Vitamin Deficiency?


Healthy Living Blog

by Rachelle Tetreault L,Ac


     Vitamins are essential for life and most cannot be synthesized directly in the body but must be maintained from diet or supplementation. They are organic substances that fall into two main categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins such as A,D,E, and K require a certain amount of fat to be fully absorbed and they are also stored longer in the body. In comparison, water-soluble vitamins like Vitamins B and C are absorbed much more readily but also excreted easier.

In Eastern Medicine, vitamin deficiency often reveals a deeper concern than basic supplementation to be given. It can often be a sign of poor nutrient absorption, slow metabolism, fatty liver issues, and blood deficiencies to name a few. Though supplementation is required, it is necessary to fully treat the root cause as well. It is not always diet-related in many instances. Assessing the patient fully will reveal if a deeper issue is present that can be rectified where supplementing the vitamin itself only topically treats the concern.

Vitamin A also known as Retinol or Retinal is detrimental to vision, growth, and development. It helps to strengthen the immune system overall specifically the mucous membranes and respiratory tract. It is also a major antioxidant. Deficiency signs can be follicular hyperkeratosis (tiny bumps on the skin), tooth and bone growth issues, impaired growth, and even night blindness. Great sources of Vitamin A are liver, chili peppers, fortified Vitamin A foods, kale, carrots, spinach, squash, broccoli, and even mangoes. Pregnant women and liver disease patients should avoid high doses above 2500 IU. In Eastern Medicine, the liver, kidney, and lung energy of the body is often showing some deficiency. The spleen in Eastern Medicine is in charge of nutrient absorption as a whole so nourishing the spleen itself will help the client overall with any type of vitamin deficiency or intestinal absorption issue. It symbolizes the pancreatic actions of western medicine.

Vitamin D is typically looked at as D2 which is derived from plant sources and D3 which comes from animal sources. Vitamin D is best known for promoting both calcium and phosphorous absorption from the intestines and increasing calcium deposits into bones. However, it also prevents many cancers and is also required for a healthy functioning thyroid. Good sources of Vitamin D include cold-water fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, and salmon. Also, dark-green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified milks provide a good source of Vitamin D. Sunlight is converted into Vitamin D, however in places with more than sufficient sunlight, Vitamin D deficiency remains prevalent. Eastern medicine looks at Vitamin D deficiency as also possible liver metabolism issues and both liver yin and stagnation may be present.

Vitamin B complex composed of many such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine all help with energy production, nerve function, blood cells, production of hormones, as well as brain and heart function. Best food sources include animal products, fermented plant foods, seeds, brown rice, whole grains, nuts, healthy oils, brewer’s yeast, legumes, liver, eggs, and fish. Eastern Medicine will nourish the spleen as well alongside supplementation to assure the body is able to utilize proper absorption of vitamin B.

The B vitamins also have a connection to both yin and kidney essence as well. Though deficiency of vitamins can also have a root cause, the deficiency itself creates more deficiencies in the body like spleen and liver deficiency. Often symptoms like peripheral neuropathy and memory problems will be noted. With spleen energy or yang deficiency, there will be delayed gastric emptying, constipation, weakness, and fatigue. Heart energy and yang deficiency is often seen in cases with tachycardia, heart failure, and cyanosis of both hands and feet.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can assist patients in many ways in avoiding overall deficiencies by maintaining proper food therapy, reducing stress, strengthening the spleen, regulating the immune system, and creating harmony with all the organs so the body works in unity for more optimal health. Acupuncture and acupressure alone can reduce overall stress in the body and help release feel-good endorphins. At the same time, acupuncture has been shown in much research to help improve and regulate the immune system.

Supplementation is vital in any vitamin deficiency and is best through proper diet and food therapy. However, often it is just a signal which reveals there is a lack of nutrient absorption or proper metabolism, or the liver is sluggish and stagnated. Eastern Medicine always strives to treat the root cause as well as treating the symptoms to ensure long-term results. Call today for your journey to optimal health! 772-353-1397