Mind and Body Health
In the world today, it’s never been more important to keep our bodies (and minds) healthy. Aside from the threat of contracting Covid-19, external factors out of our control like air pollution can cause damage to our bodies in addition to a number of ailments that could be caused by heredity or lifestyle habits.
Though vitamins are naturally found in the foods we eat, many choose to take vitamins and supplements in an effort to stay healthy and prevent future medical issues. In this post, we’ll explore how to determine if you’re vitamin deficient; what the top vitamins and supplements are; how you can benefit long-term from a vitamin and supplement regimen; who should take vitamins; and how to get a recommended supplement plan from a Western Washington Medical Group practitioner.
Signs of Vitamin Deficiency
Vitamin deficiency happens when your body is unable to produce a sufficient amount of healthy red blood cells due to a shortage of vitamins in the system. It can also develop as a result of your body being unable to absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat.
Signs of vitamin deficiency can include any or all of the following:
- Mental confusion
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness in muscles
- Pale or yellow skin
- Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
- Personality changes and mood swings
- Irregular heartbeats
- Weight loss
- Issues with balance
Common deficiencies are attributed to lack of Vitamin B-12, Vitamin B-9 (folate) and Vitamin C, though there can be deficiencies caused by the absence of other vitamins.
Top Vitamins & Supplements
People choose to take vitamins and supplements for a variety of reasons. Some want to detox from bad dietary habits to cleanse their system, some want to boost their immunity, others take them for muscle growth, to prevent bone fractures or simply to maintain a positive mindset.
The most common water-soluble vitamins that people take include Biotin, Vitamin B-9, Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin C. This group of vitamins helps produce energy, build proteins and cells, make collagen and help the body release energy derived from food consumption.
The most common fat-soluble vitamins that people take include Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. This group of vitamins helps build bones, protects vision and acts as antioxidants to help protect the body from unstable molecule damage.
Some people also choose to take prebiotics, probiotics or magnesium to aid with gut health or fish oil for mood balancing.
Long Term Benefits of a Vitamin & Supplement Regimen
While it’s recommended that most of our vitamins be sourced from heathy foods we incorporate into our diet, there are benefits to complementing your menu with a few targeted supplements for your needs.
Though large doses of vitamins are typically not recommended, working with a medical professional can establish a healthy way to add vitamins and supplements into your lifestyle to maximize your long-term health. For example, Harvard research has shown that B-complex vitamins may reduce the risk of stroke and multivitamins could help lower the risk of cancer and cataracts.
Who Should Take Vitamins and Supplements?
High-risk individuals who have been diagnosed with a specific condition may benefit the most from supplements, such as those with osteoporosis who may need extra calcium and Vitamin D.
Women trying to get pregnant or those who are already pregnant, are recommended to take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day (which can usually be found in a women’s multivitamin) because it prevents neural tube birth defects in babies.
People who are lactose intolerant or eat a diet free of dairy should also perhaps take calcium and Vitamin D.
There are several other diagnoses that can necessitate the addition of vitamins and supplements to help manage a condition; consult your doctor to learn what’s right for you.
Talk to a Medical Professional
If you’d like the help of a medical professional to determine the best regimen of supplements for your individual needs, contact Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice to schedule an appointment. For more general inquiries, use the form on this page.