10 Interesting Facts About Being Unable to Sleep

10 Interesting Facts About Being Unable to Sleep

Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The contents of this website are for informational purposes only.

It’s around 2 or 3 in the morning, isn’t it? You’re still up tossing and turning, so the first thing you do is pull out your phone, and Google “can’t sleep”. You click on a page about insomnia and find symptoms for sleep disorders:

Maybe this is you, maybe it's not. But either way, here is some quick advice. Turn off your phone, get a cold drink of water, maybe take a quick stroll around the block, and go back to bed.

The blue light from your device is only keeping you up. You can finish this article tomorrow, and please do! It might have some useful data for you. But get some rest, you deserve it!

Now, if you're still reading, hopefully, you picked this article up during the day, or you ignored me. Which is fine, you don’t know me. Either way, here are 10 facts that you may not have known about sleep disorders among our population (adults & children).


There are two types of insomnia.

Acute and chronic insomnia are the two most common types of condition that people are diagnosed with.

Acute vs Chronic Insomnia Illustration

“Acute insomnia symptoms is common and often is brought on by situations such as stress at work in adults, family pressures, or a traumatic event. Acute insomnia lasts for days or weeks (multiple times per week). Chronic insomnia lasts for a month or longer. Most cases of chronic insomnia are secondary, which means they are the symptom or side effect of some other problem.” — National Heart Lung and Blood Institute [1]


The statistics might surprise you.

Insomnia is the most common sleeping disorder in our population. This is how many people suffer from the disorder.

30 Percent of People that Suffer from Insomnia

According to the data, “About 30% of all adults complain of occasional insomnia and 10% of chronic insomnia, of whom 40% may have a psychiatric illness.” — Dr. Sahoo Saddichha [2]

95% of Americans say they have insomnia at some point in their life.” — Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA [3]

It is twice as common in women.

Women are twice as likely to suffer when compared to men. Experts say that a variety of hormones likely play a role in poor sleep quality. Here are some other statistics relating to women’s health and sleeplessness that are noteworthy.

“The rate of insomnia is approximately 12.6% at the beginning of pregnancy, increasing as the pregnancy progresses up to 73.5% in some women.” — Obstetric Medicine [4]

Illustration of a Pregnant Woman Sleeping

“Insomnia occurs in 40–50% of women population during the menopausal transition.” — Dr. Pronob K. Dalal [5]

No one is too young to be affected.

Children and teens potentially need more rest than adults. This disorder can be troubling for them as well as their parents.

“Approximately 25% of children experience difficulties with some aspect of sleep.” — Jennifer Vrien, Ph.D. and Penny Corkum Ph.D [6]

Illustration Of a Little Girl Suffering from Insomnia

“Insomnia symptoms during adolescence were a significant risk factors for depression diagnosis in young adulthood…” — Brandy M. Roane, MS and Daniel J. Taylor, PhD [7]

“Children sleep more poorly if their mothers suffer from insomnia symptoms – potentially affecting their mental wellbeing and development.” — Dr. Sakari Lemola [8]

Substance abuse and the ability to snooze are strongly linked.

There is a strong link between sleeplessness and certain substances like caffeine, alcohol, and even nicotine. These have causation that can run both ways. Example, this disorder can cause addiction versus the addiction causing restless nights.

Binge drinkers have 35% higher chances of insomnia than non-binge drinkers. — John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health [9]

“A moderate dose of caffeine at bedtime, 3 hours prior to bedtime, or 6 hours prior to bedtime each have significant effects on sleep disturbance…” — Medical Professionals from Sleep Disorders & Research Center, Henry Ford Hospital [10]

Young Woman Drinking Late Night Coffee Illustration

“Compared with nonsmokers, heavy/continuous smokers had a significantly higher likelihood of insomnia.” — Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine [11]


It gets worse as you age.

As adults continue to get older, they often struggle to get the shut-eye they need.

