Ladies, do you know which nutrients you are missing? By Sasha Gonzales.
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1. Nutrient women tend to lack: Vitamin D
It plays an important role in women’s immunity and calcium absorption. Most women think they are calcium-deficient, but often disregard the important role of vitamin D as it helps the body to use calcium from our diet and increase absorption into our bones.
Without sufficient vitamin D, increased calcium supplementation will have little benefit as our bone tissue will not mineralise. This will eventually cause soft bones and osteoporosis (brittle bone disease).
2. Nutrient women tend to lack: Magnesium
This mineral is important for the proper function of approximately 300 enzymes in the body. It is also critical to our autonomic nervous system, muscles and bones. Women generally have a lower dietary intake of magnesium and are at risk for magnesium-deficient symptoms like constipation, insomnia, fatigue, backaches, headaches, anxiety, leg cramps, and impaired memory as well as menstrual pain or irregularities.
3. Nutrient women tend to lack: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This is important for brain function, supple skin, glossy hair and mood. Premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramping are also signs that women lack omega fatty acids.
Omega-3 and -6 are not produced in the body, and must be obtained via food. A deficiency can affect hormone production, fertility and neurological development of infants in the womb. It is therefore essential for pre- and post-pregnancy women.
4. Nutrient women tend to lack: Iodine
This non-metallic trace element helps the thyroid gland produce thyroid hormones. Our thyroid plays an important role in our body’s metabolism and our entire endocrine system. Factors such as stress, the environment, poor nutrition, and genetics all contribute to thyroid imbalance. Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disorders because of its relationship to changes in our reproductive hormones.
Iodine therefore plays an important role in optimal thyroid function. Iodine-deficient women who fall pregnant are at a higher risk for miscarriage, stillbirth and mental retardation in their babies. Symptoms of iodine deficiency include depression, anxiety, cysts, lowered immunity as well as skin issues like acne and eczema.
5. Nutrient women tend to lack: Iron
It’s involved in various metabolic functions, and most importantly in the transport of oxygen in the blood. Iron is essential in providing energy for our daily activities. Teenage girls, female athletes and women who are menstruating or pregnant are at a high risk for iron deficiency. Most iron deficiencies are actually due to our body’s inability to absorb iron from food.
Another important co-factor of iron absorption is Vitamin B12, which plays a crucial role in red blood cell production by facilitating iron absorption in our gut. If you tire easily, have pale skin or experience dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and coldness in your hands and feet, you might be iron-deficient.