We can all fall off the wagon when it comes to health and fitness. But if you’ve been off it for a while then you’re likely to have noticed a whole host of adverse effects. Sluggishness, tiredness, intense food cravings for unhealthy things and poor digestion are just a few. Our body is like a machine, and without the right fuel to power it, things can quickly go wrong. One of these things is a nutrient deficiency. You could also suffer from this if you’ve recently been ill, have certain medical conditions or cut out food groups from your diet.
Iron Iron carries oxygen from our lungs throughout our bodies. It is part of the protein ‘haemoglobin’ and having too little of this results in anaemia. Slow but long-term blood loss within the body can cause this, it can be a result of anything from a peptic ulcer to a hiatal hernia, even colorectal cancer. Heavy menstrual periods in women can also be a cause. Alternatively, iron deficiency can result due to a lack of iron in the diet. The symptoms of an iron deficiency are feeling tired and weak, feeling faint or dizzy, a shortness of breath and even a craving to eat non-food items such as dirt or clay. If the iron deficiency is a result of a medical condition, this should be addressed right away. In severe cases, iron injections or iron therapy through an IV may be needed- or even a blood transfusion. Many cases, however, can be treated due to changes in the diet. Dark leafy green vegetables, beans, peas and dried fruit are all examples of iron rich foods. They are also excellent additions to your diet in general. You could also take a multivitamin with added iron each day. You’ll find these on a site like Jolly Vitamins.
Magnesium Magnesium is vital for a number of processes in the body. This includes regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. It helps to make protein, bone, and even DNA. A deficiency can be caused by alcohol abuse, chronic stress, uncontrolled diabetes and chronic gastric problems such as vomiting or diarrhoea. This could be due to a health condition, or a mental health issue such as bulimia. Muscle cramps, tremors, nausea, anxiety and high blood pressure, are a few of the symptoms you’re likely to notice with this deficiency. You can apply magnesium oil to your skin to help up your intake, or eat foods that are naturally high in magnesium. Pumpkin seeds, cacao, cooked spinach, brown rice and cashews are just a few.
Vitamin B12 Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy. It helps make DNA, which is if of course the genetic material in all of our cells. To be absorbed by the body, the vitamin must first be separated from the protein it is attached to by hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It then combines with a protein made by the stomach called intrinsic factor before being absorbed by the body. Some people have a condition where they are unable to make this intrinsic factor and so fail to absorb vitamin B12 from their food. Some common reasons for this deficiency are atrophic gastritis, pernicious anaemia, surgery which has removed some of your stomach and small intestine (including weight loss surgery) Cohn’s disease or celiac disease. Heavy drinking and immune system disorders can also play a role. Since the body doesn’t make vitamin B12 itself and it’s only natural form is in animal products, it means that vegans can easily lack this too. Vegans can take supplements containing vitamin B12 or eat vitamin B12-fortified grains.