Nowadays, most people lead extremely busy lives, and it’s common for people to feel worn down. If you are burning the candle at both ends and sacrificing sleep, the source of your fatigue may be pretty obvious. But if you are getting enough sleep, yet still feel constantly exhausted, it may be caused by a vitamin or a mineral deficiency. The following are a few vitamin levels you may want to have tested if you feel like you are always feeling worn out or drained:
- Iron: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body, but if you don’t have enough of these cells, or if your red blood cells do not have sufficient amounts of an iron-dependent protein called hemoglobin, anemia can result. Fatigue is often one of the first symptoms experienced by people with anemia. Fortunately, anemia is easy to diagnose with a blood test that measures the number of red blood cells in the blood and amount of hemoglobin in those cells. If you are suffering from anemia, you must first increase your body’s iron supply with iron-rich foods such as red meat, eggs, rice, and beans. With your doctor’s okay, over-the-counter iron supplements are another option for boosting iron levels, though these can cause constipation.
- Vitamin B12:In addition to iron, vitamin B12 is also crucial for the body’s production of healthy red blood cells, and a vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause anemia. Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 are meat and dairy products, so most people on a traditional Western diet get enough of this key nutrient through their food. However, vegetarians and vegans can become deficient in B12. Additionally, with age and certain health conditions–including gastrointestinal problems like Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel disease–it becomes more difficult for the body to absorb enough B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency is usually resolved with oral supplements and/or dietary changes to increase B12 consumption. For some people, B12 deficiency is treated with regular vitamin B12 injections.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is unique. There are few natural dietary sources of vitamin D, however, it is naturally produced by the human body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is imperative to maintain bone and muscle health. A deficiency of this vitamin can also cause insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and reduced immune function. Some examples of dietary sources of vitamin D is tuna, salmon, and fortified products like milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals. Another way to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D is nutritional supplements. If you decide to take the supplement route, the D3 form is easier for your body to absorb than other types of vitamin D.
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