Category Archives: Vitamin Deficiency Risk Factors

Could diabetes increase risk of osteoporosis?

osteoporosis, bone health, healthIf you have diabetes, you may or may not know that you are at higher risk for heart disease than those who don’t have diabetes. However, in addition to heart disease, you could also be at risk for bone health issues. This risk was discovered in a recent study that found those with diabetes were at higher risk for osteoporosis than those without diabetes. Therefore, this finding warrants further research on this risk. And in turn, standard diabetes diet and supplement treatments may need to be revised to account for this higher risk.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bone loss. It often occurs without any symptoms. Therefore, you may not know you have the condition until you fall and break a bone. The bone loss related to osteoporosis can be caused by the body losing too much bone, not making enough bone, or both.

Literally, osteoporosis means “porous bone” which describes the honeycomb-like bone structure in those with the conditions. These spaces in the bone make it less dense, weaker, and more likely to break. It may be beneficial if you are 50 years of age or older, to get a bone density test.

Height loss or curving of the spine may be serious symptoms of osetoporosis. Therefore, if you have such symptoms and have not yet been diagnose with osteoporosis, you should visit your doctor right away. If diganosed, treatment will likely include vitamin D and calcium supplements, an exercise program, and medications.

You may be at risk for osteoporosis if you have:

  • certain autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis
  • certain cancers like breast or prostate cancer
  • digestive conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
  • a history of weight loss surgery
  • liver disease
  • and eating disorder
  • certain thyroid or hormone-related conditions

You may also be at risk for osteoporosis if you take certain medications such as:

  • certain heartburn medicines like  Nexium®, Prevacid® and Prilosec®
  • some antidepressants like Lexapro®, Prozac® and Zoloft®
  • steroids
  • certain diabetes medicines like thiazolidinediones

Osteoporosis and Diabetes

Using data from the 2013 Danish National Health Survey, researchers looked at the connection between bone health conditions and other health factors.  This analysis found that those people with diabetes were one-third more likely to have osteoarthritis than those without diabetes. These same people were also more likely to have bone related conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.

Likely related to such bone conditions, those with diabetes were more nearly 30-percent more likely to have back, shoulder, and neck pain as well. Researchers suggest that the link between bone health and diabetes may be inflammation. Diabetes is an inflammatory condition as is arthritis. Therefore, those with one condition may have an increased risk of developing other inflammation-related conditions. This research warrants further research on this connection of inflammatory health conditions.

Ways to help your bone health

If you feel you may be more at risk for bone health conditions, read below for ways you can help improve your bone health.

  • Consume plenty of calcium: Calcium is used in many parts of the body such as helping blood clot and muscles to contract. And when the body does not have enough calcium to do these things, it takes the calcium from the bones. Over time, this can make the bones weak. Therefore, be sure to have plenty of calcium in your daily diet. Foods high in calcium include milk, yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals and juices, as well as leafy greens like kale and spinach.
  • Go outside every once in while: Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin since the body can absorb it from the sun. This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium, so it is very important to bone health. Therefore, be sure to get outside at least 10-15 minutes a day with some of your arms, legs, and face showing. During the winter, consume plenty of fatty fish like salmon, eggs, mushrooms, and fortified dairy products for vitamin D. Ask your doctor to have your vitamin D levels checked each year and take a daily supplement if your levels are low.
  • Stay active: Exercise is great for not only keeping blood glucose levels stable if you have diabetes, but it is also good for bone health.  Weight-bearing exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, dancing, and weight training are good for strengthening bones. Be sure to engage in some sort of physical activity most days of the week. You should engage in strength training such as weight exercises or resistance training at least 2 times a week.
  • Eat a plant-based diet: Not only does a plant-based diet contain calcium-rich leafy greens, but is also antioxidant-rich. Antioxidants can reduce the inflammation that can lead to oxidative stress and increased chronic disease risk. Therefore, eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack.
  • Take a bone health supplement: If you are having trouble consuming enough calcium and vitamin D, a supplement may be for you. Find a supplement that combines calcium and vitamin D, or take them separate. One such supplement is Osteovent by Vita Sciences. Osteovent contains 400IU vitamin D3 and 1000mg calcium along with other important bone health nutrients like magnesium as well as antioxidants like vitamin C and bromelain.

-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD

References:

National Osteoporosis Foundation (accessed October 10, 2018) “What is osteoporosis and what causes it?”

National Osteoporosis Foundation (accessed October 10, 2018) “Calcium/Vitamin D.”

NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center (February 2017) “Osteoporosis Overview.”


