural, plant-based chlorophyll – not the synthetic, plant-derived formula found in chlorophyll supplements.

Final Word

Liquid chlorophyll, also known as chlorophyll water, is a popular new health trend that surged in popularity in 2022.

There’s some evidence liquid chlorophyll can support overall health and hydration. Studies also suggest chlorophyll is non-toxic and safe for most healthy adults to take. However, we need more research to verify all of the advertised benefits of liquid chlorophyll.

Take a Science Based Nutrition blood test today to spot changes in your blood before symptoms appear. A single test can reveal crucial insight into your health – and determine if liquid chlorophyll is worth it for you.

Nutritional Supplements & Hair Loss: Facts Versus Fiction

Many supplements claim to reverse hair loss, regrow hair, and cure baldness.

Officially, the FDA has only approved two hair growth solutions: minoxidil (Rogaine) and finasteride. However, many supplements claim to offer similar hair growth benefits.

Are any hair growth supplements backed by science? Can a single pill really fix your receding hairline?

Today, we’re separating the facts from the fiction for nutritional supplements and hair loss.

There’s No Evidence Any Supplement Regrows Hair or Cures Baldness

First, let’s make one thing clear: there’s no evidence an oral supplement, pill, liquid, or smoothie will regrow hair on bald spots, reverse your receding hairline, or make you less bald than you currently are.

Instead, the goal of hair growth supplements is to maintain the current appearance of your hair or encourage growth in areas of your scalp with existing hair.

Despite this fact, many hair supplement companies market their products specifically to people who are bald with claims of reversing baldness and fixing a receding hairline – often overnight. There’s no evidence these supplements work.

Fortunately, there are science-backed ways to support hair growth.

Supplements Can Support Hair Growth, Fullness, Thickness, and Appearance

Supplements cannot regrow hair in bald areas or reverse a receding hairline, but they can support the appearance of your hair by supporting fullness, thickness, and overall growth.

Your hair needs certain vitamins and minerals to grow. If you are deficient in these vitamins and minerals, then your hair struggles to grow in an optimal way.

Here are some of the most important and science-backed supplements for hair growth:

B Vitamins: Multiple types of B vitamins are crucial for hair growth. Many people take B complex vitamins to support overall hair growth for that reason. Vitamin B7 (biotin) and vitamin B12 are particularly important for hair growth, and research shows they help strengthen and condition your hair. Alternatively, you can add more B vitamins to your diet by eating whole grains, meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and avocados.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is one of nature’s best antioxidants. It also plays a crucial role in hair growth. Vitamin C’s antioxidant effects help support blood flow to the scalp and throughout the body. Good blood flow is crucial for hair growth. When blood flows to your scalp, it provides your follicles with the stimulation, oxygen, and nutrients needed for good hair growth. One 2006 study found a specific vitamin C derivative (ascorbic acid 2-phosphate) was particularly effective for promoting hair growth.

Iron: Iron could support hair growth, and there appears to be a connection between iron deficiency and hair loss. One study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found iron deficiency (the world’s most common nutritional deficiency) was linked to certain types of baldness and hair loss. Another study found screening for iron deficiency could help diagnose hair loss before it becomes too serious.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D deficiency is linked to hair loss. If your body does not have enough vitamin D, then it cannot produce new hair. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to greater rates of shedding and overall hair loss. Some people get sufficient vitamin D through sunlight exposure, while others take vitamin D supplements.

Some Supplement Ingredients Are Overrated for Hair Growth

Some supplements claim to support hair growth with a blend of science-backed ingredients – but they fail to live up to the hype.

Keratin is a popular hair growth supplement ingredient, for example, backed by limited formal scientific evidence. Nevertheless, many of the world’s most popular hair growth supplements continue to contain keratin.

Overrated Hair Supplement Ingredient #1: Keratin: Keratin is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It’s crucial for hair, skin, and nails. Today, many people take keratin supplements to support hair growth and overall skin and nail health. Unfortunately, there’s little proven evidence showing keratin supplementation meaningfully changes hair, skin, or nail health in humans – although keratin continues to be one of the most popular ingredients in hair growth supplements today.

Overrated Hair Supplement Ingredient #2: Vitamin A: Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States and most developed countries. If you are genuinely deficient in vitamin A, then taking a vitamin A supplement could help with hair growth. However, there’s little evidence most people can benefit from vitamin A supplementation. In fact, most studies on vitamin A and hair growth have worked on mice – not humans. Unless you know you’re deficient in vitamin A, consider skipping it.

Overrated Hair Supplement Ingredient #3: 90% of Hair Growth Supplement Ingredients: You can find plenty of hair growth supplements online and in stores claiming to reverse hair loss, regrow hair, and solve all of your hair-related problems. Unfortunately, 90% of ingredients within these formulas are not backed by science. Check the label, check the science, and verify the dosage and concentration of ingredients to ensure you’re not being scammed.

Other Science-Backed Diet & Lifestyle Changes for Hair Loss

There’s no evidence a supplement can regrow hair or fix baldness overnight. However, there’s plenty of evidence that certain diet and lifestyle changes can impact hair loss.

Here are some of the science-backed strategies you can implement today to support hair growth, boost the appearance of your hair, and give you the best possible chance of maintaining a full head of hair at any age:

  • Avoid hairstyles that pull on your hair, including cornrows, tight braids, and ponytails; these hairstyles can pull hair away from the scalp and loosen the bond between your hair and scalp.
  • Avoid chemically treating or bleaching hair. These processes destroy keratin, which forms the structure of your hair, and can leave your hair seriously damaged.
  • Use a better shampoo and avoid over washing. There’s no evidence specific shampoo ingredients cause hair loss, but you should avoid over washing your shampoo or using low-quality shampoos to give your hair the best possible chance of maximum growth.
  • Eat a diet rich with antioxidants, including colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid low level light therapy. Some clinics advertise low level light therapy as a cure for baldness. In reality, there’s little largescale evidence low level light therapy provides a meaningful difference in hair growth. Until there’s more science behind it, avoid low level light therapy and other unproven treatments.

Final Word

Are you experiencing hair loss? Have you noticed a decrease in the luster, fullness, or overall appearance of your hair? It could be a deficiency problem.

Many people are deficient in crucial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients linked to hair growth. These deficiencies can lead to hair loss problems.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab test today to compare your bloodwork to an optimal range.

Instead of checking your blood against a random selection of patients at a lab, Science Nutrition Lab compares your bloodwork against the optimal levels for your demographic, providing better insight into your health and future.


Top 5 Science-Backed Benefits of L-Carnitine

L-carnitine supplements have grown in popularity in recent years.

