Tag Archives: Iron

Vitamin Deficiency and Fatigue

Jacquie Eubanks RN BSN VitDeficiencyFatique

How often when asked “How are you?” do you automatically respond with the polite, standard answer, “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?” If we responded truthfully, we might say “I’m exhausted, actually,” or “I’m just worn out today.” The truth is that many of us are trying to balance work, home, school and family responsibilities, often on less than optimal sleep. On top of that, restrictive diets and our standard American diet don’t necessarily provide the nutrients we need to optimally support our everyday bodily processes, including energy production. Getting sufficient, and even excessive, daily calories does not necessarily equate to proper nutrient intake. Studies show we are suffering from micronutrient deficiencies that can lead to energy depletion, fatigue and a whole range of health problems.

Poor nutrition often results in food cravings, overeating and obesity, as our bodies attempt to get the nutrients required for good health and function. As much as we think our bodies just run automatically 24/7, depriving the body of nutrients isn’t much different from depriving a machine of the fuel it needs to operate. Eventually, the machine runs dry, catches fire, seizes up or quits running altogether, similar to our bodies when they break down–dehydration, inflammation, muscle fatigue and exhaustion can ensue. And while fatigue can be a warning sign of potential illness, many times the most common causes of fatigue are vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

All bodily cells rely on vitamins and minerals to produce energy. Nutrient deficiencies impair cellular energy production, resulting in a lack of energy and fatigue. Low energy has become one of our most common health complaints, as fatigue can negatively affect all areas of life from work quality to enjoyment of daily activities. Persistent feelings of exhaustion or muscle fatigue should be addressed sooner rather than later, as prolonged fatigue may be an early warning sign of underlying health issues or potential future health problems. In addition to nutrient deficiencies, poor sleep quality, lack of exercise and emotional stress all deplete energy stores and contribute to overall tiredness.

Let’s take a look at how deficiencies in certain nutrients affect our energy levels:

  • Calcium – Calcium is critical to energy production and proper nerve function. In addition to fatigue, low calcium can cause muscle cramps and abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Vitamin D – Essential for growth and development, vitamin D deficiency can cause fatigue, muscle aches and weakness and can negatively affect the health of bones and teeth. Low vitamin D levels can result in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and compromised immune and neurological health.
  • Iron – When the body lacks iron, it struggles to make new red blood cells that carry oxygen to cells throughout the body. Left unchecked, iron deficiency can result in severe anemia, which can cause extreme exhaustion.
  • B vitamins – B complex vitamins aid in converting food into energy. Deficiencies in any of the B vitamins can negatively affect the cells’ mitochondrial energy production, resulting in weakness, balance issues and physical and mental exhaustion.
  • Magnesium – Insufficient magnesium intake can result in oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, key players in fatigue-related conditions including chronic fatigue syndrome. Vital for energy production, a magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, fatigue and weakness.
  • Potassium – Low potassium levels may cause muscle cramps and weakness and can dangerously disrupt normal heart rhythms, resulting in heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats.
  • Antioxidants – Antioxidants help protect against free radical damage that can compromise mitochondrial energy production. Antioxidant vitamins, such as C and E, and the mineral selenium help address fatigue by supporting healthy mitochondrial energy production.

Deficiencies should always be addressed as a preventative measure to protect against illnesses associated with nutrient deficiencies. Fortunately, many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be corrected with good health advice, dietary changes and supplementing with high quality vitamins and minerals.

Multi-Mins (Iron & Copper Free)Multi-Mins™ (Iron & Copper Free) by Biotics Research – This high absorbable formula supplies a balanced source of mineral chelates, whole foods, phytochemically bound trace minerals and antioxidant enzymes. Gluten and dairy free.


UltraNutrientUltraNutrient® by Pure Encapsulations – This advanced formula provides core vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, botanicals and phytonutrient extracts to provide broad-spectrum nutritional support. Non-GMO formulation.



Active B-ComplexActive B Complex by Integrative Therapeutics – This formula provides the full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of multiple biochemical processes including energy production, healthy homocysteine blood levels, and improved visual clarity, concentration and alertness.