  • Could vitamin D be the key to preventing obesity?

    vitamin D, supplement, health, obesity, heart healthObesity is a growing problem around the world today. Along with these growing statistics is also the growing amount of diet and exercise programs trying to help people lose weight. Recent research shows though that diet and exercise may not be the whole solution to the obesity issue. Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, may be the key to helping people lose weight and lower risk of chronic disease.

    What is vitamin D?

    Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you can soak in from the sun as well as from a few food items. Since it is not found in many foods, it is important to get this vitamin from the sun. Therefore, if you do not go outside often for any reason or if you live in an area that is very cloudy, you may have to take a supplement.

    Foods you can eat to get this sunshine vitamin include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You can also get small amounts in beef liver, egg yolks, or cheese.  Also, some milks or orange juices may be fortified with the vitamin.

    The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 800 IUs, or international units. When you go to the doctor, you can ask to have your levels of the vitamin checked.  It is not usually a part of the standard lab tests.  Your blood level of vitamin D should be at least 30nmol/L, but ideally around 50 nmol/L.  If it is less than this number, your doctor may put you on a supplement regimen to help bring up your levels of the vitamin.

    You can also buy vitamin D supplements on your own such as Maxasorb by Vita Sciences. Maxasorb provides 2000 IU’s of vitamin per dose. This formula provides vitamin D3 as well as vitamin E and moisturizing aloe in an easy to apply cream to help support immunity and well-being.

    Those at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:

    • older adults
    • those with limited exposure to the sun
    • people with dark skin
    • those with fat malabsorption conditions like inflammatory bowel disease
    • those who have had gastric bypass surgery
    • breastfed infants

    Those who are deficient may be at risk for bone health issues like osteoporosis. Also, as current research shows, vitamin D deficient individuals may also be at risk for developing obesity.

    Vitamin D and obesity

    A recent study looked at the effect of vitamin D on overweight and obese children and adolescents. Study results show that those children who were given vitamin D supplements daily for 12 months had lower body mass index (BMI), body fat, and improved cholesterol levels as compared to those who were not supplemented. Researchers suggest that vitamin D supplements may be able to help youth reduce their risk of chronic disease as adults.

    Other ways to reduce disease risk

    Besides keeping your vitamin D levels healthy, there are other things you can do now to help reduce your chronic disease risk.

    • Stay active: You should try to be active most days of the week for at least 30 minutes a day. This can include walking, gardening, cleaning house, swimming, cycling, or any other movement that gets your heart rate up a bit. Exercise is not only great for heart health, but can also help you expend energy to help you sleep better at night and also can help you manage stress and anxiety.
    • Get plenty of sleep: The average adult should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. This is because during bedtime your body works to regulate hormones, fluids, blood pressure, and many more processes.
    • Quit smoking or don’t start: Smoking can constrict blood vessels and in turn increase your risk of heart disease. Therefore, if you don’t already smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, visit smokefree.gov for resources to help you quit.
    • Limit drinking alcohol: Research has shown that alcohol can increase triglycerides, or fat, in the blood. It can also increase risk of high blood pressure and other heart health issues. Therefore, limit your alcohol intake to no more than the recommendation of one standard drink a day for women or two a day for men. One standard drink is equal to about 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, and 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
    • Manage stress: Stress and anxiety can get your blood pressure high and can also impact other healthy lifestyle choices you want to make. Therefore, work on getting your stress levels down. You can do this by talking to a counselor, doing some yoga or meditation, or practicing relaxation breathing. Reducing stress can also reduce emotional eating, increase your energy, and can make you feel better overall.

    -written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    References:

    American Heart Association (August 15, 2014) “Alcohol and Heart Health.”

    American Heart Association (accessed October 3, 2018) “Be Healthy for Good with Life’s Simple 7 Infographic.”

    Anxiety and Depression Association of America (accessed October 3, 2018) “Physical Activity Reduces Stress.”

    Hindustan Times (September 28, 2018) “Vitamin D supplements can help obese children lose weight.”

    National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (September 18, 2018) “Vitamin D.”

    National Sleep Foundation (accessed October 3, 2018) “Why Do We Need Sleep?”


  • Could low vitamin D increase your diabetes risk?

    It’s that time of year when the sun is shining more during the day and people are outdoors more often.  This fresh air and sunshine is not just good for your well being, but a study has also shown that without enough of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, you may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.

    What is vitamin D?

    vitamin D, egg, fish, cheese, cod liver oil, sun, health, dairy, milk, yogurtVitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is best know for its role in keeping bones healthy.  This vitamin helps improve calcium absorption in the gut, which helps with bone growth and bone remodeling. Without vitamin D, you may be at risk for weak bones, and in turn increase your risk of fractures.

    The recommended intake of vitamin D is 600-800 IUs, or International Units, for most adults. You can find vitamin D in such foods as:

    • Fortified dairy products, orange juice, or cereal.
    • Eggs (vitamin D is in the yolk).
    • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna fish, swordfish, and cod liver oil.

