Vitamins have always been a vital element, necessary for a good functioning body. A lot of us have vitamin deficiencies which we may not even know of. So how do you know if you’re missing a vitamin? We thought it would be useful to give you a small heads up on major vitamin B and D deficiency causes and symptoms.
The ’sunshine’ vitamin is quite the hot topic these days. There are two forms of vitamin D: D2 which is ergocalciferol, and D3 which is called cholecalciferol. Vitamin D is what maintains levels of phosphorus and calcium in your body. There are two sources of vitamin D, you get it through direct sunlight, usually in the morning or through your diet. Some of the major causes for vitamin D3 deficiency are generally because most of us are stuck in the office through the day, not giving us enough exposure to the sun on a daily basis. Nutritional deficiencies also cause vitamin D3 deficiencies. However, this can also be a result of many other underlying causes like disorders of the gut, pancreas, liver and kidneys which does not allow your body to absorb the vitamin in the required amount. Since vitamin D3 is responsible for making your bones big and strong, lack of it generally causes rickets and osteomalacia.
You can identify a child with rickets if they have bone abnormalities like bow legs, poor growth and bone pain, bone deformities in the chest, pelvis and skull.
Early onset of osteomalacia will manifest as persistent fatigue, bone and joint tenderness, forward projection of the chest bone. People generally suffer from vitamin D3 deficiency in the winters due to lack of sunlight.
Bone softening and fractures: Generally caused due to lack of calcium
Muscle cramps and constant fatigue: Make sure you see a doctor if this persists
Sudden weight gain or obesity: Vitamin D3 is fat soluble, which means your body will keep accumulating fat if you don’t have enough of this vitamin
Depression or mood swings: Usually caused due to an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine in the brain that are regulated by vitamin D3
Ever heard of the saying 'make hay while the sun shines?' The best way to increase Vitamin D3 levels is exposure to the sun, however if you’re someone who can't get enough sunlight you can supplement it by making adjustments to your diet. Here's what you should try.
Oily fish, meat, fish eggs and pork. Meat is a staple for increasing your vitamin D3 levels. However if you are a vegetarian, you could try the following alternatives:
Whole milk, buttermilk and goat's milk. Dairy alternatives like almond milk or soy milk will do the trick too and give your daily dose of vitamin D3.
Whole grain cereals are also a good alternative. Have them with whole milk and honey for a guilt-free, healthy breakfast.
Button mushrooms are also a great source of Vitamin D3 and all you need are three of these babies to fulfill your daily needs.
Tofu and other soy foods are high in Vitamin D3.
Vitamin B12 is essential for proper functioning of red blood cells and the nervous tissue. Vitamin B12 deficiency can occur if you are a vegetarian or vegan because most meats are high in proteins and contain Vitamin B12.
When your stomach lining has thinned (atrophic gastritis), your stomach will not be able to absorb the Vitamin to its full capacity. Acids in your stomach help breakdown animal proteins which contain Vitamin B12, taking antacids for a long time can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Pregnant mothers with a vegetarian diet are more likely to have kids with a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Development of anemia and nervous system dysfunctions are major symptoms of vitamin B12.
Some of the other initial symptoms are nerve problems like numbness or tingling, problems walking and muscle weakness.
You may also experience diarrhea, gas or a loss of appetite.
Mental problems like depression and memory loss can also occur if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
If you’re a vegetarian and want to beat this deficiency, we’ve come up with a few hacks for you too.
As a standard you should supplement your diet with protein-rich foods. The most obvious ones are chicken, eggs, beef and liver.
Raw milk is another great source of vitamin B12, so you can start including that in your diet. Cheese is a great source too, so this should be great news for all the vegetarian cheese lovers out there! Yes, cheese can be your savior after all!
Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals, soy beverages and nutrition yeast will also increase your Vitamin B12 levels.
Yummy yogurt is a comforting food and will give you loads of Vitamin B12!