What Vitamins or Health Supplements Should I Take?—Nutritional Deficiencies, the Warning Signs, Tests & Treatment

Posted by Medical Board on March 9, 2018 in Nutrition
What Vitamins or Health Supplements Should I Take?—Nutritional Deficiencies, the Warning Signs, Tests & Treatment

Optimal health and wellness, both physical and mental depends on a variety of factors including restful and restorative sleep, exercise and activity, mental stimulation and of course proper nutrition. But, are we getting the right vitamins, essential fats, minerals, acids, and antioxidants through our diet?[1]

The federal government says, “No”. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 75% of Americans fail to eat according to suggested dietary guidelines and lack many essential vegetables, fruits, dairy servings, and oils every day.

Not surprising, most Americans exceed the daily intake for sugar, fat, and sodium.

Consider this. Over two-thirds of American adults are either overweight or obese based on recent studies, and nearly one-third of children have weight issues as well.[3]

Approximately half of all adults have at least one chronic preventable disease that can be attributed to unhealthy eating patterns and inactivity.

How Much Do We Really Need?—What Vitamins Should I Take?

The recommended daily intake of vitamins varies by age and gender. As we grow older and enter different life stages, nutritional needs change and diet should be adjusted accordingly.[4]

General Dietary Needs

The food we eat is made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fiber.

The following nutrients are necessary for optimal health and wellness in individuals four years old and over.

Biotin 300mcg
Folate 400mcg
Niacin 20mg
Pantothenic acid 10mg
Riboflavin 1.7mg
Thiamin 1.5mg
Vitamin A 5,000 IU
Vitamin B6 2mg
Vitamin B12 6mcg
Vitamin C 60mg
Vitamin D 400 IU
Vitamin E 30IU
Vitamin K 80mcg
Calcium 1000mg
Chloride 3400mg
Chromium 120mcg
Copper 2mg
Iodine 150mcg
Iron 18mg
Magnesium 400mg
Manganese 2mg
Molybdenum 75mcg
Phosphorus 1,000 mg
Potassium 3,500 mg
Selenium 70 mcg
Sodium 2400 mg
Zinc 15mg

Eating a colorful diet of fruits and vegetables helps to get the recommended daily allowance of nutrients needed.[2]

Special Dietary Needs

It is important to note that dietary supplements should not take the place of a healthy diet.

The federal government provides specific dietary guidelines for certain groups of individuals including:

Aged 50 and over—Vitamin B12 should be consumed in crystalline form, from fortified foods, or from supplements. Older individuals may not readily absorb vitamin B12 from diet alone.

Women of childbearing age—Heme-iron from nutrient-rich meats, plant foods or fortified foods is necessary, as well as vitamin C.

Women who may become pregnant or are pregnant—Synthetic folic acid daily is necessary from supplementation and fortified foods, as well as a varied diet rich in folate.

Older adults and People with insufficient sunlight exposure—These individuals should consume vitamin D fortified foods in addition to possible vitamin D supplements.[5]

Signs of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Several warning signs could indicate a vitamin or mineral deficiency in the body. When these deficiencies occur, specific steps should be taken to rectify the situation.

Signs of deficiency include:

Severe hair loss–This could indicate low iron levels or possible thyroid disease. Low iron is treated with iron supplements and could take three to four months before levels are normal. Consumption of iron-rich foods including spinach and beans can also help.

In addition to iron, zinc, niacin, fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E, selenium, biotin, folic acid, antioxidants, amino acids and proteins are needed for healthy hair and hair growth.

Burning sensation in the feet or tongue—This may indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency in the body. B12 helps the body in hemoglobin production that plays an essential role in carrying oxygen. B12 deficiency can cause mild cognitive impairment, digestive tract disorders, and permanent nerve system damage as well. The body does not make B12 itself. Vitamin B12 levels can be restored with supplementation.