    You can also get your recommended vitamin D intake from getting about 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure in the day time between 10 AM and 3 PM.  You should do this at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen.

    Those at risk for low vitamin D include those who do not go outdoors often such as the elderly, immobile, or disabled.  Breastfed infants, those with fat or vitamin absorption issues, and those with dark skin are also at risk for low vitamin D. Although sunlight exposure can be absorbed in cloudy weather, people living in these climates may be at greater risk for low vitamin D than those who live in sunny regions since they may not be outdoors as often due to the weather.

    A normal vitamin D level is around 50 nmol/L.  If you are vitamin D-deficient, then your healthcare provider may give you a vitamin D supplement to take daily. The vitamin D lab may not be a standard lab taken at your physical, so you may have to ask your doctor to perform this lab separately.

    Low vitamin D and diabetes risk

    A study of people with diabetes and pre diabetes looked at the link between vitamin D and diabetes risk. Study results show that as vitamin D levels increased, the lower the risk of diabetes. In fact, those people with a vitamin D level less than or equal to 30 nmol/L were about three times more likely to have diabetes than those with a level higher than 30nmol/L.  Those people with a vitamin D level greater than 50nmol/L had the lowest risk of getting diabetes.

    Other ways to lower your diabetes risk

    Besides getting your vitamin D within normal levels, use the following tips to lower your risk of diabetes:

    • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Even a 5-10-percent weight loss can help lower your diabetes risk.
    • Eat fewer calories each day. This does not mean starve or deprive yourself, since this will wreak havoc on your metabolism over time. Just control your portions each day by following the guidelines on the MyPlate website.  You can ask a registered dietitian or your healthcare provider for more information on how many calories you should be eating each day for optimal health.
    • Be more active each day. Walk whenever you can since every step counts. Staying active helps to keep your blood glucose levels more stable and keeps your heart strong. Staying active can surprisingly help you feel more energy and in turn, can help you manage your weight better.
    • Take a supplement to help lower your sugar.  Your healthcare provider can prescribe a medicine for your blood glucose levels if they feel it is needed to prevent diabetes. However, you can also try a supplement like Glucarex by Vita Sciences. Glucarex contains ingredients like cinnamon, chromium, and alpha lipoic acid that can naturally support weight loss, healthy metabolism, and healthy blood glucose levels.

    -written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources:

    National Institutes of Health (March 2, 2018) “Vitamin D- Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.”

    National Institutes of Health (November 2016) “Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes.”

    Park, S.K., et al. (April 19, 2018) “Plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and risk of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes: 12-year cohort study.” https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193070

     


  • Could Vitamin D3 Help Repair Blood Vessels?

    vitamin d, fish, fish oil, dairy, milk, orange juice, heart healthVitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is a very important nutrient for overall health. Best known for its work in helping strengthen bones and teeth, vitamin D is starting to get more attention for other benefits it could provide.  A recent study reports that cells damaged by heart attack or stroke may be repaired by vitamin D3.

    What is vitamin D?

    Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that you can not find in many foods. However, vitamin D is important for many functions such as bone health.  It is called the ‘sunshine vitamin” by some because it can be absorbed into the body through sunlight exposure. Because of this, those who live in cloudy climates or do not leave the house often may be low in vitamin D.  You can find Vitamin D in such foods as fortified milk, yogurt, or orange juice, as well as fatty fish such as salmon or trout.  Cod liver oil is also a good source of vitamin D.

    Most adults should get at least 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D each day. Vitamin D is not a standard lab you will get at your annual visit. Therefore, you may have to ask for the vitamin D lab.  You will be prescribed a vitamin D supplement if labs find you to be low.  Research shows that vitamin D3 is absorbed better than vitamin D2, so it is the preferred choice for a supplement. You can find Vitamin D3 in a variety of forms such as:

    Maxasorb comes in 1000 IU and 2000 IU formulas and can be conveniently rubbed on the skin like a lotion.

    Endothelial cells and vitamin D3

    An innovative study tracked single endothelial cells, or blood vessel cells, to see the impact of vitamin D3 on their health status.  Heart health events such as heart attack or stroke as well as conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure can damage such cells.  The study showed that vitamin D3 helped such cells repair themselves from such damage. Also, the study found that the vitamin lowers oxidative stress in the cardiovascular system by stimulating nitric oxide (NO) levels.  This turn of events increases blood flow and protects the blood vessels from damage. Recent findings also show that a deficiency of vitamin may increase risk of a heart attack and may reveal a link to depression. Therefore, taking a vitamin D3 supplement may greatly benefit many aspects of health.

    Other ways to improve your heart health

    Although vitamin D is important, there are many other ways you can improve your heart health.

    • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables since such foods are rich in fiber. A fiber-filled diet is good for digestive health, keeps you fuller longer, and in turn can help you maintain a healthy weight. A fiber rich diet can also help you control blood glucose levels and keep cholesterol at healthy levels.
    • Stay active often at least 15 to 30 minutes a day most days of the week. No need to be in a boot camp exercise program.  Engage in simple exercises such as walking, water aerobics, gardening, dancing, to name a few to help keep your heart healthy.
    • Drink more water and less alcohol to not only help manage your weight, but also to stay hydrated and keep your liver healthy as well.
    • Don’t smoke or quit smoking since this unhealthy behavior can constrict blood vessels and in turn increase blood pressure levels.
    • Maintain a healthy weight by performing all of the healthy lifestyle behaviors mentioned above since less body weight places less pressure on your heart, and in turn can help lower your risk of heart disease and related conditions.

    -written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources:

    DiSalvo, D. (January 31, 2018) “Study Examines Vitamin D3’s Potential Effects On Blood Vessels.”  Forbes.com

    Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School (accessed February 5, 2018) ” These five habits can save your heart- here’s how.” 

    National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements (February 11, 2016) “Vitamin D”

    Tripkovic, Laura et al. (June 2012) “Comparison of Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3Supplementation in Raising Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Status: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 95.6 (2012): 1357–1364. PMC. Web. 5 Feb. 2018.

     


  • Is Calories In, Calories Out the Key to Losing Weight?

    weight loss, apple, nutrition, orange, calorieIf you have ever tried to lose weight, then you probably have been told to track your calories. Most calorie trackers focus on keeping track of the calories you consume through food.  On the other hand, fitness trackers or workout machines may track how many calories you burn during the day. However, is there more to the story of weight loss, or is calories in and calories out the only key to success?  A recent report by health experts reveal that there may be more than simple math in the weight loss equation.

    What are is a calorie?

    A calorie is a unit of energy that is found in food and beverages. The four major macronutrients that consist of calories include:

    • protein at 4 calories per gram
    • carbohydrate at around 4 calories per gram
    • fat at 7 calories per gram
    • alcohol at 9 calories per gram

    Whatever calories you consume that are not used as energy are stored in the body as fat. In simple terms, you may lose fat stores if you consume less calories than you burn.  Calories can be burned by physical activity, but calorie expenditure may also increase in those who are growing, injured, or ill.  This is because your body will need more energy to support such processes that involve cell reproduction and other related processes.

    Are some calories healthier than others?

    Not all calories are created equal. The recent report reveals a growing trend of people focusing solely on the number of calories in and calories out, rather than the quality of calories consumed. Although this may lead to a calorie deficit, and in turn weight loss, it is not necessarily healthy.

    For example, a piece of candy and an apple may both contain 100 calories. However, the candy mostly contains empty calories because they contain little to no nutritional value. The calories in the candy are mainly from simple carbohydrates like sugar as well as fat.  However, in the apple, those same calories contain many nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. Therefore, the calories from the apple will provide your body with more health benefits than the candy.

    Weighing in on the “Calories In, Calories Out” equation

    The latest diet craze known as CICO (Calories In, Calories Out), may lead to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies according to experts. If you are not looking at the nutrient quality of the calories you consume, then you may increase your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, to name a few. In addition, if you restrict yourself of too many calories, then you may develop fatigue and malnutrition, which does your body more harm than good. Contact a registered dietitian to help you determine how many calories you need to support your lifestyle, while still helping you to lose any excess weight.

    How to Work on Weight Loss

    There is no one size fits all plan to help everyone lose weight. However, there are several things you can do today to get on the right track towards healthy weight loss and maintenance.

