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NEW YORK — Seven in ten Americans think they aren’t getting enough nutrients in their diet, new research suggests. In a recent survey of 2,000 U.S. residents, 70 percent are convinced their body is currently lacking in some key vitamin or nutrient, causing them to feel unmotivated (56%) and slower than usual (56%).

Another 42 percent have self-diagnosed themselves with some sort of food allergy or intolerance, most commonly shellfish (56%), nuts (28%) or wheat (48%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of online health and wellness retailer iHerb, the survey also revealed that the vitamins Americans are most concerned about missing are the same ones they feel are the most important.

Which vitamins are most people lacking?

Ironically, the most abundant mineral in the body is also the one that the greatest number of respondents are concerned about: Calcium, which is found in bones and teeth and helps to carry out many important functions. 

Of those polled, 56 percent feel calcium is one of the top five most essential nutrients in the body – and 42 percent are worried that they aren’t getting enough of it. Similarly, respondents were also worried about getting enough Vitamin C (42%), iron (41%), and Vitamin B12 (41%). 

And they might have every reason to be concerned, according to naturopathic doctor Michael T. Murray, iHerb’s Chief Scientific Advisor.

“Data analyzed from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggests that 39 percent of people consume less than the average required amount of calcium that they need,” says Murray, in a statement. “And that’s just one nutrient – the data also suggests that people aren’t getting enough Vitamins C, D or E and minerals like iron and magnesium from either the foods they eat or from supplements they take.” 

How to consume more nutrients

Almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents have also tried modifying their diet to see if it would help with an undiagnosed food-related condition. Most (29%) only lasted three to four months on that modified diet, and only 17 percent could continue their modified diet for longer than six months. 

In fact, the survey suggests that people are more likely to try a new diet based on the promise of weight loss (48%) than on claims backed by medical research (40%).  Maybe that’s why fatigue in particular remains a pervasive issue among those polled, with the average person feeling a lack of energy almost three days a week. 

One in four (27%) even admitted that the last time they felt healthy was more than a year ago. 

“Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients, meaning the body cannot function properly without them. They also function interactively and codependently,” says Murray. “What this means is that a deficiency of any single vitamin or mineral disrupts this complex system. Nutrient deficiency of any kind must be avoided to achieve and maintain health. Taking a multiple vitamin and mineral formula provides a sort of nutritional insurance that you are giving your body some of the tools that it needs to be healthy.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by iHerb between March 22 and March 24, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Sophia Naughton

Meet StudyFinds' Associate Editor, Sophia Naughton. Sophia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication directly focused in journalism and advertising. She is also a freelance writer for Baltimore Magazine. Outside of writing, her best buddy is her spotted Pit Bull, Terrance.

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