Today, many people take L-carnitine supplements regularly for everything from energy to brain function. The amino acid works by transporting long-chain fatty acids into the powerhouses of your body, boosting energy at the cellular level.

Is L-carnitine legit? Do L-carnitine supplements really work? Keep reading to discover the most science-backed benefits of L-carnitine.

How L-Carnitine Works

L-carnitine is an amino acid linked to energy, heart function, and brain function, among other benefits.

Your body produces L-carnitine in the brain, liver, and kidneys.

The most important function of L-carnitine is to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria of your cells, which is why L-carnitine is so important for energy production.

Although your body produces L-carnitine on its own, it needs vitamin C to produce sufficient L-carnitine. You can also get L-carnitine from certain animal products, including meat and fish.

You May Be Deficient in L-Carnitine

If you have low physical or mental energy, mental fog, or other noticeable issues, then you may be deficient in L-carnitine.

Having low energy isn’t normal at any age! A single test can check for L-carnitine deficiency.

Many vegans and vegetarians are deficient in L-carnitine, for example. Because the most common sources of L-carnitine are meat and fish.

Some people also have a genetic condition that makes it impossible to produce sufficient L-carnitine.

For all of these reasons and more, you may want to:

  • Take a painless Science Nutrition Lab test to spot changes in your blood before you notice symptoms
  • Take an L-carnitine supplement
  • Talk to a doctor about a customized treatment plan

Benefit #1: Weight Loss

L-carnitine could support weight loss and healthy weight management, according to multiple studies.

One of the largest reviews on L-carnitine found the amino acid led to average weight loss of 2.9lbs (1.3kgs) more than a placebo. That study reviewed 9 trials involving hundreds of participants taking L-carnitine in double-blind, placebo-controlled settings.

Now all L-carnitine studies have been conclusive for weight loss, however. One study found people taking L-carnitine over a four week period while riding a stationary bike for 90 minutes a day did not lose more weight than those taking a placebo, for example. In a separate 8-week study, 38 women experienced no difference in weight loss whether taking L-carnitine or a placebo.

Overall, L-carnitine could help with weight loss in some people. Although it’s not proven to work in everyone, it could support weight loss in some.

Benefit #2: Cognition & Mental Fog

If you experience mental lethargy, brain fog, or occasional cognitive issues, then L-carnitine could help. L-carnitine plays a crucial role in neurotransmitter production, helping to support messengers within your brain.

Many of the cognitive effects of L-carnitine are linked to a specific version of the amino acid called acetyl L-carnitine. Also known as ALCAR, this version may help prevent age-related mental decline. A separate study also found ALCAR enhanced learning capacity in aging rats.

Researchers gave ALCAR to a group of patients with Alzheimer’s disease to assess the effects. Participants took 2.5g of ALCAR per day or a placebo for 6 months. Researchers found this dose of ALCAR was associated with an improvement in certain cognitive symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

There’s even some evidence L-carnitine could help support mental acuity in people with addiction. In a 90 day trial, people with alcohol addiction taking 2g of L-carnitine per day improved all measures of brain function.

Overall, L-carnitine plays a critical role in mental and physical energy, and multiple studies have validated the effects of L-carnitine on brain health.

Benefit #3: Cardiovascular Health

There’s some evidence L-carnitine can help with blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health. One study found L-carnitine reduced blood pressure, for example, while another study found L-carnitine reduced cardiovascular inflammation, which is associated with heart disease.

Heart disease is the number one killer in most developed countries. Statistically, most are more likely to die of heart disease than any other cause.

In one 2009 study, researchers found daily intake of 2g of L-carnitine led to a 10-point drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number of a blood pressure reading). This number is considered particularly important for managing the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

A separate study found L-carnitine supplementation was linked to a significantly reduced risk of heart failure over a 12 month period.

Benefit #4: Blood Sugar

There’s some evidence L-carnitine can help with blood sugar, and some diabetics take L-carnitine supplements regularly for that reason.

Some of the blood sugar-linked benefits of L-carnitine include:

A 2010 study found a combination of L-carnitine supplementation and caloric restriction improved insulin sensitivity in patients with impaired glucose metabolism. Participants followed a restricted diet while taking a placebo or 4g of L-carnitine daily. Researchers found the L-carnitine group had better insulin sensitivity than the group following a restricted calorie diet alone.

A 2011 study found L-carnitine improved insulin sensitivity in a group of overweight and obese males. Participants took 3g of L-carnitine or a placebo daily. At the conclusion of the period, researchers found significant differences in body mass, fat percentage, and BMI between the L-carnitine group and placebo group, suggesting L-carnitine can provide “insulin-like” actions on tissues, according to researchers. However, the study was small and involved 16 male participants in total.

A separate study also found a connection between carnitine, fatty acids, and insulin resistance, and researchers found 2g of L-carnitine supplementation per day helped with the regulation of blood sugar.

Overall, there appears to be a connection between L-carnitine and blood sugar management, and many diabetics take L-carnitine supplements regularly for that reason.

Benefit #5: Athletic Performance, Endurance, and Recovery

Many people take L-carnitine supplements before a workout. In fact, L-carnitine is one of the most popular preworkout supplement ingredients on the market.

L-carnitine appears to work by supporting blood flow and nitric oxide production, which can help with stamina, endurance, and the longevity of your workout. Some bodybuilders take L-carnitine for a better “pump” and vasodilation, for example, while endurance athletes could take L-carnitine to workout harder for longer.

L-carnitine also appears to work by increasing the production of red blood cells. Your body needs red blood cells to transport oxygen to your muscles. When you’re working out, your red blood cells play a critical role in performance, endurance, and overall athletic activity.

Others take L-carnitine after a workout. Multiple studies have found L-carnitine could improve exercise recovery, helping your body repair muscles and tissues after a workout.

Final Word

We’ve known about the effects of L-carnitine for a while. However, growing research continues to connect L-carnitine to heart health, brain health, blood sugar management, energy, and more.

Do you have brain fog or low energy? Do you regularly feel tired? That’s not normal at any age!

Consider taking a Science Nutrition Lab test to check for L-carnitine deficiency and other deficiencies to address your low energy.  

Top 5 Natural Supplement Trends Predicted to Skyrocket in 2023

Each year, researchers discover exciting new benefits of plants, herbs, and fruits from around the world.

Acai berry surged in popularity 20 years ago because of a handful of reports linking it to weight loss. Garcinia cambogia and turmeric experienced similarly meteoric rises to fame.

What will be the acai berry of 2023? What are the best 5 natural supplements that could explode in 2023? Here are some of the most exciting fruits, plants, herbs, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and more linked to growing benefits in multiple studies.

