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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.

10 Overhyped Superfoods That Aren’t Worth the Price

Not all superfoods are backed by science. Some superfoods are overhyped and overpriced.

Save your money and support your health by avoiding the superfoods below. They’re not as “super” as the internet has told you.

Cold-Pressed Juices

Cold-pressed juices are trendy and expensive. You can find them at health food stores and juice bars around the world. Some even make their own juice at home with high-end juicers.

Cold-pressed juices certainly aren’t bad for you. However, they’re not as good as many people think.

When you drink cold-pressed juice, you’re getting similar ingredients to regular juice: you get a lot of sugar and some vitamins and minerals, but not much more.

Most experts agree it’s better to eat the whole fruit, including the skin, flesh, and seeds of the fruit. It’s the way nature intended. When you eat fruit whole, it gives you fiber to fill you up and delay the absorption of sugar into your body.

Cold-pressed juices are trendy – but they’re not much better for you than ordinary fruit juices, and you’re probably better off taking whole fruits instead.

Acai Berry

Acai berry, like other overhyped superfoods on this list, isn’t necessarily bad for you – but it’s not as good as people think.

Acai berry is rich with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

However, acai berry is not much more nutritionally relevant than berries you can easily buy at a local supermarket. It has similar antioxidant content to:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries

You can buy the berries above at a fraction of the cost – and enjoy similar benefits to acai berries.

Goji Berries

Goji berries occupy a similar space to acai berries: people throw around words like “antioxidants” and “nutrient-dense” when talking about goji berries.

However, there’s little evidence goji berries can reduce the risk of cancer, boost immunity, or improve cardiovascular health, among other benefits commonly advertised online.

In fact, many of the studies on goji berries come from studies on special goji extracts – not the berries themselves. These extracts are the equivalent to eating thousands of goji berries at once – and it’s not realistic to connect those benefits to adding a few goji berries to your smoothie each morning.

Coconut Water

People who drink coconut water love to talk about its hydrating properties.

Some people claim coconut water cures or prevents hangovers, for example. Others drink coconut water during or after a workout.

However, there’s little evidence suggesting coconut water has better hydrating properties than ordinary water.

Coconut water is also rich with sugar: each 8oz serving has 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar and around 50 calories. If you’re looking to stay hydrated without the filler content, then water is a better choice than coconut water.

Wheatgrass

Have you ever taken a wheatgrass shot? You may have heard about the benefits of taking ingredients like chlorophyll. Someone might have told you about how wheatgrass is rich with vitamins A, C, and E along with minerals like iron, calcium, and magnesium.

Wheatgrass, like other so-called superfoods on this list, isn’t necessarily bad for you – but it’s not as good as people think.

The biggest problem with wheatgrass is that chlorophyll has no known nutritional value in humans.

Yes, wheatgrass is packed with vitamins and minerals – but so are multivitamin supplements and thousands of other fruits and vegetables.

Until science tells us there are specific benefits linked to the chlorophyll in wheatgrass, wheatgrass will continue to be an overhyped superfood deserving of its place on this list.

Kombucha

Search online for “best superfood drinks” and kombucha is sure to appear. Kombucha is a type of fermented black tea.

According to people online, kombucha is linked to benefits like:

  • Detoxification
  • Immune support
  • PMS relief
  • Energy
  • Digestion

That all sounds good. Unfortunately, however, there’s little concrete evidence linking kombucha to these claims.

In fact, most studies suggest ordinary teas like black or green tea – can provide superior benefits to fermented teas like kombucha. These teas are backed by thousands of studies – and centuries of use – linking them to heart health, immunity, and longevity.

Nevertheless, it’s not all bad news for kombucha drinkers: recent studies have found fermenting black and green tea can enhance its antioxidant properties. However, more human trials are needed to verify any of the benefits listed above.

It’s true kombucha, like other fermented foods, has probiotic bacteria. However, the levels of probiotics are smaller than you would get in yogurt, kefir, and other easy-to-find foods.

Certain Milk Alternatives

Milk alternatives are more popular today than ever before. Many people take nut or soy milk daily, for example, to enjoy non-animal sources of milk.

However, most milk alternatives are different than people realize. A typical nut or soy milk, for example, contains just 2% of the active ingredient. The rest of the beverage consists of water, vegetable oils, sweeteners, and additives. These additives enhance shelf life and flavor, but they do little for the nutritional value.

Consider making your own milk alternatives at home. You can enjoy all of the benefits of milk alternatives – with none of the additives or sweeteners.

Final Word

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Some superfoods are backed by science, proven to work, and linked to genuine benefits.

Other superfoods are overhyped, overpriced, and overused.

6 Science-Backed Superfoods Available at Any Supermarket

People like to toss around the term “superfood”. However, there are plenty of genuine superfoods.

Some superfoods are rich with nutrients, fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can support health in various ways. They’re genuine superfoods backed by science to support health and wellness.