    • Watch your portion sizes at meals and snacks. A simple way to determine how much food you need to eat at each meal involves your protein and fiber needs. Most adults should consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day through whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Your protein needs, in grams, can be determined by dividing your weight in pounds by 2.75.  Once you determine your fiber and protein needs, use a nutrition tracker to ensure you meet these needs with mostly whole foods, or foods that are minimally processed.  Also, chew your food more per bite, slow your pace of eating to 20-25 minutes per meal, and be mindful of the food choices you make by looking at nutrition labels before you make food purchases.
    • Stay active most days of the week.  Balance out each week with cardiovascular and resistance exercises. Cardio exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, or biking. These exercises work to increase calorie burn. Resistance exercises, on the other hand, such as lifting weights, doing push-ups, or using resistance bands, help to maintain lean muscle mass. Maintaining your muscle mass as you lose weight helps you to maintain calorie-burning power, also known as metabolism.
    • Get plenty of sleep.  Weight loss may be more difficult for those who do not sleep well.  This is because lack of sleep can disrupt the hormones that control hunger and appetite. Try to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night. If you have trouble sleeping due to visiting the bathroom regularly, stop drinking fluids at least 2 hours before bedtime.  If pain is keeping you up, visit your doctor to get support.  If you are not sure what is causing your restless sleep, you may have sleep apnea. You can ask your doctor about getting a sleep study done to determine the cause of your sleepless nights.
    • Visit your doctor if diet and exercise are not leading to weight loss. If calories in and calories out are leading to weight plateaus or gains, then there may be an underlying health issue. Research has shown that some people who have a family history of obesity may have a harder time losing weight than those that don’t. This could be due to:
      • genetic factors.
      • increased risk of conditions like hypothyroidism or insulin resistance.
      • environmental factors such as growing up without knowledge of healthy eating behaviors.
    • Fill in your nutrient gaps with vitamins and supplements. At the very least, take a multivitamin such as Zestia by VitaSciences. Zestia contains a blend of Super Food extracts, probiotics, and digestive enzymes helps to support optimal health. If you live in a climate with little sunlight, you may also need to add a vitamin D3 supplement to your daily routine.  Low vitamin D levels can affect many aspects of health such as bone and immune health, to name a few.

    -written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

    Sources:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (November 16, 2016) “Finding a Balance” 

    Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School (May 2014) “Eating fiber-rich foods helps keep the heart healthy”

    Harvard Health Publishing: Harvard Medical School (updated April 11, 2017) “Why People Become Overweight” 

    Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (accessed November 27, 2017) “Protein”

    Medline Health News (November 22, 2017) “It’s the Latest Diet Craze, But Is It Safe?”

    Medline Plus (accessed November 28, 2017) “Vitamin D” 

     

     


  • Hypothyroidism May be Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    hypothyroidismThyroid conditions can be very frustrating and uncomfortable for those affected.  Hypothyroidism in particular can cause disruptions in daily living through symptoms such as fatigue, difficulty losing weight, and depression. Additional symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

    • feeling colder
    • constipation
    • forgetfulness
    • drier skin

    Current Treatments

    Since hypothyroidism involves an underactive thyroid, traditional treatments have focused on replacing the hormone that your body cannot make.  Therefore, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels should be checked often to make sure hormone levels are brought into and maintained into normal levels.

    The gold standard for treating hypothyroidism is levothyroxine.  This is because levothyroxine is easy to use, its low risk of side effects, good intestinal absorption, long serum half-life, and low cost.  This medicine works to help normalize thyroid and TSH levels in the body.

    If a patient’s levothyroxine dose is higher than expected, the healthcare provider should check for other conditions. These conditions include Heliobacter pylori, gastritis, or celiac disease.  Treatment of any such conditions could help lessen the symptoms of low thyroid levels in some individuals.

    B12 deficiency may cause symptoms of hypothyroidism

    Another condition that may affect thyroid levels in the body is B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products as well as in fortified products such as cereals and breads.  Therefore, those most at risk include those that do not eat these foods such as vegans and vegetarians. In addition, those who are older adults, pregnant and lactating women, and those with malabsorption issues may be low in B12.

    Symptoms of B12 deficiency that may parallel those symptoms of impaired thyroid include fatigue and weakness.  In addition, B12 deficiency can cause anemia, constipation, loss of appetite. And if uncontrolled or severe, lack of B12 may cause neurological symptoms such as confusion or numbness and tingling in hands and feet.

    • anemia
    • constipation
    • loss of appetite
    • weight loss
    • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
    • difficulty balancing
    • confusion

    Since B12 has been found to be lacking in many people with the condition, it is suggested that those diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism should be tested for B12 deficiency.

    Thyradol is a supplement blend containing vitamin B12 as well as alternative medicine compounds like ashwagandha thought to improve thyroid health.  Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment.  This is because it is important to make sure this supplement does not interfere with your current medical treatment.

    If you want to find out more about the condition and how you can support research efforts, visit the American Thyroid Association website at thyroid.org for more details.

    by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN

     

     

    American Thyroid Association (accessed 2017 Jan) “Hypothyroidism (Underactive)” http://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism/

    Collins, AB and R Pawlak (2016) “Prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency among patients with thyroid dysfunction.”  Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 25(2): 221-6.

    Jabbar, A., et al. (2008 May) “Vitamin B12 deficiency common in primary hypothyroidism.” The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 58(5): 258-61.

