You’ve read about Vitamin Deficiencies and on the other end of the table is mineral deficiencies.
Even just a deficiency in one type of mineral can massively affect your health. Like most vitamins, our bodies cannot make minerals and therefore have to be obtained from external sources. These micronutrients may only be needed in small amounts, but their contribution to our overall health function is significant. Fortunately, mineral deficiencies are quite straightforward and most can be remedied with proper diet and supplementation.
Regardless of having a healthy diet, take note of the following most common mineral deficiencies and what you can do about it if you suspect you’re deficient in any.
Calcium, the healthy bone essential that’s been instilled in our minds. This mineral is vital for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, maintaining hormonal balance, as well as having a healthy heart and blood vessels.
The most common and initial sign of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis. This is because calcium is needed for proper heart, nerve, and muscle function, calcium is taken from the bones to ensure that our heart, nerves and muscles are functioning properly. Prior to osteoporosis, keep an eye out for earlier signs of a calcium deficiency such as muscle cramping, brittle nails, and a change in hair health.
The common causes for calcium deficiency range from the simple lack of ingestion of the mineral to more complex matters such as excess intake of mineral-leeching substances such as alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks.
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt
- Dark leafy green vegetables like Kale and Spinach and Collard greens
Best absorbed with:
- Vitamin D
Iron is a vital mineral for blood health. Iron is need by the body to create hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells which carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. A lack of iron in our body leads to a lack in oxygen which is especially important to take note of for our brain health. Lack of iron also negatively impacts healthy heart and immune function as well as hair, skin and nail health.
If you experience fatigue, particularly feeling winded with little physical exertion, you may be lacking iron. Iron deficiency, particularly iron deficiency anemia is the most prevalent mineral deficiency. Keep an eye out for fatigue, headaches, dizziness, falling hair, and heart palpitations as these are indicators of iron deficiency anemia.
- Chia seeds
- Red meat
Best absorbed with: Vitamin C
Magnesium has a say in over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. This ranges from healthy muscle, nerve and brain function, protein production, energy metabolism, blood pressure, and proper blood sugar management. More modern findings also found that magnesium promote relaxation within the body, both physically and mentally, and is an excellent sleep aid.
Although a magnesium deficiency is harder to detect than other mineral deficiencies, be mindful of your diet and body to assess if you could use more of this vital mineral. Signs of a magnesium deficiency can range from frequent fatigue, chronic inflammation, blood sugar imbalances, frequent headaches, and mood swings. If left untreated, a magnesium deficiency can lead to a loss in bone density, impaired brain, nerve and muscle function as well as impaired digestion.
Common causes for a magnesium deficiency range from an unhealthy diet to over consumption of alcohol and coffee, which causes magnesium to leave the body through urine.
Food sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Nuts such as almonds and walnuts
- Seeds such as pumpkin and sunflower
- Whole grains and pseudo grains such as brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa
- Dark chocolate
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
Best absorbed: Avoid taking magnesium supplements with Calcium and Zinc as they ‘compete’ in the body for absorption.
There are so many minerals and even vitamins to think about to ensure that you don’t have a nutrient deficiency. Prioritize a healthy and varied wholefoods diet and pair it with a good quality multivitamin to ensure that you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs on a daily basis.