Elderly Man Can't Sleep Illustration

“More than half of men and women over age 65 complain of at least one sleep problem. Many older people experience insomnia and other sleep difficulties on a regular basis.” — Cleveland Clinic [12]


Insomnia puts you at risk for mental disorders and vice versa.

The findings show that sleep deprivation in some form is present among most psychiatric disorders. The question remains for many suffering with these conditions, which came first, sleeplessness or the psychiatric disorder?

65% to 90% of adult patients with major depression, and about 90% of children with this disorder, experience some kind of sleep problem.” — Harvard Health Publishing [13]

Illustration of Man Having a Panic Attack

“People with insomnia were 20 times more likely to develop a panic disorder (a type of anxiety disorder).” — Harvard Medical [13]

Sleeplessness among workers cost the economy billions every year.

Sleep deprivation takes a heavy toll on work, and the economy. Research shows that getting less than 8 hours of rest per night takes a large chunk of money from workers and employers alike.

“Insomnia is costing the average U.S. worker 11.3 days, or $2,280 in lost productivity every year. “ — American Academy of Sleep Medicine [14]

As a nation, the total (insomnia) cost is 252.7 days and $63.2 billion.” — American Academy of Sleep Medicine [14]

Blue collar laborers are 2x more likely to face insomnia. These findings become even more severe for people who work the night shift. [15], [16]


Not getting enough rest can kill you.

Both sad and scary, but severe conditions can lead people to death, so if this sounds like you: listen up!

“In 2010, hypnotics (sleep medication) may have been associated with 320,000 to 507,000 excess deaths in the USA alone.” — Daniel F Kripke, M.D.; Robert D Langer, M.D; Lawrence E Kline, M.D. [17]

In the ’80s, a 53-year-old man who had progressive insomnia was put into a coma after 9 months of symptoms. He died shortly after. — The New England Journal of Medicine [18]
“Persistent insomnia linked to 58% higher risk of death.” — Catharine Paddock Ph.D. [19]

Link Between Chronic Insomnia and Death Risk Chart

You can blame your parents for your bedtime woes.

You can’t blame your parents for everything not going well in your life, but this one might be partly their fault. The data shows people's ancestor may have passed their restless nights onto them. Here’s how.

Happy Family Illustration

Two separate studies conclude that over one-third of insomnia population cases have a family history of sleep disturbances. — Medical Experts from Université Laval in Québec, Canada [20]

Scientist have found 7 genes associated with insomnia. — Researchers from Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam in the Netherlands [21]


Oh sleep, Oh gentle sleep,

Nature's soft nurse How have I frighted thee?

That though no more will weigh mine eyelids down

And sleep my senses in forgetfulness?

Henry IV, William Shakespeare

Acute and chronic cases of sleeplessness can be serious factors for so many people. It can take a heavy toll, leaving a serious impact on performance and your life in general. If you think your problem may be chronic, consult your doctor to begin your path to recovery. Hopefully, you can find the rest you need and deserve.

How to Increase Your Pre Workout Energy and Improve Your Gains

How to Increase Your Pre Workout Energy and Improve Your Gains

It's every lifter's worst nightmare; you're on the way to the gym, but you just aren't feeling it. Energy levels are down, you're feeling lethargic, and the weights just aren't moving like they usually do. Looking for more energy for your workouts is a universal quest for gym-goers, as you’re always trying to find the right edge and help you maximize your gains. Various routines, natural ingredients, and supplements can help you boost your energy levels for your next workout. 

Infographic showing how to boost energy before your workout.

Dial In Rest and Recovery

Sleep has proven itself a crucial part of getting the most out of your workouts. By sleeping the recommended amount every night, you allow your body to recover from the hard workouts you put yourself through while ensuring you have the energy you need for your next workout. If you aren't taking care of yourself after your workouts, you can't be at your best for the next one. 