    Medline (2015 Jan 15) “Levothyroxine” https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682461.html

    National Institutes of Health (2016 Feb 11) “Vitaman B12: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet.” https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

     

     


  • How to watch for Vitamin Deficiency: This is what happens

    What are the signs of vitamin deficiency? The symptoms of low vitamin and mineral levels can wreak havoc on your entire body. Fatigue, brain fog, muscle pain and insomnia are just a few vitamin deficiency symptoms that go unnoticed, and undiagnosed. Listed are some of the most common clues to watch for.

    vitamin deficiency symptoms list

    Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms: the Complete List

    If you suspect you have vitamin deficiency, then speak to a doctor immediately. Signs of vitamin deficiency anemia may require emergency vitamin supplementation.

    Listed are 13 essential vitamins and minerals that you need for daily health, plus symptoms that may signal a deficiency.

    1) Vitamin A (Retinol)

    Food sources: Yams, beef liver, spinach, carrots, and pumpkin.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Color-blindness, conjunctivitis, dry eyes, Bitot’s spots, farsightedness, corneal ulcers, ichthyosis (scaly skin), macular degeneration, photophobia, night blindness, keratosis, dry hair, ridged nails, peeling nails, acne, skin infections, jaundice, shingles, and wrinkles.

    2) Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

    Food sources: Mushrooms, sunflower seeds, tuna, and broccoli.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, nerve damage, heart palpitations, mental confusion, depression, dementia, forgetfulness, nervous irritability, Beriberi disease, crossed eyes, dim vision, glaucoma, Raynaud’s disease, sensitivity to insect bites, furrowed tongue, Addison’s disease, fungal infections, itching, white patches on tongue.

    3) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

    Food sources: Liver, mushrooms, spinach, and dark green vegetables.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Loss of appetite, nerve damage, depression, nervous irritability, increased homocysteine levels (heart attack and stroke risk), blurred vision, cataracts, conjunctivitis, dim vision, glaucoma, retinitis, corneal ulcers, macular degeneration, night blindness, photophobia, eyelid tics, acne, Addison’s disease, eczema, fungal infections, seborrhea, itching, white-heads, rosacea, eczema around nose and ears, dandruff, oily hair, sore tongue, cracked lips at corners of the mouth, purplish or magenta tongue, white patches on tongue.

    4) Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

    Food sources: Brown rice, tuna, mushrooms, liver, beans, and lean meat.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Loss of appetite, fatigue, mental confusion, depression, dementia, nervous irritability, diarrhea, acne, Addison’s disease, fungal infections, itching, reddish-brown skin on neck, white patches on tongue.

    5) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxal phosphate)

    Food sources: Bananas, bell peppers, potato skins, garbanzo beans, prune juice, and dark green leafy vegetables.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Chronic fatigue, depression, nervous irritability, increased homocysteine levels (heart attack and stroke risk), numbness in the hands and feet, blurred vision, conjunctivitis, dark spots in front of the eyes, retinitis, corneal ulcers, macular degeneration, night blindness, eyelid tics, acne, Addison’s disease, eczema, edema, fungal infections, dermatitis around eyes and nose, skin infections, itching, jaundice, pale skin, vitiligo, dandruff, hair loss, white spots on nails, sore tongue, cracked lips at corners of the mouth, bad breath, canker sores, white patches on tongue.

    6) Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)

    Food sources: Organ meat, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, beets, and cauliflower.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Mental confusion, depression, dementia, forgetfulness, nervous irritability, insomnia, aggression, cervical dysplasia, megaloblastic anemia, increased homocysteine levels (heart attack and stroke risk), nerve damage, failure to thrive, low birth weight, neural tube defects, breathlessness, heart palpitations, pale skin, reddish-brown skin on neck, graying hair, hangnails, cracked lips at corners of the mouth, canker sores, beefy, red tongue, gingivitis.

    7) Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

    Food sources: Organ meats, cod, halibut, salmon, shellfish, lean meat, eggs, and dairy products.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, nerve damage, painful tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, loss of balance, movement problems, heart palpitations, breathlessness, mental confusion, hallucinations, depression, memory loss, dementia, forgetfulness, nervous irritability, increased homocysteine levels (heart attack and stroke risk), diarrhea, dim vision, retinitis, eyelid tics, miscarriages, fertility problems, Addison’s disease, brown pigmentation around small joints, fungal infections, itching, jaundice, pale skin, shingles, vitiligo, hair loss, sore tongue, beefy, red tongue, canker sores, white patches on tongue, altered sense of taste.

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    8) Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)

    Food sources: Guava, papayas, strawberries, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, and dark green leafy vegetables.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, cataracts, conjunctivitis, crossed eyes, dark spots in front of the eyes, dim vision, glaucoma, retinitis, corneal ulcers, near-nearsightedness, acne, Addison’s disease, eczema, edema, skin infections, itching, jaundice, prickly-heat rash, shingles, wrinkles, hangnails, peeling nails, gingivitis.

