Updated: Feb 11
In an age of processed and fast food on every corner, achieving good baseline nutrition long term can be harder than we think.
Whilst we may be able to get away with nutritional deficiencies in the short term, in the long run they can contribute to poor immunity, low energy, poor hormonal health, low mood, the list is endless. Here are some of the reasons why your diet may not be optimal:
Food quality - food grown in mineral depleted soil or with lots of chemicals may not have adequate nutrient levels.
Stress - nutrients such as magnesium, Vitamin C, and the B vitamins are needed by our adrenal glands that produce cortisol in times of stress. They are easily used up when stress is long term.
Lack of sunlight - in the winter months affects our Vitamin D levels. Government guidance is to supplement in the UK October to March 10 micrograms daily, however some people such as pregnant women, darker skins, elderly and those with a genetic susceptibility, may need more. You won’t know this unless you test.
Poor gut health; if we are eating a well balanced diet but not absorbing the nutrients very well, we are going to be deficient. This could implicate our stomach acid, the function of our small intestine, the microbial diversity of our large intestine, production of bile etc.
Ageing; as we get older, our nutrient needs increase, making it harder to ensure we are getting enough vitamins and minerals and protein.
Poor diet; you just might not be eating enough of the nutrients your body needs.
Common deficiencies There are over 30 different vitamins and minerals needed by the body, but here are 6 that can often be deficient;
1. Iron is needed to carry oxygen in the blood to our tissues. Common signs of deficiency; fatigue hair thinning, pale appearance, mouth ulcers, brittle nails, restless legs, heavy periods
Food sources; meat, poultry, fish, soy, nuts, seeds, lentils, green veg 2. Magnesium is Needed for over 300 different functions in the body, it is known as natures tranquiliser. Common signs of deficiency; fatigue, restless legs, twitchy muscles, cramp, cold hands, aching joints, low mood, anxiety, palpitations, PMS, painful periods, headaches, high blood pressure Food sources; dark green leafy veg, nuts, seeds, broccoli, dark chocolate! 3. Vitamin D needed for your bones, immunity, mental health and much more. Common signs of deficiency; are not always obvious, but include depression or low mood, sleep issues, low immunity, bone pain Food sources; trace amounts in eggs, oily fish 4. Vitamin B12 needed for energy and your nervous system Common signs of deficiency; fatigue, depression, brain fog, anxiety, dizziness, pale appearance, mouth ulcers, numbness/tingling in hands or feet, burning tongue or feet Food sources; meat, fish, dairy (Vegans, please supplement!) 5. Zinc is needed for immunity, fertility, digestion and gene expression. Common signs of deficiency; loss of taste or smell, white spots or ridges on nails, poor wound healing, poor appetite, stretch marks, hair loss, frequent colds Food sources; meat, shellfish, whole grains, legumes, nuts, spinach 6. Vitamin C is needed for immunity, connective tissue, makes your skin supple, and is a major anti-oxidant. Common signs of deficiency; sore bleeding gums, poor hair growth, easy bruising, frequent nose bleeds, frequent colds Food sources; citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, spinach, kiwi, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower However no body system works in isolation. Assessing the whole person and clinical presentation, bearing in mind medical history, medications and the patient’s story, will help lead us to corrective steps if needed. Where appropriate, testing can be offered to determine absolute levels. If you’re concerned about any symptoms, as always a free discovery call is available via www.calendly.com/vaguswellbeing/discovery-call.