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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.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency: Signs, Symptoms, and How It Works

Vitamin B12 deficiency is more common today than ever.

If you’re deficient in vitamin B12, you might experience low energy levels, numbness or tingling, weak muscles, or decreased appetite.

As vegan and vegetarian diets surge in popularity, millions of people are missing vitamin B12 – and many don’t know it.

However, people with Crohn’s disease, autoimmune disorders, or a history of gastric surgeries could all have vitamin B12 deficiency even if they get enough vitamin B12 daily.

Fortunately, vitamin B12 deficiency is easy to spot. Many people take a vitamin B12 supplement or multivitamin daily to manage the deficiency.

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about vitamin B12 deficiency, its symptoms, and how to address it.

What is Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency, also known as vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, is a condition where your body cannot produce enough healthy, red blood cells because it lacks vitamin B12.

Your body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells. If you aren’t getting vitamin B12 through dietary sources or a supplement, then your body cannot produce enough red blood cells.

Red blood cells play a crucial role in health and energy: your body uses red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. When you have low red blood cell counts, your tissues and organs don’t get enough oxygen. You may feel lethargic, mentally foggy, or weak.

Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, according to the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, include all of the following:

  • Weak muscles
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Difficulty walking
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Physical and mental fatigue or low energy
  • Smooth and tender tongue
  • Fast heart rate
  • Diarrhea

Who’s at Risk for Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Certain groups and people have a higher risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency than others.

Some of the risk factors for vitamin B12 deficiency include:

  • A family history of the disease
  • Removal of part or all of your stomach or intestine
  • Autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes
  • Crohn’s disease
  • HIV
  • Certain medications
  • Strict vegetarian or vegan diets
  • Old age

Depending on your risk factors, doctors may develop a treatment plan for vitamin B12 deficiency based on your age, overall health, medical history, level of sickness, and ability to handle certain medications, among other factors.

Take a Blood Test to Spot Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Millions of people have lower-than-normal levels of vitamin B12.

If you believe you have vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, then a simple blood test can help.

A blood test checks your blood for vitamins and minerals, then compares levels to a normal range. If your vitamin B12 levels are significantly lower than normal, then you have vitamin B12 deficiency.

How to Address Vitamin B12 Deficiency

A doctor may help develop a custom treatment plan for vitamin B12 deficiency.

Some people can address the deficiency by taking a vitamin B12 supplement or a multivitamin.

Others simply adjust their diet, eating more foods rich in vitamin B12 than they previously did.

However, doctors may need to build a custom treatment plan based on your family history, medical status, and any medications you take. Sometimes, fixing vitamin B12 deficiency isn’t as easy as taking a vitamin B12 supplement.

Some of the ways to address vitamin B12 deficiency include:

Eat More Meat, Poultry, Seafood, Dairy Products, and Eggs: Vegetarians and vegans have a higher risk of vitamin B12 deficiency because there are few good plant-based sources. Consider adding more meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, or eggs to your diet to increase vitamin B12 intake.

Take a Vitamin B12 Supplement: A vitamin B12 supplement contains 100% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin B12 or more, making it easy to get the vitamin B12 you need daily. You can buy dedicated vitamin B12 supplements or a multivitamin.

Take Plant-Based Foods Fortified with Vitamin B12: Some cereals and health foods are fortified with vitamin B12, making them a good source of vitamin B12.

Work with a Doctor to Create a Custom Treatment Plan: Adding more vitamin B12 to your diet is not guaranteed to fix vitamin B12 deficiency. Instead, you may need to work with a doctor to develop  accustom treatment plan for your deficiency.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab Blood Test Today

Science Nutrition Lab’s blood tests reveal crucial insight into your health beyond a normal blood test.

A normal blood test compares you to sick people, which could make it difficult to spot deficiencies.

A Science Nutrition Lab blood test compares you to an optimal range, giving you better health insight.

Order a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to determine if you have vitamin B12 deficiency or other deficiencies to address.  

5 Symptoms of Leaky Gut – and How to Get Help

Recent research has confirmed leaky gut is a real condition.

Millions of people suffer from leaky gut syndrome. When you have leaky gut, your intestinal wall is more permeable than normal, which means more toxins could leak through.

People with Crohn’s disease tend to have higher intestinal permeability, as do people with diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

However, leaky gut can affect anyone.

Today, we’re highlighting some of the most common sypmtoms of leaky gut – and things you can do to help support your gut.

What is Leaky Gut Syndrome?

Leaky gut syndrome is a gastrointestinal order affecting the permeability of your intestinal lining.

In a healthy gut, your intestinal lining is strong. It keeps foreign invaders out of your body, pushing them out of your body as waste.

If you have leaky gut, your intestinal wall isn’t as strong. It’s more permeable, which means more toxins could pass your intestinal barrier and enter your body.

