- How to recognize a vitamin deficiency & prevent it.
- When is a vitamin deficiency present?
- Vitamin deficiency - these are the causes
- What are the symptoms of vitamin deficiency?
- How to prevent vitamin deficiency
- How to make up for vitamin deficiencies
How to recognize a vitamin deficiency & prevent it
A balanced diet with fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy and fit lifestyle. This is because these foods are particularly high in vitamins, which are involved in almost every vital process in the body. Although we eat healthier, vitamin deficiencies can occur under certain circumstances at any age. The causes and also the consequences of a vitamin deficiency can vary greatly. Therefore, it is important to quickly recognize and compensate for a vitamin deficiency.
In our guide, we explain how a vitamin deficiency can develop, what causes and symptoms are possible and how you can already prevent a deficiency.
When is a vitamin deficiency present?
We speak of a vitamin deficiency when the body is not sufficiently supplied with one or more vitamins . This results in a deficiency, which can be detected by certain symptoms or by falling below threshold values, e.g. in the blood.
Vitamins are organic compounds and belong to the micronutrients. These are vital essential nutrients that your body cannot produce itself and must therefore take in through food. An exception is vitamin D, which is largely absorbed through the skin. In humans, 13 vitamins are currently known to be required by the body. As essential nutrients, vitamins are involved in many processes in thebody, for example in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats and in the formation of enzymes, hormones and blood cells. They also influence the immune system. Vitamins can be divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble groups. Fat-soluble vitamins can be stored by the body, e.g. in the liver, so they do not necessarily have to be ingested daily. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, can hardly or not at all be stored and must be supplied to the body daily through food.
In order to prevent deficiency symptoms due to a lack of vitamins, the D-A-CH reference values exist for various groups of people, which show the amount of vitamins that should be supplied daily. However, falling below these reference values does not automatically mean that you are suffering from vitamin deficiency (hypovitaminosis). Primarily, it means that there is a greater chance that you are not meeting your recommended intake of vitamins.[¹]
What is the most common vitamin deficiency?
In Germany, people do not reach the recommended daily amount, especially for vitamin D and folic acid . Many people also take in too little vitamin E and vitamin B12, as well as the trace elements iron, calcium and iodine . Thus,vitamin deficiencies may occur more frequently with these vitamins.
This is the conclusion of the "National Consumption Study II" conducted by the Max Rubner Federal Research Institute and the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection. The study looked at the diets of almost 20,000 German-speaking people.[²] Within the study it also becomes clear that the undersupply of vitamins differs between women and men. The more important vitamins for women and the vitamins for men are therefore different. Especially for women, certain vitamins and minerals such as iron and folic acid are very important. In general, hypovitaminosis, or vitamin deficiency, is rare in healthy individuals with a balanced diet in Western countries. However, the study shows that certain vitamins are not taken in enough. Under certain circumstances, a vitamin deficiency can then occur.
Vitamin deficiency - these are the causes
A vitamin deficiency occurs when the need for vitamins is not met in the long term. The causes of a vitamin def iciency can be very different. One reason can be a poor diet. But even if you eat a healthy and balanced diet, a vitamin deficiency can occur, for example, due to an illness.
The most common causes for a vitamin deficiency are the following:
A wrong or one-sided diet can lead to the fact that you donot cover the vitamin need of your body sufficiently. Due to the extensive supply of food, deficiencies due to a lack of vitamins occur rather rarely in Western countries. However, certain long-term diets, excessive consumption of fast food or eating disorders can also cause vitamin deficiencies.
Increased alcohol consumption can also be a cause of vitamin deficiency. This is because alcohol can cause the liver to malfunction, preventing certain vitamins from being metabolized properly.
With a vegan diet, you consciously avoid animal foods such as meat, fish or milk. By avoiding this group of foods, the intake of some vitamins and other nutrients through food may not besufficient. Vitamin B12 in particular may be deficient. This is because this vitamin is found almost exclusively in animal foods. The same applies to vegetarians. However, both groups do not necessarily have to worry about a vitamin deficiency, because there are specially developed dietary supplements that can specifically prevent a deficiency. Innovative sprays also ensure optimal absorption of vitamin B12 via the oral mucosa.
Various diseases such as diabetes and cancer, disorders and complaints of the liver or kidneys or certain intolerances can also lead to a deficiency of vitamins . Reasons for a deficiency in these diseases can be various disorders, through which the vitamins are no longer properly metabolized. Often, an undersupply also results from the therapies used to treat diseases, such as dialysis or certain medications.
Diseases in the intestine can also affect the vitamin supply. Many vitamins are absorbed by the body in the intestine. If this process is disturbed, a vitamin deficiency can follow.
Increased vitamin requirements
In some phases of life or under certain life circumstances, the need for vitamins is higher. If the intake of the required vitamins is not also adjusted during these phases, an undersupply and thus a vitamin deficiency may result. Life phases in which the vitamin requirement is increased include growth phases of children and adolescents or pregnancy and lactation. The need can also be increased in older people with a reduced basal metabolic rate and little physical activity. Under certain life circumstances, such as prolonged physical or emotional stress, smoking or intensive sports, the need for vitamins is also often higher and must be covered accordingly.
