8 ways to tell if you have a vitamin deficiency
For most people, a well-balanced diet is the key to getting all the nutrients needed to function. When your diet isn’t giving you enough nutrients, there are vitamin supplements that act as a safety net to fill in the gaps from what you’re not eating.
But did you know that you can do everything right while being vitamin deficient? This is because everyone is different and our bodies need different things. A general multivitamin may not remedy a significant deficiency of certain nutrients. It’s important to know the symptoms of vitamin deficiencies so you can spot them if they occur and adjust your diet accordingly.
What is a vitamin deficiency?
Vitamin deficiencies are exactly as their name suggests: your body is functioning without enough of a particular nutrient. They are incredibly common; it is estimated that 2 billion people in the world have a vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin deficiencies are divided into two categories: primary and secondary deficiencies. A primary vitamin deficiency means you need to eat more foods than the vitamin contains. In this case, you can often adapt your diet to ensure that you meet these needs. Or take a supplement if you have dietary limitations that prevent you from eating those foods, such as food allergies.
Secondary deficiencies occur when your body does not absorb nutrients as it should. This can happen due to an underlying condition such as celiac disease or cystic fibrosis. Additionally, a secondary deficiency results from our bodies absorbing fewer nutrients as we age. Then the malabsorption can worsen and cause other deficiencies, as in the case of calcium and vitamin D. Older people whose bodies have stopped making vitamin D can develop a calcium deficiency because vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium.
Common signs that you may have a vitamin deficiency
Vitamin deficiencies are common. However, they don’t always show symptoms that you might associate with a vitamin deficiency. Here are the common signs of vitamin deficiencies that you may not know.
One of the most common symptoms of vitamin deficiency is fatigue or feeling weak and tired. Many things can cause it, making it difficult to separate symptoms that stem from something else, like sleep deprivation. Chronic fatigue that doesn’t go away no matter how long you sleep or rest can indicate a vitamin deficiency.
Fatigue signals a deficiency in:
2. Muscle weakness and pain
Another common sign of vitamin deficiency is muscle weakness or cramps. Again, this one is hard to identify directly with nutrients, since you could be in pain or have aching joints for so many reasons. The most well-known deficiency associated with muscle weakness is vitamin D. However, several B vitamins and magnesium can also contribute to weakness.
Muscle weakness and painful joints may indicate a deficiency in:
Addressing your diet to see where you are lacking is the first step you can take to remedy a vitamin deficiency. It’s worth consulting your doctor if you don’t find any obvious deficiencies in your diet.
3. Severe hair loss
Hair loss can occur for several reasons such as genetics, medical conditions, hair treatment and hormonal imbalances. Lacking key nutrients for hair growth can also be the cause. If your hair is thinning or not looking as healthy as it used to, it may be because you’re not getting enough of these nutrients:
It is important to note that unless your hair loss or damage is due to a vitamin deficiency, taking vitamins will not cause your hair to regrow thicker. Finding the source of your hair loss is the only way to know how to fix it. Hair growth vitamins can help you stay healthy only if you have a deficiency, but they are not magic pills. You’d always better focus on your diet that promotes healthy hair.
4. Dry skin
Even if you use moisturizers and everything you’re supposed to, you can still get dry skin or dandruff. Your diet may be to blame for this. Having enough of the proper vitamins and minerals is essential for healthy, hydrated skin and scalp. It’s not just dry skin – scaly patches, bumps and dandruff all indicate a possible vitamin deficiency.
If you have dry skin, you may be lacking in these vitamins:
5. Slow-Healing Wounds and Weakened Immune System
Several vitamins are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system: vitamins E, C and K. Vitamin K is the nutrient necessary for the formation of clots. Without an adequate amount in your body, a normal cut can become a big problem. This also applies to internal bleeding, which is difficult to identify without medical intervention.
Vitamin deficiencies not only determine the duration of bleeding; they also affect the time it takes for a wound to heal. Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties that help close wounds. A deficiency will slow tissue repair.
Nutrient deficiencies in these vitamins can affect your immune system and your ability to heal wounds:
6. Mood swings
Vitamin deficiencies can also dictate how you feel. Most people are familiar with seasonal affective disorder, a type of depression that occurs when there is less sunshine to give us vitamin D. However, mood swings and depression due to vitamin D deficiency do not are not limited to the winter months. It is estimated that 42% of Americans do not get enough vitamin D.
Vitamin B6 deficiencies have also been found to contribute to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Although more research is needed, several studies suggest that taking vitamin B6 supplements may help reduce symptoms because it produces chemical messengers that inhibit brain impulses, resulting in a calming effect.
7. Vision Changes
In addition to the natural changes to our vision that occur with age, vitamin A deficiency can contribute to vision problems. Vitamin A plays a key role in vision by aiding in the production of pigments for the retina. Without enough vitamin A, production stops, leading to night blindness or the compromised ability to see in low light and dark conditions.
Night blindness can occur independently of vitamin A deficiencies, so you should not start taking a supplement unless you know the source. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it accumulates in the fat stores of our body. An excess is called vitamin A toxicity, marked by symptoms like headaches, joint pain and nausea.
Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant for eye health. A deficiency can cause vision loss over time.
8. Tingling in fingers or toes
A lesser known and more alarming sign that you may have a vitamin deficiency is tingling in your hands, legs, and feet. The main culprit for this deficiency is vitamin B12, which plays a role in our nervous system by producing myelin. Myelin is the protective layer that wraps the nerve. A lack of B12 means your body won’t produce enough myelin and your nerves are susceptible to damage. Then you feel tingling or tingling on your hands and feet.
Nutrients linked to tingling in the hands and feet:
If you experience tingling or numbness that persists, talk to your doctor immediately to find out the cause and establish a treatment plan.
Too long; did not read?
Anyone can have a vitamin deficiency. They are often overlooked due to the frequency of some of the symptoms. However, the symptoms should not be ignored, especially those that affect your ability to move, lift, and see. Making lifestyle and diet changes is the best way to stop deficiencies. Although taking supplements is also common.
Tell your doctor if you’ve had persistent symptoms that aren’t related to anything else. They can perform blood tests to definitively diagnose and create a treatment plan.
Leave a Reply