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5 Micronutrient Deficiencies Every Adult Should Know About

by Drew Spears on February 26, 2024

As a product & industry expert, it's crucial for High Gear Health to understand the importance of proper nutrition and the impact it has on overall health. One key aspect of this is ensuring that adults are meeting their daily requirements for essential vitamins and minerals. Here are the 5 most common deficiencies in adults, backed by scientific studies:

Vitamin D

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that approximately 42% of adults in the United States are deficient in vitamin D. This essential vitamin plays a crucial role in bone health, immune function, and mood regulation. 

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna are excellent sources of vitamin D. These fish not only provide a healthy dose of this essential nutrient but also offer omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are one of the few plant-based sources of vitamin D. When exposed to sunlight, mushrooms have the ability to produce vitamin D, making them a great option for vegetarians and vegans looking to increase their intake of this nutrient.

2. Dairy

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt are often fortified with vitamin D. This means that manufacturers add this nutrient to the products to help individuals meet their daily requirements. When choosing dairy products, opt for those that are fortified with vitamin D to ensure you are getting an adequate amount.

3. Eggs

Eggs are another natural source of vitamin D. The yolk of an egg contains this essential nutrient, making it a convenient option for adding vitamin D to your diet. Incorporating eggs into your meals can help you increase your vitamin D intake.

Vitamin B12

Research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that up to 15% of adults over the age of 50 are deficient in vitamin B12. This vitamin is essential for nerve function, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis. 

While vitamin B12 is commonly found in animal products, there are some natural sources for individuals following a vegetarian or vegan diet.

1. Plant sources

Many plant-based foods are now fortified with vitamin B12 to help individuals meet their daily requirements. This includes fortified cereals, plant-based milk alternatives, and nutritional yeast. These fortified foods can be a convenient way for vegetarians and vegans to ensure they are getting enough vitamin B12 in their diet.

2. Seaweed and Algae

Some types of seaweed and algae, such as nori, spirulina, and chlorella, contain small amounts of vitamin B12. While these sources may not provide enough vitamin B12 on their own, incorporating them into a well-rounded diet can contribute to overall intake. It's important to note that the bioavailability of vitamin B12 from seaweed and algae may vary.

3. Mushrooms

Certain varieties of mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake mushrooms, have been found to contain some vitamin B12. While the amount of vitamin B12 in mushrooms is relatively low, they can still be a valuable addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet. Including a variety of mushrooms in meals can help increase overall vitamin B12 intake.

4. Magnesium

A study published in the Journal of Nutrition reported that around 50% of adults in the United States have inadequate magnesium intake. Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, impacting energy production, muscle function, and heart health.  While magnesium supplements are available, it is always best to get nutrients from natural food sources. Here are some natural sources of magnesium:

5. Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are excellent sources of magnesium. These vegetables are not only rich in magnesium but also provide other essential vitamins and minerals for overall health.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all packed with magnesium. Snacking on a handful of nuts or seeds can help boost your magnesium intake throughout the day.

7. Whole Grains

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are good sources of magnesium. Incorporating these grains into your meals can help increase your magnesium levels while providing fiber and other nutrients.

8. Legumes

Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are not only rich in protein but also contain magnesium. Adding legumes to soups, salads, or stir-fries can help you meet your daily magnesium needs.

9. Avocados

Avocados are not only delicious but also a great source of magnesium. Whether mashed into guacamole or sliced on toast, avocados can be a tasty way to increase your magnesium intake.

By incorporating these natural sources of magnesium into your diet, you can ensure that you are meeting your body's daily requirements for this essential mineral. Remember, a balanced diet rich in a variety of nutrient-dense foods is key to maintaining optimal health.

Iron

According to the World Health Organization, iron deficiency is the most common nutritional disorder in the world, affecting approximately 30% of adults globally. Iron is essential for oxygen transport, energy production, and cognitive function.  

While iron supplements are available, it's always best to get your nutrients from natural sources. Here are some natural sources of iron:

1. Lean Meats

Lean meats such as beef, pork, and poultry are excellent sources of heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by the body compared to non-heme iron found in plant-based foods.

2. Seafood

Seafood like oysters, clams, and shrimp are rich in iron. They also provide other important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, making them a healthy choice for boosting iron levels.

3. Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans are great plant-based sources of iron. They are also high in fiber, making them a nutritious addition to any diet.

4. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds like almonds, pumpkin seeds, and cashews are not only packed with iron but also provide healthy fats and protein. They make for a convenient and nutritious snack.

5. Dark Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in iron and other essential vitamins and minerals. They are versatile ingredients that can be incorporated into various dishes.

6. Whole Grains

Whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats contain iron as well as fiber and other nutrients. They are a healthy choice for maintaining overall health and well-being

Calcium

Research from the National Institutes of Health indicates that over 40% of adults in the United States do not meet their daily calcium requirements. Calcium is crucial for bone health, muscle function, and nerve transmission. 

 While many people turn to dairy products for their calcium intake, there are plenty of natural sources of calcium for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply looking to diversify their diet.

1. Leafy Greens

Dark, leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, and spinach are excellent sources of calcium. In fact, one cup of cooked collard greens contains about 25% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. These greens are also rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health.

2. Almonds

Almonds are not only a great source of healthy fats and protein, but they also contain a significant amount of calcium. Just one ounce of almonds provides about 8% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. They make for a convenient and nutritious snack that can help boost your calcium levels.

3. Seeds

Sesame seeds, chia seeds, and poppy seeds are all rich in calcium. Just one tablespoon of sesame seeds contains about 9% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. These seeds can be easily incorporated into your diet by sprinkling them on salads, yogurt, or oatmeal.

4. Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils are not only a great source of plant-based protein, but they also contain calcium. One cup of cooked white beans provides about 13% of the recommended daily intake of calcium. Adding beans and lentils to soups, stews, and salads can help increase your calcium intake.

By understanding the prevalence of these common deficiencies, individuals can take proactive steps to ensure they are meeting their nutritional needs through a balanced diet or supplementation when necessary using a high quality product like Fortitude. As a product or industry expert, it's important to educate others on the significance of these essential vitamins and minerals for overall health and well-being.

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