The Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies

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08/05/2013
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Interviewer:  In your practice you spend time with vitamins and supplements, what are some of the more common deficiencies, I guess, that you see that people have that come to you?

Dr. Tania Tyles Dempsey:  Probably the two most common would be Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D.  Those are the ones that are routinely checked so you'll find those very, very often.  Vitamin D deficiency is, you know, endemic basically.  Everybody has Vitamin D deficiency because we spend so much time indoors.  So that's common.  

But people with obesity, interestingly, have lower levels of Vitamin D than somebody who's not insulin resistant or obese.  So when I see those really low levels who's overweight, I already know what part of the problem is.  And yes, I have to give them Vitamin D.  

But what will happen is actually the Vitamin D will just be sucked into their fat cells and so they'll just remain deficient in their blood stream.  So you've got to get the weight down and you've got to reduce the inflammation.  Then they'll start absorbing the Vitamin D, and that's very important.

Vitamin D's actually important because it helps insulin resistance and helps the body with the metabolism.  So those two things go hand in hand.  So you have to get the Vitamin D's better to help obesity, but obesity definitely causes Vitamin D deficiency.  So that's definitely apparent.

The B-12 deficiency is also a concern because B-12's responsible for so many different processes in the body.  The metabolism is one.  The nervous system is another.  The brain, certainly, is affected by B-12.  And I see a lot of this.  And I think that a lot of this has to do with absorption problems.  People are damaging their gut.  And there's this concept of leaking gut that may be it leads down this path of poor absorption of many of these vitamins.

Interviewer:  I mean a lot of people want to try vitamins or supplements and there's millions of products out there.  Is it best to get advice from a professional to know, maybe, what you may need instead of just cherry-picking a number of products that are out there.

Dr. Tania Tyles Dempsey:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  It is overwhelming.  You know, I go to the store and I see what the patients have to choose from and I think how are they going to make this decision?  And then what I love is when patients come into the office and I ask them to bring all the bottles of stuff that they think they should be taking or they have been taking, and I am shocked at the quality or lack of quality in some of the products they bring in.  And these are common brands that are sold in every store.

Interviewer:  Um-hmm.

Dr. Tania Tyles Dempsey:  And they have a lot of fillers.  A lot of like soybean oil, and things like I'm thinking like why are they in this supplement?  What are they getting from this?  So it's the fillers with it.  And again, the quality of the product.  

And many of them are taking Vitamin D, bought it over the counter, but their Vitamin D levels are still low.

Interviewer:  Um-hmm.

Dr. Tania Tyles Dempsey:  So I think there's a, yeah, they need to talk to somebody that has experience with supplements to understand which ones they're going to get the best results with.

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Dr. Tania Tyles Dempsey works with vitamins and supplements in her practice. She discusses the most common deficiencies she sees as well as the challenges to get some patients up to normal levels. Also find out what you should know before buying your own vitamins and supplements.

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