If you thought vitamin and mineral deficiencies were a thing of the past, think again. In fact, here are some statistics that you may be very shocked to learn:
* Approximately 250,000 children are born annually with birth defects associated with vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
* Around 50,000 women die every year during childbirth due to a deficiency of some sort.
* It’s estimated that 10%-15% of people over 60 years of age don’t get enough vitamin B12, which raises their risk of heart disease, makes them bleed easily and causes difficulty walking.
* 40%-60% of children ages 6-24 months in developing areas of the world don’t get enough iron, which impairs them mentally.
* Approximately 1 million children under the age of 5 die every year because they don’t have enough vitamin A in their system.
Surprised? A lot of people are.
It’s easy to believe that deficiencies were something that happened long ago when food wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. People would have only what they harvested or hunted right then.
They didn’t have the ability to process foods and make them last like we can today. That often meant that their diets didn’t contain a huge variety of food so certain vitamins and minerals would, of course, be missing.
But, today there’s food on most every corner, so how is it that we’re deficient in anything?
Well, deficiencies go beyond just the foods you eat. There are certain behaviors or conditions that can put you at risk for not absorbing enough vitamins and minerals.
Here are just a few:
* If you’re an alcoholic or drink a lot regularly, you risk being deficient in folate, vitamin C and vitamin A.
* If you are pregnant and not taking prenatal vitamins, you have an increased risk of a folate deficiency.
* If you take anti-seizure meds or are being treated for cancer, you may not have enough folate either.
* If you have a disease related to your intestinal tract or take a lot of antacids, you have a higher likelihood of being deficient in vitamin B12.
* If you take medications for type 2 diabetes or have an autoimmune disorder, you may also lack the necessary amount of vitamin B12.
* And, if you smoke, you have a higher risk of developing a vitamin C deficiency.
The list goes on and on.
Some people even develop deficiencies in the name of health! For example, some diets promote excessively limiting or even eliminating whole groups of food to help you lose weight.
The cabbage soup diet is one of them. That’s where you can eat nothing but cabbage soup all day, every day.
While most people aren’t on those types of eating plans for any length of time, if it’s a way of eating you consistently go back to, you may be increasing your odds of developing a deficiency.
Probably one of the most common ways of eating that completely eliminate certain food groups is vegetarianism. In the name of health, spiritual belief or animal rights, vegetarians vow to not eat certain things.
There are several different types of vegetarians. For instance, a vegan is someone who doesn’t eat any kind of food that used animal products as an ingredient or even in the processing phase. They don’t eat eggs, dairy or honey.
If someone is a lacto-ovo vegetarian (as I was for about fifteen years), that means that they don’t eat meat or shellfish, but they do eat eggs and dairy; that’s the general vegetarianism. Pescetarians don’t eat meat like lamb or pork, but they will eat fish.
While each form of eating has certain health benefits, they also have higher risks of deficiencies due to the fact that they’re cutting out categories of food that are high in vitamins and minerals.
Red meat has a high amount of iron, zinc and riboflavin. So, if you remove these foods from your diet, you risk not getting enough of these important minerals in your body.
Milk and dairy products are extremely high in calcium and vitamin D. cut those out, and you have to find other ways for your body to get them.
The point is that you could be doing things that are putting you at risk and not even realize it.
And, if you think that because you’re taking a multivitamin you aren’t at risk, you’re sadly mistaken.
Unfortunately, your body doesn’t always process the multivitamins well enough to get everything out of them and use it.
For example, if you take them on an empty stomach, your body will absorb fewer of the great vitamins and minerals they contain than if you take it with orange juice.
Some people purchase multivitamins that have over 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) so that they don’t develop deficiencies, but that doesn’t always work either.
As we discussed before, vitamins B and C are both water-soluble. That means that they may just be excreted from your body before it’s able to use them.
Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat-soluble. So, if you get too much of them, your body will hold onto them. The good news is that you won’t get a deficiency, but the bad news is that you risk taking them to toxic levels, which is a whole different concern!
So, knowing all of this, could YOU be deficient in some necessary vitamins and minerals?
In a future newsletter, we’ll go over 5 signs that may tell you whether or not you are.
I hope today’s newsletter gave you some valuable information.
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