10 Common Nutritional Deficiences

In western societies nutritional deficiencies aren't too common, but are generally present in sub-populations.

Below are 10 common nutritional deficiencies and the daily recommended amounts for adults by the US Government.

Calcium (mineral)

Overview: Calcium is essential in promoting optimal bone structure and support. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition noted that calcium deficiency is most common in subpopulations that include older adults, teenagers, minorities, and those who are low income and overweight and/or obese. However, excess consumption should be guarded as calcium supplements have been found to cause kidney stones. Recommended daily amount: 800-1,000mg males / 800-1,000mg females (800mg pregnant, 800mg lactating)

Food sources: Dairy (yoghurt, cheese, milk), sardines, spinach, kale, soybeans

Vitamin A (fat soluble vitamin)

Overview: Vitamin A is essential for vision as it's shown to protect against cataracts and plays an important role in bone growth. Recommended daily amount: 900mcg males / 700mcg females (750-770mcg pregnant, 1,200-1,300mcg lactating)

Food sources: Liver and fish oils

Folate / Vitamin B9 (water soluble vitamin)

Overview: Folate is vital for new cell creation. While commonly used by pregnant women, as it's shown to reduce birth defects, it can also help lower the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Recommended daily amount: 320mcg males / 320mcg females (520mcg pregnant, 450mcg lactating)

Food sources: Spinach, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, liver, dry beans and peas

Vitamin B12 (water soluble vitamin)

Overview: Vitamin B12 assists in new cell formation, and may reduce the risk of heart disease. It can also help regulate sleep and moods, improves cognitive ability, and supports a healthy immune system. Since vitamin B12 is water soluble, it's easily dissolved in water, but can be stored in the liver. Recommended daily amount: 1.5-2.0mcg males / 1.5-2.0mcg females (2.2mcg pregnant, 2.4mcg lactating)

Food sources: Animal products including meat, milk, cheese, eggs

Vitamin D (fat soluble vitamin)

Overview: Vitamin D helps maintain normal levels of calcium, which strengthens bones and teeth.Recommended daily amount: 10mcg males / 10mcg females (10mcg pregnant, 10mcg lactating)

Food sources: Fatty fish (salmon, tuna), milk, pork, beef liver, eggs

Vitamin K2 (fat soluble vitamin)

Overview: Vitamin K is essential for blood clotting as it activates proteins and calcium. It's also shown to help prevent hip fractures.Recommended daily amount: 75-120mcg males / 75-90mcg females (75-90mcg pregnant, 75-90mcg lactating)

Food sources: Cheese, eggs, butter, chicken

Iron (mineral)

Overview: Iron is an essential mineral found in the hemoglobin of red blood cells and myoglobin of muscle cells. Its purpose is to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide.Recommended daily amount: 8mg males / 8-18mg females (27mg pregnant, 9-10mg lactating)

Food sources: Oysters, red meat, pork, poultry, dry beans, spinach

Magnesium (mineral)

Overview: Magnesium is essential for energy production, and helps regulate cholesterol.Recommended daily amount: 340-350mg males / 265-300mcg females (290-335mcg pregnant, 255-300mcg lactating)

Food sources: Spinach, broccoli, dry beans and peas, and nuts

Potassium (mineral)

Overview: Potassium is used by the heart, muscles, kidneys, nerves and digestive system to work properly. It's used to help reduce blood pressure, prevent strokes, and lower the risk of kidney stones. Recommended daily amount: 4.7g males / 4.7g females (4.7g pregnant, 5.1g lactating)

Food sources: Bananas, citrus fruits, grains, cold water fish such as salmon, chicken

Selenium (mineral)

Overview: Selenium is essential in proper thyroid and immune system function. It's also used in alternative medicine to treat high cholesterol and Hashimoto's thyroiditis.Recommended daily amount: 55mcg males / 55mcg females (60mcg pregnant, 70mcg lactating)

Food sources: Whole grains, fish, eggs


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