1) Irish Moss

Multiple types of seaweed and algae supplements have surged in popularity over the last decade. One type of seaweed called Irish moss could become particularly popular in 2023 and beyond.

After receiving a recent public endorsement from Kim Kardashian, Irish moss could be entering its heyday.

Irish moss is also known as Chondrus crispus or carrageen moss (derived from the Irish word carraigín, which means “little rock.”

Irish moss is a type of red algae that grows throughout the Atlantic coast of Europe and North America. Despite the name, it’s found in more than just Ireland. In fact, some people refer to the compound as Scotch moss.

Studies show Irish moss is rich with plant-based antioxidants, phytonutrients, and trace minerals capable of supporting a range of effects. Kim Kardashian claims to drink it in her smoothies.

We’re not the first to discover the benefits of Irish moss: studies show traditional Chinese medicine practitioners have used sea moss as far back at 600 BC. In fact, the people of the British Isles used sea moss as a food source for thousands of years, and it was a crucial nutrition source during the Great Famine in the mid-19th century in Ireland (which is why it’s most commonly known as Irish moss today).

We need more research to verify the effects of Irish moss, but with growing celebrity endorsements and multiple affordable supplements available online, Irish moss could be one of the hottest supplement trends of 2023 and beyond.

2) Mushroom Supplements

Like seaweed and algae, mushrooms have surged in popularity over the last few years. Studies show mushrooms are rich with plant-based antioxidants, beta glucans, vitamins, minerals, and more.

Some mushrooms appear to support immunity and immune health, helping your body defend against disease and illness. Other mushrooms can support anti-aging benefits, energy, or even sexual health, among other benefits.

Some supplement companies add a blend of mushrooms to their supplement to support a range of benefits. Others use specific varieties of mushroom.

Some of the most science-backed mushrooms that could continue to explode in popularity in 2023 include:

  • Turkey tail
  • Reishi
  • Lion’s mane
  • Chaga
  • Maitake
  • Shiitake

These mushrooms may be new to us, but they’ve been popular for centuries in certain types of medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, for example, have regularly used mushroom extract to support immunity and various health goals.

One recent UCLA Health study found turkey tail mushrooms act as immune modulators, for example, helping the immune system function more efficiently. Another study connected lion’s mane mushroom to neurotrophic properties, suggesting it can help with brain performance, memory, and overall oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain, among other benefits.

For all of these reasons and more, mushroom extracts are expected to become increasingly mainstream in 2023 and beyond.

3) Beetroot Powder

We’ve known about the health supporting benefits of beetroot powder for years, but 2023 could be the year the world starts to recognize the true value of beetroot powder for cardiovascular health, blood flow, and overall wellness.

One recent study published in Nutrients found red beetroot increased nitric oxide (NO) availability, which could help with blood flow. As you get older, your NO levels tend to naturally decline, leading to poor cardiovascular health. Many people take beet supplements daily to counteract this effect and support NO levels.

Another study linked beetroot to the management of cardio-metabolic diseases, significant positive changes in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and decreased blood glucose, among other benefits.

Another perk of beetroot powder is its relatively cheap price: beets are affordable and easy to condense into supplement form, making the powder accessible to anyone who wants it.

4) All Types of Gummies

Gummies used to be considered candy for kids. Today, gummies are one of the most popular – and fastest growing – areas of the supplement industry.

Supplement gummies with science-backed natural ingredients are expected to continue surging in popularity in 2023 and beyond.

Some of the most popular types of supplements and gummies available today include:

  • Melatonin gummies
  • Ashwagandha gummies
  • Mushroom gummies
  • Daily green and red superfood gummies
  • CBD, CBN, and THC gummies

Studies show your body can absorb the active ingredients in gummies similar to how it would absorb other ingredients. In fact, a 2019 study found vitamin D gummies “had greater bioavailability than tablets” and provided high vitamin D concentration in the body over time.

As long as gummies contain science-backed ingredients with minimal artificial fillers, flavors, sweeteners, and additives, they can continue to be an option for anyone searching for health supporting supplements.

5) Collagen

Collagen has been one of the fastest growing supplement trends of the last few years, and that trend is expected to continue growing in 2023 and beyond.

Some of the reasons collagen continues to surge in popularity include:

  • A 2019 study found collagen supplementation improved skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density in a double-blind, placebo-controlled setting, with participants experiencing significant anti-aging effects.
  • In a comprehensive review on collagen and its benefits, researchers found collagen played a crucial role in skin regeneration, bone health, wound healing, oral health, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, among other areas of the body.
  • Your body’s collagen production naturally declines with age, and your body has significantly less available collagen as you get older. This can lead to visible effects of aging, including drooping skin, wrinkles, and reduced smoothness and elasticity. A collagen supplement could help.

The best collagen supplements contain collagen with minimal filler ingredients. Collagen is the most abundant connective protein in the human body, and taking 5g to 15g of collagen per day is linked to anti-aging support, muscle development, and more.

Honorable Mentions

Every year, supplement companies introduce dozens of new supplements to the market.

Some are refreshed versions of old ingredients. Others are previously undiscovered ingredients used only in obscure, regional, traditional medicine.

Here are some of the honorable mentions of supplement trends and natural ingredients that could skyrocket in popularity in 2023 and beyond:

  • Pine needle tree
  • Mullein leaf
  • Bakuchiol and the babchi plant
  • Citrus bergamot
  • Snail mucin
  • Beef liver capsules

Whether trying to support immunity, health, weight loss, muscle growth, or other targeted benefits, the supplement ingredients above could surge in popularity in 2023 – or they could fizzle out and disappear.

Which new supplements work best for you? A Science Nutrition Lab test can answer that question!

Order a Science Based Nutrition test from Science Nutrition Lab today to get detailed insight into your physiology and ensure you’re taking the best supplements for your unique needs.


Digestive Enzyme Deficiency: Symptoms & Solutions

Your gut needs digestive enzymes to break down the foods you eat. If you have digestive enzyme insufficiency, then you may experience a range of digestive health issues.

Digestive enzyme supplements have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.

Digestive enzyme supplement companies advertise their products as a way to target gut irritation, heartburn, bloating, and other digestive health issues.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about digestive enzyme deficiency, including symptoms of digestive enzyme insufficiency problems and science-backed solutions.

How Digestive Enzymes Work

Digestive enzymes are proteins that break down food in your gut. Your body produces these proteins in response to the foods you eat. They play a critical role in digestion.

If you have inadequate levels of digestive enzymes, then your body could struggle to break down food, extract the nutritional value of the food you eat, and maximize the energy of the food you consume.

