Have you been experiencing unexplained symptoms like fatigue or skin problems that are not due to another condition? You might be lacking essential nutrients in your diet, and the discomfort is being caused by a vitamin deficiency. Let’s explore some of the most common vitamin deficiencies, how they affect you and how your primary care provider can help.
Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A supports a healthy immune system, glowing skin and good vision. While too much vitamin A (usually through over-supplementation) isn’t safe, especially for children, healthy adults typically need 700 – 900 micrograms (mcg) of it per day.
If you’re not getting enough vitamin A in your diet, you might notice:
- Acne breakouts
- Chest and throat infections
- Dry eyes
- Dry skin
- Night blindness
- Stunted growth
It’s hard to get too much vitamin A from your diet alone, so you can safely increase your levels by eating more dark leafy greens, oranges, carrots, squashes, pumpkin, egg yolks and fish oils.
Vitamin B-12 Deficiency
Vitamin B-12 is important for a properly functioning nervous system, blood cell formation, brain function and mood. It’s found in fish, meat, eggs and dairy products. It’s also commonly added to foods like fortified breakfast cereals and breads. The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.
Without enough vitamin B-12, you might notice uncomfortable symptoms or even dangerous conditions such as:
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Muscle weakness
- Swollen tongue
- Tingling and numbness in your hands, feet or legs
Most people can get enough vitamin B-12 from eating a balanced diet. Because plant foods don’t contain a lot of it, vegetarians and vegans are prone to a B-12 deficiency, as well as older adults and those with digestive issues that affect nutrient absorption. These individuals and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding can benefit from a vitamin B-12 supplement.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D helps our immune system function at its best, keeping us from getting sick from viruses or other infections. It’s found in fatty fish, egg yolks and orange juice. It’s also known as “the sunshine vitamin” because you can increase your vitamin D levels by spending time in the sun.
Vitamin D deficiencies are common. If you are deficient in this crucial vitamin, symptoms can include:
- Frequent illnesses from viruses or infections
- Hair loss
- Muscle pain
- Slow wound healing
It’s recommended children and teens get at least 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, and 2,000 IU for healthy adults. You can get it through your diet and 15 – 30 minutes of safe sun exposure per day. Your doctor might recommend a supplement based on your health history and lifestyle.
How We Can Help
An important part of a healthy, whole life is getting enough nutrients to stay well. Our skilled primary care providers can use tests to diagnose vitamin deficiencies and help you make changes to your diet and/or add safe supplementation based on your needs. Learn more and make an appointment at CentralFloridaPrimaryCare.com. We want you to feel your best in body, mind and spirit.