Food Choices Matter

The phrase "you can't outwork a bad diet" applies to your energy levels, along with your nutrition and workout goals. You can prioritize certain foods in your diet that can help improve your energy levels during your workouts. Fruits such as bananas, watermelon, pineapple, and the like provide you with natural sugars to help fuel you throughout the day and prior to your next workout. Unlike added sugar, these fruits also provide your system with additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals to boost energy levels and provide you with a balanced diet needed to maximize your gains moving forward. 

Coffee and Green Tea Extract

Caffeine's well-documented status as a beneficial stimulant goes beyond waking you up in the morning before getting into work. When taken an hour before your next workout, caffeine provides you with a boost of energy to help power through even the hardest of workouts. Coffee and green tea extract are some of the most common forms of supplemental caffeine that people have used to get that extra energy boost before their next workout.

Energy Supplements 

Sometimes even the dialed-in nutrition, sleep schedule, and coffee intake aren't enough to get you through your next workout at the levels you want. In the face of this predicament, you do have some options to help give you that needed boost. Feed Me More's Wake Up Energy zero-calorie pre-workout powder gives you that extra oomph you need to power through the next grueling workout. Made without artificial sweeteners or added colors, Wake Up Energy provides you with a Keto and Intermittent Fasting friendly supplement that won't throw your macros out of whack.  

Everyone needs a little extra energy boost from time to time, especially for intense workouts. Understanding the variety of options you have to boost your energy levels is crucial to ensure that you get the most out of your next workout. With the help of Feed Me More Nutrition's Wake Up Energy and our line of aspartame-free protein powders, you can take your energy levels and your subsequent workouts to the next level! 

10 Smarter Ways to Boost Your Immunity Naturally

10 Smarter Ways to Boost Your Immunity Naturally

Description: With living conditions in this world getting worse by day, many individuals are worried about their health. Multiple emergencies of chronic diseases and viruses have created an atmosphere of concern. So how can you boost immunity for health safety?

The General Concern

The rising alarm of poor health conditions has influenced experts to develop new ways to ensure people can still live a healthy life despite the pollution and the food they consume. Many have been persistent in sticking to natural remedies since there isn't a better way to solve this issue. It is the same reason why sports nutrition has transformed from artificial supplements to fresh, natural, and rich foods. Let's consider the best ways to boost immunity.

Natural Ways to Boost Immunity

It is essential to learn how to boost immunity naturally to be on the safer side of the expected results. The alternatives include:

    1. Sleeping Enough

Sleep is undeniably among the best approaches to boost immunity. When you’re asleep, all your nerves are calm, and at this point, you are in a state of rest. Every kind of stress point will be off, both muscles and internal organs, and you also get to free yourself from the real world's pressure. Sleep is the best solution to boost immunity in toddlers (the reason kids should sleep for 8 – 10 hours), and at that stage, your body fights against diseases better (relating to why patients get bed rests).

    2. Opt for Healthier Fats

There are many natural sources of fats that often get neglected. Sourcing your daily fats consumption from the foods to boost immunity like nuts, avocadoes, fish, seeds, and natural oils will significantly benefit your health. Not only will you get the best fats content, but you’ll also give your boost immunity against chronic diseases and any inflammatory conditions. The result will reduce the risks of heart attack and type 2 diabetes.

    3. Cut Off Added Sugar

Another major cause of heart complications and type 2 diabetes is added sugar. Added sugar contributes to intensive weight gain that can lead to obesity. The latter will put you at a high risk of the earlier mentioned conditions. Cutting off added sugar and substituting them with honey and sugarcane will keep you healthy.

    4. Drink Lots of Water

Often regarded as a natural cleanser, water is the best way to boost immunity. Your blood is 92% water, which should be a clear indication that every other system, including breathing, pumping of blood in and out of your heart, and your brain's functionality, is dependent on this liquid. Other than that, your kidney function to filter waste relies on water and your digestive system. Staying hydrated will give you outstanding physical and mental performance since all systems are running correctly in your body.

