Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Vitamin and mineral deficiency

The body needs a minimum amount of vitamins and minerals each day to remain healthy and function properly. Vitamins are a small group of substances that are essential in tiny quantities for growth and development. Most of them cannot be manufactured by the body, and must come from our diet or other supplementary forms. Vitamin supplements serve as buffers in the event that your diet does not meet your daily requirements fully.

Symptoms of a deficiency in vitamins and minerals usually appear when the lack is already at a relatively advanced stage. For instance, people who do not have enough vitamin A or B vitamins suffer from recurring tiredness, mental or emotional disturbances, loss of appetite, chapped lips, and so on.

The common causes of these vitamin deficiencies include poor eating habits, alcoholism, emotional stress, the improper absorption of vitamins and minerals (usually due to liver or intestinal disorders), the intake of medicines that interfere with the ingestion of vitamins, and lack of exposure to sunlight.

Guidelines for taking vitamin or mineral supplements

Before supplementing your diet with any vitamins or minerals, you should consult a doctor. A doctor will be able to recommend a multivitamin instead of a supplement that only contains one vitamin or the exact minerals that you require or are lacking.

Some people should not take certain supplements if they have been diagnosed with certain medical conditions. For example, people with kidney problems are often advised against taking magnesium.

Although supplementary vitamins and minerals may be helpful, it is important to remember that no supplement will replace the value of a healthy diet. Most major medical establishments recommend that healthy adults get their vitamins and minerals from food rather than relying solely on supplements.

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