Micronutrients: Find the Vitamins for You

Despite increasing interest in organic “whole food” diets, many Americans suffer from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Surveys of the general adult population reveal a wide range of vitamin and mineral deficiencies (NHANES).

Certain vitamin deficiencies are more common than others. For example, vitamin D deficiency is very common in the general population and has been associated with many different medical conditions ranging from diabetes to depression. Certain other deficiencies are less common and limited to certain populations. For example, thiamine (vitamin B1) and zinc deficiency are seen in dieters and heavy drinkers of alcohol. Users of certain medications such as antacids and acid blockers used for reflux disease/GERD can cause vitamin B12 and magnesium deficiency. B12 deficiency can result in numerous conditions from anemia to neuropathy and gait instability. On the other hand,  magnesium deficiency makes individuals more prone to headaches and in severe cases can cause seizures. Chromium, an important mineral that manages blood sugar and metabolic processes, can be deficient in individuals who have a high intake of packaged or processed foods or in woman who have had numerous pregnancies as chromium is an important mineral in fetal development.

Many Americans try and manage potential vitamin deficiencies by taking a daily multivitamin or supplement but there is evidence mounting against the indiscriminate use of vitamins and supplements.

A better strategy is an individualized assessment to determine your unique and appropriate supplementation.

The Center for Weight Loss and Nutrition offers SpectraCell Micronutrient Assessments. This testing measures how micronutrients are functioning within your white blood cells which is believed to be the most accurate assessment of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. SpectraCell’s Micronutrient tests measure the function of 35 nutritional components including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids. This comprehensive analysis is an excellent first step in creating a proactive dietary regimen to promote better health and wellness.

Dr. Adrienne Youdim

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