Minimal and Essential Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin FormulaMinimal and Essential® Antioxidant and Multi-Vitamin Formula by Vital Nutrients This full-spectrum formula provides the minimum daily requirements of vitamins and some essential minerals along with a potent antioxidant complex.



Is a Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency Making You Tired? http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/09/08/is-a-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiency-making-you-tired
3 Top Nutritional Deficiencies As Fatigue Causes. http://www.naturalhealthadvisory.com/daily/fatigue-lack-of-energy/3-top-nutritional-deficiencies-as-fatigue-causes/
7 nutrient deficiencies that can make you sick. http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/7-nutrient-deficiencies-that-can-make-you-sick
10 Vitamin And Mineral Deficiencies That Are Draining You Of Your Energy. http://dailyhealthpost.com/10-vitamin-or-mineral-deficiencies-related-to-fatigue/
7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs. http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-essential-nutrients/common-nutrient-deficiencies/
Vitamin D Deficiency – An Ignored Epidemic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797/

The Best Time to Take Nutritional Supplements

timingSusanBiconBy Susan Brown
Health & Wellness Editor

Those of us who regularly take vitamins and minerals to support overall health or a specific health challenge know the importance of optimal nutrition. But many may not know the ideal time of day to take specific vitamins, whether to take them on an empty stomach or with food, or what combinations of vitamins to avoid or take together. Timing really is everything, as when you take your supplements can either boost or diminish their effectiveness. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s annual survey of dietary supplements, 71% of women and 65% of men take dietary supplements.

Video Timing Is Everything

By far, the most popular supplements are multivitamins and minerals, with 97% of supplement users relying on these to complement their health. While 90% of supplement users report following label information, this little primer may help those who take multi vitamins and those who take more than one supplement to receive the maximum benefit from their formulas.


Probiotics – Probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach, so for that reason morning may be best, although some prefer to take them at bedtime. When the stomach is empty, digestive activity is quiet and stomach acid and pH balance are relatively low, increasing the chances for the helpful microorganisms to thrive.

Iron – If you are advised to take iron supplements, take them in the morning, as iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Caffeine, dairy and calcium can negatively affect absorption, so it’s best to avoid these for several hours after taking iron. Vitamin C, however, can aid absorption, so by all means wash the iron supplement down with orange juice or lemon water.

Multivitamins – Taking multi’s with your first meal is ideal, as the vitamins are absorbed along with the naturally occurring nutrients contained in the food. As multivitamins contain both water and fat soluble vitamins, be sure to include some healthy fats with your meal for optimal absorption. If your multivitamin formula recommends more than one capsule per day, take them in divided doses at breakfast and lunch.

B-Complex vitamins – Taking B vitamins with breakfast helps to boost your metabolism and convert your food into energy, which can be used throughout the day. As B vitamins help to fight fatigue and create energy, it’s best to avoid taking them late in the day.

Vitamin C Vitamin C is best taken in the morning to support the immune system and boost energy levels. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that lasts only a few hours in the blood stream, so if your formula recommends more than 1 tablet per day, take it in divided doses with meals to get the full benefit.

Vitamin EThis fat soluble antioxidant vitamin is best absorbed when dietary fats are present, so if your breakfast includes some healthy fats, such as yogurt or nut butters, morning is a good time. Otherwise, lunch or dinner time is fine as long as you are having some healthy fats with your meal.

Fish oil – Important to support many aspects of health, fish oil is best taken with a main meal to aid absorption. Take omega-3 supplements at breakfast along with your multivitamins or if more than one capsule is recommended, take them in divided doses at breakfast and dinner.  


CoQ10 – CoQ10 is involved in energy production and can be found in every cell, especially in the heart, which has high energy requirements. CoQ10 is best taken with a meal that contains dietary fats, and avoid taking it late in the day so that it doesn’t disturb your sleep.

Iodine – Iodine is not stored in the body, so regular intake is needed. Iodine supports normal cognitive function and healthy skin, and also increases energy levels. Table salt is fortified with iodine, but if you are not a regular salt user or use unadulterated salt, kelp tablets taken with lunch may boost midday energy levels.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is best taken with a meal that contains dietary fats. It’s possible that Vitamin D can negatively affect sleep, so lunch time is a good time to get your Vitamin D.