Irregular heartbeat—Calcium regulates the heartbeat, and aids in muscle control as well as building strong bones. A deficiency in this nutrient could lead to an irregular heartbeat. Broccoli, dairy products, berries and salmon provide calcium.

Wounds won’t heal or are slow to heal—Skin bruises easily and red, swollen, or bloody gums may be present. This could indicate a vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory and acts as an antioxidant to limit cell damage. Foods that contain vitamin C include kiwi, red bell peppers and oranges.

Bone pain—Bone pain may be an indication of vitamin D deficiency. Foods rich in vitamin D include salmon, sardines, tuna, oysters, shrimp and mushrooms. Orange juice and many cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Ten minutes of sunshine or vitamin D supplements can also raise levels of the vitamin.

Night vision deterioration—A lack of vitamin A may cause corneas to become dry, resulting in cloudy vision and potential damage to the retina. Milk, eggs, mangos, sweet potatoes, and apricots all include vitamin A.[1]

Do I have a nutritional deficiency and what vitamins should I take?

The first step to getting help for any nutrient-related deficiency is obtaining information.

Fill out the quick check nutrient deficiency symptom checklist now to find out if you may have a possible nutrient deficiency.

Based on the results of the nutrient deficiency symptom checklist, get targeted diagnostic testing.

Contact our laboratory partner, Genova Diagnostics to order the diagnostic test that’s right for you.
Nutritional testing is quick and easy and can be performed in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Many urine tests are available that target specific nutrient deficiencies within the body.
The ONE (Optimal Nutritional Evaluation) FMV helps users discover exactly what types of nutrients they’re missing in order to get targeted supplementation through diet and nutritional support aids. The ONE FMV combines several specific tests that analyze important nutritional biomarkers. These help assess the functional needs for nutrients in the body including:
Digestive support
Amino acids

Why Get Tested?

Testing for nutritional deficiencies helps provide valuable insight into both the total nutrient picture and the need for specific vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal health and wellness.

Testing results can be shared with a physician or other wellness practitioner who can formulate a treatment plan that includes targeted nutrient therapies.

What clinical indications may warrant nutrient deficiency testing?

Common symptoms or disorders may include:

Mood Disorders
Digestive issues
Weight gain/loss
Sports/recreation-related injuries
General recurring illnesses
Other complex chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease

ONE FMV offers the following:

Complete Metabolic Analysis involving urine organic acids
Urine Amino Acid Analysis that includes both essential and non-essential amino acids as well as intermediary metabolites
Oxidative Stress Analysis that includes urine biomarkers for oxidative stress
Cellular energy and Mitochondrial metabolites

What the ONE FMV Nutritional Test Provides

Select urine biomarkers help evaluate the body’s need for:

B vitamins
Digestive support
Amino acids

Other nutrition tests available through our partner site include:

NutrEval, NutraEval Plasma, Metabolic Analysis Profile, Amino Acid Analysis, and Essential and Metabolic Fatty Acids
Once you have identified possible nutrient deficiencies in your diet you can finally get the support you need for the healthier life you deserve.


1“6 Signs of Nutrient Deficiency.” Rush University Medical Center, www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/6-signs-nutrient-deficiency.
2“Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats & Fiber.” Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats & Fiber | Nutrition.Gov, www.nutrition.gov/subject/whats-in-food/carbohydrates-proteins-fats-fiber.
3“Chapter 2 Shifts Needed To Align With Healthy Eating Patterns.” Current Eating Patterns in the United States – 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/current-eating-patterns-in-the-united-states/.
4“Introduction.” Nutrition and Health Are Closely Related – 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/introduction/nutrition-and-health-are-closely-related/.
5“Questions To Ask Before Taking Vitamin and Mineral Supplements.” Questions To Ask Before Taking Vitamin and Mineral Supplements | Nutrition.Gov, www.nutrition.gov/dietary-supplements/questions-to-ask-before-taking-vitamins-and-mineral-supplements.

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