Studies show people with leaky gut have tiny gaps that allow bacteria and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream. These tiny gaps are formed by tight junctions in the intestinal walls. The more tight junctions you have, the more permeable your gut may be.

Top 5 Most Common Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome include:

  1. Digestive Issues (Chronic Diarrhea or Constipation): People with leaky gut syndrome often have issues making normal bowel movements. They might have chronic diarrhea or constipation, for example.
  2. Bloating or Gastrointestinal Discomfort: If you regularly feel bloated or have other gastrointestinal discomfort after eating a normal meal, then it may be a sign of leaky gut.
  3. Fatigue: Some people with physical fatigue have leaky gut. If you frequently feel like you have low energy, then it could be a sign of leaky gut.
  4. Mental Fog, Concentration Issues, or General Cognitive Concerns: If you have persistent mental fog, or if you’re struggling to concentrate, then it could be linked to leaky gut.
  5. Nutritional Deficiencies: Do you feel like you eat right – yet struggle with nutritional deficiencies? If a recent blood test has indicated multiple nutritional deficiencies, then it could be a sign of leaky gut.

Other Symptoms of Leaky Gut

Other, less common symptoms of leaky gut include:

  • Confusion
  • Skin problems, including acne, rashes, or eczema
  • Joint pain
  • Inflammation throughout the body
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cravings for sugary or carb-heavy foods

The Problem with Diagnosing Leaky Gut Syndrome

Recent studies have proven leaky gut is a real thing. However, it’s difficult to diagnose the disease with 100% accuracy.

  • Many of the leaky gut syndrome symptoms above are shared with other conditions. You could have leaky gut – or you could have Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or other gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Complicating matters further is that certain members of the medical community do not recognize leaky gut syndrome as a real condition.
  • Some believe leaky gut syndrome is a cause or symptom of other diseases, like inflammatory bowel disease. It may not be its own syndrome, and it could simply be a cause or symptom of related diseases.

Despite these problems, millions of people have leaky gut and manage the condition daily. Effective management of leaky gut can support intestinal permeability, helping to restore your gut’s normal function.

Risk Factors for Leaky Gut Syndrome

Certain people have a higher risk of developing leaky gut.

People who consume higher-than-average amounts of alcohol, for example, have a higher risk of developing leaky gut, as do people with poor nutrition or autoimmune disorders.

Some of the risk factors for leaky gut syndrome, according to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, including:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Poor nutrition
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Stress

Yes, There’s a Test for Leaky Gut Syndrome

Research shows one test could identify leaky gut syndrome. Here’s how it works:

  1. A doctor tells you to take a liquid solution with mannitol and lactulose.
  2. Mannitol and lactulose are two water-soluble molecules your body cannot use.
  3. If you have a healthy intestinal lining, then your body will easily absorb mannitol. Mannitol is small enough to pass through your intestinal lining safely and be absorbed into the body.
  4. Your body absorbs less lactulose because it’s a larger molecule. A normal gut will only absorb some lactulose.
  5. Doctors check the absorption of mannitol and lactulose via a urine test. Doctors collect your urine for six hours after the test. They measure the amount of mannitol and lactulose excreted via urine.
  6. If you have a healthy gut, the test shows high levels of mannitol and low levels of lactulose.
  7. If you have a leaky gut, the test shows high levels of both mannitol and lactulose.
  8. If you have poor absorption of nutrients for other reasons, then the test may indicate low levels of both mannitol and lactulose.

How to Support a Leaky Gut

There’s still plenty to learn about leaky gut syndrome. However, studies suggest there are ways to support a leaky gut, support intestinal permeability, and support your body’s natural detoxification processes, including:

Avoid Processed Foods: Foods with high levels of sugar, refined oils, heavy processing, or high fat content are all bad for leaky gut and overall health. Studies appear to show a connection between processed foods and leaky gut, so it’s best to avoid these foods entirely.

Avoid Gluten: Some people have greater symptoms of leaky gut after eating foods with gluten. Try cutting gluten from your diet to see if you notice fewer symptoms of leaky gut.

Avoid Dairy: Dairy products could also increase symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. Try cutting dairy from your diet to see if you improve symptoms of leaky gut.

Avoid Alcohol: Alcohol increases intestinal inflammation, which is bad for leaky gut. Consider reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake to see if it helps your leaky gut.

Take a Probiotic Supplement: Probiotic supplements support colonies of gut bacteria in your intestines, and these colonies play a crucial role in gut health and breaking down the foods you eat. Consider taking a probiotic supplement to see if it helps your leaky gut. Or, eat fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and kimchi to support gut bacteria.

Final Word: Take a Blood Test to Check Nutritional Deficiencies

Leaky gut affects millions of people worldwide – and many of these people are unaware they have leaky gut syndrome.

Nutritional deficiencies are some of the first signs of leaky gut syndrome, and a single, painless blood test can easily spot deficiencies.

Consider taking a Science Nutrition Lab blood test today to check symptoms of leaky gut.

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