Vitamin K – Vitamin K is best absorbed along with dietary fats and ideally should be taken along with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin C. Avoid taking vitamin K if you are taking Coumadin or any anticoagulant prescription drug, as Vitamin K can interfere with the effects of the medication.  


Calcium – Calcium aids nerve transmission and muscle function. To get the full benefit, take calcium in the evening along with magnesium.

Magnesium – Magnesium has a calming effect on the muscles and nervous system and may aid restful sleep. Magnesium works synergistically with calcium, so take these together either as individual supplements or in a combined formula.

In addition:

Digestive Enzymes – Digestive enzymes can be taken with any meal or within 30 minutes of your meal. Unless you have serious digestive issues, they don’t necessarily need to be taken with light meals or snacks, but can be very beneficial for optimal breakdown and absorption of nutrients when taken with main meals.

FiberFiber supplements may be taken either first thing in the morning or before bed. Be sure to take fiber with a full glass of water and get plenty of water during the day. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any fiber supplement, as fiber may delay or reduce the absorption of certain medications. Additionally, do not take fiber supplements at the same time as medications.

Should you have any questions about the best time to take any supplements, please call or email Professional Supplement Center. If you are taking any medications, check with your healthcare provider or your pharmacist before starting any supplement regime.

Taking iron supplements.
Best Time to Take Probiotics.
Best Time of Day to Take Vitamins.
Vitamin K.

Nutrients and Vitamins for a Healthy Pregnancy

PregnancyJacquieIconBy Jacquie Eubanks

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy is a very worthwhile goal. When pregnant, it’s essential to carefully consider well-balanced nutrition, not only for the health of your baby but for yourself as well. As your diet is the main source of nutrients for both you and your baby, there is some truth to the old adage that you are “eating for two.” This doesn’t mean that you need to double down on your caloric intake, but it does mean that you will need approximately 300 additional nutrient dense calories daily. Eating well during pregnancy isn’t just about increasing the amount of food you eat, as we now know that all calories are not created equally. Pregnancy is not an excuse to binge on empty calories, as gaining too much weight can have adverse affects on your baby’s health and may increase the baby’s lifelong risk of obesity, heart disease or diabetes.

For pregnancy health and the baby’s development, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends a nutritious diet containing a variety of proteins, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and plenty of water. While patterns of weight gain vary, it’s normal to gain 25 -35 pounds throughout your pregnancy term. Your focus should be on eating a balanced variety of nutritious foods to ensure the baby receives the vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth and development. As your diet directly affects your baby’s health and development, strive to avoid extra calories from added sugars, refined and processed foods and unhealthy fats, and instead fill up on fruits, veggies, proteins, whole grains, dairy and healthy fats.

Many physicians recommend prenatal vitamins as an adjunct to a healthy diet. To ensure your individual needs for adequate nutrition during pregnancy, it’s a good idea to have a conversation about nutrition and supplements with your healthcare provider. The ACOG recommends the following key nutrients for a healthy pregnancy:

Folic acid – The ACOG and the March of Dimes recommends 600 mcg of folic acid per day to help prevent neural tube defects, support the growth of the placenta and baby, and help increase your blood supply during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, your blood volume will have increased by up to 60% by the time your baby is born. Folate, or vitamin B9, can be found in foods such as spinach, green vegetables, beans and fortified foods such as cereals and orange juice.

Calcium – The ACOG recommends 1,000 mg of calcium per day during and after pregnancy. Calcium is necessary for the healthy development of a baby’s bones, teeth, heartbeat, nerve function and muscles. Pregnancy is a critical time for a woman to consume calcium. If there is not enough calcium in the diet to sustain a developing baby, the body will take calcium from the mother’s bones, which can diminish bone strength and increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life. Dairy products, dark leafy greens and fortified foods are all good calcium sources.

