Vitamins and minerals are essential to life, but most people think that they get enough of them from their food. With the soil depleted of essential nutrients due to over-intensive farming, and with an environment that is completely polluted, it is unlikely that this is true. Also read: Vitamins and Minerals Chart.
Chris Newbold, Head of Nutrition at BioCare gives the following advice on how to detect a deficiency:
Symptoms: Itchy skin, poor wound healing, white marks on nails.
Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a key role in normal function of the immune system, DNA synthesis, healthy bones, cognitive function, fertility and reproduction. It contributes to the normal function of the immune system and normal function of bones, teeth, cartilage, gums, skin and blood vessels. Good natural sources of zinc include seeds, whole grains, crab, sardines and red meat.
Symptoms: Exhaustion, poor concentration, loss of appetite, pale skin
Iron deficiency is Britain’s most common nutritional disorder. It affects up to 18 per cent of women due to blood loss through menstruation. Iron contributes to the formation of red blood cells and haemoglobin and oxygen transport in the body. Good natural sources of iron include red meat, eggs, green leafy vegetables.
Symptoms: Frequent bouts of infections
Selenium contributes to the protection of body cells, the function of the immune system and thyroid function. A diet low in selenium could affect the quality of a man’s sperm. Good natural sources include Brazil nuts.
Symptoms: Anxiety, irritability
Magnesium is a vital mineral that contributes to the normal function of heart muscle, energy-yielding metabolism and general muscle and nerve function. Good sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds and whole meal bread.
Also try: BioCare Magnesium EAP Complex (£22.55 for 90 capsules) from the Nutri Centre
Symptoms: Mouth ulcers, frequent colds and infections, flaky skin
Deficiency: Vitamin A
Vitamin A is essential for helping fight infections, improving vision and keeping skin healthy. Deficiency in Vitamin A is rare but low intakes are relatively common in adults. However, pregnant women are advised not to take supplements containing Vitamin A because it has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects. Good sources of Vitamin A include liver, eggs, cheese and yoghurt.