Here are the basics of digestive enzymes and how they work, as explained by Johns Hopkins:

  • Your body creates digestive enzymes naturally. Digestive enzymes are proteins that break down food and help with the digestive process.
  • Your body starts to produce digestive enzymes immediately after you start eating food. Digestion begins in the mouth.
  • Your saliva starts to break down food immediately, easing the strain on the rest of your digestive system.
  • As food travels through your mouth and into your digestive tract, your body releases enzymes at various points throughout the process.
  • Your pancreas produces the most important digestive enzymes, including the enzymes that break down carbs, proteins, and fats.
  • Your small intestine, mouth, and stomach also produce other digestive enzymes.

Symptoms of Digestive Enzyme Deficiency

For various reasons, your body may fail to produce sufficient levels of digestive enzymes. You may have problems with your pancreas, for example, making it difficult for your body to break down fats, carbs, and proteins.

Common symptoms of digestive enzyme deficiency include:

  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Oily stools
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Belly pain or cramps

Sometimes, these symptoms are a sign of enzyme deficiency. Your body, for various reasons, may not be producing enough enzymes to break down the foods you eat. However, if these symptoms persist, you should talk to a doctor, as they could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Common Digestive Enzymes and Digestive Enzyme Supplement Ingredients

Your body produces amylase to break down complex carbs, and it produces lipase to break down fats. These enzymes and others play a crucial role in the digestive process.

Here are some of the most common digestive enzymes produced by your body – and the most popular digestive enzyme supplement ingredients:

Amylase: Your mouth and pancreas produce amylase to help break down complex carbs.

Lipase: Your pancreas creates lipase to break down fats.

Protease: Your pancreas creates protease to break down proteins.

Lactase: Various parts of your digestive system create lactase to break down lactose, which is the sugar in milk and other dairy products.

Sucrase: Various parts of your digestive system create sucrase to break down sucrose, a common type of sugar found in many foods.

Digestive Enzyme Insufficiency Conditions

If your mouth, pancreas, small intestine, and stomach cannot produce sufficient digestive enzymes, then you might have one of several digestive enzyme insufficiency conditions.

Some of the most common conditions linked to enzyme insufficiency include:

Congenital Sucrase-Isomaltose Deficiency: If your body isn’t producing enough sucrase to digest certain sugars, then you may have congenital sucrase-isomaltose deficiency.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI): If your pancreas cannot produce enough enzymes to digest carbs, proteins, and fats, then you may have EPI.

Lactose Intolerance: Many people are naturally lactose intolerance because they body doesn’t produce enough lactase, making it difficult to digest the sugar found in milk and dairy products.

Causes of Digestive Enzyme Deficiency

You may develop a digestive enzyme deficiency condition for various reasons – including genetic reasons, lifestyle factors, and other causes. Certain medical conditions also make it difficult for your body to produce digestive enzymes.

Some of the most common causes of digestive enzyme deficiency include:

  • Genetic causes
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Cystic fibrosis (roughly 90% of people with cystic fibrosis have pancreatic enzyme insufficiency)
  • Gastrointestinal surgeries
  • Pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, and other conditions that disrupt your pancreas

Even if your parents have a healthy gut, you may have genetic factors increasing the risk of enzyme deficiency. Some genetic factors are present at birth and become worse over time, for example.

How to Support Digestive Enzyme Production

Many people take digestive enzyme supplements daily to support gut health and digestive enzyme production.

Here are some of the best and most science-backed ways to support digestive enzyme production and support overall gut health:

Digestive Enzyme Supplements: Digestive enzyme supplements are available over-the-counter, and they claim to help with gas, bloating, diarrhea, acid reflux, and other conditions. Digestive enzyme supplements clearly label their ingredients upfront, and most contain a blend of protease, lipase, amylase, and other common digestive enzymes.

Prescription Digestive Enzymes: If your doctor diagnosed an enzyme deficiency, then they may recommend a prescription-strength digestive enzyme formula. The FDA has approved pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT), and it’s the most popular digestive enzyme deficiency treatment recommended by doctors today. PERT can help your body with protease, amylase, and lipase production to break down proteins, complex carbs, and fats.

Lactase Supplements: If you are lactose intolerant, then a lactase supplement could help you eat dairy products with limited side effects. Lactase supplements give your body the digestive enzymes needed to break down lactose, the main sugar in dairy.

Alpha Galactosidase Supplements: Alpha galactosidase is one digestive enzyme your body cannot produce on its own – even if you have no digestive enzyme production issues. Your body needs this enzyme to break down galactooligosaccharides (GOS), a type of non-absorbable fiber.

Digestive-Enzyme Rich Foods: Some natural health experts recommend eating more pineapples and avocados because they’re rich with digestive enzymes. It’s true avocado and pineapple contain digestive enzymes (including bromelain). However, there’s little evidence they can specifically help with digestive enzyme production. Instead, it’s better to follow a balanced, whole food diet to support your body’s natural production of digestive enzymes overall. Avoid processed foods, fried foods, and fatty foods to help your body maximize digestive enzyme production.

As Johns Hopkins explains, most healthy people don’t need to take digestive enzyme supplements because their bodies produce digestive enzymes naturally. However, people with digestive enzyme insufficiency issues could benefit from talking to a doctor about digestive enzyme treatments and supplements.

Final Word

Digestive enzyme insufficiency can lead to bloating, gas and other issues.

By spotting the signs of digestive enzyme problems early, you can talk to a doctor for the help you need – whether it’s in the form of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) or digestive enzyme supplements.

10 Common Signs of an Unhealthy Gut – and 5 Proven Strategies to Help

Millions of people have gut health problems.

Common signs of an unhealthy gut include bloating, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea.

However, gut health problems can also lead to lesser-known symptoms like sleep problems, sugar cravings, depression, anxiety, and skin rashes.

Today, we’re highlighting some of the most common signs of an unhealthy gut – and 5 proven strategies you can use to support gut health.

1) Constipation, Diarrhea, Bloating, and Other Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms

We’ll start with obvious gut health problems: if you regularly experience constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and other IBS symptoms, then it could be a sign of poor gut health. These issues are not normal, and they could be a sign of IBS or other diagnosable gut health conditions.

2) Skin Irritation, Rashes, Psoriasis, and Other Conditions

Have you noticed skin rashes, acne, and other visible signs of skin problems in recent years? It could be a sign of gut health. Many skin conditions are traced back to bacteria in your gut. If you have an excessive balance of bad bacteria relative to good bacteria, then it could increase your risk of psoriasis and other skin conditions.

