Health experts say the average U.S. citizen is missing more than a quarter of the world’s recommended daily intake of vitamins and mineral supplements, according to a report published Wednesday.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) said the average person in the U.K. gets 1.4 grams of iron, 2.4 g of vitamin A, 6.5 g of zinc, and 13.5 mg of magnesium.
The researchers used a statistical model that used the U, K, and M index, or nutritional status of the population, to calculate the number of daily vitamins and nutrients.
“Vitamin A is the most commonly found vitamin in the population and provides essential vitamins for bone health, blood clotting, and the immune system,” the NIDCR said in a statement.
In the U., for instance, people ages 20 to 34 get the equivalent of about 7,600 mcg of vitamin D per day, which is equivalent to about 10,000 IU.
At the other end of the scale, people in the 50s get about 5,600 IU of vitamin C, which helps regulate the body’s blood sugar and can help lower cholesterol.
There are some exceptions to the iron, zinc, magnesium, and vitamin A intake figures, however, with people in North America, Australia, and South Africa eating more iron and zinc than average.
People in the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa get less iron than people in other parts of the developed world, according the study.
Despite the disparity, the NIDs researchers said that the average Americans should be getting at least 50% of their recommended daily allowance of vitamin supplements.
This is largely due to people living in areas that are often in high poverty, where there are not enough resources to purchase or distribute vitamin supplements, said NIDCC’s Dr. Jennifer Besser.
But many people are skipping vitamins and other supplements.
In the U-K., for example, the Institute of Medicine found that only 9% of adults had taken any vitamin supplements in the past year, and only 1% of Americans over the age of 40 were getting any vitamin or mineral supplements.
About 10% of the U to 50-year-olds who participated in the study did not take vitamin supplements at all.