Exercise and 5 Common Nutrition Deficiencies

A nutritional deficiency could be affecting your lifestyle and performance. Look out for the signs and stay in top shape

One of the most common signs is a reduction in energy and an increase perceived effort to train. Another is being more susceptible to illnesses and taking longer to recover between training sessions. It is vital to eat a wide variety of unprocessed foods, consume enough calories to meet energy and nutrient needs.

Having a well-balanced diet helps your body stay healthy, you know that, but here are the most common deficiencies to be aware of.

1/ Iron

Importance: Helps red blood cells transport oxygen around the body, it’s key for energy production. Females are more prone to low iron due to the menstrual cycle. However, sweating lowers iron stores so affect all. 

Warning signs:A decline in training performance, frequenttiredness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations and pale complexion. 

Food sources: Lean red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, beans, nuts and dried fruit. Vitamin C also helps your body to absorb iron.

2/ Vitamin D

Importance: Essential for bone health. It maintains and regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. 

Warning Signs: Low mood, aching bones, aching muscles.

Food Sources: Oily fish, eggs, fortified cereals. The primary source though is sunlight. 

3/ Magnesium

Importance: Helps to turn food into energy. Promotes good bone health.

Warning Signs: Muscle spasms and cramps, anxiety, and irregular heart rhythms. Other signs include dizziness and confusion.

Food Sources: Green leafy vegetables, brown rice, nuts, fish, meat, dairy and wholegrain bread.

4/ Vitamin B12

Importance: Helps keep the nerve and blood cells healthy. Helps prevent a type of anaemia which causes tiredness and weakness. 

Warning Signs: Tiredness, lack of energy, weak muscles, a sore tongue, pins and needles and depression. Vegans are at higher risk of this deficiency.

Food Sources: Meat, salmon, cod, milk, cheese, eggs and some fortified breakfast cereals.

5/ Zinc

Importance: Key for immune function, helps the body process carbohydrate, fat and protein.

Warning Signs:Hair loss, loss of appetite and a weakened immune system

Food Sources: Lean meat, shellfish, milk, dairy, bread and cereal products.

If you have any concerns regarding your diet or if you suspect any of the above it is very important to speak to your GP or nutritionist. The above information is only a guide and should only be used as information as to how food and nutrition may affect exercise lifestyle and performance. 

Alex Cann

AC Running and Fitness