The year 2012 is the 100 year anniversary of vitamins, and although diets have improved overall during this time, research published in the 'British Journal of Nutrition' suggests that population-wide vitamin intake inadequacies still exist even in the Western World where plenty of food is available.
No one will argue that vitamins play a vital role in the diet, delivering long term benefits to health, and yet this research highlights that 100 years after their discovery there are still major gaps that urgently need closing - to improve people's long term health.
In recent decades, changing diets and lifestyles in Western Societies, and a shift towards fast or convenience foods with a lower density of vitamins and minerals, may be one of the factors involved. It is possible that many people who do not receive the recommended intakes are not aware of their deficiencies.
Vitamin deficiencies cause many different types of symptoms and illnesses. People in the United States and Europe generally assume that these types of deficiencies are only confined to third world and underdeveloped nations. However contrary to popular belief, this is not the case. Researchers in the aforementioned study, revealed that despite the wide range of foods available, many developed countries -- including Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the USA -- suffer from 'widespread' vitamin inadequacies in the population.
Other studies have pointed out, for example, that in Germany, the UK and the USA, at least three quarters of the population have a poor vitamin D intake, and are not meeting recommended intakes. For those unfamiliar, vitamin D is vital to bone health and muscle strength, and it can, according to some studies, reduce the risk of falls and fractures linked to Osteoporosis by 20%. It is also essential for children in the prevention of rickets.
Similar studies have pointed out that Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin B9 ( which is especially important for pregnant women ) intakes are below the recommended daily intake advisories levels as well. Some health advocates suggest that more can be done in Western Europe and The United States by national public health experts to make people more aware of the problem.
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Prevent Disease.com "Vitamin Deficiences Widespread Across Europe and The United States" http://preventdisease.com/news/12/062612_Vitamin-Deficiencies-Widespread-Across-Europe-and-US.shtml?utm_source=062612&utm_campaign=062612&utm_medium=email
Vitamin D status among adolescents in Europe: The Healthy Lifestyle In Europe By Nutrition In Adolescence Study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21846429