    9) Vitamin D

    Food sources: Salmon, sardines, shrimp, fish oil, yams, and dairy products fortified with vitamin D.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Nervous irritability, near-sightedness, increased risk for diabetes, rickets, skeletal deformities, muscular weakness, soft bones, muscular pain (especially lower back pain), frequent bone fractures, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, hypocalcemia, muscle twitches, numbness in the hands and feet, irregular heartbeat.

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    10) Vitamin E

    Food sources: Vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, dark green leafy vegetables, avocadoes, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Loss of appetite, nausea, anemia, immune system disorders, angina, muscular pain, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, movement problems, miscarriages, fertility problems, bulging eyes, cataracts, crossed eyes, near-sightedness, acne, jaundice, shingles, wrinkles.

    11) Calcium

    Food sources: Yogurt, cheese, sardines, canned salmon, milk, and dark green leafy vegetables.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms:Osteoporosis, hypocalcemia, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscular pain, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, loss of appetite, frequent bone fractures, peeling nails, ridged nails, gingivitis.

    12) Magnesium

    Food sources: Wheat bran, almonds, cashews, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu, beans, and seeds.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscular pain, mood swings, irregular heartbeat, hypocalcemia, farsightedness, glaucoma, retinitis, macular degeneration, eyelid tics, Addison’s disease, edema, skin infections, jaundice, dandruff, bad breath.

    13) Zinc

    Food sources: Oysters, crab, lobsters, beef, poultry, and fortified cereals.

    Vitamin deficiency symptoms: Diarrhea, immune system disorders, failure to thrive, poor concentration, dark spots in front of the eyes, retinitis, corneal ulcers, macular degeneration, night blindness, eyelid tics, acne, eczema, edema, dermatitis around eyes and nose, skin infections, jaundice, vitiligo, dandruff, dry and brittle hair, hair loss, white spots on nails, bad breath, canker sores.

    Image by Mike Mozart, Flickr, CC license. Vita Sciences does not own this property.


  • 7 Reasons your B12 Levels are Out of Whack and what you can do about it

    7 Reasons your B12 Levels are Out of Whack and what you can do about it

    Always tired, dizzy, sluggish? The cause may be low vitamin B12 levels.  Depression, memory problems, crushing fatigue, and muscular pains all occur when you don’t have enough vitamin B12 in your blood supply.

    You’re not alone. Millions of people your age feel exhausted, run-down, disoriented and achy. And that’s only by mid-morning.

    For many, these symptoms occur from vitamin B12 deficiency anemia.  People as young as thirty can develop B12 deficiency or pernicious anemia.

    This is why your B12 levels are down:

    B12 deficiency is more common that you think. Here are some reasons that many people lose B12 from their blood supply:

    You’ve had weight loss surgery.

    Gastric bypass operations used to be a last resort for weight loss. Today, they’re much more common.  If you’re overweight, then you  can easily receive bariatric surgery to shed the pounds. Unfortunately, many patients aren’t prepared to supplement with vitamin B12  for life. Some weren’t warned about vitamin B12 deficiency; others don’t heed their doctor’s warnings.

    This is important! If you have received any kind of stomach surgery ( for weight loss, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis), then you must take large doses of  vitamin B12 each day.

    You take medications for diabetes or gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

    Certain medications prevent you from properly digesting vitamin B12 from the foods you eat. Metformin, protein pump inhibitors (PPIs), antacids, long-term antibiotics, and antidepressants are on the list.

    If you take any of the medications on the list below, then please also take extra vitamin B12.

    25 Medications that Cause Vitamin B12 Deficiency

     Your vitamin B12 blood test results are wrong.

    The national standard for testing for serum levels of vitamin B12 is often wrong and inefficient. If your B12 is plummeting from pernicious anemia, then a blood test will tell you to get more vitamin B12 supplements, ASAP.

    But if your B12 levels are moderate to low, then you may get a false negative test result. Even though you suffer from fatigue, memory problems, gloominess, brain fog, and painful numbness. That’s because the blood screenings don’t differentiate between “active” and “dormant” vitamin B12.  The first helps to protect your nervous system and boost energy. The second sleeps in your gut and does nothing.

    So your doctor may tell you that your vitamin B12 levels are okay, but he’d be wrong.

    Your doctor knows nothing about vitamin B12 deficiency.

    Sad but true: many doctors get little or no training  in detecting the earliest signs of pernicious anemia. The idea of a vitamin “curing” an illness  is, in their opinion, laughable. Yet it was only one generation ago that pernicious anemia  was a lethal threat. And it took vitamin B12 supplements to stop the debilitating symptoms.

    How Much Vitamin B12 is enough?

    Your doctor may not take your symptoms seriously. He may refuse to prescribe enough vitamin B12 to treat your symptoms. If that is the case, then you need to buy extra vitamin B12 supplements online.