3) Autoimmune Conditions

Some research suggests around 70% of your immune system is linked to your gut. Your gut plays a critical role in immunity. It can prevent negative substances from entering your body, filter problematic ingredients out of your body, and ensure your immune system functions optimally. Over time, poor gut health can lead to chronic inflammation, which increases the risk of autoimmune conditions. Autoimmune conditions occur when your body attacks itself instead of harmful pathogens. Common autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Graves disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes.

4) High Stress

Do you have a stressful life? Have you recently faced stress in your personal or professional life? High stress could worsen gut health. And, poor gut health could make stress worse. As your body becomes more stressed, it impedes digestion. As your digestion becomes worse, you become more stressed as your body struggles to absorb nutrients and break down the foods you’re eating. Over time, poor digestion is also linked to depression, anxiety, and other conditions.

5) Cravings for Sweet, Sugary, Fatty, or Unhealthy Foods

Do you frequently crave sweet, sugary, or fatty foods? Don’t blame poor self-control; instead, many people have excessive cravings because of gut health issues. Some people experience sugar cravings because of gut health problems, for example. Imbalanced gut microbiota can encourage you to reach for unhealthy foods in your kitchen.

6) Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Have you lost or gained weight recently without a significant change to your diet or exercise program? Poor gut health may be to blame. Some unexplained weight gain and weight loss is linked to poor gut health. Your body may be struggling to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Or, leaky gut could cause excessive toxins to enter your body, making it harder to lose weight.

7) Fatigue, Low Energy, or Sluggishness

Gu health problems can lead to energy issues. If you frequently feel tired, have excessive lethargy, or lack motivation throughout the day, then your gut could be at fault. Your gut may be struggling to process food into energy, for example. Or, it could be spending so much energy digesting your food that there’s little energy leftover for you.

8) Difficulty Sleeping

If you have bad gut health, you’re more likely to have a bad sleep. Poor gut health makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, and enjoy a restful sleep. You might wake up in the middle of the night due to poor gut health. Or, you could fail to enter the deep sleep or REM cycles of sleep because of your gut health problems.

9) Mood Imbalances & Irritability

Your gut health plays a crucial role in mood. If you’ve been struggling with mood imbalances, irritability, or other issues lately, then your gut could be to blame. Your gut plays a critical role in your sense of wellbeing. Multiple studies have shown a connection between gut health, depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

10) Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, and Other Unexplained Mood Disorders

If your mood issues progress to a point where you’re dealing with chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, and other unexplained disorders, then gut health could be to blame. Many people with depression and anxiety have perfectly healthy guts. However, numerous studies have connected gut health to depression, anxiety, and other disorders.

5 Science-Backed Ways to Support Your Gut

You can support gut health using various proven strategies. Although serious gut disorders require medical diagnosis and treatment, you could support gut health by eliminating certain foods, taking specific supplements, and drinking more water, among other strategies.

Here are some of the best, most science-backed ways to support your gut:

Eat Probiotic-Rich Foods: Probiotic supplements are more popular than ever. However, many experts recommend focusing on probiotic-rich foods instead of probiotic supplements. Kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and yogurt are all rich with billions of colony forming units (CFUs) of probiotic bacteria. Your gut needs these bacteria to break down the food you eat, extract their nutritional value, and maintain regular digestion.

Eat More Prebiotics: 95% of Americans don’t get their daily recommended intake of fiber. That’s a problem, because fiber is a valuable prebiotic. Your body needs fiber to fuel the probiotic bacteria in your gut. Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to supply your gut bacteria with the prebiotic fuel needed to support good digestion.

Drink More Water: Many people experience relief from certain gut health symptoms just by adding more water to their diet. This tip is particularly important if you drink a lot of soda, coffee, supplement drinks, or other beverages. In many cases, your gut simply need water to support good digestion.

Eat Slowly: Your digestive system can only process so much food at once. If you chew slowly, you give your gut more time to catch up to your mouth. Eating slowly breaks food into slower parts. Studies also show eating slowly can lower the risk of obesity and similar conditions.

Consider Seeing a Doctor: Sometimes, you do everything right but still experience symptoms of gut health problems. Consider seeing a doctor for gut health recommendations from a medical professional. The gut health problems listed above could be signs of a serious condition.

Final Word

Your gut health is crucial for overall health. From immunity to skin health to energy to mood, your gut is more valuable than you may think.

Learn to spot symptoms of gut health before they become serious. By spotting gut health issues today, you can tackle them as soon as possible.

How Calcium Deficiency Works: Signs & Symptoms

You have more calcium in your body than any other mineral. However, millions of people are still deficient in calcium.

Calcium deficiency can lead to issues with the strength of your teeth and bones. Calcium is also crucial for tissues and muscles, your cardiovascular system, hormones, and more.

If you aren’t getting your daily recommended intake of calcium, or if you have an absorption issue, then you may develop calcium deficiency.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about how calcium deficiency works, including signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency.

How Calcium Deficiency Works

If you have low levels of calcium, then you may develop a condition called hypocalcemia. Your blood has low levels of calcium, which could lead to various physical and cognitive symptoms.

Low calcium levels are associated with problems with your muscles, bones, and teeth.

Some people also develop mental health issues because of calcium deficiency. People who are deficient in calcium may have a higher risk of depression, mood changes, and irritability.

Some are deficient in calcium without knowing it. There are no early symptoms of calcium deficiency.

Over time, however, calcium deficiency leads to less and less bone density. This condition is called osteopenia. If you ignore osteopenia over time, it leads to osteoporosis. Your bones are more brittle, and you have an increased risk of fractures and breaks.

What Causes Calcium Deficiency?

Calcium deficiency is one of the few nutritional deficiencies not typically caused by dietary issues. Even if you get enough calcium in your diet, you could be calcium deficient because of health conditions and other reasons.

According to the National Institutes of Health, most people develop calcium deficiency because of:

  • Kidney failure
  • Removal of the stomach
  • The use of certain medications, including diuretics

If you fall into one or more of the above categories, then you may have a higher risk of developing calcium deficiency regardless of your diet.

It’s unclear how common calcium deficiency is. However, researchers believe calcium deficiency is more common in postmenopausal adults, people with amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation), people who are lactose intolerant, and vegetarian and vegans.

One 2015 study found 3.5 billion people were at risk of calcium intake due to low dietary intake of calcium, which would make calcium deficiency one of the world’s most common nutritional deficiencies.

According to researchers in the United Kingdom, calcium deficiency is more common in people who have chronic illnesses. Certain chronic illnesses could impede your body’s ability to absorb calcium, making it harder to get the calcium you need every day even when following good dietary practices.

Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency

You may experience physical and cognitive symptoms because of calcium deficiency. Common symptoms of calcium deficiency include:

  • Muscle aches, spasms, and cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Dry, brittle skin
  • Coarse, dry, or brittle hair
  • Brittle bones
  • Dental problems, including tooth decay, brittle teeth, and irritated gums
  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities or around the mouth
  • Pain in the arms and thighs when walking or moving

If left untreated over time, calcium deficiency can lead to more serious health issues like convulsions, arrhythmia (irregular heart patterns), and even death.

How to Target Calcium Deficiency

The best way to target calcium deficiency is to adjust your diet, take a calcium supplement, or talk to a doctor about managing medications and health conditions.

Some of the best calcium-rich foods to consider adding to your diet include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Soy milk
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Nuts and seeds (particularly almonds and sesame seeds)

Dairy products are among the best sources of calcium, which is one reason why vegans have a higher risk of calcium deficiency. However, there are also plenty of plant-based sources of calcium.

Avoid Taking Too Much Calcium

Taking too much calcium is a problem. It leads to hypercalcemia, or an excessive buildup of calcium in your body.

Hypercalcemia can increase the risk of heart disease and kidney stones (kidney stones are lumps of calcium that build up in your kidney), among other health problems.

Talk to a doctor to find the optimal dose of calcium based on your unique physiology.

You may have a higher risk of hypercalcemia if you are also deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is crucial for helping your body manage calcium intake. If you don’t get enough vitamin D (say, through sunlight, supplements, or dietary sources), then you may have a higher chance of developing hypercalcemia.

Final Word: Order a Blood Test Today to Check for Calcium Deficiency

Many people are deficient in calcium but have no symptoms. That’s why blood testing is important.

However, a conventional blood test compares your results against a random selection of people who recently visited that clinic.

With our Science Based Nutrition blood testing at Science Nutrition Lab, you get a blood test comparing your results against an optimal range. A board-certified doctor reviews your results with you, helping to spot changes in your blood before symptoms appear.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to check for calcium deficiency and other issues with a single, painless test.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency & How Magnesium Deficiency Works

If you have fatigue, weakness, a low appetite, or jitters, then it could be linked to magnesium deficiency.

Although rare, millions of people worldwide have a magnesium deficiency.

Older adults, alcoholics, and people taking certain medications have a higher risk of magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium is crucial for nerve function and countless other bodily systems. If you aren’t getting your recommended dietary allowance of magnesium, you could experience a range of symptoms.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the symptoms of magnesium deficiency and how magnesium deficiency works.

How Magnesium Deficiency Works

If you aren’t getting your recommended daily amount of magnesium, then you might develop magnesium deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency is rare. However, millions of people worldwide still have a magnesium deficiency for various reasons.

Older adults and alcoholics are the highest-risk group for developing magnesium deficiency. However, some people are also deficient in magnesium due to health conditions or specific medication.

One study found just 2% of Americans are magnesium deficient. However, your chances of magnesium deficiency are much higher if you are in the hospital, have diabetes, or have alcoholism.

Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency

If you don’t get enough magnesium in your diet, then you could develop symptoms like:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nervous system dysfunction, including shaking, muscle spasms, and hyperactivity
  • Sleepiness
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Pins and needles

Because magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating the nervous system, many of the obvious symptoms of magnesium deficiency include problems with your nervous system.

Some people also develop mental health conditions based on magnesium deficiency. One study found a connection between magnesium deficiency and depression, for example.

Health Problems Linked to Magnesium Deficiency

If you do not address magnesium deficiency over time, you could experience health problems like:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Migraines
  • Causes of Magnesium Deficiency

Although magnesium deficiency is uncommon, many people have conditions that could cause magnesium deficiency.

Some of the most common causes of magnesium deficiency include:

  • Poor dietary habits
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Digestive issues or absorption issues (like Crohn’s disease)
  • Kidney problems
  • Certain medications
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Alcoholism

Some people have all of the conditions above yet do not develop magnesium deficiency. However, certain people have a higher risk of magnesium deficiency. Older adults with a poor diet, for example, may be more likely to develop magnesium deficiency than younger adults with a poor diet.

How to Target Magnesium Deficiency

The best way to target magnesium deficiency is to adjust your diet or take a magnesium supplement. Talk to a doctor to find the optimal magnesium dosage for your unique needs.

In some severe cases of magnesium deficiency, doctors may recommend intravenous magnesium treatment.

Many people relieve symptoms of magnesium deficiency by adjusting their diet. Get more magnesium-rich foods, for example, to naturally relieve magnesium deficiency.

However, if you have an absorption issue (like Crohn’s disease or other digestive conditions), then a magnesium supplement and dietary changes may not be enough to solve your condition. Some people have a magnesium deficiency even though they’re getting their recommended daily intake of magnesium through dietary sources.

Best Food Sources of Magnesium

Some of the best food sources of magnesium include:

  • Leafy green vegetables (like kale)
  • Legumes
  • Nuts and seeds (particularly pumpkin seeds, almonds, and peanuts)
  • Whole grains
  • Popcorn
  • Dark chocolate

Some of the highest concentrations of magnesium in food by weight include flaxseed, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cocoa, coffee, cashews, hazelnuts, and oats.

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Magnesium

Generally, adults need around 400mg of magnesium per day.

Your recommended dietary allowance of magnesium varies based on your age and gender.

According to the National Institutes of Health, here’s how much magnesium you should take:

Birth to 6 Months: 30mg for males and females

7 to 12 Months: 75mg for males and females

1 to 3 Years: 80mg for males and females

4 to 8 Years: 130mg for males and females

9 to 13 Years: 240mg for males and females

14 to 18 Years: 410mg for males and 360mg for females

19 to 30 Years: 400mg for males and 310mg for females

31 to 50 years: 420mg for males and 320mg for females

51+ Years: 420mg for males and 320mg for females

Meanwhile, pregnant females should take 350mg to 400mg of magnesium per day, and lactating females should take 310mg to 360mg of magnesium per day.

You can get an adequate amount of magnesium per day with multiple servings of 100g of peanuts (176mg of magnesium), 100g of popcorn (144mg of magnesium), or 100g of almonds (279mg of magnesium).

Final Word: Take a Science Nutrition Lab Blood Test to Compare Blood Levels to an Optimal Range

An ordinary blood test compares your bloodwork to a random sample of people who recently visited that lab. This can provide inaccurate insight into your health.

A Science Nutrition Lab blood test uses Science Based Nutrition blood testing to compare your blood to an optimal range based on physiology, age, and gender.

Your blood changes before symptoms appear. A detailed blood test can reveal crucial insight into your health and wellness.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to check how your magnesium levels compare to an optimal range.

Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms & Solutions

Vitamin D is crucial for immunity, hormone production, and bone health, among other areas.

