Do you know about these two common vitamin deficiencies?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

By Dr. Ted Jablonski, family physician

We all know life can get hectic, which can have an impact on the foods we choose. The convenience of fast foods can tempt us away from the fresh, nutritious whole foods we should be eating.

Eating a well-balanced diet is the best way to ensure your body gets the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.[1]  But even doing this, you may still find yourself deficient in some vitamins – vitamin D and vitamin B12 being two of the most common. Read on for more about these vitamins and how deficiencies can be avoided:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is key for bone health and protects against bone fractures.[2] Older adults may find it difficult to get adequate vitamin D, because it isn’t found naturally in many commonly consumed foods in Canada.[3] Vitamin D is converted by the sun is absorbed by our bodies, but this becomes more challenging in Canada, especially during the winter months. The recommended amount of vitamin D for those aged 51 to 70 is 600 international units (IU) per day.[4] Health Canada advises that adults over the age of 50 take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU each day.[5] Many practitioners are suggesting supplements in the 1,000 – 2,000 IU range especially during fall, winter and early spring.[6]  Incorporating foods such as fish, egg yolks and milk into your diet, along with beverages such as fortified orange juice, will help to reduce your risk of vitamin D deficiency.

 

Vitamin B12[DA1] 

Vitamin B12 is integral in creating healthy blood cells and keeping nerves working properly.[7] This vitamin is found only in animal-based foods, including chicken, beef, turkey, milk and yogurt. Because it gets more difficult to absorb vitamins as we get older, adults can become B12 deficient.[8] For a small number, adequate absorption is not possible even with supplementation, and injections are needed at regular intervals.[9] Much like vitamin D, vitamin B12 can be found in fortified beverages, nutritional supplements or tablets. 

 

If you feel you might not be getting the right amount of vitamins in your diet, be sure to speak to your doctor or health care provider.

 

This article has been sponsored by BOOST®, but all comments and opinions are my own.

Dr. Ted Jablonski Family Physician Dr. Ted Jablonski is a Calgary based-family physician. He completed his medical education at the University of Manitoba and has practiced and taught medicine in rural Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan and Northwestern Ontario. In addition to his duties as a family physician and educator, Dr. Jablonski is also a clinic associate at the Men’s Sexual Health Clinic at the Southern Alberta Institute of Urology and does consultant work in sexual and transgender medicine for Southern Alberta.

 

[1] Dietitians of Canada. “Vitamins.” Retrieved from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[2] Boucher, B. “The Problems of Vitamin D Insufficiency in Older People.” Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3501367/ (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[3] Dietitians of Canada. “Food Sources of Vitamin D.” Retrieved from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[4] Dietitians of Canada. “Food Sources of Vitamin D.” Retrieved from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[5] Dietitians of Canada. “Food Sources of Vitamin D.” Retrieved from: https://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[6] Osteoporosis Canada. “Vitamin D: An Important Nutrient That Protects You Against Falls and Fractures.” Retrieved from: http://www.osteoporosis.ca/osteoporosis-and-you/nutrition/vitamin-d/ (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[7] Eat Right Ontario. “What you need to know about vitamin B12.” Retrieved from: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-vitamin-B12.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[8] Eat Right Ontario. “What you need to know about vitamin B12.” Retrieved from: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-vitamin-B12.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

[9] Eat Right Ontario. “What you need to know about vitamin B12.” Retrieved from: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Vitamins-and-Minerals/What-you-need-to-know-about-vitamin-B12.aspx (Accessed June 2, 2017)

 [DA1]Suggest a call out to Diana Steele’s article on B vitamins