VitaminsBut standing in the supplements aisle in any chemist is often overwhelming and we too have found ourselves asking: “where do I start?”.

To help answer that question, we’ve taken a look at the state of vitamin and mineral deficiencies across the country according to data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The most recent National Health Survey , conducted between June 2014 and July 2015 in nearly 20,000 households, found Australians are not getting nearly enough nutrition from the food they’re consuming.

According to ABS results released in December, “49.8 per cent of adults met the Australian Dietary Guidelines for recommended daily serves of fruit, while 7 per cent met the guidelines for serves of vegetables.”

“Only one in 20 adults, 5.1 per cent, met both guidelines.”

So what vitamins and minerals are we lacking?

Here’s what the statistics say on:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Vitamin D

Calcium deficiency is a problem for a lot of Australians, primarily women, according to the ABS.

“Nearly three quarters of females, 73 per cent, and half of all males, 51 per cent, aged two years and over did not meet their calcium requirements based on their intakes from food,” results from a recent survey on nutrient intakes said.

There was an even greater gap between the sexes when it came to iron deficiency.

“Females were much more likely to have inadequate iron intakes from foods than males, with one in four, 23 per cent, not meeting their requirements compared with one in 30 males, 3 per cent,” according to the ABS.

“Low iron intakes can lead to fatigue, tiredness and decreased immunity.”

You’ve probably heard a lot about vitamin D over recent years. So just how deficient are we?

Around 4 million Australian adults were Vitamin D deficient in 2011–12, according to ABS figures. That equates to one in every four adults.

“Twenty-three per cent had a vitamin D deficiency [but] the good news was that most of these people had a mild deficiency, 17 per cent, or a moderate deficiency, 6 per cent, with less than 1 per cent having a severe deficiency,” Louise Gates from the ABS said.

There hasn’t been a national nutrition survey since 1995 but these are the deficiencies we have recent and reliable statistics on. More from the recent National Health Survey is available here.

Before you make a decision on supplements, consult your GP about the ones that are right for you. If you need a Doctor but your regular GP is closed, you can book a House Call Doctor online or by calling 135566.