Nutritional deficiency: an inadequate supply of essential nutrients (as vitamins and minerals) in the diet resulting in malnutrition or disease.
Nutritional deficiencies are common among most people. In the first link below Dr. Rhonda Patrick talks about how people who don’t take a multivitamin have inadequate vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A. I am not prescribing vitamins but I want to give you an idea of how common it is to be deficient. She goes on to discuss that people who take a multivitamin can still be deficient in these vitamins.
If you remember in my last article I talk about optimal levels. I talk about how you don’t have to be deficient in something to feel the symptoms of not being at optimal levels. Now, the best way to know what your levels are at, of anything whether it be hormones or vitamins, is to get blood work. But once you get blood work done you are probably asking “what is an optimal level?” This is where I believe a dietitian can play a huge role. There are many experts online that give free info on such things. My favorites on nutrition are Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Dr. Eric Serrano, and Stan Efferding. Playing with your levels, to a degree, shouldn’t be harmful. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND GETTING YOUR VITAMINS FROM FOOD FIRST! Meaning if you are low in a vitamin try to consume the food that has an abundance of it before mega-dosing with a vitamin supplement.
Let’s talk about absorption. Many people like to go out and buy a multivitamin that has every vitamin and mineral. Getting the multivitamin that has 3000% of each thing. Don’t do this. Please. Certain vitamins inhibit other vitamin absorption so you might as well throw that pill into the toilet and save some of your time. Calcium is notorious for this. Calcium is known to inhibit iron and zinc. So if you are taking one of these I would avoid taking them with foods that are high in calcium such as dairy unless prescribed by a doctor or dietitian. Now there is also the opposite, certain vitamins increase absorption. For example, Vitamin D helps calcium absorption. Keep this in mind when taking certain supplements or about to buy some multivitamins that guarantee everything in them.
I am sure you are reading this saying “well I eat healthily and take a multivitamin so I am probably at optimal levels let alone deficient in the vitamin.” For that reason, Let me share my experience with vitamin deficiency. When training more constantly I would eat red meat as my main source of protein, for more than half my meals. But during this time I was becoming chronically tired, yawning throughout the day, not recovering from workouts, and craving ice-cold water constantly. When I say poor recovery, I mean it once took 7 days to recover from a hamstring workout. I first tried to increase my sleep time from 7-8 hours to over 9 hours; it didn’t work. I started increasing some anaerobic training thinking this would assist in recovery; now I wasn’t recovering from the anaerobic training. I finally reduced my time lifting weights: which made a moderate difference but decreased my progression. I finally spoke to two different nutritionists. One recommended B vitamins supplement (which I was already taking) and the other recommended an adrenal cleanse. Both did not work. Finally, I had a blood test that showed I was deficient in Iron. Now, if you are thinking this makes no sense considering the amount of red meat I was eating you would be spot on. But then I had another that showed the same results. I started supplementing with 15 mg of iron and after 2 days, my energy levels increased to the equivalent of feeling as though I drank 3 cups of coffee. My workout recovery improved, naps during the day were no longer necessary, and I barely yawn now. It also resulted in drinking far less caffeine. This could be from multiple factors but either way, it’s important to check what you might be missing.
By the way, your fancy pre-workout is not going to fix your vitamin deficiency but it will mask it.
Dr. Rhonda Patrick
Calcium and Iron
Calcium and Zinc
Vitamin D and Calcium
Examples of Combinations of Vitamin’s