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Health Tips

Nutrient deficiencies tied to common signs and symptoms – what your body is trying to tell you!

We all know adequate nutrition sets the stage for good health and longevity. The body runs a tight ship and likes to maintain ‘homeostasis’ aka balance. When under stress, from for example, a low intake of vital nutrients or minerals, the body will compensate and pull from other areas to keep the balance. This is why making sure you enjoy a nutrient dense balanced diet day in day out is critical for optimal health. Thankfully, the body doesn’t do its balancing act undercover, we can receive signs and symptoms, which if closely looked at can be tied to certain nutrient deficiencies. To help you decode what your body may be trying to tell you, here are some common signs and symptoms tied to nutrient deficiencies.

  Muscle Cramps & Weakness

 Magnesium and calcium both play an impotent role in muscle contraction and a deficiency of either may cause muscle cramps, especially leg cramps. Vitamin D is needed to help with the absorption of calcium and assists with muscle strength.

Dietary sources

Magnesium: almonds, cashews, cocoa, eggs, figs, leafy greens, soy beans and legumes.

Calcium: dairy, almonds, tahini, broccoli, soybeans and leafy greens.

Vitamin D: fatty fish oils, butter, egg yolk and milk.

 Low Mood

Zinc is important for neurotransmitter (chemical messengers in the brain) synthesis and transmission. Research has shown zinc levels are lower in those who experience low mood. Similarly, Vitamin B6 works alongside zinc to help the right messages be sent and is often recommended for those suffering low mood as part of pre-menstrual syndrome.

Dietary sources

Zinc: beef, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, oysters, pumpkin seeds and wholegrains.

Vitamin B6: avocado, banana, carrot, chicken, egg yolk, legumes and oats.

Migraines

New research suggests a high percentage of children, teens and young adults with migraines may have mild deficiencies in Vitamin D, riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and coenzyme Q10. If you do suffer chronic migraines it may pay to have your levels checked.

Dietary sources

Vitamin D: fatty fish oils, butter, egg yolk and milk.

Riboflavin: almonds, asparagus, avocados, barley, beans, eggs and broccoli.

Coenzyme Q10: organ meats, beef, sardines, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower.

Fatigue

The thyroid gland regulates our metabolism and its function can impact energy levels. Iron, zinc, iodine and selenium are all nutrients/minerals needed by the thyroid to convert inactive thyroid hormone into active, the form used by the body. If our dietary supply is low, this conversion may be hampered and leave us with feelings of fatigue.

Dietary sources

Iron: red meat, almonds, apricots, parsley, spinach, lentils and sunflower seeds

Zinc: beef, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, oysters, pumpkin seeds and wholegrains.

Iodine: seafood, seaweed, asparagus, dairy, mushrooms and sunflower seeds

Selenium: brazil nuts, alfalfa, celery, eggs, fish, garlic, cashews and tuna.

Memory Loss

Vitamin B12 deficiency has been tied to poor memory and is often caused by poor vitamin B12 absorption. Gastrointestinal conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, which causes damage to the gut lining and small intestine, can interfere with the proper absorption of vitamin B12. Long-term use of certain medications can also impact Vitamin B12 absorption.

Dietary sources

Vitamin B12: egg yolk, meat, milk, oysters, salmon, sardines and swiss cheese.

References

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre. “Many with migraines have vitamin deficiencies, says study: Researchers uncertain whether supplementation would help prevent migraines.” ScienceDaily. 10 June 2016.

Swardfager, W et al 2013, ‘Zinc in depression: a meta-analysis,’ BiolPsychiatry, Vol. 74, No. 12, pp. 872-8.

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