Even by religiously practicing a healthy lifestyle complete with a well-balanced diet, it is possible to still lack certain essential nutrients vital for optimal body function. Even minimal vitamin deficiencies can significantly affect energy levels and decrease immune function, often leading to hazy cognitive skills and mood swings. Feeling tired for no apparent reason, having low energy, and frequent sickness can all be indicators of nutrient deficiencies. If left undetected, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result in life-altering issues. Being in tune and aware of your body’s needs will help you notice signs of nutritional deficiency.
An optimal amount of vitamins helps the body eliminate toxins, promotes a healthy digestive system, cardiovascular system, regulates metabolism, and contributes to body strength.
Here are some external and internal symptoms that may indicate if you may be lacking vitamins and minerals and what to do to in order to boost it back up to supplement whole body wellness.
1. Symptom: Hair Loss/Skin Rash
Hair loss and face rashes are noticeable external symbols that you may be experiencing malnutrition. This may cause you to feel insecure in public settings and is a strong indicator for a hormonal imbalance involving insufficient nutrient intake. This may signify the body is lacking enough biotin, a b7 vitamin that contributes to production of healthy hair and nails and vital to the process of hair growth. Having low biotin levels can result in loss of hair follicles (alopecia) in spots or patches on the scalp or body. It may also cause scaly, red rashes on the body. Biotin deficiency has been known to be a big contributor to chronic liver diseases and should not be left untreated. You can test your biotin levels at home using an organic acid test.
In order to treat biotin deficiency, we must understand the variety of potential causes to determine how to prevent the problem. Taking anticonvulsant drugs and antibiotics can cause insufficient biotin levels so we suggest avoiding antibiotic treatment whenever possible as a great strategy to maintain health. Make a conscious decision to consume foods rich in biotin such as almonds, raspberries, nuts, avocados, mushrooms, and wild salmon.
2. Symptom: Swollen or Bleeding Gums
Bleeding gums and inflammation of the gums called gingivitis can be caused by rough brushing or possibly due the lack of vitamin c. The Institute of Medicine recommends adults ages 19 and up have an intake of 75 mg of this vitamin on a daily basis. Vitamin C plays a several vital roles: it helps form the protein required to build and repair blood vessels in your body, boosts immunity levels, and also acts as an antioxidant in preventing cell damage. Insufficient levels of vitamin c can weaken the blood vessels and connective tissues. Unfortunately, the human body does not produce Vitamin C, so it is entirely dependent to absorb it from other sources to maintain proper levels.
Consume at least 2-3 of the recommended Vitamin C food sources on a daily basis to maintain optimal Vitamin C levels and various other health benefits: guava, green or red peppers, kiwi, papaya, broccoli, kale, strawberries, brussel sprouts, or grapefruit. Increased Vitamin C absorption will be able to help reverse many issues related to bleeding, swollen, or inflamed gums. Vitamin C is key to support cell growth and repair and healing of tissue. Vitamin C also helps secure gums to the teeth while also keeping the teeth tightly connected to the jawbone.
3. Symptom: Leg Cramps
A sign you may be deficient in one of the critical nutrients that work to control other ions may be frequent muscle cramping in the calves, feet, and stabbing sensation in the toes. Regardless if the cramps occur over short or long periods, this symptom should be treated. Usually, this is due to a lack of one of the most critical minerals in our bodies that supports healthy nerve function and muscle relaxation and contraction and other importing living functions – Magnesium. Low Magnesium levels can result in an imbalance of Calcium ion channels which may manifest into several health issues. Frequent muscle cramps may also be caused by inadequate potassium absorption. Potassium helps maintain proper cellular fluid and supports nerve function and muscle tone. Insufficient calcium absorption may also cause tight muscles and cramping. Calcium aids in muscle contractions and helps generate nerve impulses. If there is a deficiency in either of the three nutrients, it must be taken care of.
To help prevent muscle cramping in calves, feet and toes, it is a good idea to ingest foods high in Magnesium and Potassium such as avocados, pumpkin seeds, cacao, or almonds. Increasing Magnesium intake will help decrease pain, swelling, tension, and inflammation in the body. As we age, calcium collects in our muscles and causes tightening, which induces cramps. This crucial mineral will help loosen up the muscles, counteracting the effects of calcium and increases potassium absorption (critical for proper muscle function).
4. Symptom: Itchy Rashes, Acne, and Blemishes
Many skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, and severe acne are correlated to nutrient deficiency. Instead of running to skin moisturizers and anti-inflammatory drugs for relief, try to understand the root of the cause to help fix your problem. This symptom may be a warning sign that you may be deficient in Vitamins A, D, and E. Vitamin A deficiency is considered a worldwide problem, affecting nearly 90% of the population. Vitamin A is considered a critical nutrient that should always be maintained at normal levels because it helps keep a healthy immune response as well as prevent inflammatory skin reactions. You can test for insufficient Vitamin D levels with a Vitamin D, 25-HYDROXY lab test. Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to skin conditions like eczema, inflammation of the skin that can leave it with a dry and flaky, sometimes red appearance and may be itchy. Typically, people with lower levels of Vitamin D exhibit severe eczema symptoms.
Consuming Vitamin A-rich foods such as organic eggs, dark leafy greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, or liver will help counter the deficiency. Getting more sunlight will help raise Vitamin D levels, but also consider implementing cod liver oil into your diet to create a healthy balance of Vitamins A and D. A good recommendation to improve the skin’s microbiome decrease inflammation is to apply coconut oil or gentle essential oils such as lavender. Non-toxic facial cleansers with activated charcoal may also help improve skin conditions.
5. Abnormal Sensations
A tingling or numbing sensation in the hands or feet may seem minor, but this can actually be an indicator of a serious health problem, and may lead to severe consequences if not properly dealt with. This may indicate low Vitamin B12 and B9. Vitamin B12 helps regulate nerve function, supports DNA synthesis, and helps prevent certain amino acids from becoming toxic. Vitamin B9 deficiencies are usually associated with inflammatory symptoms throughout the body. Crohn’s Disease and other neurological damage may arise from this vitamin deficiency. You can assess your B12 and folate levels in your body with a B-12 Status Panel.
Seeking a diet filled with more foods of animal origin such as meat, eggs, dairy, and poultry usually contain a complex of Vitamin B12. This is a reason many vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk of a deficiency in this Vitamin. However, Vitamin B6 can be obtained from leafy greens. Individuals with genetic issues like pyroluria require higher Vitamin B6 levels than others. Others may have a dysbiotic gut, which limits bacteria the ability to produce adequate levels of Vitamin B6. A great way to absorb Vitamin B6 is to eat fermented foods such as kombucha or kimchi.
Chances are, you may be deficient in vitamins or minerals in one way or another in your body. With our busy work schedules and lifestyles, we find ourselves always on the go. It is difficult to be able to get through the hectic day while also being conscientious if we are absorbing the proper nutrients vital to maintain a healthy life. To have a good understanding and evaluation of your mental and physical well-being, you can order a Vitamin/Mineral Panel. This will help determine vitamin and mineral imbalances that could be a contributing factor to health issues that may be impacting you now or later down the line. Try getting regular blood testing done to better track the status of your health over time. Making your health a priority, being aware of signs of malnutrition, and adjusting your diet as needed will help ensure a better balanced life.