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Nutrient Deficiencies in Women

4 Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Women

In general you feel like you eat a nutritious healthy diet, you exercise, and are in what you feel is good health. But could you still be suffering from a nutrient deficiency? Many women are and don't know it. Really!


Let's talk about some of the most common nutrient deficiencies in women and how we can avoid them.


Iron: Anemia is particularly common in women, especially during their child-bearing years. In fact, it's the most common deficiency in the world, affecting about 1 billion people. I even suffered with this and became severely anemic following the birth of my second child. I experienced many unpleasant symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia, which can include: extreme fatigue, weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness or light headedness, cold hands and feet, irritability, unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances.

Iron is important because it helps carry oxygen to your muscles and brain. Women ages 19-50 need 18mg of iron a day (pregnant women need even more).

Riboflavin: Riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency often goes hand-in-hand with iron-deficiency anemia. Riboflavin is an antioxidant that your body needs for many aspects of proper function--everything from keeping your metabolism going strong to keeping your skin healthy.

Women ages 19 and older need 1.1mg of riboflavin per day. If you drink alcohol, participate in endurance sports, or take certain drugs such as antidepressants or oral contraceptives you may need even more. Some symptoms that you may not be getting enough riboflavin include: sensitivity to light, tearing, burning, soreness or itching around the eyes, mouth, lips or tongue, sore throat, cracking of the skin at the corners of the mouth, peeling of the skin (even though you don't have a sunburn).

Vitamin D: Maybe it's because more and more of us are spending less time outdoors or wearing sunscreen (a must!) or maybe more women are avoiding dairy products, but whatever the reason, we are seeing more and more Vitamin D deficiencies among women.

Vitamin D is important because it plays an essential role in calcium absorption and in regulating the nervous system. Vitamin D may also aid in immunity and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Women (up to the age of 50) need at least 200 IU's of Vitamin D per day.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Last, but not least, omega-3 fatty acids (particularly EPA and DHA) are another thing that most of us still don't get enough of. Although there is no standard recommendation as of yet, most experts agree that most adults need 500mg per day of the EPA and DHA type of omega-3's because of the important role they play in everything from heart health to brain function to vision.

If you are concerned that you may have any of these nutrient deficiencies, we here at Living Well Nutrition can help you determine which nutrients you are lacking and the appropriate support in either diet or supplementation is needed to get you back on track.


SOURCES OF: Iron, Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Vitamin D and Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Iron: The best sources of iron are heme iron, which is found only in animal products: meat, poultry and fish. Non-heme iron found in plant and animal products such as leafy greens, beans, egg yolks, tofu (non GMO), and dried fruits is less readily-absorbed by the body. However, you can increase iron absorption of these foods by combining them with foods that are good sources of vitamin C, such as strawberries, citrus fruits, and tomatoes.

Riboflavin: Include riboflavin in your diet by consuming eggs (with the yolk), crimini mushrooms, low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk that comes in an opaque container (since riboflavin is light-sensitive), and fruits and veggies like spinach and berries.

Vitamin D is found in low-fat dairy products, eggs, oysters, salmon and tuna. In some cases, supplements may be needed.

EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids are primarily found in cold water, fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, halibut, and anchovies. EPA and DHA are much more readily absorbed by the body than the ALA type of omega-3's, which you typically find in plant sources or added to other food products. If you don't consume these types of fish regularly, you may want to consider taking a supplement to meet your omega-3 needs.



Origin of article: Self

North Adams Chiropractor | Nutrient Deficiencies in Women. Dr. Francine Lajoie is a North Adams Chiropractor.