Do you find yourself constantly craving a midday nap? Do you feel the urge to reach for an afternoon cup of coffee? Do you wake up feeling lethargic but struggle to fall asleep at night? This may not only be a result of your sleep quality; you might be struggling with a few common vitamin deficiencies.
Here are some common vitamin deficiencies that may lead to fatigue:
Iron - The Oxygenator
Iron deficiencies are common and can especially be a concern for women who are menstruating. Lack of sufficient amounts of food-source iron can also lead to anemia. Iron-deficiency anemia is caused when the body is low in iron and can cause fatigue or tiredness.1 Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin - a protein that helps your red blood cells carry oxygen. Without enough oxygen in your blood, you may feel tired and weak. Luckily, iron-rich foods, including beets, dark leafy greens (such as spinach, kale, broccoli), nuts and fruits (such as raisins, figs, and prunes), can help get your iron levels back on track. Iron supplements are also available - but its best to avoid the constipating ferrous fumarate type of iron and opt for natural food-source iron instead.
Vitamin B12 - The Powerhouse
Vitamin B12 is a common deficiency, impacting up to 15% of the population. When your body doesn’t have enough vitamin B12, it may not be able to create adequate amounts of red blood cells. If you do not have enough red blood cells, you cannot effectively transport oxygen throughout your body. This can result in feeling tired and weak.2 Excellent food sources of vitamin B12 are from wild-caught fish (such as salmon, tuna and trout). Fermented B12 nutritional supplements are also available which can be quite effective.
Magnesium - The Neuralizer
If you are constantly feeling fatigued, a magnesium deficiency might also be to blame. Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate many reactions in the body, including assisting in the regulation of your nervous system and conversion of foods into glucose that can then be used for energy.3 If you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet, you may experience feelings of fatigue or weakness. You may also lose your appetite or feel nauseous. Spinach and other greens, nuts and seeds, avocados and black beans are delicious sources of magnesium that can easily be added to your diet for a magnesium boost.
Magnesium nutritional supplements are also available. A preferred form is magnesium lactate or ionic minerals (rich in magnesium) from Utah's Great Salt Lake.
Vitamin D - The Harmonizer
A shortage of vitamin D in the body can also lead to feeling fatigued or exhausted. Vitamin D is critical for bone mineralization, but it also helps control cell growth and inflammation.4 When you are deficient in vitamin D, you might feel more tired and fatigued.5 Vitamin D is produced in your skin when you are exposed to sunlight, but you can also obtain excellent amounts from eating wild-caught fish (such as salmon, cod, and tuna), or from sources such as mushrooms. Vitamin D as vitamin D3 is also available as a nutritional supplement. Be sure to purchase your vitamin D3 product from a reputable company that avoids the use of toxic excipients such as magnesium stearate.
- “Iron-Deficiency Anemia.” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/iron-deficiency-anemia.
- “11 Symptoms of Vitamin B-12 Deficiency.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324265#about.
- Milanowski, Ann. “Feeling Fatigued? Could It Be Magnesium Deficiency? (And If So, What to Do About It!).” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 15 May 2019, health.clevelandclinic.org/feeling-fatigued-could-it-be-magnesium-deficiency-and-if-so-what-to-do-about-it/.
- “Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/.
- Roy, Satyajeet, et al. “Correction of Low Vitamin D Improves Fatigue: Effect of Correction of Low Vitamin D in Fatigue Study (EViDiF Study).” North American Journal of Medical Sciences, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, Aug. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158648/.