Diet: Five vitamins that are often lacking

Diet: Five vitamins that are often lacking

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You may need more of these five vitamins

Unlike our ancestors, most people no longer have to worry about drastic vitamin deficiency disorders. On the one hand, we are better informed about nutrition and, on the other hand, we have constant access to balanced foods. However, there are some vitamins that are often neglected. A nutritionist explains.

Mira llic is a nutritionist at the renowned Cleveland Clinic in the USA. In a recent contribution from the clinic, the nutrition specialist presents five important vitamins that are often neglected in our diet. It also gives tips on which foods can be used to ensure that more of these vitamins are ingested.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps keep nerve and blood cells healthy. The vitamin also supports the body's energy production and DNA. With increasing age, however, there is less acid in the stomach that is needed to release vitamin B12 from food, explains llic. Diseases such as Crohn's disease or drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, H2 blockers and the diabetes drug metformin can also affect the release.

Vitamin B12 is mainly obtained from animal foods such as:

  • Fish (e.g. herring, salmon and trout),
  • Clams,
  • Oysters,
  • Beef and calf liver,
  • Sea buckthorn berries,
  • Flesh,
  • Poultry,
  • Eggs,
  • Milk,
  • Dairy products (e.g. cheese, yoghurt),
  • fortified soy milk.

Some people find it difficult to meet their needs

“Vegetarians and vegans may be at higher risk of having too little B12 in their diet,” says Ilic. Fortified foods can help here. Even people over 50 years of age are at risk of not taking in sufficient amounts of vitamin B12. If in doubt, you should consult a doctor and take countermeasures in the event of a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Folic acid

Folic acid includes the many different forms of vitamin B9, which is responsible for the formation of red blood cells and healthy cell growth. In the first weeks of pregnancy, folic acid helps prevent birth defects. According to Ilic, many people don't get enough folic acid in their diet. “However, increasing daily consumption can be easier than you think,” emphasizes the nutritionist. There is a lot of folic acid in these foods:

  • Leafy green vegetables, or salads,
  • Fruits, in particular citrus fruits, melons and strawberries,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Asparagus,
  • Cabbage,
  • Whole grain products,
  • Wheat bran,
  • Legumes (e.g. beans, lentils and peas).

Vitamin D

An adequate supply of vitamin D is crucial so that your body can absorb calcium. This in turn is needed for healthy bones and teeth. A vitamin D deficiency is also associated with certain types of cancer and heart diseases, explains the nutrition expert. Unlike other vitamins, our main source of vitamin D is not the food, but the sun. However, there are some foods that serve as a natural source of vitamin D, such as:

  • Salmon,
  • Herring,
  • Eel,
  • Tuna,
  • Sardines,
  • Mushrooms,
  • Cheese,
  • Eggs.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is part of around 200 biochemical reactions in the human body. Above all, the vitamin is involved in regulating sleep, appetite and mood. It also has a key role in cognitive skills and immune function. Correct deficiency symptoms are rare with this vitamin, but especially the elderly often do not get the recommended daily dose. These foods contain a lot of vitamin B6:

  • Potatoes,
  • green leafy vegetables,
  • Cabbage,
  • Grain,
  • Wild rice,
  • Bananas,
  • Avocado,
  • Apple,
  • Chicken,
  • Legumes (such as chickpeas),
  • Nuts.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for eyesight, for healthy skin and for the immune system. It is contained in pre-formed vitamin A (retinol) and beta-carotene, which the body converts into an active form. Ilic recommends green, orange or yellow vegetables and fruits as good sources of beta-carotene, such as:

  • Carrots,
  • Sweet potatoes,
  • Kale,
  • Carrots,
  • Parsley,
  • Spinach,
  • Broccoli.

Some animal foods are also rich in pre-formed vitamin A, such as:

  • Eggs,
  • Milk,
  • Butter,
  • Cheese,
  • Liver.

"With a healthy, balanced diet, you can get your vitamin intake on the right track in no time at all," sums up nutritionist Mira llic. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • Cleveland Clinic: 5 Vitamins You May Need More of and Where To Get Them (published: May 29th, 2020),

Video: 10 Signs Your Body Needs More Magnesium (January 2023).