    5. Use Healthy Supplements

Getting supplements to boost immunity should be crucial to prevent you from certain conditions and give you an overall healthy life. It’s also essential that you source these supplements from natural foods rather than artificial ones. Supplementing your body with vitamins will prevent you suffering from conditions such as rickets, scurvy, and blindness resulting from lacking Vitamin D, C, and A. Mineral supplements such as zinc, selenium, calcium, and essential fats will give you strong bones and teeth and help resolve normal body conditions like the common cold.

    6. Consume Natural Plant Foods

Whole plant foods should be the best choice for your meal. When you include fresh leafy vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, herbs, spices, carrots, zucchinis, onions, courgettes, etc., in your diet, you will end up getting vitamins to boost immunity. Whole plant foods are more natural, and they require fewer conditions to cook them, which makes it easier because by boiling or steaming them or even making a salad from them will be enough. Herbs and spices have a lot of benefits for your body that promote a generally healthy life.

    7. Slide-in Probiotic Supplements in Your Diet

Your gut holds about 80% of your immunity, and it is only fair if you did a great job on it. Many bacteria eventually cause diseases and conditions that come from your digestive system. The best way to fight them is by introducing fellow bacteria (but in this case, a good one). Probiotic products introduce bacteria that fight off the harmful bacteria in your gut. The sources include yogurt, pickles, kombucha, and kimchi.

    8. Work Out

There are tons of benefits of exercises, including:

  • Improving your mood and mental sharpness
  • Reduced risk of heart illnesses and cancer
  • It’s a substitute to unhealthy addictions
  • Controls your weight, insulin, and blood sugar levels
  • Contributes to healthy muscles and bones
  • Influences good sleep and good sexual health

It would be best if you didn't forget to eat properly after a workout, such as an immunity boost smoothie as a post-workout snack.

    9. Have Good Stress Management Skills

Stress is a part of everyday life as we face different challenges each day, which results in unhealthy living. Having the best stress management skills will assure you of an extraordinary experience altogether as you will be able to look and feel good. Whether you choose music or yoga, don't forget to carry with you an immunity boost juice serving.

    10. Avoid Processed Foods

There are multiple health risks of processed foods. They are calorie-dense and can cause addiction, increase cancer risk, stuffed with artificial ingredients, contain lots of sodium, fats, and sugar, and don't have much nutrition value. Instead of consuming processed food, opt for foods to boost immunity such as whole grains, whole plant foods, healthy animal protein, herbs and spices, and lots of fruits.


Having a healthy life requires you to consider not only your diet but your lifestyle as well. Something as simple as walking or cycling to the stores rather than driving the short distance will benefit you in one way or another. Eating the right foods should not be compromised if you want to boost immunity. You can seek assistance from fellow friends, family, or professionals if you find it hard to adapt to a healthy lifestyle on your own.

Are you living a healthy life? Would you want to boost your immunity? What are you doing about it? Leave a comment.

Author’s bio:

Rachel Burns has been writing on topics related to fitness and healthy eating for 2 years now. As a mother, she really appreciates the ease of raising children with her advice.

Rachel specializes in plant-based diets. In addition to nutrition, she is also an exercise enthusiast

Micronutrients: Types, Functions, Benefits and More

Micronutrients: Types, Functions, Benefits and More

[Original Article]

Micronutrients are one of the major groups of nutrients your body needs. They include vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins are necessary for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions. Meanwhile, minerals play an important role in growth, bone health, fluid balance and several other processes.

This article provides a detailed overview of micronutrients, their functions and implications of excess consumption or deficiency.

The term micronutrients is used to describe vitamins and minerals in general.

Macronutrients, on the other hand, include proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

Your body needs smaller amounts of micronutrients relative to macronutrients. That’s why they’re labeled “micro.”

Humans must obtain micronutrients from food since your body cannot produce vitamins and minerals — for the most part. That’s why they’re also referred to as essential nutrients.

Vitamins are organic compounds made by plants and animals which can be broken down by heat, acid or air. On the other hand, minerals are inorganic, exist in soil or water and cannot be broken down.

When you eat, you consume the vitamins that plants and animals created or the minerals they absorbed.

The micronutrient content of each food is different, so it’s best to eat a variety of foods to get enough vitamins and minerals.

An adequate intake of all micronutrients is necessary for optimal health, as each vitamin and mineral has a specific role in your body.

Vitamins and minerals are vital for growth, immune function, brain development and many other important functions (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

Depending on their function, certain micronutrients also play a role in preventing and fighting disease (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).


Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. They’re critical for several important functions in your body and must be consumed from food.

Vitamins and minerals can be divided into four categories: water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macrominerals and trace minerals.

Regardless of type, vitamins and minerals are absorbed in similar ways in your body and interact in many processes.


Water-Soluble Vitamins

Most vitamins dissolve in water and are therefore known as water-soluble. They’re not easily stored in your body and get flushed out with urine when consumed in excess.

While each water-soluble vitamin has a unique role, their functions are related.

For example, most B vitamins act as coenzymes that help trigger important chemical reactions. A lot of these reactions are necessary for energy production.

The water-soluble vitamins — with some of their functions — are:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Helps convert nutrients into energy (7).
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Necessary for energy production, cell function and fat metabolism (8).
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): Drives the production of energy from food (9, 10).
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Necessary for fatty acid synthesis (11).
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Helps your body release sugar from stored carbohydrates for energy and create red blood cells (12).
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin): Plays a role in the metabolism of fatty acids, amino acids and glucose (13).
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): Important for proper cell division (14).
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): Necessary for red blood cell formation and proper nervous system and brain function (15).
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): Required for the creation of neurotransmitters and collagen, the main protein in your skin (16).

As you can see, water-soluble vitamins play an important role in producing energy but also have several other functions.

Since these vitamins are not stored in your body, it’s important to get enough of them from food.

Sources and Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) or Adequate Intakes (AIs) of water-soluble vitamins are (7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16):

Nutrient Sources RDA or AI (adults > 19 years)
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) Whole grains, meat, fish 1.1–1.2 mg
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Organ meats, eggs, milk 1.1–1.3 mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin) Meat, salmon, leafy greens, beans 14–16 mg
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) Organ meats, mushrooms, tuna, avocado 5 mg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) Fish, milk, carrots, potatoes 1.3 mg
Vitamin B7 (biotin) Eggs, almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes 30 mcg
Vitamin B9 (folate) Beef, liver, black-eyed peas, spinach, asparagus 400 mg
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) Clams, fish, meat 2.4 mcg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) Citrus fruits, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts 75–90 mg

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins do not dissolve in water.

They’re best absorbed when consumed alongside a source of fat. After consumption, fat-soluble vitamins are stored in your liver and fatty tissues for future use.

The names and functions of fat-soluble vitamins are:

  • Vitamin A: Necessary for proper vision and organ function (17).
  • Vitamin D: Promotes proper immune function and assists in calcium absorption and bone growth (18).
  • Vitamin E: Assists immune function and acts as an antioxidant that protects cells from damage (19).
  • Vitamin K: Required for blood clotting and proper bone development (20).

Sources and recommended intakes of fat-soluble vitamins are (17, 18, 19, 20):

Nutrient Sources RDA or AI (adults > 19 years)
Vitamin A Retinol (liver, dairy, fish), carotenoids (sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach) 700–900 mcg
Vitamin D Sunlight, fish oil, milk 600–800 IU
Vitamin E Sunflower seeds, wheat germ, almonds 15 mg
Vitamin K Leafy greens, soybeans, pumpkin 90–120 mcg


Macrominerals are needed in larger amounts than trace minerals in order to perform their specific roles in your body.

