Knowing the Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies
Caring for our health is something we often tend to neglect. With our ever-growing list of demands and responsibilities, it can be easy to let our wellbeing slip through the cracks. But it’s important to remember that your health impacts the health of those around you as well. With a few simple additions and changes to your daily routine, you can:
- Avoid nutritional deficiencies
- Spot the signs of vitamin deficiencies
- Monitor symptoms of mineral deficiency
- Seek tests for deficiencies and maintain optimal health and wellness
Besides, a happy, healthy body brings the extraordinary benefits of incredible skin, boosts in energy and motivation, and yes, even a slimmer, more fit body. Ahh, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle! Make yourself more aware of possible signs of vitamin deficiencies, symptoms of mineral deficiencies, and additional nutritional deficiencies. By utilizing tests for deficiencies, your body will thank you for supporting its natural efforts.
What is a Nutritional Deficiency?
Nutritional deficiencies may occur when your body is unable to receive or absorb the necessary amounts of nutrients a food has to offer. These deficiencies can lead you down a dark road of various health concerns, illnesses, and harm to your mental health. Nutritional deficiencies may include:
- Eczema, acne, early signs of aging, and additional skin concerns
- Improper bone growth, including stunting and increases in healing time
- Digestive issues
- Cognitive issues, including dementia
Your body requires a variety of essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for ongoing development as well as prevention of illness. These crucial vitamins and minerals, known as micronutrients, are a must to maintain your health and wellbeing. Your body is unable to naturally produce these micronutrients, so ensuring a proper balance to your daily diet is a must.
Introducing Fortified Nutrients
But sometimes eating the right foods is still not enough. Yep, you read that right. Even when you think you’re doing it all right, you may still be depriving your body. Your body is unable to absorb certain nutrients adequately, causing nutritional deficiencies you may be unaware of. It's a global issue that affects more than two billion, and children are more at risk. Thankfully, in the 1930s and 1940s, fortified foods hit the market to help boost the public’s vitamin and mineral intake. These were beneficial changes seen in cereals, bread, and other grains and dairy products.
Knowing the Signs of Vitamin Deficiencies
So, what can you do to ensure and maintain your health? Knowing the signs of vitamin deficiencies is the perfect place to start. By raising your awareness and educating yourself with the various signs of vitamin deficiencies, you can establish proper eating habits, boost your immune system, and support your overall health both inside and out. If you lack in vitamins, especially vitamin A, you’ll want to keep an eye out for signs of vitamin deficiencies
What are the signs of vitamin deficiencies?
Brittle Nails and Hair due to Vitamin Deficiency
The lack of biotin, which causes unhealthy hair and nails, is a noticeable sign of vitamin deficiency none of us wants to experience, am I right? Also known as vitamin B7, biotin helps your body turn its food into energy. When you suffer from a deficiency, you’ll begin to notice splitting, breakage, and all-around brittle hair and nails. Low B7 levels are also responsible for muscle pains, cramping, and chronic fatigue, to name a few.
Slow Healing Wounds
If you've been noticing wounds that just don't seem to heal as quickly as they used to, you may be showing signs of vitamin deficiency. Vitamin A is particularly helpful in treating various injuries and surgical wounds. Vitamin A is known for its ability to boost and support the production of collagen, vital for healthy and quick healing skin. If you haven’t been with me long, you should know that I'm a massive fan of the never-ending list of benefits collagen has to offer the skin, including incredible anti-aging benefits! Some skin studies have even shown remarkable wound healing improvements up to 50% of those who were deficient in vitamin A, so stock up and keep that skin radiant!
Keep an eye out for signs of vitamin deficiencies that cause respiratory trouble, including infections in the throat and chest. This is a particular concern in children who have already shown delays in growth, especially if they are currently underweight.
While there are many signs of vitamin deficiencies relating to skin concerns, acne may often be one you overlook. Did you know that a deficiency in vitamin A can cause acne breakouts all over your body? Think about it; we already know vitamin A helps to boost your skin’s fight against inflammation, a significant player in your acne breakouts. It’s no surprise that many studies on acne have shown that a deficiency in vitamin A leads to an increase in breakouts. So, if you’re one of those acne sufferers, it’s time to step up your “A” game for clearer skin.
Growth Delays from Vitamin Deficiencies
Children need to consume the required levels of vitamins to prevent signs of vitamin deficiencies such as a stunting of growth and poor bone development.
Infertility and Vitamin A
Another sign of vitamin deficiency is infertility or issues relating to conceiving. This can affect both men and women and can even lead to health issues, including abnormal development of your baby and miscarriages. Research suggests vitamin A helps boost fertility and helps prevent congenital disabilities, so if you’re experiencing difficulties, consider taking stock of your vitamin A consumption and speaking with a fertility specialist.
Vitamin A is also responsible for repairing your skin cells as well as creating them. It keeps issues such as eczema at bay by calming and preventing inflammation. Signs of vitamin deficiency lead to itching and cracking, while potentially leading to additional, more serious skin health issues.
Poor Eye Health
Another sign of vitamin deficiency is eye dryness. Trust me when I tell you, you don’t want to play around with a vitamin A deficiency when it comes to your sight. We’re talking night blindness, drying of the corneas, and the possibility of complete blindness in extreme cases. If you begin to notice unusually dry eyes and difficulty producing tears, it’s time to up your vitamin A intake and consult your doctor.
Go-To Foods Rich in Vitamin A
To rid your body of these dreadful signs of vitamin deficiency, I recommend keeping your fridge stocked with some of my favorite go-to foods for delicious bone broth soups, smoothies, salads, and more.
