Everything you need to know about deficiencies to kickstart your year with a healthy immune system

Did you know up to 80% of the global population is affected by iron deficiency?

By Jess Arrowsmith • 1 month ago • NUTRITION, STYLE

Did you know you may not even know your system is deficient in an essential mineral or vitamin? With the new year well and truly in full force, we sought out answers from our friends at Vitable to answer all our burning questions and to help set our immune systems straight for the boost we need to make this our best year yet. Keep reading for everything you need to know and so, so much more!

What are the most common deficiencies and what supplements can be taken to combat this?

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), up to 80% of the global population is affected by Iron deficiency, making it the world’s most common deficiency. Figures suggest that a massive 25–30% of women of child-bearing age have a moderate form of iron deficiency (generally due to monthly blood loss). Iron assist’s many vital roles, including delivering oxygen throughout the body, transforming food into energy, making neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain), and keeping the immune system healthy.

Australians aren’t getting enough calcium (according to a joint report from The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)), which is essential for healthy, strong bones and teeth, and helps to maintain correct pH levels in the blood.

Zinc intake is also quite low because people are eating less zinc-rich foods such as red meat and seafood. Zinc is required to make insulin, maintain a healthy immune system, and for male reproductive health.

Research suggests that amongst the general population, around one in three of us will be vitamin D deficient by the end of winter. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and is vital for healthy bones and muscles.

What are the staple supplements most people should look to include in their supplementing when starting out?

We’re all unique and have different needs so it depends on your health goals, lifestyle and diet. If you’re vegetarian for example, you might be low in Zinc due to the lack of red meat and seafood in your diet. People who are exercising a lot might be lacking magnesium because it’s depleted with strenuous exercise. If you’re stressed and experience restlessness at night, Ashwagandha is a renowned Ayurvedic herb that can help relieve these symptoms. It’s hard to pinpoint a ’staple’ supplement because everyone is different and may require different recommendations.

Other than a blood test, are there ways to figure out what deficiencies you may have?

It’s easy to think that if you have a healthy diet, you’re getting all the nutrients you need, but nutritional deficiencies are surprisingly common and a diet lacking in nutrients may cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms. With this in mind, you can take our quiz and answer questions about your lifestyle, diet and health goals, and then based on your answers we’ll recommend supplements that may help or boost the area’s you’ve highlighted. Using these results, you might decide to increase your intake of certain vitamins and nutrients yourself (like Calcium from dairy, red meat from iron…) or you might decide to try supplements. Our supplements can be taken together, and the dosage is the same as it would be if sourced from foods, and the service is completely adjustable meaning you can change your supplement regime as your goals improve and change. We recommend a blood test to measure deficiencies for certain minerals, such as Iron (too much Iron is not recommended and could be harmful), so if you’re in doubt or if you’re taking prescription medications make sure to ask your doctor.

How long does it take for supplement taking to really take effect?

This depends on your biochemical makeup, current health status, diet and lifestyle. Vitamins are used to support and nourish your body, so depending on your personalised supplement regime, goals and lifestyle you could feel the benefits from anywhere between 1-12 weeks. Routine and consistency are key!

For those lacking energy, what is a good supplement?

It depends on why you’re lacking energy. If you don’t consume enough fresh fruit, veggies, complex carbs or red meat, you might be lacking B complex, Zinc and/or Magnesium. B complex is a good supplement to help your body transform food into energy, so for people experiencing energy slumps after lunch (or food in general), our customers find it extremely useful! If you are tired because you experience sleeplessness at night, Ashwagandha could help you rest and sleep better and give you renewed energy during the day!

What supplements other than magnesium are good for assisting with sleep?

Ashwagandha again! It has multiple properties that make it a highly coveted natural herb. Its key benefits lie within the brain, where it may regulate chemicals associated with stress. Hence its seen results in helping stress and mild anxiety. Ashwagandha can also improve the quality of sleep and may help with the treatment of insomnia. Specifically, the leaves of the plant contain the compound triethylene glycol, which promotes sleep induction.

Any fun facts you can offer our readers about supplementing or types of supplements would also be fab!

Bright yellow pee is common when taking a vitamin B complex, specifically due to the B2 vitamin, also known as riboflavin. In fact, “flavin” comes from the Latin “flavus” which means yellow. So, don’t ditch your B vitamins yet—they’re actually a great part of maintaining your overall health! Our passion is education and smarter consumption and our team is always available to talk through everything and anything that might pop up on your Vitamin journey!

This article was written by Larah Loutati, Co-Founder & MD at Vitable



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