Top 5 Nutrient Deficiencies in America

October 9, 2017 | Wellness Resources

Send to a friend

* Required fields

  or  Cancel

Top 5 Nutrient Deficiencies in America
In the most comprehensive national nutrition survey to date, referred to as NHANES (The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), the CDC found that Americans are commonly lacking several nutrients. If high quality nutrient intake is low in the body, it is like forgetting to fill your car up with gas. This can lead to problems with energy level, depression, low thyroid, poor sleep, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and more. Consider supplementing with high quality vitamins to fill in nutritional gaps, especially if you have any of the common symptoms of deficiency listed below. Here are the top five nutrient deficiencies in Americans.

1. Iron
The most common nutrient deficiency in America is iron deficiency, causing anemia. This is especially prevalent among women because of menstruation and pregnancy. We use iron to help repair our muscles, so athletes are also at a high risk for iron deficiency. Older adults and those taking acid reducers are another at-risk population because iron requires normal amounts of stomach acid for absorption.

Iron is essential for energy production, oxygen transport to muscles, and growth and development of cells. Common symptoms of iron deficiency include thinning hair, fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive struggles, and muscle fatigue.

In infants and children, anemia has been associated with poor cognitive development and poor school achievement. However, iron supplementation in anemic children has been shown to help improve attention and concentration.

The best form of iron to supplement with is called iron bisglycinate, a true protein-iron complex that allows for maximum absorption. It is a superior form of iron because it is highly absorbable and doesn’t cause digestive upset, constipation, or free-radical damage.

2. B Vitamins
Vitamins B6, B12 and folate (vitamin B9) are nutrients commonly lacking in Americans. B vitamins are easily depleted by stress, caffeine intake, excess water, sweating, birth control pills, diuretics, and poor gut health. B vitamins are essential for energy production, stress tolerance, mood, nerves, and homocysteine clearance.

Deficiency symptoms of B vitamins are varied and easy to miss. They can include fatigue, chapped lips, acne, anemia, digestive problems, impaired growth, depression, anxiety, cognition and memory trouble, neuropathy, weakness, incontinence, and headaches.

Quality of B vitamins in supplements varies widely. Avoid synthetic, cheap B vitamins (like the cyanocobalamin form of B12). Instead, supplement with bioavailable, coenzyme B vitamins for maximum absorption and benefit. The coenzyme forms of
B12 are called methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Coenzyme B6 is pyridoxal 5'phosphate. B9 (folate) is best in the methylated form, not folic acid. All of the eight B vitamins work synergistically and are best supplemented together in a coenzyme B complex or multiple vitamin.

3. Antioxidants: Vitamins C, A, and E
Vitamins C, A, and E also made the list of top nutrient deficiencies in Americans. Vitamin C can be found in fruits and vegetables, but it used up quickly when under stress and is flushed out easily. It is a water-soluble vitamin so if it’s vital to consume adequate amounts every day. Severe vitamin c deficiency causes Scurvy, characterized by bleeding gums, bruising, and a rash. However, even a moderate deficiency can produce symptoms of poor stress tolerance, easy bruising, fatigue, skin wrinkling, gingivitis, dry hair or skin, joint pain, and weak immune system.

Vitamins A and E are fat-soluble vitamins that can be found in dark green leafy vegetables. It’s likely many Americans don’t consume enough of the right foods to get adequate vitamin A and E every day. These nutrients are especially important for cancer prevention, a healthy gut lining, immune system, the eyes, and skin. Running low on either of these fat-soluble vitamins could produce symptoms like bumps on the back of arms, night blindness, dry skin, poor cardiovascular or digestive health, poor growth, weakened bones, heartburn, high cholesterol, hormonal imbalances and more.

If you think you might not be getting enough fruits and vegetables every day, consider taking a high quality antioxidant supplement with both water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins to help keep the immune system up and ward off daily wear-and-tear.

4. Vitamin D

Statistics from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) demonstrate that more than 90 percent of people with darker skin pigments (Blacks, Hispanics and Asians) living in the United States suffer from vitamin D deficiency, along with 75 percent of the white population. Even children ages 2-8 were found to have intakes of vitamin D below the estimated average requirement in a survey by the Environmental Workers Group (EWG).

There are very few natural dietary sources of vitamin D in our food supply. Fatty fish, mushrooms, and sunlight are the only ways to get it naturally. Plus, we likely need much more than the RDA of 400 IU per day. Health experts recommend adults take 1,000 - 5,000 IU a day, depending on your sun exopsure.

Every cell in your body has vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D is responsible for regulating more than 600 important genes. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many health problems including osteoporosis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, depression, arthritis, diabetes, thyroid conditions, poor immunity, and even cancer. Other symptoms that often go unnoticed include fatigue, muscle weakness or pain, chronic pain, and excessive sweating. Vitamin D is absolutely vital to your health.

5. Minerals: Magnesium & Calcium
Even a healthy diet may lack adequate minerals due to soil depletion of minerals. It is estimated that four out of five adults fail to meet the daily magnesium RDA (400-420 mg/day for men, 310-320 mg/day for women).

Magnesium is essential for managing osteoporosis, heart disease, blood pressure, brain health, stress, inflammation, blood sugar regulation, hormonal imbalances, migraines, restless leg syndrome, and nerves. Every organ in the body needs magnesium, but especially the heart and muscles. A poor diet, stress, sweating, digestive issues, and numerous medications (blood pressure, diuretics, laxatives, methotrexate, antibiotics) block absorption or deplete magnesium.

Calcium intake is also low. A study in the Journal of Nutrition noted that individuals 60 years of age and older had inadequate mineral intake. In this study, men had 70-75 percent insufficient intake when measuring calcium intake, women had 87 percent insufficient intake relative to the basic RDA. Yes, you get calcium from milk and cheese. But, since Americans consume high amounts of dairy, it is clearly not enough. Supplement with a high quality multi-mineral formula to get calcium and magnesium in the preferred ratio.

Americans simply aren’t getting enough of several essential nutrients. Soil that once provided abundant nutrients is now over-farmed, and animals are now fed primarily nutrient-void or genetically modified grains. Moderate nutrient deficiencies will prevent you from feeling your best, but supplementing with these core nutrients could make a night-and-day difference to your health.

Share This Article