If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet like the one described in my nutrition plan, you’re probably getting adequate amounts of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.
If not (and this applies to the majority of the U.S. population), there’s a good chance you may be lacking important nutrients.
Even if you do eat well, how and where your food was grown can also influence your nutritional intake. Soil quality, storage time, and processing can significantly influence the levels of certain nutrients in your food.
Your age and certain health conditions (digestive issues and others) can also impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.
Unfortunately, in many cases nutrient deficiencies can be difficult to assess, and you may not develop symptoms until the deficiency has become quite pronounced.
Below, I will review 11 of the most common nutrient deficiencies, and how to address them. Eating real food is usually your best bet, but sometimes supplementation may be advisable, especially if you’re showing signs of deficiency.
1: Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in people of all ages, especially in those who choose to use topical sun screens (which blocks vitamin D production) or limit their outdoor activities.
Researchers estimate that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency, and this percentage rises in higher-risk populations such as the elderly and those with darker skin.
Signs indicating you may have a vitamin D deficiency include being over the age of 50, having darker skin, obesity, achy bones, feeling blue, head sweating, and poor immune function.
Your best bet is to get your vitamin D level tested twice a year. Based on the evaluation of healthy populations that get plenty of natural sun exposure, the optimal range for general health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml.
As for how to optimize your vitamin D levels, I firmly believe that sensible sun exposure is the best way, although vitamin D-rich foods and D3 supplements may also be necessary if you cannot get adequate sun exposure year-round.
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