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Most People are Deficient in This Vitamin, Studies Show

These are the most common vitamin deficiencies, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

According to a nutrition report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,10 percent of the United States population has a vitamin deficiency, which can seriously affect overall health and well-being. "Vitamins are essential for our health, and each vitamin plays a unique role in helping maintain proper bodily function," Dr. Jacob Hascalovici MD, PhD as the Clearing Chief Medical Officer tells us. "For example, some vitamins can boost your immune system, help maintain your nerve health, or contribute to strong bones. Vitamin deficiency can lead to a variety of health problems, depending on the exact vitamin(s) you're deficient in," he adds. Read on to find out the most common vitamin deficiencies—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Why Vitamin Deficiencies Happen so Often

patient speaking with doctor

Dr. Hascalovici says, "The U.S. government states that most people can get the vitamins and minerals they need directly from their food, which increases the importance of eating a balanced, comprehensive diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and lean proteins. However, due to not getting enough fruits, vegetables, and vitamin-rich foods in general, many Americans exhibit micronutrient deficiencies, meaning they do not meet the ideal level of many common vitamins."


Vitamin A

snack plate with carrots, peanut butter, nuts, and blueberries

Dr. Hascalovici tells us, "Those who do not eat enough animal products or colorful vegetables may be deficient in vitamin A, which is important for bones, teeth, skin, and eyesight. Deficiencies may show up as problems with vision or skin irritation. Fish liver oil, carrots, and sweet potatoes are all sources of vitamin A. Taking too much vitamin A could lead to toxicity."


Vitamin B12

vitamin supplements

Dr. Hascalovici explains, "Vitamin B12, which is important for blood and nerve cells, is another common deficiency, particularly for vegetarians and vegans, since this vitamin is found in fish, many meats, and dairy. Vitamin B12 is considered essential for nerve health — low levels can cause peripheral neuropathy, problems with balance and in severe cases memory impairment. You can take a supplement for vitamin B12, and many multivitamins contain B12." 


Vitamin D

According to Dr. Hascalovici, "Many Americans are low on vitamin D, which implies they're not getting enough sunlight or enough of this important vitamin in their food. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to brittle bones, osteoporosis, and more frequent fractures. Tiredness, weakness, depression, and pain can be other signs of vitamin D imbalances. Food is an important source of vitamin D, including tuna, egg yolks, yogurt, dairy milk, fortified cereals, raw mushrooms, or orange juice. Vitamin D supplements can also be an option. Whatever combination of vitamin D sources you choose, know that for most adults, 600 IU per day is around the right amount."


Folic Acid

Woman lying at bed.

"A lack of folic acid can lead to anemia," Dr. Hascalovici says. "Folic acid deficiencies can be caused by pregnancy, drinking too much alcohol, or failing to eat enough leafy greens and other natural sources. Headaches, fatigues, ringing ears, and energy loss can all be potential signs of folate deficiency. Taking too much folic acid can change your behavior, upset your stomach, or cause skin problems, among other side effects."

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather