Health Headlines
Vitamins + Supplements

Fatigue and Vitamin Deficiency

Most of us know what fatigue feels like. It’s hard to move, to accomplish tasks, to get up and go. Sometimes our tiredness is due to insomnia or a schedule that’s too heavy. But, according to the experts at Harvard Medical School, a vitamin deficiency may be to blame. Experts from Harvard Health Publications, which has published the special report Boosting Your Energy, say that it might be worthwhile to ask your doctor to check a few vitamin levels such as these:

Iron. If you don’t have enough red blood cells to furnish needed oxygen for the body, you may have anemia. The condition also occurs when the red blood cells carry an inadequate amount of the protein hemoglobin. The first sign of anemia, the Harvard experts say, is often fatigue. Your doctor can do a blood test to measure the number of red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin.

Vitamin B12. A good supply of B12 means your body will produce healthy red blood cells. But a lack of B12 may cause anemia, the Harvard experts say. Sometimes, it’s not easy to get enough B12: it becomes harder to absorb as you get older, and vegetarians and vegans may lack enough B12. Additionally, some illnesses such as inflammatory bowel disease can also block absorption. Oral supplements, dietary changes and even injections of B12 can help, the experts say.

Vitamin D. A lack of this vitamin, the Harvard experts say, can weaken bone and muscle strength. Unfortunately, there are only a few food sources of it, though your body can produce it when it is exposed to sunlight. Some nutritional sources include tuna and salmon, and in fortified products such as milk, orange juice and cereals. The Harvard experts also say supplements can help and that the D3 form is easier to absorb than other forms of vitamin D.

For more information, order the Harvard Health Publications special report Boosting Your Energy