Many people, however, are deficient in vitamin D. They don’t get enough vitamin D through sunlight or dietary sources, leading to various symptoms.

Today, we’re highlighting some of the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency – and some of the best ways to solve vitamin D deficiency.

How Vitamin D Deficiency Works

Vitamin D is a crucial mineral for overall health and wellness. If you don’t get enough vitamin D daily, then you may develop vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D is unique because your skin produces vitamin D using sunlight. As sunlight hits your skin, it activates vitamin D production.

As you get older, your skin doesn’t convert sunlight into vitamin D as efficiently. People who have darker skin, and people over 50, are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than younger people and those with fair-color skin.

Why Vitamin D is Important

As Cleveland Clinic explains, vitamin D is linked to crucial effects throughout your body – from strong bones and calcium absorption to effective hormone production, among other benefits.

Here are some of the reasons you need to get your daily intake of vitamin D:

Keep Bones Strong: Vitamin D is crucial for strong bones. If you don’t get enough vitamin D, particularly when young, then you may develop conditions like rickets, leading to soft and weak bones. Adults, meanwhile, may develop a similar condition called osteomalacia, or a softening of the bones. Your body also needs vitamin D to assist calcium and phosphorus, which have more of a direct role in bone development.

Help with Calcium Absorption: Even if you’re getting enough calcium per day, your body may struggle to absorb calcium because of low vitamin D levels. You need vitamin D to help absorb calcium. Calcium is important for more than just bones: it assists with everything from nerve function to digestive health.

Immunity: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in immune function by supporting your immune system in various ways. Studies show people with low levels of vitamin D tend to have weaker immune systems than people with sufficient levels of vitamin D. Other studies have connected vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of serious infections.

Hormone Production: Many hormones are linked to vitamin D. Many men who are deficient in testosterone, for example, also tend to be deficient in vitamin D. Studies show getting adequate vitamin D is linked to balanced, normal hormone levels. That’s why many people notice mood changes when vitamin D deficient: vitamin D deficiency impacts hormones, and hormones play a crucial role in mood.

Health Conditions Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency

We know vitamin D supports a range of benefits in the body – from bone health to hormone production to immunity. However, lack of vitamin D could also contribute to serious health conditions.

Studies show people with vitamin D deficiency tend to have a higher risk of developing health conditions like:

  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Infections
  • Immune system disorders
  • Balance issues, which could lead to falls in older adults
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Multiple sclerosis

Best Sources of Vitamin D

Fortunately, vitamin D deficiency is easy for most people to avoid. A small amount of sunlight per day, for example, can give you more than enough vitamin D. Or, some people take a vitamin D supplement or adjust their diet.

The best sources of vitamin D include:

Sun Exposure: Experts recommend getting 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure 3 to 5 days per week for optimal vitamin D levels.

Food Sources: Some of the best food sources of vitamin D include fish like salmon, herring, sardines, canned tuna, and cod liver oil. Egg yolks and mushrooms are also rich with vitamin D. Alternatively, some foods and beverages are fortified with vitamin D for health benefits – like cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereal, and oatmeal.

Vitamin D Supplements: If sunlight exposure isn’t an option (say, at far northern latitudes or during the winter), then vitamin D supplements are an effective replacement.

Avoid Getting Too Much Vitamin D

Some people get too little vitamin D, while others get too much vitamin D. Yes, you can get too much vitamin D, which could lead to symptoms of its own.

If you get too much vitamin D, then you could develop vitamin D toxicity. The main issue with vitamin D toxicity is hypercalcemia, or a buildup of calcium in your blood.

Symptoms of hypercalcemia include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased risk of calcium stones in the kidneys

If you notice any of the symptoms above, then reduce your vitamin D intake or see a doctor.

Most experts recommend a daily value (DV) of 800 IU of vitamin D per day. However, some argue for much higher doses of vitamin D. Recommended doses also vary based on age and gender.

Final Word: Take a Science Nutrition Lab Blood Test to Compare Vitamin D to an Optimal Range

At Science Nutrition Lab, we specialize in a unique type of blood testing called Science Based Nutrition.

An ordinary lab compares your bloodwork to a random sampling of people who recently visited that lab.

With Science Based Nutrition, we compare your bloodwork to an optimal range based on your age, gender, and physiology. This can deliver more customized insights into your health and wellness.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test and consultation today. Your blood changes before symptoms appear – and a single blood test can reveal crucial insight about vitamin D deficiency and other issues.

8 Signs of Iodine Deficiency

Iodine deficiency is rare in industrialized nations. However, it’s becoming more common as people adopt unique dietary habits.

Vegans and vegetarians, for example, have an increased risk of iodine deficiency, as do pregnant women and people who don’t use iodized salt.

Iodine deficiency impairs your thyroid gland, which could lead to hormone issues, growth problems, cell damage, and a slow metabolism, among other noticeable symptoms.

Keep reading to discover the top 8 most common signs and symptoms of iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism.

Fatigue, Weakness, & Tiredness

Fatigue and weakness are two of the most common symptoms of iodine deficiency. They’re also two of the easiest symptoms to notice.

In one study, researchers found 4 out of 5 people with low thyroid hormone levels (thyroid hormones contain iodine) tended to feel sluggish and weak. In another study involving 2,456 people, researchers found the most common symptom across all patients were tiredness and weakness.

There’s a specific reason why iodine deficiency and thyroid problems are linked to energy issues: your body needs thyroid hormones to produce energy. Lower levels of thyroid hormones cause your energy to fall, making you feel tired and weak.

Unexpected Weight Gain

Some people with thyroid issues develop unexpected weight gain.

You might not have changed your diet and exercise habits, yet you’re gaining weight.

The reason? Iodine deficiency and thyroid problems slow your metabolism. Your metabolism dictates the rate at which your burn calories.

If you have started to gain weight, or if your diet and exercise routines seem to have little impact on weight management, then thyroid issues may be to blame.

Swelling in the Neck

One of the first noticeable signs of a thyroid problem is swelling in the neck, or a goiter.

A goiter is an inflamed thyroid gland. Sometimes, the goiter is so large that it becomes difficult to breathe and swallow.

You can develop goiters for several reasons – including low iodine and other issues. Talk to a doctor to determine what’s causing the swelling in your neck.

Hair Loss

Iodine deficiency is liked to hair loss. The iodine in your thyroid hormones helps to control the growth of hair follicles.

As thyroid hormone levels drop, your hair follicles stop regenerating. Over time, this leads to hair loss.

According to one study on 700 people, 30% of those with low thyroid issues developed hair loss.