Other superfoods are overhyped. They’re not bad for you – but they don’t truly deserve to be called superfoods.

Here are some of our favorite science-backed superfoods available today – including superfoods available at any ordinary grocery store:

Eggs

Food doesn’t need to be fancy and exotic to be a superfood. Eggs are a genuine superfood. They’re packed with:

  • High-quality protein to support muscle development and skin
  • Vitamin A, iron, phosphorous, selenium, B vitamins, and other vitamins and minerals
  • Antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein linked to eye health and vision
  • Choline to support cognition, memory formation, and overall brain health

Sure, eggs have high cholesterol content. However, studies show dietary cholesterol doesn’t impact your body’s cholesterol like previously thought. In this study, for example, researchers found people who ate 6 to 12 eggs per week did not have a higher risk of heart disease or diabetes.

In fact, one study found eggs increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol in some people.

For all of these reasons and more, eggs are a genuine, science-backed superfood.

Kale & Other Dark Green Leafy Vegetables (DGLVs)

Doctors often recommend getting more dark, leafy greens – and kale is one of the best dark, leafy greens you can take.

Kale, like other dark leafy greens, is rich with folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, fiber, and vitamin C.

Studies on dark green leafy vegetables (DGLVs) have linked their consumption to a reduced risk of illness and disease. In this study, for example, researchers found people with adequate intake of DGLVs like kale had lower levels of heart disease and diabetes.

Kale is also surprisingly rich with natural antioxidant chemicals – including carotenoids. Studies show diets rich with carotenoids may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer.

If you don’t like kale, then try other dark green leafy vegetables. Swiss chard, spinach, turnip greens, and collard greens all have similar benefits and nutrient content to kale.

Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, and Other Berries

You don’t need exotic berries like acai to get your daily superfood intake; instead, some of the best superfood berries include common options like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and cranberries.

All of these berries are rich with:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Fiber
  • Natural antioxidants

Studies show people with high berry intake in their diet tend to have a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. Other studies have found people who eat berries have less inflammation. Inflammation is linked with stress, aging, and an increased risk of disease.

Meanwhile, this 2018 study published in Nutrition Reviews found berries had beneficial effects on the digestive system, which led to significant benefits for the immune system. 70% of your immune system is found in your gut. Berries support microbiota in your gut, making it easier for your immune system to function optimally.

All berries have slightly different levels of nutritional value; however, any of the berries listed above are considered genuine superfoods.

Green Tea

Tea is the world’s most popular antioxidant beverage – and green tea is one of the best types of tea available.

Green tea is rich with antioxidants, polyphenols, and natural chemicals with potent antioxidant effects. Numerous studies have linked green tea to benefits like weight loss, disease mitigation, and stress and anxiety relief, among others.

One of the superstar ingredients in green tea is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). This specific antioxidant compound is linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease, among other benefits – and it’s just one of several catechins in green tea.

In this 2018 study, researchers found EGCG lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Meanwhile, this 2010 study published in Physiology & Behavior found green tea had significant effects on fat burning, fat oxidation, and weight loss.

If you’re looking for an easy, tasty, and science-backed superfood to add to your diet today, then green tea is one of the best options available.

Garlic

People have prized garlic for centuries for its benefits. Today, we know more about how garlic works – and it’s clear garlic should be considered a superfood.

In this 2014 study published in the Indian Journal of Cancer, for example, researchers found garlic had potent effects on the cardiovascular system and immune system. Researchers found garlic reduced cholesterol and blood pressure while supporting immune function, for example. Since cardiovascular disease is the number one killer worldwide, garlic could help mitigate this risk.

Today, we know garlic gets its benefits from active compounds like allicin. Allicin is the principle bioactive compound found in garlic.

One of the largest therapeutic reviews of allicin was published in 2014.Researchers found allicin and other compounds in garlic could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes while exhibiting anti-tumor and anti-microbial effects. However, researchers did not fully understand why allicin worked in these days.

Whether you like the taste or like the benefits, garlic is a science-backed superfood that could support blood pressure, heart health, immunity, and more.

Avocado

Avocado is one of the world’s best-known superfoods. In fact, some people claim avocados are so nutritious you could live exclusively off avocados.

That may or may not be true, but studies show avocados are rich with monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) like oleic acid – similar to olive oil. In this study, researchers found oleic acid supported healthy inflammation throughout the body.

Other studies have linked avocados to potential benefits like:

In addition to being rich with oleic acid, avocados are rich with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, making them one of the best superfoods you can buy in any grocery store.

Final Word

Some of the best superfoods are found in ordinary supermarkets – not in exotic online stores.

Adding berries, eggs, leafy green vegetables, green tea, and other science-backed superfoods to your diet can help in numerous ways.

Consider adding any of the superfoods above to your diet to support a range of science-backed benefits.

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