While we in the Western world may have a widely different view of what malnutrition means, the fact still remains that it is still a major issue even in developed societies. Certain groups seem to be more affected than others by nutritional imbalances. The faces of malnutrition and the causes of it are also widely different than in many impoverished countries. Let’s take a look at some of the numbers and what they mean to us as a society. We’ll also take a look at which groups could actually benefit the most from dietary supplementation and why.

Young People Particularly at Risk

One of the groups that seem to the most affected by nutrient deficiencies are young adults interestingly. But what’s even more interesting is that these nutrient deficiencies could be stemming from lifestyle choices. One particular study looked at deficiencies in minerals and vitamins among a group of people and found that people aged between the ages of 20 to 29 were the most at risk of having some sort of nutrient deficiency. Men aged between 20 to 29 showed more risks of suffering from magnesium and vitamin A deficiency. Women of the same age, on the other hand, had higher incidences of iron and selenium deficiency.

What’s alarming is that these vitamins and minerals are essential to good health and deficiencies could lead to much more serious issues down the line. Supplementation seems to be one of the best ways to provide the body with some of the nutrients it so desperately needs. Here are some of the other groups that could benefit from supplementation the most.

Vegans and Vegetarians

Although there are some health benefits from following a vegetarian or vegan diet, following a diet without animal sources can provide some health concerns as well. One of the primary vitamins of concern is vitamin B12. This vitamin is found in meat sources, especially beef, but may be deficient in vegan and vegetarian diets. It is possible to test for this deficiency and taking a vitamin supplement is a simple and effective to ensure adequate B12 levels.

Iron is also a nutrient of concern for people who don’t consume meat. There are some vegetable sources of iron such as green vegetables and legumes, however, these iron sources are not very well absorbed. Since meat offers easily absorbable iron, vegans and vegetarians should monitor their iron levels and supplement as needed.

Unfortunately, iron supplements may not be well absorbed and can have some unpleasant digestive effects. This is why companies such as Progressive Labs manufacture iron supplements that are easier to absorb. Some of their supplements are made from iron peptonate, which is a form of iron that absorbs easily and doesn’t cause nausea or other unpleasant side effects. If you think you may be suffering from iron or another form of nutrient deficiency and want to learn more about their products, you can visit blueskyvitamin.com for more details.

Adults Over 50

As we age, the body doesn’t always digest and absorb nutrients as well. Many older adults find that they often have a decreased appetite as well, which may cause some nutrient deficiencies. Since you are at a higher risk for a weakened immune system with age, your vitamin and mineral intake is a primary concern.

There are a variety of reasons why the body doesn’t absorb nutrients as well as it ages. However, regardless of the reasons, even people who follow a healthy, balanced diet are at risk for deficiencies. Taking health supplements could prove to be beneficial for this particular sector of the population.

Pregnant or Nursing Women

Your nutrient needs increase when you are expecting a baby and when you are nursing a baby. In fact, women who are trying to conceive should consider taking a prenatal multivitamin to prepare their bodies to these increased needs. When your body goes through the process of growing a baby, it needs increased amounts of vitamins and minerals for a healthy pregnancy.

Both pregnancy and nursing can take a toll on your body. If you’re feeling worn down and have a lack of energy, you may not be getting the nutrients your body needs. Helping to boost your body’s nutrient stores can help you through this period in life. Although a prenatal multivitamin will have a range of essential nutrients, the folic acid and iron are two nutrients of concern that can help you feel better during pregnancy.

People with Chronic Health Conditions

Many people who struggle with chronic health problems can benefit from taking health supplements. Although the supplements recommended can vary depending on the condition, diet, and other factors, many supplements can boost your body’s natural defenses and help with energy levels on a daily basis.

Examples of chronic health conditions include cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more. Working with a doctor or dietitian can help determine which health supplements may provide benefits and which ones to take. The process of finding the ideal health supplements to take can also be a process. Track your symptoms to determine which ones work best for you and then add them in slowly to until you find a combination that works best for your health.

People with Restricted Diets

Many people follow a restrictive diet for a variety of reasons. Some may have severe food allergies or intolerances. Others may do so for cultural or religious reasons. Regardless of the reason, following a very limited diet can cause you to be deficient in essential nutrients. Many people who follow these restrictive diets are unaware that they are deficient in essential nutrients. It’s only when they start taking health supplements that they start to notice how much better they feel on a daily basis.

This is why anyone who has to limit groups of foods should pay attention. Similar to chronic health conditions, people who follow restrictive diets can suffer from a wide range of deficiencies. For example, many people with digestive disorders have to limit fruit and vegetable intake and may be deficient in most vitamins and some minerals as well. Working with a doctor or dietitian can provide some guidance as well as recommendations for a starting point. It can take time for deficiencies to develop and also time for them to be resolved. Any health supplements will take some time to show results.

History of Nutrient Deficiencies

Anyone who has a history of being deficient in one or more nutrients may benefit from taking health supplements. For example, a person who has been deficient in iron may benefit from taking supplements that contain iron. Although not everyone needs to take supplements throughout their life, it’s a good idea to be more vigilant if you’ve been deficient in the past.

Many people who have been deficient in certain nutrients can experience deficiencies throughout their lifetime, even with improvements to their diet. They may not obtain adequate amounts of nutrients through their diet or their bodies may not absorb nutrients as well. Some nutrient deficiencies can be found with certain tests although others may be harder to detect. Checking for deficiencies at least once a year is a good idea and more often may be warranted as well. Take note of any changes in energy or other symptoms that could indicate a recurrence of a deficiency.

While most of us should be able to access a solid and well-balanced diet, it seems that many groups could greatly benefit from supplementation. If you happen to fall into one of these categories, it would be wise to look for signs of malnutrition and consider whether supplementation could be an option.

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