Nutrient deficiencies are more common than you think – are you lacking any of these vitamins and minerals?
Have you ever had a blood workup done by your health practitioner and been surprised to learn that you were deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral? Severe nutrient deficiencies are usually indicated by obvious symptoms, but mild or developing deficiencies often don’t offer any telltale signs. You might not be losing clumps of hair or fighting to stay awake despite getting a good night’s sleep, but that doesn’t guarantee that your nutrient levels are optimal.
A survey conducted in the U.K., using data collected from adults ranging in age from 20 to 59, found that the most common deficiencies in women were selenium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.1 While several nutrients were also lacking in the diets of men surveyed, women are at greater risk of nutrient deficiency because their nutritional needs change more dramatically throughout their lifetimes. From the beginning of menstruation to menopause and beyond, comprehensive nutrition is vital to support the immune system, bone strength and density, reproductive health, organ function, and the prevention of diseases and other health concerns (as well as childbearing and breastfeeding, should you choose to have kids!).
While most essential vitamins and minerals are present in fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, eggs, and meat, the nutrient density of produce is on the decline and many diets don’t include animal or dairy products. Some nutrients, like plant-based iron, are difficult for the body to absorb unless they are eaten in conjunction with other nutrients that enhance their absorption, like vitamin C. For these reasons, taking a multivitamin or targeted supplement can be an ideal way to ensure adequate intake of the vitamins and minerals you need for best health!
We’ve made a list of key nutrients that women often lack, the symptoms that may result from prolonged or severe deficiencies, and the food sources and supplements we recommend to boost your intake. Read on!
Iron plays a vital role in keeping red blood cells healthy and enabling the transportation of oxygen throughout the body. Prolonged deficiency leads to anemia, which is often characterized by tiredness, paleness, dizziness, brittle nails, and/or unusual food cravings. Pregnant women and women of childbearing age are most likely to be deficient in iron.
Good food sources of iron include red meat, oysters, and dark green vegetables like spinach and broccoli. And for an extra boost, try one of our Women’s Multivitamin supplements! If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, we recommend our Women’s Prenatal Multivitamin for comprehensive support designed to address your nutrient needs for a happy, healthy pregnancy.*
Involved in more than 900 processes and reactions throughout the body, magnesium is nothing short of essential. It’s also one of the most common deficiencies, as an estimated 50% of Americans struggle to meet the recommended daily intake.2 Suboptimal magnesium levels can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, and poor sleep, and chronic deficiency may increase the risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and osteoporosis.
Whole grains like oats, nuts like almonds, dark chocolate, and green leafy vegetables are good sources of magnesium. You can also take NatureWise Magnesium softgels, formulated with a pure form of magnesium called AquaminTM. It’s derived from seawater and combined with olive oil for maximum bioavailability.
An antioxidant found in Brazil nuts, selenium plays a role in metabolic processes and thyroid function. High levels may help to lower the risk of cognitive decline and encourage better lung function in people with asthma.3 Low levels may cause muscle weakness, brain fog, and hair loss.4
In addition to Brazil nuts, fish like tuna, halibut, and sardines contain selenium. Eggs, sunflower seeds, and mushrooms are also significant sources. All of our NatureWise Women’s Multivitamins contain 150 mcg of selenium to make increasing your intake a no-brainer!
Up to 98% of the U.S. population doesn’t meet the recommended daily intake of potassium, a mineral needed to support nerve function, muscle contraction, and fluid regulation. Extreme potassium deficiency can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, muscle spasms and stiffness, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.5
Both sweet and white potatoes contain potassium, as do avocados, white and pinto beans, bananas, and all of our Women’s Multivitamins.
You may be done growing, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need calcium anymore. Your body is constantly replacing old bone cells with new ones to keep your bones strong and healthy. In fact, most of your skeleton completely regenerates over the course of approximately 10 years!6 Insufficient calcium intake might not produce negative effects until later in life, but it can cause osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures.
Calcium is becoming an increasingly common deficiency as more people opt for a dairy-free diet. Milk, yogurt, and cheese aren’t the only dietary sources of calcium, though – it’s also found in salmon, sardines, some beans, broccoli, and kale. The human body needs vitamin D3 to help it absorb calcium, and vitamin K2 to encourage bone cell formation and adhesion, so maximize the benefits of your calcium consumption by adding Vitamin D3 5,000 IU and Vitamin K2 to your supplement stack!
6. Vitamin D3
Speaking of vitamin D3, that’s next on our list of nutrient deficiencies (so if you’re already taking one of our D3 supplements, go ahead and skip to the next point!). Despite the body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D3 when exposed to sunlight, low levels of the sunshine vitamin are common. Because of its involvement in calcium absorption, vitamin D is important for bone strength. It also regulates the activity of immune cells that fight infection and enables serotonin synthesis, helping to keep sickness and seasonal affective disorder at bay.
Vitamin D3 is mostly found in animal-derived food sources, which can pose challenges for vegetarians and vegans. That’s why we’re formulating completely vegan Vitamin D3 softgels – coming soon!
7. Vitamin B12
You might not hear much about cobalamin, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. In addition to helping the body convert food into usable energy, vitamin B12 participates in DNA formation, red blood cell production, bone marrow regeneration, and the maintenance of nervous system health.7 Deficiency can present as weakness or shakiness, low blood pressure, and mood swings.
Vitamin B12 is another vitamin found primarily in animal products, but meat-eaters may also experience deficiencies due to autoimmune conditions or certain prescription drugs. We’ve included vitamin B12 as an ingredient in all of our Women’s Multivitamins to support blood cell and DNA production, brain function, and nervous system health!*
Jumpstart your journey
You might not currently be experiencing the symptoms of a nutrient deficiency, but it’s rarely a bad idea to boost your intake of crucial vitamins and minerals with a nutritious diet and supplements formulated with bioavailable ingredients to help you reach the recommended daily intake and reap the benefits of comprehensive wellness. Whether you’re looking for single-ingredient vitamin supplements, whole food-complex multivitamins with targeted benefits, or probiotics designed to support the unique aspects of women’s health, NatureWise has what you need to keep moving forward on the path to true well-being.