The macrominerals and some of their functions are:

  • Calcium: Necessary for proper structure and function of bones and teeth. Assists in muscle function and blood vessel contraction (21).
  • Phosphorus: Part of bone and cell membrane structure (22).
  • Magnesium: Assists with over 300 enzyme reactions, including regulation of blood pressure (23).
  • Sodium: Electrolyte that aids fluid balance and maintenance of blood pressure (24Trusted Source).
  • Chloride: Often found in combination with sodium. Helps maintain fluid balance and is used to make digestive juices (25).
  • Potassium: Electrolyte that maintains fluid status in cells and helps with nerve transmission and muscle function (26).
  • Sulfur: Part of every living tissue and contained in the amino acids methionine and cysteine (27Trusted Source).

Sources and recommended intakes of the macrominerals are (21, 22, 23, 24Trusted Source, 25, 26, 27Trusted Source):

Nutrient Sources RDA or AI (adults > 19 years)
Calcium Milk products, leafy greens, broccoli 2,000–2,500 mg
Phosphorus Salmon, yogurt, turkey 700 mg
Magnesium Almonds, cashews, black beans 310–420 mg
Sodium Salt, processed foods, canned soup 2,300 mg
Chloride Seaweed, salt, celery 1,800–2,300 mg
Potassium Lentils, acorn squash, bananas 4,700 mg
Sulfur Garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, eggs, mineral water None established

Trace Minerals 

Trace minerals are needed in smaller amounts than macrominerals but still enable important functions in your body.

The trace minerals and some of their functions are:

  • Iron: Helps provide oxygen to muscles and assists in the creation of certain hormones (28).
  • Manganese: Assists in carbohydrate, amino acid and cholesterol metabolism (29).
  • Copper: Required for connective tissue formation, as well as normal brain and nervous system function (30).
  • Zinc: Necessary for normal growth, immune function and wound healing (31).
  • Iodine: Assists in thyroid regulation (32).
  • Fluoride: Necessary for the development of bones and teeth (33).
  • Selenium: Important for thyroid health, reproduction and defense against oxidative damage (34).

Sources and recommended intakes of trace minerals are (28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34):

Nutrient Sources RDA or AI (adults > 19 years)
Iron Oysters, white beans, spinach 8–18 mg
Manganese Pineapple, pecans, peanuts 1.8–2.3 mg
Copper Liver, crabs, cashews 900 mcg
Zinc Oysters, crab, chickpeas 8–11 mg
Iodine Seaweed, cod, yogurt 150 mcg
Fluoride Fruit juice, water, crab 3–4 mg
Selenium Brazil nuts, sardines, ham 55 mcg
Micronutrients can be divided into four groups — water-soluble vitamins, fat-soluble vitamins, macrominerals and trace minerals. The functions, food sources and recommended intakes of each vitamin and mineral vary.


Health Benefits of Micronutrients

All micronutrients are extremely important for the proper functioning of your body.

Consuming an adequate amount of the different vitamins and minerals is key to optimal health and may even help fight disease.

This is because micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Moreover, certain vitamins and minerals can act as antioxidants.

Antioxidants may protect against cell damage that has been associated with certain diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source, 37Trusted Source).

For example, research has linked an adequate dietary intake of vitamins A and C with a lower risk of some types of cancer (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).

Getting enough of some vitamins may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. A review of seven studies found that adequate dietary intake of vitamins E, C and A is associated with a 24%, 17% and 12% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s, respectively (6Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).

Certain minerals may also play a role in preventing and fighting disease.

Research has linked low blood levels of selenium to a higher risk of heart disease. A review of observational studies found that the risk of heart disease decreased by 24% when blood concentrations of selenium increased by 50% (39Trusted Source).

Additionally, a review of 22 studies noticed that adequate calcium intake decreases the risk of death from heart disease and all other causes (40Trusted Source).

These studies suggest that consuming enough of all micronutrients — especially those with antioxidant properties — provides ample health benefits.

However, it’s unclear whether consuming more than the recommended amounts of certain micronutrients — either from foods or supplements — offers additional benefits (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).


