Micronutrients are a broad and often misunderstood group of nutrients that include vitamins and minerals. This group of nutrients are usually required by the body in minimal amounts for normal function but are essential for prevention of disease and promotion of natural growth and development. Micronutrients are also not produced in the body, which means they must be consumed in meals.
Vitamins are used by the body to help digest and utilize other nutrients. They have a wide range of functions in the body, including boosting immunity and promoting good mental health. However, a huge chunk of the American population continues to suffer from a lack of some of these vitamins, with dire consequences. Poor eating habits, emotional stress, alcoholism and drug use, liver and intestinal disorders that hinder vitamin absorption, and reduced exposure to sunlight are some of the reasons that are responsible for the high numbers of individuals with vitamin deficiencies.
A 2006 CDC report on America’s nutritional status highlighted gaping discrepancies within the population regarding the consumption of vitamins and other important nutrients. The study, CDC’s Second Nutrition Report, incorporates data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) carried out between 2003 and 2006. In all, the study found that up to 10% of the American population had deficiencies for some of the micronutrients in the study, including important vitamins. Some subsequent studies have found that as much as 40% of the American adult population consume less than the recommended intake for vitamin A, E, C, and D.
These discrepancies are described in more detail below.
B Vitamins are a water-soluble class of vitamins that include vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid. For the CDC study, researchers analyzed blood and urine samples from volunteers to determine the concentration of vitamin B12 and B6. Younger people had a higher concentration of most B vitamins on average compared with people aged over 40 years. However, older people had a higher concentration of folic acid and vitamin B6.
The average concentration of folic acid was above the recommended daily intake, thanks to folic acid fortification in many food products. Still, vitamin B12 deficiency remains common, with up to 15% of the general population registering under par dietary intakes for this vitamin (Butler et al., 2006).
Vitamin C is a vital component of for the normal function of the immune and nervous systems. The lack of vitamin C commonly manifests as scurvy, a disease that is normally characterized by weight loss, fatigue, body aches, and pains. Vitamin C is readily available in many fruits and vegetables but is most abundant in tomatoes and citrus fruits.
Surveys by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that only 2% of children between the ages of 2 to 8 years had an estimated intake of vitamins below the recommended average (EWG, 2014). About 43% of adults ages 19 and above had vitamin C deficiency.
Vitamin A and E
Vitamin A, also called retinol, plays a critical role in maintaining proper health for the eyes, skin, and the immune system. Vitamin A and its precursor, beta-carotene, can be obtained from many common sources, including cheese, eggs, milk, papaya, spinach, carrots, and apricots.
Vitamin E is one of the body’s main antioxidants and is also responsible for maintaining the good health of the immune system, skin, and eyesight. Cereals, nuts, and plant oils are good sources of this vitamin, and since excess vitamin E is stored in the body, we usually have enough in stock when we can’t obtain it from our diet.
Early surveys by the CDC conducted prior to 2006 found that the average American population had adequate serum concentrations of vitamin A and E. CDC’s Second Nutrition Report, published using data collected prior to 2006 found that over 95% of the population had adequate amounts of these vitamins. However, some subsequent studies have found that up to 51% of American adults and 6% of 2 to 8-year olds consume less of vitamin A than is recommended (EWG, 2014). Even more alarming, up to 94% of adults above age 19 consume less than the recommended daily intake of vitamin E.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin used as one of the building blocks for good bone and muscle health. It also helps to boost immunity and prevents us from certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D is found in only a handful of foods, including mushrooms, liver, egg yolk, and fatty fish.
Vitamin D can also be obtained by basking in the sun. When the ultraviolet rays from the sun hit our skin, a biochemical reaction is initiated that results in the production of vitamin D.
Vitamin D has become a nutrient of concern in the United States, with a dismal number of people getting the required quantities. The 2006 report by the CDC found gaping discrepancies within the population, with up to 31% of non-Hispanic blacks suffering from vitamin D deficiency. That number has since gone up across all groups, with survey data from 2014 indicating that up to 95% of adult Americans above age 19 have dietary deficiencies of vitamin D.
Restoring the Micronutrient Balance: Natural Vitamin Supplements
Micronutrient supplements offer one of the best ways for fixing the dietary problem in the United States. Some studies have attributed the low concentration of vitamins and minerals within the population to dwindling organic deposits in the soil – claims that are still yet to be scientifically verified.
ImmuneSupport is a natural immune supplement that contains a delicate balance of important micronutrients to help bridge the dietary deficiency of vitamins and minerals. ImmuneSupport contains vitamins A, C, D, and B combined with zinc, selenium, and 6 different organic elements designed to provide all the necessary recommended micronutrients. ImmuneSupport was designed to fortify your body defenses which may protect you from disease while providing the necessary vitamins for a healthy lifestyle.