Feeling sluggish? Brittle nails and teeth? Poor memory? You may be deficient in some vitamins that you are unaware of, which may be resulting in physical issues ranging from depression to poor circulation. The best way to determine what vitamins you body needs is with a blood test, which can be administered by your General Practitioner and is usually covered by insurance.
How often do you need to keep tabs on your vitamin level? Dr. Abroon suggests taking a nutritional blood test at least once a year. If insurance does not cover your testing Dr. Abroon strongly recommends to at least be tested for magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate. Below is a summary of how these vitamins relate to your overall health and well being according the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. Eating a wide variety of legumes, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables will help you meet your daily dietary need for magnesium. Early signs of magnesium deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. The body makes vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to the sun, and is also found in foods such as dairy and fatty fish. Insufficient vitamin D may raise the risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers as well as osteoporosis.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.
Vitamin B12 is found naturally in a wide variety of animal foods and is added to some fortified foods. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes tiredness, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss, and megaloblastic anemia. Nerve problems, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur. Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include problems with balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue.
Folate is a B-vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. A form of folate, called folic acid, is used in dietary supplements and fortified foods.
Our bodies need folate to make DNA and other genetic material. Folate is also needed for the body’s cells to divide. Folate is naturally present in many foods and food companies add folic acid to other foods, including bread, cereal, and pasta. Getting too little folate can result in megaloblastic anemia, which causes weakness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, headache, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath. Folate deficiency can also cause open sores on the tongue and inside the mouth as well as changes in the color of the skin, hair, or fingernails.