Vitamin Deficiency

Nowadays, vitamin deficiency diseases rarely kill us but they can certainly reduce our quality of life.

It can take months, even years before we start noticing deficiency symptoms. What’s more, we often don’t associate them with a deficiency because they can be as simple as loss of appetite, fatigue or dry skin. Although most deficiency symptoms can be reversed by adding the missing vitamin back to our diet, some are irreversible, like damaged nerve tissue.

So, how much do we need?

Well, we all have different needs at different times and the amount required varies with:

  • age
  • sex
  • physical activity
  • our diet
  • amount of food consumed
  • food preferences
  • seasonal availability of certain foods
  • nutritional content of foods
  • digestion
  • illness
  • medication
  • lifestyle habits like cigarettes, alcohol or stress

Following all these varying factors, it is extremely difficult to know how much we really need.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have produced a 'Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirement' report about recommended nutrient intakes (RNIs) which are safe intakes at slightly above average requirements. Dosages are measured by nutrient potency or weight, in milligram (mg) or microgram (mcg or µg).

There is no 'one shoe fits all'. And with more and more information at our fingertips and competing interpretations of data, it is very confusing to deepen our understanding. To simply consume more doesn’t help either because we could risk vitamin toxicity.

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"Health is not valued till sickness comes."

Dr.Thomas Fuller