With common symptoms like fatigue, headaches and muscle pain – it can be easy to live unaware of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Unichem Cashel Head Pharmacist Annabel Turley tells Metropol how treating these issues can be simple – but greatly improve quality of life.
What is a vitamin and mineral deficiency, and how do they happen?
“It is when you’re not getting enough nutrients like vitamins and minerals from your diet, or you’re taking medications that deplete the vitamins and minerals in your body. There’s a number of common medications which many people in New Zealand take which can prevent vitamins and minerals being absorbed into the body. Our soil also doesn’t have a lot of minerals in it, so we don’t always get enough from our food. A lot of people don’t understand a vitamin and mineral deficiency can affect your overall health – and it can be so simple to fix.”
Can you tell if you are deficient?
“The symptoms are similar to a number of common complaints, like migraines, headaches, muscle pain and cramps, and low energy levels – so it can be hard for the untrained eye to determine what may be behind these common issues. You can get a blood test to see your iron levels or B12, but a lot of vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be treated via the symptoms. Our staff are all trained specifically to spot these symptoms, and to provide appropriate and informed advice.”
How can these issues be treated?
“It can be as simple as taking a multi-vitamin for some people who may be having general signs of vitamin or mineral deficiency – but not all vitamin supplements are created equally. It is best to seek advice from someone who has been trained and upskilled to not only spot symptoms, but to advise on the specific type of supplement.
“For example, not all supplements can easily be absorbed by the body so there are different forms which are better for different conditions and to be used with different medications.”
Find Unichem Pharmacy at 111 Cashel Street from Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 5pm.
To really harness the most of summer, we need the energy to play, socialise, and relish those long, hot, heady summer days. Apart from our glorious, energy-giving natural sunshine, we look at five of the best ways to supplement our natural vigour.
Vitamin D Yes, we used to think this came in buckets in summertime, but as we are all lathering on the suntan lotion and seeking the cool shade, we don’t get as much as we think in Aotearoa. Proximity to the equator is also a factor. Functioning as a hormone, every cell in the body has a receptor for it. Even a mild vitamin D deficiency, which is very common, can cause fatigue and tiredness.
Support your muscles Supplements to support muscles while enjoying summer sports and activities can help stave off fatigue and injury – summer is no fun with sore hamstrings. Vitality NZ’s product ‘Muscle Performance’ harnesses active ingredients such as anthocyanins in blackcurrants to aid muscle recovery. Also, protein powders to help build and repair muscles have come along way, with organic and plant-based powders an option.
Vitamin C Vitamin C is essential all year round, but in summer it can help the body manage heat so there is more energy to keep going on long, hot days. It can also help ward off heatstroke and rashes, especially the prickly heat type. Energy-zapping summer colds are easy to catch too, so keep up the vitamin C, which our body needs regularly and consistently.
Vitamin B A good B-complex supplement taken daily can certainly amp up the energy levels. Also, a handy summer tip: Thiamine, vitamin B1 – which is usually in a decent dosage (50 to 100mg) in B-vitamin supplements – can be a deterrent for those pesky, biting insects if taken at least 10 days before and during exposure.
Hormonal help Menopausal symptoms, PMS and fluctuating hormones sure can cramp your style during summer holiday season. A good supplement, recommended by a health practitioner, to keep hormones in check can work in synergy with a healthy lifestyle. Vitality NZ harnesses blackcurrant oil in their Women’s Health formula, one which helps fluctuating hormones, as well as boosts summer skin, hair and nails.