Vitamin supplements are a huge craze these days. Many of these products promise big results, from improved immunity to an increase in energy to help you get through your day. Other products offer a basic mix of daily vitamins and minerals that are essential to health. Is it all hype, or do we really need these nutritional supplements to live our healthiest lives?
Missing Nutrients: Lacking Soil Means Less Vitamins in Foods
For years now, there has been buzz about how modern produce has lost its nutritional value. Modern farming techniques have major drawbacks, including the fact that they strip the soil of nutrition. A vegetable grown today isn’t the same as one grown in the 1970s, and with every passing generation, we are depleting our soil even more.
A 2004 study from the University of Texas found that between 1950 and 1999, there were reasonable declines in the nutritional value of 43 types of fruits and vegetables. This means that even if you eat a healthy plant-based diet and basically do everything as recommended, you still might not be getting enough nutrients. If you struggle with a junk-food addiction, you’re probably even more deficient.
New developments are always being made in the world of farming, and hopefully, in the future, we will continue to come up with new ways of nourishing our soil. However, for now, it makes sense to use nutritional supplements to make up for whatever might be lacking in our diets.
Worrying Symptoms: Common Signs of Nutrient Deficiency
Your body will alert you when something is wrong. If you spot any of these signs, you may have a deficiency.
Brittle nails and hair can mean a biotin deficiency.
Bleeding gums might mean you’re lacking vitamin C.
Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff could indicate a variety of deficiencies, including a lack of vitamin B3, B6 or zinc.
Restless leg syndrome can mean you need more iron in your diet.
Hair loss might mean you need more essential fatty acids, zinc, iron or B vitamins.
It’s important to note that any of these symptoms could have other causes aside from nutritional deficiency. Always talk to your doctor if you’re suffering from symptoms you can’t explain.
Vitamins for Women: The Nutrients to Focus On
Women in particular have a tendency to be deficient in certain nutrients, and they are among the most important nutrients we take in on a daily basis.
Since women bleed during menstruation, they require more iron. Some women get enough iron in their diets, but if you’re a vegan or simply don’t like iron-rich foods like beans, leafy greens or meats, you might want to consider a supplement. Cooking on a cast-iron pan can also add some iron back into your foods.
This nutrient is essential for healthy red blood cells and DNA production. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to get enough if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant soon.
3. Vitamin D
It’s necessary for healthy bone growth as well as immunity. Vitamin D is made by the body when we spend time in the sun, but since the sun is also damaging to the skin and eyes, it makes sense to get the nutrient from fortified foods and supplements. Eggs, fortified cereals and milk are all good sources of vitamin D.
Calcium is crucial for strong bones. You can get it from fortified juices, dairy products, leafy greens and other vegetables. Supplements are also helpful, but be sure to talk to your doctor about how to stay within a healthy dose.
Some manufacturers still add iodine to table salt, but not every brand has it, and we’ve also been told to avoid too much salt in our diets. This means that many people are lacking this nutrient, which is crucial for thyroid health. Luckily, iodine is included in most multivitamins and can also be found in certain foods, such as yogurt and milk.
The bottom line is that nutritional supplements allow us to rest assured that we’re getting what we need for health, and as long as you remain under the care of a doctor and are careful not to overdose on any certain nutrient, they are a safe bet for a better life.