Even the most health conscious women can be vitamin deficient, unbeknownst to them. In fact, the majority of Americans are deficient in some sort of nutrient. Whether this is due to popular elimination-style diets, the depletion of our soil by poor farming practices, or Americans’ affinity for convenience foods remains to be seen.
While a multi-vitamin is not harmful to your health and acts like an insurance policy against missing out on vitamins,
it is always recommended to get the majority of your nutrients from your food if possible. Think about vitamins as nails holding a house together, the house being your body. These vitamins will keep the structure of the body together and functioning on a high level, but without good food they are like titanium nails holding rotting wood together.
The best vitamins are food based, from companies such as Standard Process. The body absorbs food best, so when vitamins are food based the body has an easier time assimilating them. Sometimes we need certain vitamins more than others. Below are four of the most common vitamin deficiencies in women and their symptoms:
- pale skin
- cold hands and feet
- fast heart-beat
Iron deficiencies are very common in the United States, especially in women. The most common outcome of this deficiency is iron deficiency anemia, which is usually due to low intake levels or to excessive loss of the nutrient. Iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, the component in red blood cells responsible for binding to oxygen and releasing it where it is needed.
Lack of iron means lower overall oxygen delivery from the blood to the body, and leads to fatigue. Your heart is also forced to pump more blood to accommodate for the lack of oxygen being carried, raising your heart beat. Women that have unusually heavy menstrual flows are more susceptible to this kind of deficiency, as the excessive blood loss forces the body to remove a lot of iron.
Pregnant women are also likely to be affected, since there is a demand for higher blood volume to support and nourish the developing fetus. Vegetarian and vegan women are also in greater danger because the small intestine better absorbs iron from animal sources, compared to that of plants (“Iron Deficiency Anemia”). For these reasons, it is important to have your daily iron needs met.
The majority of Americans are deficient in some sort of nutrient
However, in the case of already developed anemia, it is important to see a doctor, as there are medical conditions that affect absorbance and excessive iron intake can lead to liver problems. A multivitamin will supply you with your daily needs of iron, as taking an iron supplement is only recommended after consulting your physician.
- sensitivity to light
- burning and soreness around the eyes or mouth
- and cracking or flaking of the skin
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is a team player in many chemical reactions within our bodies, especially energy yielding reactions. Deficiencies in vitamin B2 compromise the metabolic pathways for other nutrients like niacin and folate, and new research
suggests that it might also have an effect on the absorption of iron.
Riboflavin is also a precursor of coenzymes chemically involved in the production of energy. This nutrient
also has an effect on oxidative stress that leads to the opacification of the eyes, which can lead to cataract in older age. Daily intake of riboflavin is important to the overall proper function of energy yielding reactions and optical health.
- Bone pain
- muscle weakness
- unexplained fatigue
Vitamin D is naturally produced by our skin in response to light, and is necessary for calcium absorption in our bones. Vitamin D deficiencies often result in bone fractures, due to low bone density. Having enough vitamin D is especially important as we get older, as there is a higher rate of decalcification. Low vitamin D levels are often the result of lack of exposure to sunlight that promotes its synthesis. Unfortunately, symptoms for this deficiency typically show only once vitamin D levels have been heavily depleted.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Macular degeneration
- mood swings or depression
- circulation problems.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a major component of brain, ocular, and circulatory health. There are three omega-3 fatty acids, ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid), EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid). EPA has been found to play a role in treating depression, as the effects of its consumption are comparable to that of the antidepressant, Prozac (Jazayeri).
Omega-3 intake is also associated with better memory and less anxiety, as DHA is a major structural component of both the brain and eyes. In ocular health it helps prevent macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness. In circulatory health, it reduces high blood pressure, helps maintain healthy blood vessel lining and reduces inflammation. These fatty acids have a positive effect on the body, and being deficient in them makes you more susceptible to mental, ocular and circulatory complications.