Light deficiency with vitamin D
Since vitamin D is largely absorbed through the skin and not through the diet, the cause of a vitamin deficiency can also be another - namely the lack of light or sun. If the skin absorbs UV-B rays, provitamin D3 - a substance present in human skin cells - is converted into previtamin D3, so that vitamin D is ultimately formed by the body via further metabolic processes. Especially in winter, when people rarely spend time outdoors, vitamin D deficiency can occur more frequently. The amount taken in through food is also not always sufficient to cover the requirement. Vitamin D is found in only a few, primarily animal foods. However, due to its supporting functions, e.g. in maintaining the bones, it is indispensable for the body - just like vitamin K. For this reason, dietary supplements are often used to support these vitamins and prevent deficiencies. Special pump sprays for oral intake simplify the supply of vitamins D and K.
What are the symptoms of vitamin deficiency?
With a lack of vitamins very different symptoms can occur, which do not immediately indicate a vitamin deficiency. Which symptoms are recognizable in case of vitamin deficiency depends mainly on the vitamin which is not sufficiently present. Typical signs of vitamin deficiency can be, for example, the following:
- Lack of concentration
- Depressive moods
- Weakened immune system
The signs of vitamin deficiency are difficult to recognize, especially in the early stages of hypovitaminosis, because the symptoms are very non-specific and can have many causes. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize and correct a vitamin deficiency at an early stage, because depending on the duration and extent of the undersupply, serious consequences can occur.
We will show you which symptoms you can use to recognize a vitamin deficiency and which vitamin your body may be undersupplied with in this case.
- Tiredness and exhaustion
Some days you just don't feel fit and are tired. But if fatigue and lack of concentration occur more frequently or over a longer period of time, this can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency.[³] These symptoms may be mainly due to a deficiency of B vitamins such as vitamin B1, B5 or B12, or vitamin E.
- Problems with skin and hair
If the skin becomes very sensitive and irritated, a deficiency of vitamin C[⁴] or vitamin A may be the cause. Hair loss can also be caused by an undersupply of B vitamins, but a vitamin D deficiency can also cause these symptoms.[⁵]
- Weak immune system
Are you particularly susceptible to illness? Then this may be due to a weakened immune system. This can also be a symptom of a vitamin deficiency. [⁶] In order for your immune system to be strengthened, the body must be sufficiently supplied with all vitamins. Vitamins A, B, C, D and E are especially important for health and a strengthened immune system.
- Inflammation and joint pain
In the case of an advanced vitamin deficiency, symptoms such as discomfort and inflammation can also occur in various parts of the body. These also often do not immediately indicate a deficiency of various vitamins. For example, the deficiency of vitamin D may be responsible for the symptoms.[⁷]
Here's how you can prevent a vitamin deficiency
To prevent the symptoms of a vitamin deficiency from occurring in the first place, you can also prevent a deficiency. The most important thing is a balanced and healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. This way, your vitamin needs are already extensively covered. Even if you do not reach the full daily requirement in one day, your body has sufficient reserves with a balanced diet.
In order to absorb all essential vitamins, your diet should contain mainly vitamin-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, but also whole grains, nuts and cereals. Fish, meat and animal products also provide vitamins and other important nutrients and can be integrated into your diet in moderation. If you are vegetarian or vegan, your diet can be balanced without animal foods. You should only keep a closer eye on certain vitamins such as B12 and supplement if necessary. You can get even more vitamins by preparing vegetables in a gentle way. Instead of boiling vegetables, you can steam, simmer or grill them. To prevent vitamin deficiencies caused by nicotine and alcohol, consumption should be kept in moderation.
Do you want to support your body with additional vitamins if you can't meet your daily needs through food? Supplements can help you prevent vitamin deficiencies. With the ESN B12 MHA Complex Spray you caneasily support the supply of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 keeps you fit, because it contributes to a normal energy metabolism and to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Especially with vegan or vegetarian diets, the lime-flavored pump spray is a useful supplement. In winter, many people lack especially vitamin D - here you can prevent a deficiency with the ESN D3+K2 Spray. The pump spray, e.g. in cherry flavor, contains vitamins D and K, which contribute to the maintenance of normal bones. Vitamin D also contributes to the maintenance of normal muscle and immune system function. If you generally have difficulties with a healthy and balanced diet, you can help with our vitamin capsules.
Tips to avoid vitamin deficiency
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Many foods rich in vitamins - especially vegetables
- Whole grain products instead of white flour
- Meat and animal fats only in moderation
- Less fast food, nicotine and alcohol
- Gentle preparation of food
- Short storage time of fresh vegetables to preserve the vitamins
- Plenty of outdoor exercise to meet vitamin D needs
- Refraining from radical diets
Make up for vitamin deficiencies
If you discover symptoms of a vitamin deficiency, it may be a good idea to have them checked out by a doctor. With the help of a blood test, the doctor can find out if and which deficiency is present. If the doctor determines a vitamin def iciency, it can usually be remedied simply by taking the missing vitamins. Even if a deficiency is confirmed, the tips for avoiding a vitamin deficiency will help to make up for it. Depending on the extent of the vitamin deficiency, supplementing vitamins can also help to restore your needs.
If you pay particular attention to a healthy and balanced diet, a vitamin deficiency can be easily prevented in most cases. If, for example, your diet is not so balanced because of your lifestyle, you don't have to worry. You can already supplement necessary vitamins in advance and thus prevent a deficiency.