Anyone with a solid passion for their own health makes a point of nutrition. Balanced meals packed with essential vitamins and minerals can do wonders for your health and overall well-being. But it’s actually almost impossible to get your entire daily value of these nutrients just from your food — you’d have to eat huge portions of certain vegetables every day to get a full serving of some of these nutrients, and while many people enjoy green smoothies to get their daily dose of ultra-nutrition, a multivitamin is a far easier (and calorie-free) means of filling those gaps.
Gaps in your nutrition are a very real thing, and people today suffer from a variety of health problems that can be linked directly to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies like the following.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies
Calcium and Vitamin D are both strongly related to bone strength, density, and health, and deficiency leads to osteoporosis and other skeletal problems in older age. Calcium deficiencies can also cause muscle cramps and an abnormal heart rhythm, both of which can cause other problems and put you at risk for worse conditions. If you’re suffering fatigue, muscle aches, or a general feeling of weakness, a Vitamin D deficiency might be to blame. Since our bodies derive a significant amount of Vitamin D from sun exposure, a strictly-indoor lifestyle can lead directly to such an issue. Calcium and Vitamin D are both crucial for keeping your body healthy in your later years as well as keeping you functional and pain-free right now.
Iron is one of the most important minerals, as it’s needed by the circulatory system to transfer oxygen properly via blood. Iron deficiency is called anemia, and symptoms include fatigue and a generally unhealthy look. Your skin might be pallid and your hair can be dull and lifeless. Not every nutrient deficiency shows such obvious physical symptoms, but the fact that anemia can affect your outward appearance is an indicator of how it’s affecting you. After all, your cells cannot live without oxygen, and with too little iron, your body is not making full use of the air you’re breathing!
Deficiency in Vitamin B12 can also contribute to anemia, and if severe enough, you can start feeling mental effects like paranoia and difficulty thinking clearly. This is because B12 is partially responsible for producing neurotransmitters in your brain, so a deficiency means your brain isn’t processing thoughts and emotions properly. B12 deficiency also comes with a host of unpleasant physical symptoms including, yes, fatigue.
Another nutrient related to your body’s energy usage is magnesium. It’s not common for a healthy adult to be magnesium-deficient, but it does happen, usually due to alcohol or medications. If you’re not anemic and you’re definitely getting enough Vitamin D and calcium, and yet you’re still fatigued, a lack of magnesium might be to blame.
Other common nutrient deficiencies include potassium, folic acid, other B vitamins, and Vitamins A, E, and K. All serve vital functions in your body, and if you’re feeling mysteriously under the weather all the time, you need to take a close look at your nutritional intake as a possible source of the problem.
Realistically speaking, daily multivitamins are the only sure way most people will be able to meet their body’s vitamin and mineral needs. It’s easy to say “just set up a balanced meal plan,” but doing it consistently is far more difficult. Fortunately, multivitamins allow us to give our bodies what they need in a convenient form.
When using multivitamins, stick to the recommended daily dosage — an extra quantity of nutrients rarely helps (as what your body can’t absorb passes through your urine), and in some cases can become toxic very quickly. Don’t exceed what your body can handle. If you’re already taking an iron supplement and decide a full multivitamin is a better option, quit the iron immediately as taking them together can cause dangerous toxicity.
Fortunately, not all nutrients are as harmful in overdose quantities, but it’s still best (and fastest) to choose a great multivitamin and stick with that. Your body will thank you.