One of the most important nutrients, B12 is deemed an essential vitamin - meaning it's required for our body to function by making DNA and keeping our blood cells healthy. It’s central to brain and nervous system function, making it a great booster of focus and memory. It helps convert food into energy - preventing midday, post-lunch sleepiness, for example, and general fatigue.
B12 deficiency is very common, especially since the body doesn’t produce it itself, so it must be consumed. Most don’t realize they’re even having this issue, and it becomes more common with age as well as among vegans/vegetarians. You might be deficient in B12 if you’re experiencing physical signs of weakness or lightheadedness, heart palpitations and shortness of breath, unusually pale skin, loss of appetite, numbness or tingling, problems walking, vision loss. Mental symptoms can include depression, memory loss, or behavioral changes. If any of these are the case, consult your doctor to see if B12 supplementation might be necessary.
A big contributor to vitamin B12 deficiency is poor absorption of vitamin B12 during digestion. You can be consuming B12 through your diet and taking oral supplements, but still not be absorbing much of it.
Vitamin C is the nutrient most commonly associated with a strong immune system. It’s also hailed for boosting brain function, and for heart and eye health. Used in many body processes, it is especially essential to the growth and repair of tissues - boosting collagen production and working as an antioxidant, vitamin C is vital to detoxification, skin health and healing.
Vitamin C deficiency can occur from a few factors, but far most commonly as a result of general undernutrition - not eating a healthy diet, alcoholism and smoking. Symptoms of deficiency can include fatigue, depression, and connective tissue problems like skin, hair, nail and gum conditions, joint pain, and more. It could also be helpful to those with anemia to take vitamin C as it boosts iron absorption.
The recommended daily dose of vitamin C is definitely not always achieved through daily consumption, as most people don’t have enough fruit and vegetables in their diet to reach it. Additionally, some experts advise against some vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) supplements due to their potentially irritating acidity.
Vitamin D3 is great for strengthening bones because it actually helps the body absorb calcium more effectively. Some research shows vitamin D3 could also reduce fatigue at the cellular level, and muscle fatigue. A study on fatigue levels in vitamin D deficient participants showed that D3 supplementation resulted in a significant improvement in their energy.
The less time you spend in the sun the more important it is that you supplement vitamin D, because vitamin D is made by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. Sunscreen, clothing, limited time outdoors, age, and other factors may keep you from getting enough vitamin D from the sun. It’s also crucial to vegans as vitamin D is mostly found in animal products like eggs, cheese, fish and meat. To aging adults or to children with developing growing bones, it’s important because of the calcium absorption boost. Symptoms of deficiency to watch out for can include fatigue, bone pain, and muscle weakness, aches, and cramps.
Vitamin deficiencies are a common issue with some seriously damaging effects. So do your body a favor and decide what vitamins are right for you!