9 Signs of a Nutritional Deficiency

9 Signs of a Nutritional Deficiency

Have you ever noticed an unusual symptom that comes on suddenly? Before turning to WebMD and diagnosing yourself with something rare and potentially fatal, consider that it may just be your body’s way of letting you know that you may not be getting enough of a vitamin or mineral. If you can pinpoint what you might be lacking and adjust your diet to get more of it, the symptom should disappear.

Nails

White spots could be a sign of a mineral deficiency, most likely calcium or zinc. Ridges are usually caused by a shortage of zinc.

Lips

Chapped lips are common, especially as the weather gets cooler and the air gets dry. But if lip balm doesn’t help, especially if you have cracking near the corners, you could be deficient in either vitamin C or B2 (riboflavin). Citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables are great sources of vitamin C, while riboflavin can be found in dairy products.

Tongue

Iron deficiency can make your tongue appear pale. If it hurts or feels burnt, you may be lacking in B vitamins, especially B2 and B3.

Eyes

Dark circles under your eyes could indicate you need more sleep, or could suggest an allergy or food intolerance. You may want to consider a visit to an allergy specialist to find out if you need to avoid certain foods. Vitamin D can help with near-sightedness, while Vitamin A can improve your night vision.

Hair

If you find yourself shedding worse than your pet, you might want to try a Biotin supplement. If your hair is dry or you have dandruff, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids may help.

Skin

Skin problems are a common symptom of a deficiency. Vitamins A and E can help ease dry skin, while B6 can minimize period-related breakouts.

Limbs

Deficiencies in B vitamins can cause tingling or numbness in the hands and feet. The most common deficiencies associated with these symptoms are B6, B12 and folate. B12 deficiency is especially common in vegetarians, as it is primarily found in animal products. Increase your intake of B vitamins with whole grains, beans, eggs, and spinach.

Muscles

Muscle cramps and spasms, especially those that aren’t eased by moving around, or restlessness while relaxing or trying to sleep, are common symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Increase your intake with bananas, dark leafy greens, and almonds.

Brain

If you have trouble concentrating or remembering things, or you feel tired a lot of the time, you could be experiencing brain fog. B complex vitamins can help you manage stress levels, while vitamin C and zinc can both ease anxiety and minimise the symptoms of mood disorders.

Photo Credit: “nom nom vitamins nom nom” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by denAsuncioner

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2015.


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