Some diets can lead to unintentional vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. At Green Roads Acupuncture, we strongly empathize with the vast array of nutritional challenges faced by so many of us in today's society. If you find yourself in need of extra support, we are partnered with one of the leading supplement brands, Pure Encapsulations. Click the button below to peruse the multitude of products they have to offer!
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vitamin your body needs to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen in bones. Vitamin C is also vital to your body's healing process.
An antioxidant, vitamin C might help protect your cells against the effects of free radicals — molecules produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals might play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Vitamin C also helps your body absorb and store iron.
Because your body doesn't produce vitamin C, you need to get it from your diet. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and spinach. Vitamin C is also available as an oral supplement, typically in the form of capsules and chewable tablets.
People with gastrointestinal conditions and some types of cancer might be susceptible to vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is also used to increase iron absorption from the gastrointestinal tract. Severe vitamin C deficiency can lead to a disease characterized by anemia, bleeding gums, bruising and poor wound healing (scurvy). If you take vitamin C for its antioxidant properties, keep in mind that the supplement might not offer the same benefits as naturally occurring antioxidants in food.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin C for adult men is 90 milligrams and for adult women is 75 milligrams.
Research on the use of vitamin C for specific conditions shows:
Most people get enough vitamin C from a balanced diet. However, people with gastrointestinal conditions and some types of cancer might be susceptible to vitamin C deficiency and benefit from the use of oral supplements. Taking vitamin C supplements also might have other protective benefits.
When taken at appropriate doses, oral vitamin C supplements are generally considered safe. Side effects tend to be dose-related. Oral vitamin C supplements can cause:
In some people, oral use of vitamin C can cause kidney stones. Long-term use of oral vitamin C supplements over 2,000 milligrams a day increases the risk of significant side effects.
Tell your doctor that you're taking vitamin C supplements before having any medical tests. High levels of vitamin C might interfere with the results of certain tests, such as stool tests for occult blood or glucose screening tests.
Possible interactions include:
Vitamin D is necessary for building and maintaining healthy bones. That's because calcium, the primary component of bone, can only be absorbed by your body when vitamin D is present. Your body makes vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of the vitamin (calciferol).
Vitamin D isn't found in many foods, but you can get it from fortified milk, fortified cereal, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines.
The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on many factors, including the time of day, season, latitude and your skin pigmentation. Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, vitamin D production might decrease or be completely absent during the winter months. Sunscreen, while important, also can decrease vitamin D production.
Many older adults don't get regular exposure to sunlight and have trouble absorbing vitamin D, so taking a multivitamin with vitamin D will likely help improve bone health. The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years.
Research on vitamin D use for specific conditions shows:
Without vitamin D your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. Insufficient vitamin D is also connected to osteoporosis and some types of cancer. If you don't get enough vitamin D through sunlight or dietary sources, you might need vitamin D supplements.
Taken in appropriate doses, vitamin D is generally considered safe.
However, taking too much vitamin D can be harmful. Children age 9 years and older, adults, and pregnant and breast-feeding women who take more than 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D might experience:
Possible interactions include:
Vitamin B-12 (cobalamin) is a water-soluble vitamin that plays essential roles in red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function and the production of DNA.
Food sources of vitamin B-12 include poultry, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is also added to some foods and is available as an oral supplement. Vitamin B-12 injections or nasal spray might be prescribed to treat vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Because your body is capable of storing several years' worth of vitamin B-12, deficiency is rare. However, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might be prone to deficiency because plant foods don't contain vitamin B-12. Older adults and people with digestive tract conditions that affect absorption of nutrients also are susceptible to vitamin B-12 deficiency.
Left untreated, a vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to anemia, fatigue, muscle weakness, intestinal problems, nerve damage and mood disturbances.
The recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms.
Research on the use of vitamin B-12 for specific activities and conditions shows:
Most people get enough vitamin B-12 from a balanced diet. However, older adults, vegetarians and people who have conditions that affect their ability to absorb vitamin B-12 from foods might benefit from the use of oral supplements.
Vitamin B-12 supplements also are recommended for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding exclusively and follow vegetarian or vegan diets.
When taken at appropriate doses, vitamin B-12 supplements are generally considered safe. While the recommended daily amount of vitamin B-12 for adults is 2.4 micrograms, you can safely take higher doses. Your body absorbs only as much as it needs, and any excess passes through your urine.
High doses of vitamin B-12, such as those used to treat a deficiency, might cause:
Possible interactions include: