What’s Behind the So-Called "Vitamin Deficiency" And How To Cope With It?

​Most of those who've lived in St. Petersburg know well that the beginning of spring doesn't always mean the end of one's winter doldrums. Surely, one gets used to the city's strange climate, yet in the beginning of spring you just can't escape the feeling of overwhelming tiredness. Most blame the springtime "vitamin deficiency"… Yet, is that really the case? Alexander Ishevskiy, head of ITMO's Department of Meat and Fish Processing and Refrigeration, shared about the topic.

A healthy organism knows no vitamin deficiency

As spring comes, many feel weary, disoriented and sleepy. Some seek salvation in taking vitamins, as they are meant for helping us during such times. Yet, the "vitamin deficiency" we constantly hear about is not as simple as it seems.

"A human organism is a perfectly balanced system. If you are a healthy person, you just can't suffer from vitamin deficiency," explains Alexander Ishevskiy.

Too much vitamins is bad for you

"One has to remember that excess of vitamins can be even more harmful than their deficiency, as every vitamin is a strong allergen. What is called "vitamin deficiency" is often caused by some particular disease, when the patient lacks vitamins of a certain group — A, B or C", shares the expert.

A good example of inappropriate use of vitamins is the failed experiment by Linus Carl Pauling, a Nobel Prize Winner and renowned chemist. Linus Carl Pauling proposed using ascorbic acid (vitamin C) as panacea to any illness. In other words, if you caught a cold — just eat lots of vitamin C and you'll be OK. The chemist tried to prove his theory by using himself as example: every day, he took big doses of ascorbic acid. Time showed that the excess of vitamin C ruined his microbial balance, and later research proved the method to be ineffective and even harmful.

All roads lead to a doctor

Everyone knows that self-treatment is not really a rational decision, yet it is still the choice of many.

"One should take vitamins if only they were prescribed by a doctor who's determined that you lack them. Those who speak of spring vitamin deficiency usually associate it with the lack of fresh vegetables, fruits and berries in one's winter diet, and recommend taking polyvitamins. Yet, the current generation has access to all these products throughout the year. One has to understand that vitamins are advertised for commercial reasons — persuading a person that he needs some magic pills so that he will start buying them has always been easy," comments Alexander Ishevskiy.

ITMO University. Alexander Ishevskiy

According to the professor, one has to go through some serious medical tests to determine whether he has vitamin deficiency or not — and only after the results come, some supplements may be prescribed.

"Spring weariness, which actually occurs with the change of seasons, is often mistaken for vitamin deficiency," explains Alexander Ishevskiy.

What to eat

Another important question is what to eat during this challenging time. Even though spring frustration can have many reasons, tips to nutrition are most specific.

"The best option is eating fibrillose products that are hard to digest. If one eats such products (cabbage or green cucumbers, for instance), the heavy fibers will make one's bowel work harder, and at the same time renew the whole system," shares Alexander Ishevskiy.

Also, the professor advises to abstain from sweet and salty foods.

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