When it comes to micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), we can get pretty overwhelmed in the amounts of nutrients we need for our bodies.
Vegetables are not sexy at all, let’s be real… but they’re well worth the consumption in the long-term. From immune health to mental health, the nutrients we get from foods are an absolute necessity when it comes to exercise, energy, cognition, and more.
Yet sometimes, we prefer to stick with a very plain diet when it comes to nutrition. We tend to jump to staples like chicken in broccoli, rather than diverse meals. This, and our lifestyle choices, can lead to nutrient deficiencies in very important foods.
In this post, we are going to go over the 4 most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies in 2020.
Vitamin and Mineral Insufficiencies
When it comes to Vitamins and Minerals, we can give you general recommendations for getting a decent amount of nutrients in. For example, we typically recommend 2–5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
Sometimes, we may need more specific fruits and vegetables (and more servings) to cover common deficiencies we may have. While exercise improves many bodily processes, we usually require more nutrient-dense foods to cover calories (and nutrients) we have burned from our bodies.
When we talk about deficiencies in the nutrition, we mean insufficient amounts of nutrients in our bodies.
While we will show you the most common vitamins and minerals we lack, we recommend having a diverse palate of nutrient-dense foods to eat. This will allow you to enjoy a flexible dieting lifestyle. Food doesn’t have to be boring.
I. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamins we consume insufficient amounts of in the United States. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that we synthesize from sunlight. Your body typically produces vitamin D from cholesterol, granted we receive adequate amounts of sunlight.
While we have included it in our posts on sleep and mental health, it has a plethora of immune and bone health benefits as well.
A proper Vitamin D intake helps with:
- Reduces the risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
- Prevents Colorectal Cancer.
- Immune Health. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of influenza and other immune challenges.
- Bone Health. Vitamin D reduces the risk of bone fractures.
- And many more immune health challenges.
For most, around a 1000–2000 IU dose of Vitamin D3 is sufficient.
You can get Vitamin D through sun exposure, fish, eggs, and supplementation. Vitamin D supplementation is typically associated with cognitive, immune, and bone health benefits. If you don’t typically find yourself going outside on workdays, consider supplementing with Vitamin D.
II. Vitamin K
Next to Vitamin D, Vitamin K is another essential vitamin that we are deficient in. I’d argue that Vitamin K is equally as important to Vitamin D because they synergistically work with one another.
A proper Vitamin K intake helps with:
- Reduction in Cancer Mortality.
- Bone Health. Vitamin K works synergistically with Vitamin D to improve bone health and bone fracture risk.
- Improves Cardiac Output. Vitamin K helps with improving cardiac output in exercise.
- Mitigate Coronary Artery Issues. Vitamin K reduces the side effects of too much Vitamin D and Calcium (arterial calcification).
You can get Vitamin K through dark leafy greens like spinach, soybeans, and matcha tea. We recommend not just getting it from these sources, but to also supplement with it.
For overall health, supplementing with as little as 50mcg (up to 1000mcg MAX) of Vitamin K1 will help with cardiovascular and overall health.
Magnesium is the most deficient mineral in the United States. This is because most grains we consume in our western diets lack a sufficient amount of magnesium.
A proper magnesium intake helps with:
- Reduction in Blood Pressure.
- Improvements in Aerobic Exercise. Exercise capacity was improved in extreme physical stress.
- Improvements in Sleep Quality. For individuals deficient in magnesium, supplementation improved sleep quality.
- And many more benefits.
Magnesium is typically found in small amounts in various leafy vegetables, grains, and more. If you don’t get enough magnesium in, consider supplementing with it (a standard dose is 200–400mg).
Potassium is an essential mineral that’s found in various fruits, vegetables, and beans. While it’s very difficult to be deficient in potassium, it is very common to be lacking enough potassium with respect to the amount of sodium we consume.
Potassium is considered a mineral that provides balance to sodium, a mineral that we tend to consume a lot of in our diets. A high sodium intake can increase your risk of high blood pressure, kidney disease, and more. Eating potassium-rich foods allows you to mitigate (or eliminate the effects) associated with a high sodium intake.
We highly recommend you focus on moderation between sodium and potassium. Never eliminate sodium or potassium from your diets.
To get a proper potassium intake, utilize the following:
- Eat a diverse amount of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat at least 80% of RDI in potassium. This can be achieved through 2–5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Never neglect your fruits and vegetables if your sodium intake is high.
Optimizing Your Intake
As you can see here, even with proper nutrition, sometimes supplementation might be necessary. Supplements fill in any nutritional gaps you might have in your diet (and can be very individualized).
Before supplementing, we recommend covering your micronutrient deficiencies in the following way:
- Eat 2–5 servings of Fruits and Vegetables daily.
- For Vitamin D, consider getting sunlight daily.
- For Vitamin K, eat dark leafy greens.
- For Magnesium, eat a variety of vegetables, grains, and nuts.
- Since potassium cannot be sold as a supplement (for health and safety reasons), we recommend eating various fruits and vegetables daily.
There you have it: four common vitamins and minerals we need more of in 2020.
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Thanks for reading, everyone!