Could You Be Micronutrient Deficient and Not Know It?

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Don’t make these three mistakes. (Image: theevening/iStock/GettyImages)

Sure, your diet is full of whole-food sources of vitamins and minerals, but your body might not be getting the full benefits. If the micronutrients you're consuming aren’t being absorbed into the rest of your system properly, you may actually become micronutrient deficient even though you're eating all the right things.

First, let's clarify what micronutrients are. It's the term used to encompass all the vitamins and minerals you need in trace amounts through consumption of food or supplements because your body doesn’t produce them naturally. They include cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, zinc, B vitamins and other antioxidants and minerals.

3 Mistakes That Prevent Proper Micronutrient Absorption

The amount of micronutrients your body produces naturally declines with age and exposure to disease, so dietary and vitamin supplementation is essential as you get older, says Kedar Prasad, Ph.D., author of “Micronutrients in Health and Disease.” But if your body isn't absorbing them, all the supplements in the world won't do you any good.

So how do you know if you're micronutrient deficient? First, try tracking your food and see if you're getting enough of the major vitamins and minerals (like vitamins A, C, D and E). Second, talk to your doctor. A blood test can rule out some of the more common deficiencies (like iron).

Since there's an overabundance of misinformation about multivitamins and the best way to absorb nutrients, so let's clarify three things that can keep your body from absorbing them properly.

So What Can You Do?

Aside from choosing better supplements, eating a gut-healthy diet and cutting down on alcohol, there are three ways you can be sure your body is getting all the micronutrients from your food that it can and performing at optimal levels.

Before trying any of these, though, make sure that you're actually deficient and get the OK from your doctor first. After all, you can have too much of a good thing. And while most of the time your body flushes out excess vitamins and minerals, you don't want to be spinning your wheels trying to solve a problem that isn't there.

What Do YOU Think?

Are you getting enough of these micronutrients? Have you been diagnosed with micronutrient deficiency? What course of treatment have you used to address the issue? What multivitamins or supplements do you take? Are you doing what you can to make sure they’re being absorbed properly? Let us know in the comments below!

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