Extreme deficiencies of minerals and vitamins are uncommon in the developed world. On the other hand, research shows that slight deficiencies in some nutrients could be fairly common. Some examples are chromium, calcium, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin B12 vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, and zinc.
If you do not consume a nutritious assortment of foods, certain supplements could help you get sufficient quantities of essential nutrients. Although few individuals are so deficient with these nutrients to exhibit symptoms of malnutrition, slight deficiencies could increase the chance of several diseases. As an example, inadequate intake of vitamin D and calcium can increase the possibility of getting osteoporosis, and insufficient vitamin B 6 and folate can increase the risk of heart disease.
So, using supplements to provide these essential minerals and vitamins might be a good idea. Apart from minerals and vitamins, consumption of essential fatty acids can be typically inadequate. Women can develop a deficiency of iron, yet men seldom do. Even in women, iron supplements aren’t beneficial unless they are really deficient.
The easiest method to support your nutrition would be to use a broad mineral and multivitamin supplement giving you a wide range of nutrients. However, no nutritional supplement must be considered to be an alternative to a healthy and varied diet.
An issue with multivitamin and mineral supplements is that some nutrients could hinder the absorption of others, and because of this, it could be an advantage to taking supplements separately. Also, taking supplements separately allows a person to avoid taking minerals and vitamins they don’t need.
How vitamins and dietary supplements are stored can have an effect on the quality. High humidity found in bathrooms as well as kitchens may be degrading the vitamins and dietary supplements kept in those rooms, whether or not the lids are on tight, research has shown.
Crystalline substances, such as vitamin C, some forms of vitamin B and other nutritional supplements, are susceptible to a process known as deliquescence, whereby humidity results in a water-soluble solid to dissolve. Storing those supplements far away from warm, humid environments will help ensure their effectiveness.
Vitamin Deficiency Infographic by MedixSelect.com
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- Wald NJ, Law MR, Morris JK, Wald DS. Quantifying the effect of folic acid. Lancet. 2001 Dec 15;358(9298):2069-73. PMID: 11755633.
Folic acid is known to prevent neural-tube defects (NTDs) but the size of the effect for a given dose is unclear. We aimed to quantify such an effect.
We used published data from 13 studies of folic acid supplementation on serum folate concentrations and results from a large cohort study of the risk of NTDs according to serum folate, to measure the preventive effect of specified increases in intake of folic acid.
Serum folate concentrations increase by 0.94 ng/mL (95% CI 0.77-1.10) for every 0.1 mg/day increase in folic acid intake in women aged 20-35 years, and about double that in people aged 40-65. Every doubling of serum folate concentration roughly halves the risk of an NTD. These two effects can be combined to predict the reduction in risk according to intake of extra folic acid and background serum folate concentration. Such results predict that the preventive effect is greater in women with low serum folate than in those with higher concentrations. The results have also been used to predict direct observations from large randomised trials and the effect of food fortification. From a typical western background serum folate of 5 ng/mL, about 0.2 mg/day (the US level of folic acid fortification) would be expected to reduce NTDs by about 20%; a similar effect can be expected from the current British recommendation (0.24 mg/day). An increase of 0.4 mg/day would reduce risk by about 36%, of 1 mg/day by 57%, and taking a 5-mg tablet daily would reduce risk by about 85%.
Folic acid fortification levels should be increased. Additionally women planning a pregnancy should take 5 mg folic acid tablets daily, instead of the 0.4 mg dose presently recommended.