We often hear about the benefits of getting plenty of vitamins and minerals in our diet. But you don’t truly know what a good thing they are until you’re lacking in nutrition and your health is paying the price. A vitamin deficiency is more common that you might think and can lead to some serious health consequences if ignored. Find out how your body tells you if it’s lacking in the vitamins department and what you can do to get more goodness in your diet.
Tell-Tale Signs of Vitamin Deficiency
One of the best things about your body is it will tell you when something is wrong. But the signals it sends can be confusing if you’re not well-tuned to the nuances of your health. A headache may mean you’re working too hard or that you need to take a tall drink of water. The same applies to vitamin deficiencies, which can be harder to pinpoint since symptoms can be similar to other conditions.
So what are some signs of vitamin deficiencies? The following symptoms are common signs that you’re lacking proper nutrition.
1. Depression and/or Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are often manifested because of nutritional deficiencies. Most commonly, a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause major changes in mood and sever depression. See A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.
2. Fingernail Abnormalities
If you love manicured nails you may be blocking a vital health alert system. Nails that are brittle, have ridges or the appearance of red or brown spots on nails can all point to a vitamin B or C deficiency as well as lowered protein and iron intake.
3. Skin Issues
Our skin is our largest organ and the best indicator of vitamin deficiencies. You’re bound to notice if something is wrong with a patch of skin. Rough, dry skin may signal a vitamin A or vitamin C deficiency while a lack of zinc can cause problematic acne.
4. Persistent Headaches
Nothing ruins your day like a splitting headache. But your diet may be to blame if they’re frequent unwanted guests. Some studies have shown that a lack of vitamin D may play a role in migraines. Headaches are also a well-known symptom of magnesium deficiency and a common complaint of iron-deficient anemia.
5. Cramps in Your Feet and Legs
Several conditions may be to blame for muscle cramps but a deficiency in vitamins B1, B5 or B6, vitamin E or vitamin B12 can all create the same problem. With so many causes it can be difficult to pin down the exact issue.
6. Hair Loss
Iron-deficient anemia is known to cause hair loss, but so is a lack of vitamin B12 or other B vitamins. However, like headaches, hair loss may indicate another issue that isn’t necessarily a direct result of vitamin or mineral deficiency.
Symptoms of 10 Common Vitamin Deficiencies
This is not a comprehensive list, rather a general overview. If you suspect you have a vitamin deficiency, be sure to see a medical practitioner.
1. Vitamin A
- Dry Skin
- Inability to see in dim light
- Frequent infections
2. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Loss of appetite
3. Vitamin B2(Riboflavin)
- Chapped lips
- Irritated eyes
- Sensitivity to light
4. Vitamin B3(Niacin)
5. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
6. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
7. Vitamin B12
- Poor balance
8. Vitamin C
- Slower rate of wounds healing
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- In extreme cases scurvy
9. Vitamin D
- Pain and muscle weakness
- Head sweating
- Thin or brittle bones
10. Vitamin E
- Mild anemia
- Dry hair or hair loss
- Issues with reproduction and fertility
Reversing Vitamin Deficiencies: Practical Steps to Take
While certain mineral deficiencies may be more common than others it is quite rare to have a vitamin deficiency if you live in a developed country. It is ideal to get your nutritional needs through a well-balanced diet. Vitamin D is also known as the Sunshine Vitamin as your body produces it when you spend some time in the sun.
If you are worried about getting enough vitamins and minerals there are plenty of supplements and daily multi-vitamins that you can take to make sure you get enough. Again, the best way is through a well-balanced and colorful diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy proteins and fats.
Before you rush out and stock up on supplements it is wise to seek a doctor’s advice on whether or not you really do have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Symptoms that you may associate with a deficiency could in actuality be a condition that needs more attention.
While a vitamin deficiency may be the cause of a specific symptom there may be something going on that is causing your body to not absorb those nutrients like it should. Iron deficient anemia has a lot of similar symptoms to several vitamin deficiencies and can lead to serious health risks if left untreated.