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If your body were a high-functioning car, essential vitamins would be key ingredients in its fuel. And if any one of those ingredients were in short supply, your “car” wouldn’t work very well. In severe cases, it would stop working altogether.
Up to 10% of the United States population experiences a vitamin deficiency at some point, and certain factors increase your risk. Once you’ve developed one, correcting the lack can help bolster your overall health and well-being.
Jeffery Tun, MD, with offices in Midtown East, Forest Hills, and the Queens neighborhoods in New York City, diagnoses and treats vitamin deficiencies to help restore balance in your body.
Here, we explore more about vitamin deficiencies, including how to spot one and ways to turn it around.
Your body needs small but vital amounts of 13 vitamins regularly to function at its best. The 13 essential vitamins include vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins. B vitamins include biotin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B6, B12, folate, and thiamine.
Getting a steady supply of water-soluble vitamins, which include most B vitamins and vitamin C, regularly is especially important because the body doesn’t store them as well as fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
Vitamin deficiency symptoms vary, based on factors like the deficiency type and severity and your overall health.
Potential signs that you’re lacking one or more vitamins include:
These symptoms may appear gradually and worsen over time, as you continue to lack one or more nutrients.
While anyone can develop a vitamin deficiency, your chances are higher if you eat a poor or heavily restrictive diet or have a condition that gets in the way of nutrient absorption, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or kidney disease.
Vitamin deficiencies also become more likely in older age, because of factors like eating less due to reduced energy or inactivity. You may not be as hungry if you exercise less than you used to.
Getting too little sunlight can also cause a deficiency, by reducing your body’s ability to create the vitamin D it needs.
If you’re showing signs of a vitamin deficiency, Dr. Tun may recommend a blood test to confirm or rule out the deficiency. He’ll also talk to you about your lifestyle habits to see if they may be contributing to your symptoms.
If you’re diagnosed with a vitamin deficiency, your treatment plan may include dietary changes, treating any underlying condition, and/or supplements. We may also recommend vitamin B12 injections, if you’re low on that nutrient.
In general, a diet that supports positive vitamin levels contains a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fat and protein sources.
To learn more about vitamin deficiencies or to get the care you need, call one of our offices or request an appointment through our website today.