Micronutrients are part of nearly every process in your body. Some even act as antioxidants. Due to their important role in health, they may protect against diseases.

Micronutrients are needed in specific amounts to perform their unique functions in your body.

Getting too much or too little of a vitamin or mineral can lead to negative side effects.


Most healthy adults can get an adequate amount of micronutrients from a balanced diet, but there are some common nutrient deficiencies that affect certain populations.

These include:

  • Vitamin D: Approximately 77% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, mostly due to lack of sun exposure (43Trusted Source).
  • Vitamin B12: Vegans and vegetarians may develop vitamin B12 deficiency from refraining from animal products. Elderly individuals are also at risk due to decreased absorption with age (44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
  • Vitamin A: The diets of women and children in developing countries often lack adequate vitamin A (46Trusted Source).
  • Iron: Deficiency of this mineral is common among preschool children, menstruating women and vegans (47Trusted Source, 48Trusted Source).
  • Calcium: Close to 22% and 10% of men and women over 50, respectively, don’t get enough calcium (49Trusted Source).

The signs, symptoms and long-term effects of these deficiencies depend on each nutrient but can be detrimental to the proper functioning of your body and optimal health.


Micronutrient toxicities are less common than deficiencies.

They are most likely to occur with large doses of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K since these nutrients can be stored in your liver and fatty tissues. They cannot be excreted from your body like water-soluble vitamins.

A micronutrient toxicity usually develops from supplementing with excess amounts — rarely from food sources. Signs and symptoms of toxicity vary depending on the nutrient.

It’s important to note that excessive consumption of certain nutrients can still be dangerous even if it does not lead to overt toxicity symptoms.

One study examined over 18,000 people with a high risk of lung cancer due to past smoking or asbestos exposure. The intervention group received two types of vitamin A — 30 mg of beta-carotene and 25,000 IU of retinyl palmitate a day (50Trusted Source).

The trial was halted ahead of schedule when the intervention group showed 28% more cases of lung cancer and a 17% greater incidence of death over 11 years compared to the control group (50Trusted Source).

Micronutrient Supplements

The safest and most effective way to get adequate vitamin and mineral intake appears to be from food sources (51Trusted Source, 52Trusted Source).

More research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects of toxicities and supplements.

However, people at risk of specific nutrient deficiencies may benefit from taking supplements under the supervision of a doctor.

If you’re interested in taking micronutrient supplements, look for products certified by a third party. Unless otherwise directed by a healthcare provider, be sure to avoid products that contain “super” or “mega” doses of any nutrient.


Since your body requires micronutrients in specific amounts, deficiencies and surpluses of any one nutrient may lead to negative issues. If you’re at risk of a specific deficiency, talk to your doctor before starting supplements.

The term micronutrients refers to vitamins and minerals, which can be divided into macrominerals, trace minerals and water- and fat-soluble vitamins.

Vitamins are needed for energy production, immune function, blood clotting and other functions while minerals benefit growth, bone health, fluid balance and other processes.

To get an adequate amount of micronutrients, aim for a balanced diet containing a variety of foods.




11 Natural Treatments for Depression: An MD’s Tips for Skipping the Prozac

11 Natural Treatments for Depression: An MD’s Tips for Skipping the Prozac

[Original Article]
As an M.D., I've watched too many of my colleagues yank out antidepressant samples every time a patient starts to cry. So on behalf of physicians everywhere, let me apologize for our trigger-happy prescription-writing behavior. I don't mean to diminish the pain someone who is depressed might experience. But tears are healthy. Sadness doesn't always need treatment. And it's important to remember that the pain muscle and the joy muscle are the same. If you can't feel one, you won't feel the other.
That said, clinical depression sucks, and if you're someone who suffers from it, my heart goes out to you. I'm in no way intending to diss antidepressants or suggest you ignore your doctor's advice. I know antidepressants can be life-saving for people. But unless you're suicidal or otherwise in dire need of urgent medication, before you dose up on side-effect laden pharmaceuticals, it's worth considering some natural treatments that might help lift your mood.
How To Treat Depression Naturally

1. Consider why you might feel depressed. Sometimes depression is a symptom of something circumstantial in your life, rather than biochemical imbalances. Does your job require you to sell out your integrity every day? Have you been unable to admit that you need to end your marriage? Are you feeling spiritually disconnected or sexually restless? Are you suffering from creative blocks? Is your body failing you? Are you facing financial ruin? Be honest with yourself about what might be off-kilter in your life, and make an effort to get to the root of why you might be feeling depressed.

2. Move your body. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins, which act like natural antidepressants. Runner's high, anyone?

3. Never skip a meal. Keeping your blood sugar stable reduces mood swings.

4. Eat a serotonin-enhancing diet. Many antidepressants like Prozac act by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by receptors in the brain, thereby increasing serotonin levels. But you can increase your brain's serotonin levels by eating foods that boost your serotonin levels naturally. Serotonin-enhancing foods include:

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies, which are even higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other fish)
Healthy fats like coconut oil
A high-protein diet, especially proteins high in tryptophan, like free-range turkey

5. Avoid caffeine, which reduces serotonin levels. If you need an energy boost, supplement with L-Tyrosine (500-1,000 mg).

6. Expose yourself to sunlight, which can boost mood and increase Vitamin D levels. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, invest in a therapeutic light box.

7. Try mood-enhancing supplements. (Disclaimer: Although you can get these supplements over the counter, I always recommend doing this under the care of a physician, since supplements can have side effects and risks and can interact with other medications.)
5-HTP 50-300 mg up to three times/day—start at 50mg in the morning. Converts directly into serotonin. If you are taking too much, you will feel sleepy or have runny stools. Also usually helps with anxiety, although sometimes it can paradoxically cause anxiety. Must use with great caution if you're taking an antidepressant.
St. John's Wort 300 mg three times/day. If you don't feel better within a week, slowly increase your dose to a max of 600 mg three times/day. May decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.
SAMe 200 mg on an empty stomach twice/day. Increase your dose every two weeks to a maximum dose of 600 mg twice daily. This can be a very effective antidepressant, but it can also be expensive. Side effects at higher doses include GI upset, nausea, agitation, and insomnia.
L-Theanine 100-600 mg daily. Reduce if you feel sleepy. Found in green tea.
Fish oil (DHA/EPA) 1-3 g/day with food.

8. Meditate or try guided imagery.Meditation's effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits.

9. Get your hormones balanced. If your thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones are out of whack, your mood can get all wonky. See a good integrative medicine doctor and ask them to order and interpret the following tests:
Thyroid gland tests: TSH, free T4, free T3, total T3, thyroid antibodies
Adrenal gland tests: cortisol, DHEA-S, pregnenolone
Sex hormone tests: estradiol, progesterone

10. Make efforts to bolster your mental health by being more authentic in all aspects of your life. Too often, we walk around wearing masks, pretending to be something we're not. We fake it at the schoolyard, in the boardroom, in the bedroom, at church—and then we wonder why we wind up depressed. Practice letting your freak flag fly and watch how your mood lifts.

11. Talk it out. See a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach and express how you feel. Sometimes just finding someone you trust who will help you work through your feelings can make all the difference in the world.
If all else fails and you need antidepressants, don't beat yourself up. Sometimes you can do everything right, and if your imbalance is biochemical, you may need the drugs. But don't forget to nurture the rest of you, too. Depression, like most physical and mental illnesses, is multifactorial and requires a global investigation of your whole health—not just your mind and body, but your relationships, your work, your financial picture, how you express yourself creatively, how you satisfy yourself sexually, your environment, and whether you're letting your Inner Pilot Light (aka authentic self) shine.
Learn more about Lissa Rankin here.