Iron – It’s relatively common to be deficient in iron during pregnancy, as pregnant women need about double the normal amount they needed pre-pregnancy. Iron aids red blood cells that carry oxygen to organs and tissues and helps to increase the normal blood volume, sending oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The American Pregnancy Association recommends 27 mg of iron daily during pregnancy. Good nutritional sources include beef, leafy greens, eggs and beans.

DHA – The March of Dimes and the American College of Nurse-Midwives recommends 200 mg of DHA omega-3 fatty acids daily to support a baby’s early development and eye and brain growth. To avoid mercury or PCB contamination, choose low mercury fish, fortified foods or purified fish oil supplements. Some prenatal vitamins are formulated with DHA and some are not. Always check with your healthcare provider before taking any additional supplements.

Iodine – During pregnancy, iodine aids in the development of the baby’s brain and nervous systems. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many pregnant and breast-feeding women are deficient in iodine and thereby recommends supplementing with 220 mcg of this important mineral daily if it is not included in your prenatal formula. Food sources of iodine include dairy products, enriched cereals or breads and fish.

Vitamin D – Adequate amounts of vitamin D are essential during pregnancy for both mother and baby. Vitamin D supports a mother’s immune function and a baby’s healthy bone development. According to the World Health Organization, vitamin D deficiency is common among pregnant women and is associated with increased risk of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes and preterm birth. Experts, such as ACOG, agree that during pregnancy supplementing with 1,000 – 2,000 IU’s of vitamin D daily is safe and beneficial for both mother and baby.

The quest for the healthiest possible pregnancy should include a diet of wholesome foods and a reasonable exercise program, such as daily walking or swimming. Additionally, drink plenty of water, avoid smoking, alcohol, excess sugar and unhealthy fats. Limit caffeine and salty foods and avoid raw or undercooked foods, unpasteurized dairy products, soft cheeses and high mercury level seafoods.

Supplements do not replace a healthy diet but rather ensure that a woman is receiving enough daily nutrients. Vitamin supplements work best when taken as part of a healthy diet and not as a substitute for a healthy diet.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other research-based, high quality prenatal vitamins:

Prenatal (201811)
Prenatal (201811) by Douglas Laboratories – This well balanced prenatal formula supplies essential vitamins and minerals to support maternal health and wellness and ensure adequate intake for both mother and child. Yeast, gluten, soy and dairy free formulation.
Prenatal Complete with DHAPrenatal Complete with DHA by Ortho Molecular – This comprehensive, hypoallergenic prenatal multivitamin and mineral blend provides a full complement of high quality essential nutrients along with highly concentrated DHA to support all phases of pregnancy. Formulated to be free of common allergens and artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and additives.
Fem Prenatal
Fem Prenatal® by Metagenics – Formulated to provide a full spectrum of high quality, bioavailable essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, Fem Prenatal® supplies important maternal nutrition and supports healthy fetal growth and development. Gluten, soy and dairy free, non-GMO formulation.
Basic Prenatal (VMP)
Basic Prenatal (VMP) by Thorne Research – This comprehensive, highly absorbable formula provides high potency vitamins and minerals to support the optimal health of mother and baby. Gluten, soy and dairy free, no artificial color, sweeteners or flavors added.
Nutrients & Vitamins For Pregnancy. http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/nutrients-vitamins-pregnancy/
Eating and Nutrition. http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/vitamins-and-minerals-during-pregnancy.aspx
Pregnancy Nutrition.
Vitamin D: Screening and Supplementation During Pregnancy. http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Vitamin-D-Screening-and-Supplementation-During-Pregnancy
Iodine supplementation in pregnant and lactating women. Online. http://www.who.int/elena/titles/iodine_pregnancy/en/
Pregnancy and Nutrition. Online. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Am_I_Pregnant/hic_Good_Nutrition_During_Pregnancy_for_You_and_Your_Baby
Food Safety During Pregnancy. Online. http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/FOODNUT/09372.html
Increasing Calcium in Your Diet During Pregnancy. Online. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Am_I_Pregnant/hic_Good_Nutrition_During_Pregnancy_for_You_and_Your_Baby/hic_Increasing_Calcium_in_Your_D