Coronavirus: Dr Nighat Arif discusses benefits of vitamins
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We all get tired and sluggish every now and then, but if you’re constantly feeling tired, you might be lacking some essential vitamins and nutrients. We need all sorts of nutrients to keep our bodies functioning well. Developing deficiencies in any nutrients can leave you feeling exhausted. These are the three main culprits behind feeling tired.
Do you ever find yourself distracted, feeling a bit “meh” or just not being able to summon the energy to do anything?
If that sounds familiar, you might be low on the vitamins that give you energy.
Ultimately, all of us notice fluctuations in our energy levels from time to time.
All sorts of factors can influence this, from a bad night’s sleep to the weather, to stress and everything else that races through your mind when you’re juggling a lot.
However, a good and nutritious diet is one of the most surefire ways to give your energy levels a boost.
Odds are, if your energy levels are dipping, you aren’t getting enough of the nutrients that help you to handle everything life throws your way.
To kick-start your system back to its best, why not try adding some vitamin supplements to your diet?
Supplements are an easy and convenient way to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.
But what are the best vitamins to give your energy levels a natural boost?
B12 deficiency can leave you feeling deflated, and in severe cases can lead to a condition called folate deficiency anaemia.
This is because vitamin B12 helps your red blood cells to function effectively, transporting oxygen around your body.
When you don’t get enough B12, your red blood cells grow abnormally large and aren’t able to function as well.
Vitamin B12 is most commonly found in animal products, so vegans and vegetarians are at particular risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency.
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B12-rich foods include:
Age is also a contributing factor for vitamin B12 deficiency, with one in 10 people aged 75 or more developing folate deficiency anaemia.
If you suspect a lack of B12 is leaving you feeling sluggish, try topping up your B12 levels using a supplement.
Iron is not a vitamin, it’s a mineral, but it makes it onto this list because it’s a common culprit for lack of energy.
Your body needs iron to create haemoglobin, the protein in your red blood cells.
If you don’t get enough iron, your red blood cells can’t function properly, leaving you feeling weak, dizzy and tired.
This is known as iron deficiency anaemia and can also be caused by pregnancy and blood loss.
Iron deficiency can also be caused by not eating enough iron and once again it’s bad news for plant-based eaters because the richest iron sources are meat products.
Iron-rich foods include:
- Red meat
- Pulses (such as beans and lentils)
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale
- Nuts and seeds
However, if you’re struggling to get all the iron you need from your diet, think about adding an iron supplement to your diet.
Before you decide to take an iron supplement, talk to your doctor.
There can be health risks associated with excessive iron.
One of the signs of a vitamin D deficiency is low energy and as we approach the winter everyone in the UK is at higher risk of being vitamin D deficient.
Our bodies create vitamin D naturally by absorbing sunlight, however, in the UK between October and April there isn’t enough sunlight to give us the vitamin D we need.
The NHS advises everyone over the age of four to take a vitamin D supplement during the winter in order to prevent vitamin D deficiency.
This is partly because it’s very difficult to get all the vitamin D you need from your diet alone.
Vitamin D’s primary function is to support healthy bones, which is why severe vitamin D deficiency can lead to children developing rickets.
Vitamin D also supports the healthy function of your immune system.
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