6 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies (And How To Overcome Them)

On a recent flight, I sat next to a former navy seal who shared with me that any time the guys had trouble sleeping they were prescribed Ambien.

Prozac was the go-to for depression and Xanax for anxiety.

Often all three.

He said he decided to see if a lot of common symptoms could be improved with vitamins and minerals.

After some research, he chose to take vitamin D3, magnesium, and 5-HTP instead of the meds.

He said that combination completely replaced the trifecta of prescribed meds by filling in nutrient deficiencies instead of masking the underlying problem.

Plus, it also stopped the long-term damage that would have been caused by taking these pharmaceuticals for an extended period.

I tell you this story because I want to remind you to check-in with yourself, see how you’re feeling and tune-in to see if you might be deficient in any of the six major vitamins and minerals that most people become deficient in with a little extra stress.

The Six Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies

#1: Vitamin D

One of THE most important vitamins you need. It is crucial, especially if you have poor immunity, a tendency towards depression or if you sunburn easily.  The functional range is 60-100 whereas conventional medicine is 30-100. Thus if you are 30-60 in our book, you are low in vitamin D and are experiencing unnecessary symptoms of that deficiency. If you are experiencing depression, sleep issues, or low immunity, look into your vitamin D levels. We did an entire show about Vitamin D and Depression if you want to look into this topic further.

#2: Vitamin B12 

If you get brain fog, anxiety, or low-energy, this is something to lean on.  It's also paramount if you've had a nerve injury because it supports nerve growth. If you have gut issues, you need to take a full-spectrum digestive enzyme with betaine/HCL to utilize B12.

To sing its praises higher, our guest blogger and former naturopathic doctor of 30 years shared this story from one of his clients with us:

“Doctors say my mother has end-stage Alzheimer's and all we can do is comfort her while she dies, but I don't believe what they tell me.”

Six weeks later, eight B12 shots, some vitamins, and the elderly woman was walking without assistance and cracking jokes: she was a vitamin B12 miracle.

Read more about The Magic of Vitamin B12 here. 

#3) Iron

The third most common nutrient deficiency is iron. Our blood needs adequate healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Iron is essential for energy production so if you're chronically tired, get your ferritin checked. We love Gaia Herbs plant-based iron and of course are fans of top-quality red meat a few times per week.

#4) Magnesium 

Magnesium is essential for proper nervous system function. It's also essential for so many automatic functions within the body and can help to relax you. We are NOT talking about magnesium CITRATE (that's in CALM) which can deplete your sodium and potassium. You do not want to use magnesium as a laxative but rather forms of it that nourish the nervous system like magnesium glycinate.

#5) Vitamin A 

A fat-soluble vitamin essential for normal vision, immune function, and prenatal health, vitamin A also plays a huge role in helping the heart, lungs, and kidneys to function properly.

It also happens to be a common deficiency because of a changing modern diet and heavy metal toxicity.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends consuming 900 mcg for adult males and 700 mcg for adult females daily. Perhaps the single best bio-available food source of vitamin A is grass-fed beef liver and other organ meats. If you like liver and onions, then you are in business. And if you don’t (I don’t), then you can take a top-quality liver supplement like Radiant Life’s Beef Liver or Paleovalley’s Organ Complex.

Many types of fatty wild fish like salmon contain vitamin A. Vitamin A that comes from animal sources is the preferred source for the body because it will not have to convert it to use it. This is called preformed vitamin A. There is also a form of vitamin A called provitamin A that is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products that comes in the form of beta-carotene.

Provitamin A food sources include:

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Butternut and acorn squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Cantelope
  • Apricots
  • Mangos

#6) Iodine 

Iodine deficiency can contribute to hypothyroidism and lead to goiters. It can also lead to birth defects when deficient in pregnancy. Because iodine is an element that is needed for the production of thyroid hormone which the body does not make, we must consume it through diet. Adding a bit more seaweed (Kelp Flakes by Maine Coast sprinkled on food a few times a week are my go-to), shrimp, cod, eggs, prunes or top-quality dairy can help considerably.

Bonus Vitamin

#7) Vitamin C

Oh, how I love vitamin C! We need vitamin C to live. 

Having enough of it helps us make collagen, the main protein found in skin, hair, and nails. It assists us in making energy and adapting to stress as well as provides a gentle daily detox.

The Mayo Clinic advises against vitamin C deficiency, which can develop if you don’t get enough vitamin C from the foods you eat or if from something impairs your ability to absorb vitamin C from food.

For instance, smoking impairs your body’s ability to absorb vitamin C.

My five favorite food-based ways to get vitamin C are:

  • Organic red bell peppers
  • Papaya
  • Cauliflower
  • Kiwis
  • Oranges

Sometimes a little high-quality supplementation can also go a long way, especially during times of high-stress, low-immunity or during flu season. My favorite C to supplement with (especially to holistically boost immunity from active viruses since pathogens can be tough on a stressed body) is Paleovalley’s Essential C Complex. 

While medication has a place, the overuse of it when something more appropriate can rectify it, while also contributing to long-term health, breaks my heart.

Nutrient deficiencies are more common than you might think, please share this with others who you feel this could help.