What vitamin do I need?
door Floris Biesemans op Feb 28, 2023
Do I need more vitamin B?Actually, there is no such thing as the vitamin B. The B vitamins are in fact divided into 12 variants, each with its own functions. In general, B vitamins play an important role in converting food into energy and supporting a healthy nervous system. There are several ways to determine if you are getting enough vitamin B:
- Blood test: A blood test can be performed to measure the levels of several vitamins in your blood, including vitamin B12 and folic acid (vitamin B11). If you are deficient in these vitamins, your doctor may recommend taking supplements or adjusting your diet to get enough vitamin B.
- Symptoms: Some symptoms may indicate a vitamin B deficiency. With a vitamin B deficiency, you will experience symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, memory problems, skin problems, changes in mood and irritability. Are these symptoms not foreign to you? If so, you may not be getting enough vitamin B and may need to adjust your diet or take supplements.
- Food diary: By keeping a food diary, you can keep track of how many vitamin B-rich foods you eat and whether you are getting enough. There are also online tools and mobile apps available to help you track your food intake and check that you are getting the recommended amount of vitamin B.
- Changing your diet to eat more foods rich in B vitamins, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, leafy vegetables, legumes and whole grain cereals.
- Taking vitamin supplements that contain specific B vitamins you are deficient in.
Do I need more vitamin C?
Vitamin C plays an important role in supporting the immune system and helps the body fight infection and disease. In addition, vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen, which is an important structural protein involved in building bones, skin, teeth, cartilage and blood vessels.
As with vitamin B, a blood test or food diary can provide tremendous clarity to identify your need for more vitamin C. Yet the symptoms of vitamin C deficiency are different from the symptoms of vitamin B deficiency. For example, vitamin C deficiency can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, a weakened immune system, muscle and joint pain, gum bleeding and slow wound healing. If you experience these symptoms, you may not be getting enough vitamin C and may need to adjust your diet or take supplements. Vitamin C is found in such foods as:
- Citrus fruits (such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits and limes)
- Berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
- Peppers (especially red and green peppers)
- Brussels sprouts
Do I need more vitamin D?
The amount of vitamin D you need depends on several factors, including age, gender, skin color, exposure to sunlight and dietary habits. It is not always easy to know if you are getting enough vitamin D. However, there are some indications that may indicate that you may be deficient in vitamin D, including:
- Fatigue and lethargy: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining proper energy balance and regulating mood. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to fatigue and lethargy.
- Muscle weakness and pain: Vitamin D is involved in muscle function and strength. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to muscle weakness and pain.
- Bone problems: Vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy bone density and preventing osteoporosis and bone fractures. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone problems.
- Reduced immunity: Vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to decreased resistance to infection.
If you recognize yourself in these symptoms and suspect you have a vitamin D deficiency, we offer the following tips in advance:
- Get more sunlight: Vitamin D is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. By spending at least 15-30 minutes daily outside with uncovered arms and face, you can increase your vitamin D levels.
- Change your eating habits: Vitamin D is also found in foods such as fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna and mackerel), eggs, cod liver oil and fortified foods (such as breakfast cereals and dairy products). By including these foods in your diet, you can increase your vitamin D levels.
- Take supplements: If you are not getting enough vitamin D through your diet and exposure to sunlight, taking supplements with vitamin D in them may be a good option.
Vitamin deficiency risk groups
There are several risk groups for vitamin D deficiency, depending on different factors such as age, diet, health status and lifestyle. Below is an overview of some of the most common vitamin deficiency risk groups and what vitamins they need:
- Children and teens: This group may be deficient in vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin B12. Vitamin D is needed for the development of healthy bones and teeth, vitamin C for a healthy immune system and vitamin A for good eye and skin health. Vitamin B12 is needed for the production of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system.
- Pregnant women: Pregnant women are often deficient in folic acid, iron and vitamin D. Folic acid is needed for fetal development and to prevent neural tube defects. Iron is needed for the production of red blood cells and to prevent anemia. Vitamin D is needed for the baby's development of strong bones and teeth.
- Elderly people: Elderly people are often deficient in vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and bone and muscle health. Vitamin B12 and B6 are needed for nervous system health and red blood cell production.
- Vegetarians and vegans: This group may be deficient in vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron and zinc. Vitamin B12 is primarily found in animal products, while vitamin D is often added to dairy products and is produced in small amounts in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Iron and zinc are also often found in animal products and may be more difficult to obtain in a vegetarian or vegan diet.
- People with limited food intake: People with limited food intake, for example due to an eating disorder or a medical condition that affects the ability to eat, may be deficient in a wide range of vitamins and minerals. In this case, vitamin supplements may be needed to prevent deficiencies.
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