Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can oftentimes be to blame for a host of medical conditions. In the United States, there are several common deficiencies in otherwise healthy people that can cause problems. Many times, a simple deficiency can explain an otherwise puzzling health condition.

Beth Abraham Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing has details on four deficiencies that you may want to ask your doctor about.

  1. Iron

Nearly a quarter of the worldwide population has an iron deficiency, which can lead to conditions like anemia. That number is much higher in preschool children. Signs of anemia include fatigue, weakness, decreased brain function, and a weaker immune system.

Good sources of iron are red meat, shellfish, beans, seeds, and dark, leafy greens. Vitamin C can also enhance the body’s ability to absorb iron. It can be taken via supplement, but check the label on your multivitamin, as not all of them contain iron.

  1. Iodine

Iodine is essential for good thyroid health, and a deficiency can cause an enlarged thyroid (goiter), which can increase heart rate and promote weight gain.

Fish and seaweed are packed with iodine, as are plain yogurt and eggs. Table salt can also be enriched with iodine.

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D can be found in foods, but it primarily comes from sun exposure, and given that so many people are inside throughout the day (especially in the winter months), it’s natural that a vitamin D deficiency is common–it’s seen in nearly three-quarters of all U.S. seniors. Muscle weakness, bone loss and weakness, and even an increased risk of certain types of cancer can all come from this deficiency. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel along with egg yolks are high in vitamin D, but the best way to get enough is through the sun or supplements.

  1. Magnesium

About half the U.S. population does not get enough magnesium, which is important for bone and teeth structure, along with processes involving your muscles and others. A deficiency can cause an abnormal heart rhythm, restless leg syndrome, and migraines.

Whole grains, almonds, dark chocolate, and dark green, leafy vegetables are good sources of magnesium.


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