    You follow a vegan diet.

    Your body doesn’t manufacture vitamin B12, and you can’t get it from vegetables. The only rich sources of vitamin B12 are from chicken, beef, lamb, and seafood.  Eggs, cheese, and milk also have some vitamin B12. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet,  then you need to take vitamin B12.

     You suffer from autoimmune disorders.

    For many, vitamin B12 malabsorption happens because of a faulty immune system. People who have autoimmune disorders are most likely  to suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency.  This happens because missing intrinsic factor, a hormone needed for B12 digestion.

    35 Signs of Neuropathy to Watch

    If you have lupus, Crohn’s disease, or other autoimmune disorders, then you are at risk. Don’t rely on faulty B12 blood screenings. Rather,  take extra vitamin B12 supplements each day.

    You are older than 30 years of age.

    As we get older, our ability to digest vitamin B12 weakens. Vitamin B12 levels plummet with age. By the time many people reach their 40’s, vitamin B12 is a must. For great health, supplement with vitamin B12 in your 30s and 40s.

    By the time you reach the age of 50, vitamin B12 usage is mandatory for survival.

    Treatment options

    Vitamin B12 isn’t an easy nutrient to digest; your body doesn’t make it on its own. Any defect in your stomach or intestines can impair vitamin B12 absorption. To boost vitamin B12 levels, you need to get vitamin B12 into your blood stream. Not through the digestive system. Vitamin B12 pills are useless.  B12 shots are painful, impractical, and difficult to administer on your own. For many, vitamin B12 supplements that penetrate the skin are the best option. They’re easy to use, don’t need prescription, and are painless

    Also read:

     

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  • List of Medications that Trigger Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    A common cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is long-term use of certain medications. Even if you don’t suffer from an autoimmune condition or have a family medical history for pernicious anemia, your risk for developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency are increased if you take any of the following medications regularly.

    List of Medications that Trigger Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Listed are drugs prescribed often for conditions such as diabetes, depression, GERD, or frequent infections that can, over time, impair your ability to absorb vitamin B12 properly from the foods you eat.

    Vitamin B12 malabsorption

    If you take vitamin B complex and eat a diet rich in vitamin B12, such as beef, fish, and chicken, then you’re on the right track to good health. Still, there are many risk factors that can lead to vitamin B12 malabsorption, regardless of how well you take care of your body.

    Vitamin B12 malabsorption is the inability to latch onto vitamin B12 molecules that enter your body and use them efficiently. Instead of being dispersed through your blood stream, essential vitamin B12 passes through your digestive system whole, unaffected. None of the important nutrients needed for good neurological health, energy, or red blood cell development reach their destination. As a result, over time, you experience symptoms of severe anemia caused by low levels of serum vitamin B12.

    What causes vitamin B12 deficiency?

    Vitamin B12 deficiency most often occurs with pernicious anemia, an autoimmune condition that attacks intrinsic factor, a digestive enzyme needed for vitamin B12 absorption. Pernicious anemia can also result from damage to the parietal cells of the stomach. Patients of gastrointestinal surgeries for weight loss or Crohn’s disease are at risk and must supplement with non-dietary vitamin B12.

    If you follow a strict vegan diet, then you may be at risk for dietary vitamin B12 deficiency, as there are no rich natural sources of plant-based vitamin B12.

    Medications that Trigger Vitamin B12 Deficiency

    Please note: Don’t stop using any prescription medication without permission from your doctor. If you use any of the medications listed, then you should check your vitamin B12 levels regularly in order to prevent developing severe vitamin B12 deficiency.

    The following prescription medications may trigger vitamin B12 deficiency:

    • Aminoglycosides
    • Cephalosporins
    • Chlorotrianisene
    • Chlortetracycline
    • Cholestyramine (Cholybar®, Questran®)
    • Cimetidine (Tagamet®)
    • Clofibrate (Atromid-S®)
    • Colchicine- (ColBenemid®)
    • Colestipol
    • Co-trimoxazole
    • Demeclocycline
    • Famotidine
    • Fluoroquinolones
    • Lansoprazole
    • Macrolides
    • Metformin
    • Methyldopa (Aldomet®)
    • Minocycline
    • Neomycin
    • Nizatidine
    • Omeprazole (Prilosec®)
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Oxytetracycline
    • Penicillins
    • Phenobarbital
    • Phenytoin
    • Potassium chloride
    • Ranitidine (Zantac®)
    • Sulfonamides
    • Tetracyclines
    • Trimethoprim- (TMP/SMX)
    • Valproic Acid (Depakene®)
    • Zidovudine

    Did we miss any?

    Are you currently taking any medications that you feel have directly led to vitamin B12 deficiency? Please comment below.

    Image by kdshutterman