Favorite Foods for Vitamin A:
Green vegetables, such as
- Lots of spinach
Orange vegetables, such as
- Sweet potatoes
Fruits, such as
Symptoms of Mineral Deficiency
Knowing the symptoms of mineral deficiencies is as crucial as recognizing the signs of vitamin deficiencies. Common symptoms of mineral deficiencies may include an array of issues from hair loss to restless leg syndrome. Let’s take a look at a few of these symptoms of mineral deficiencies:
- Mouth Lesions and Sores
- Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff
- Hair Loss
- Weakness or Extreme Fatigue
Mouth Lesions and Sores
If you begin to see an increase in canker sores or other lesions in and around your mouth, these may be symptoms of mineral deficiencies. Iron is essential for healthy mouth hygiene and can also cause those painful cracks that form in the corners of your mouth. To prevent splitting and bleeding on top of an already uncomfortable situation, try increasing your iron levels for relief and prevention of further occurrences. And did you know that soreness or inflammation of your tongue can be a symptom of mineral deficiency? Yep, a lack of iron can cause this too.
Seborrheic Dermatitis and Dandruff
There are two additional symptoms of mineral deficiencies that can be both irritating and embarrassing. Seborrheic Dermatitis, also known as SB, is a skin disorder affecting the areas of your body that produce oil. Typically affecting the scalp, it can also lead to issues on or around your:
- Upper chest
Seborrheic Dermatitis causes flaking and itching of the skin, and occurrences are more likely to peak during a child’s first three months, during puberty, and around mid-adult years.
Dandruff, while in the same family of skin issues, results in the itching and flaking of the scalp. Both symptoms of mineral deficiencies tend to occur due to lower blood levels of zinc, as well as a variety of signs of vitamin deficiencies.
Hair Loss from Mineral Deficiencies
I know I have everyone’s attention with this particular symptom of mineral deficiencies. And trust me, hair loss has many culprits, so you may want to take a few notes if you love those luscious locks!
While hair loss is common, it is high on the list of symptoms of mineral deficiencies. If you're one to experience hair loss that seems more frequent or the quantity of hair loss has become a bit alarming to you, you may be experiencing a symptom of mineral deficiency.
The lack of iron in your diet can have detrimental effects on your hair’s health. Iron plays a role in your DNA synthesis, including areas such as your hair follicles. When your body is deficient in iron, you risk damaging effects such as the constant loss of hair or hair that stops growing.
When your zinc levels are low, you interrupt your body’s role in protein synthesis and cell division. These are two essential processes in the growth of strong, healthy hair.
A lack of essential fatty acids also causes hair loss symptoms of mineral deficiency. Two vital fatty acids include Linoleic acid, or LA, and alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA.
Niacin (vitamin B3) and Biotin (vitamin B7) deficiencies play their part in hair loss, so boosting these vitamins is effective in restoring your hair’s health.
Weakness or Extreme Fatigue
We all know that low levels of iron can play a critical role in our energy levels, so why is this vital mineral often lacking? Low levels of iron cause extreme weakness and fatigue, significant symptoms of mineral deficiency. Leading to anemia, iron deficiencies negatively affect the health of red blood cells. These cells become unable to carry adequate oxygen, or hemoglobin, to tissue throughout your body. If you’re noticing shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, and an overwhelming lack of motivation and umph, low levels of iron may be your answer. Ask yourself if you’ve been noticing these additional symptoms of mineral deficiency, known to be common with anemia:
- Lightheadedness or headaches
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Skin more pale than usual
- Cold feet and hands
- Poor appetite
Iron-Rich and Zinc-Rich Go-To Foods
My favorite recommendations for battling symptoms of mineral deficiency include:
- Fish and other seafood
- Dark, leafy greens
- Green vegetables
- Starchy veggies
Testing for Deficiencies
It's vital to be proactive with your health, and utilizing tests for deficiencies is a fantastic way to begin. A blood test is a quick and effective way to test for deficiencies. So, where can you start your search for tests for deficiencies if you’re experiencing symptoms of mineral deficiency?
Your General Practitioner can order a blood test for deficiencies, which will include essential vitamins and minerals.
Home kits for vitamin and mineral tests for deficiencies can be found online and are relatively simple to perform yourself. With a quick finger prick, your blood sample can undergo a professional evaluation with results viewable online. Pretty convenient, wouldn’t you agree?
The Many Options for Tests for Deficiencies
Tests for deficiencies evaluate many factors, including the overall appearance and number of red blood cells. For instance, tests for deficiencies resulting in low red blood cell count will reveal anemia in patients lacking appropriate iron, folate, and vitamin B12 levels. Red blood cells tend to take on a more significant yet more underdeveloped appearance.
B12 tests for deficiencies include an Antibodies Test for deficiencies, indicating pernicious anemia. You may also undergo a Methylmalonic Acid Test for deficiencies of B12 that may cause the presence of Methylmalonic Acid levels in your system.
If you have already been experiencing symptoms of mineral deficiency or noticing signs of vitamin deficiency, it may be time to take a long, hard look at your lifestyle. From your dietary habits to stress and sleeping patterns, your health should be your number one priority. And don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider to ask about tests for deficiencies if you feel your signs of vitamin deficiencies and symptoms of nutrient deficiencies have become more worrisome. If you’re ready to make changes to your lifestyle and work on a healthier, happier you, start with a few of these incredibly healthy and delicious recipes full of the nutrients you need!
Keep Positive and Stay Healthy!