There’s some debate over the connection between low iodine levels and hair loss. Although some studies have found a connection between the two conditions, others suggest the connection is linked to genetic reasons – not iodine deficiency or thyroid issues. Nevertheless, if you notice hair loss combined with other symptoms on this list, then it could be a thyroid / iodine issue.

Dry, Flaky Skin

Approximately 4 out of 5 people with hypothyroidism (caused by low iodine levels) have dry, flaky skin.

Your thyroid hormones are rich with iodine that helps your skin cells regenerate. If you have low thyroid hormone levels, your skin cells don’t regenerate as often as they should, leading to dry and flaky skin.

Iodine deficiency could also impact your ability to sweat normally. If you have low iodine and thyroid hormone levels, for example, then you tend to sweat less than people with normal thyroid hormone levels. This can lead to more dry, flaky skin issues.

Feeling Cold

Do you regularly feel cold when everyone else is a comfortable temperature? Do you frequently put on coats or extra layers? If so, you could have an iodine deficiency.

One study found 80% of people with hypothyroidism were more sensitive to colder temperatures.

Other studies have linked this issue to metabolism speed. Iodine deficiency causes your metabolism to slow down. A slower metabolism generates less heat than a faster metabolism, causing you to feel colder than usual.

Some studies have even connected thyroid hormone activity to brown fat. Brown fat is a special type of fat linked to heat generation. If you have low thyroid hormone levels, then your brown fat may be less active, leading to chronic coldness.

Slow Heart Rate or Changes in Heart Rate

Iodine impacts your heart rate. If you have low levels of iodine, then your heart could beat more slowly than normal.

Meanwhile, people with too much iodine could have a faster heartbeat than normal.

People with severe iodine deficiency tend to have very slow heart rates, which can lead to other noticeable symptoms of hypothyroidism – like mental fog, weakness, fatigue, and dizziness. Some people even faint because of their slow heart rate.

Mental Fog, Memory Issues, or Learning Problems

“Mental fog” is a symptom of hundreds of conditions. However, many people with iodine deficiency and hypothyroidism develop noticeable cognitive issues.

Studies show iodine deficiency can affect your ability to learn and remember. In this study, for example, researchers asked 1,000 adults to complete learning and memory tests. Researchers found adults who performed well on those tests had higher thyroid hormone levels than people with lower thyroid hormone levels.

Final Word: Take a Science Nutrition Lab Blood Test to Spot Changes in Your Blood Before Symptoms Appear

Your blood changes before symptoms appear.

A Science Nutrition Lab blood test can spot these changes, then determine if you are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals.

Take a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to get answers to your health questions.

5 Things You Need to Know About Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in the world.

Fortunately, iron deficiency anemia is easy to spot, easy to test, and easy to target with various treatments.

Today, we’re explaining 5 things you need to know about iron deficiency anemia, including signs, symptoms, and causes of iron deficiency.

1) Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

People with iron deficiency anemia may have a range of minor to moderate symptoms.

Common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Cold hands, feet, fingers, and toes
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Mental fog

If you have a more serious case of iron deficiency anemia, then you may experience similar symptoms to general anemia, including excessive tiredness, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Some people have no symptoms of iron deficiency anemia whatsoever. They feel fine, yet blood tests show they have chronically low levels of iron.

2) Causes of Iron Deficiency

The most common causes of iron deficiency anemia include blood loss and problems absorbing iron.

If you have a condition that causes excessive bleeding, for example, then you may have a higher risk of iron deficiency anemia.

The most common causes of iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract (which can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease, colon cancer, celiac disease, ulcers, or intense athletic activity)
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Kidney disease (if you have kidney disease, then your body doesn’t make enough erythropoietin, a crucial compound in red blood cells)
  • Traumatic injuries or surgeries
  • Frequent use of NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) that could cause bleeding in your GI tract
  • Rare genetic conditions that make it hard to stop bleeding
  • Other conditions that block the absorption of iron

As we’ll explain below, some people also have iron deficiency because their bodies can’t absorb enough iron.

3) Why Iron Supplements May Not Be Enough: You May Have Trouble Absorbing Iron

Many people think they can solve iron deficiency anemia simply by taking an iron supplement or multivitamin. That’s not true.

In fact, many people with iron deficiency anemia get more than enough iron in their diet – yet they struggle to absorb iron for various reasons.

Some of the reasons you may have trouble absorbing iron include:

  • Rare genetic conditions that block your intestines from absorbing iron
  • Other genetic conditions that make it difficult to stop bleeding
  • Intestinal and digestive conditions like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis
  • Weight loss surgery
  • Other surgeries on your stomach and intestines
  • Internal bleeding that must be fixed with surgery

Some intense athletes also struggle to absorb iron. Endurance sports, for example, can cause athletes to lose iron through their digestive tract and via the breakdown of red blood cells.

4) Treatment for Iron Deficiency

A medical professional can build a custom treatment plan for your iron deficiency anemia.

By addressing the cause of blood loss or the issues with iron absorption, you may be able to prevent iron deficiency anemia by targeting the root of the condition.

Common ways to prevent iron deficiency anemia include:

  • Get more sources of iron in your diet, including beans, dried fruit, eggs, salmon, tofu, dark green leafy vegetables, or bread and grains fortified with iron
  • Eat vitamin-C rich foods, including fruits and vegetables, that help your body absorb iron
  • Take iron supplements
  • Take intravenous iron (it may only take a few sessions to address low iron levels)
  • Take medicine to promote red blood cell production (like erythropoiesis stimulating agents for kidney disease)
  • Get a blood transfusion

Obviously, these treatments range from basic at-home solutions to more medically-advanced treatments. By talking to a doctor, you can determine the right treatment for your iron deficiency.

5) When to See a Doctor

Doctors diagnose iron deficiency anemia using a blood test.

A blood test checks your complete blood count (CBC), hemoglobin, blood iron, and ferritin levels.

Doctors can also determine the root cause of your iron deficiency – like surgery or a genetic condition.

If you are concerned about your health and wellness, visit a doctor to determine if your symptoms are linked to iron deficiency.

Final Word: Take a Science Nutrition Lab Blood Test to Spot Iron Deficiency Before Symptoms Appear

A Science Nutrition Lab at-home blood test checks iron levels in a different way than a traditional blood test:

  1. You take a blood test at any local clinic in your area
  2. Results are shipped to our lab
  3. Results are compared to an optimal range based on your age and demographic data (not a random sample of people who recently used the lab, as is the case with ordinary blood tests)
  4. Jason Jumper reviews your results and determines the best way to target iron deficiency and other conditions, including supplements to take and lifestyle changes to implement

With a few simple steps, you can identify iron deficiency in your blood long before major symptoms appear.

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