A lot of people all around the world make new year’s resolutions, which usually involve something to improve their health.
Common new year resolutions include losing weight, going to the gym, drinking less alcohol or stop smoking.
Some people have good self-discipline and are able to complete their new year’s resolution, whereas others can set the bar too high and their new year’s resolution is a far distant memory in February.
Even if you are eating healthier or making more effort to be more active this year, nutrient deficiencies could be holding you back from making progress on your health.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are so common today due to soil depletion, fast foresting, pesticides in the plant produce market and the use of antibiotics, steroids and mass farming in the meat market.
This means that even if we are eating our five a day, the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats, the food on our plate could be very low in nutrients.
Nutrient deficiencies can affect your health in so many ways. This may affect small things such as your energy supply, your mood or how frequently you catch a cold. Or it may have more serious effects on things such as cardiovascular health and brain function.
New Year, New Health
So instead of convincing yourself, friends and family members to join you in your new year’s resolution to get more quality sleep, move more or eat less sugar, we would like to make sure no nutrient deficiencies are holding you back from bossing your new year’s resolution.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies
- Vitamin D deficiency is very common as Vitamin D is made in the body from the sun. This means in countries that don’t have much sun, such as the UK, it is difficult for the body to produce enough vitamin D all year round.
Even in sunny countries, there are a lot of individuals deficient in Vitamin D because they do not expose their skin to the sun.
Furthermore, the recommended daily intake is 200iu, whereas some professionals actually recommend 5,000iu per day.
You can get Vitamin D from fortified breakfast cereals, fish, egg yolks, cheese and mushrooms (2).
Vitamin D contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, maintenance of normal bones and teeth, normal muscle function and has a role in the process of cell division (3).
A deficiency of Vitamin D has been associated with preeclampsia, periodontitis, autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases, heart disease, deadly cancers, type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders (4).
- One of the most common taken supplements is Vitamin D, but many individuals do not take Magnesium with their Vitamin D supplements.
Taking Vitamin D supplements long-term can use up the body’s reserves of magnesium, resulting in magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is used to turn Vitamin D into its “active” form, ready to be absorbed by the body.
Due to the western diet which emphasises carbohydrates and animal protein, we do not get enough magnesium from our diet. The NRV is 375mg.
Magnesium is found in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains and green leafy vegetables (5).
Magnesium deficiency is associated with neurological and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes development (6).
Magnesium contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system, normal psychological function, normal protein synthesis, normal muscle function, the maintenance of normal bones and teeth and has a role in cell division (3).
- Vitamin B12 is another common deficiency which can lead to anaemia and peripheral neuropathy (7).
Vegans and vegetarians are more likely than those who consume animal products, to be deficient in Vitamin B12. This is because B12 is found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and other dairy products. Clams and beef liver are some of the best sources of vitamin B12 (8).
The recommended daily intake of B12 is 200ug. Usually, supplements provide a much higher amount than this because your body only absorbs a very small amount of B12.
Vitamin B12 contributes to the normal functioning of the immune and nervous systems, normal energy-yielding metabolism, normal psychological function, normal formation of red blood cells and a reduction in tiredness and fatigue (3).
- Although Omega 3 is the most commonly taken supplement, Omega-3 deficiency is common as many individuals do not meet the recommended intake of fish.
We should be eating at least two portions of fish per week (one of these portions should be oily fish).
Non-oily fish include:
Oily fish include:
- Mackerel (1)
Omega-3 contains two fatty acids EPA and DHA which contribute to the maintenance of the normal brain and heart function, normal vision, blood pressure and triglyceride levels (3).
Deficiency has been linked to depression, dementia and cardiovascular diseases.
So now you have some guidance on what food groups/supplements to monitor in the new year, to ensure that you have no deficiencies in sight!
- Do We Need Vitamin & Mineral Supplements? | HealthAid
- Which supplements should I take? Supplements for Beginners. | HealthAid
- 8 tips for healthy eating - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Vitamin D - Consumer (nih.gov)
- EU register of health claims (europa.eu)
- The vitamin D deficiency pandemic: Approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Magnesium - Consumer (nih.gov)
- Hypomagnesemia and hypermagnesemia - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Vitamin B12 and Plant-Predominant Diets - PubMed (nih.gov)
- Vitamin B12 - Consumer (nih.gov)
Any information or product suggested on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Consult your primary healthcare physician before using any supplements or making any changes to your regime.