Day in and day out we run our bodies into the ground working overtime, stressing out; choosing the cookie over the apple or a double something filled with everything over anything else. Let’s discuss two ways a vitamin deficiency may facilitate: intestinal issues and general bad diet.
With the general bad diet, you are not providing the body with enough vitamins for it to work properly. Sugary, high fructose corn syrup processed foods consumed moderately to frequently leach the body of vital nutrients; leaving you on empty and popping open that third can of red bull chemicals for energy. An intestinal disturbance is caused for many reasons; one of the side effects is malabsorption, as with Crohn’s or Celiac, which are autoimmune diseases.
In Celiac disease, even the smallest gluten crumb found by the immune system causes it to go haywire and attack itself; affecting all parts of the body. Malabsorption occurs with the damaging and death of the ‘finger-like’ villi lining the intestinal wall; whose sole job it is to pull nutrients from food and release into the bloodstream for nourishment.
People with autoimmune disorders should monitor their vitamin/mineral levels to make sure they are receiving an adequate daily supply. This might also be a contributing factor as to why some still report feeling ill after switching to a gluten free lifestyle.
Vegans and vegetarians are also in danger of vitamin deficiencies because they are not giving their body enough of the nutrients they need in their daily diet through plant based foods, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
If a vitamin deficiency is prolonged or misdiagnosed, Anemia may occur; resulting in fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. If those cells are unable to breathe correctly they feel tired, your brain becomes a little foggy, your concentration starts to waiver, irritability may set in, headaches can occur, cold or numbness in hands or feet, low body temperature (feeling cold all the time), chest pain and shortness of breath.
There are several different types of anemia that can occur from vitamin deficiency:
- Iron is the most common in women and young children; diet, disease, long or heavy menstrual cycles can all be a factor.
*beets, walnuts, prunes, quinoa, shrimp, beef are good sources of iron and eating foods rich in vitamin C are also necessary to facilitate the absorption into the body.
- B12 is easily missed by doctors and can cause; vision, walking, memory, concentration problems and the tingling or numbness in extremities. With intestinal or stomach maladies, taking a supplement or eating the right food may not solve the problem. In order for B12 to work, a protein secreted in the stomach called Intrinsic Factor, joins the B12 and they travel together through the blood. Ongoing deficiency of B12 can cause nerve damage.
*avocados, cabbage, cauliflower, beans & lentils, nuts, egg yolks, organic soy, walnuts
- Folate (B9, Folic Acid) is important to everyone to help prevent stroke, cancer and heart disease, but is especially important to a pregnant woman and the growing baby inside. Proper folate prevents brain and spinal cord defects and is crucial in third trimester where baby will extract high dosages from mother.
*beets, lentils, broccoli, spinach, kale, oranges, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, eggs, whole grains
- Vitamin D comes in two forms, D2 & D3. D2 comes from plant based and fortified foods and D3 comes from the animal based products like fish and eggs, fortified food and the sun’s UV rays. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and bone health.
- Vitamin C for smokers especially because smoking reduces levels in the body. Vitamin C is necessary for healthy blood vessels, healing wounds, collagen growth and repairing tissue. Although supplements are available, studies are showing that:
Scientists have been studying the power of vitamin C in supplements compared to food sources to measure the beneficial effects. A study in the National Library of Medicine found that supplementation of vitamin C “had little effect on cellular levels” compared to eating it in foods. This goes back to how quickly vitamin C degrades in various situations.
Deficiencies are preventable or curable through diet and awareness. If you are not eating a diet laden in these foods as a primary or have problems associated with malabsorption, stomach, kidney or intestines; deficiencies might be an issue you should consult with your doctor and discuss. Giving your body the proper oil it needs to function everyday, will keep you chugging along instead of stranded on the side of the road.Here is a great list of vitamin deficiencies and symptoms: http://www.health-science-spirit.com/deficiency.html
Eat your daily rainbow today.
I don’t think people realize how much a deficiency affects your everyday life and beyond. Great article.