Five Signs of Vitamin Deficiency

A well balanced and nutritious diet is the best way to keep in optimal health. However, when we don’t maintain this type of diet, we can easily become depleted of much needed vitamins and minerals that your body needs for everyday functions.

This may result in you displaying certain symptoms which is your bodies way of telling you that it needs some help. Recognizing these common symptoms early on can help you adjust your diet accordingly and return to optimal health.

Here are some below:

  • Mouth ulcers or cracks in the corners of your mouth

Mouth ulcers are often the result of a B vitamin deficiency, also known as canker sores. They can also be linked to low iron stores as well. The most common B vitamin deficiencies that present in this way are B1, B2 and B6.

Foods rich in iron include poultry, meat, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Good sources of thiamin, riboflavin and pyridoxine include whole grains, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds.

  • Bleeding gums

Sometimes dental hygiene can be a huge factor in bleeding gums, however research has also shown a lack of Vitamin C could also be to blame. Vitamin C plays important roles in wound healing, immunity and even acts as an antioxidant, helping prevent cell damage.

The human body does not make vitamin C on its own, which means the only way to maintain adequate levels of it is through the diet. Most people consume enough Vitamin C through consuming fresh fruits and vegetables daily however for those that don’t, this could lead to a weakened immune system, bleeding gums and eventually tooth loss.

  • Brittle hair and nails

One reason for brittle hair or nails can be a Biotin deficiency. Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, helps the body convert food into energy. A deficiency in biotin is very rare, but when it does occur, brittle, thinning or splitting hair and nails are some of the most noticeable symptoms.

Pregnant women, heavy smokers or drinkers and people with digestive disorders such as a leaky gut or Crohn’s disease are most at risk of developing a biotin deficiency.

Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, fish, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, yeast, whole grains and bananas.

  • Hair loss

Hair loss is quite common across both sexes, and can be the result of a number of different deficiencies. These may include:

Iron: Iron is involved in the making of DNA, including the DNA present in hair follicles. Too little iron can cause hair to stop growing or fall out.

Zinc: Zinc is essential for protein synthesis and cell division, two processes needed for hair growth.

Essential Fatty Acids: which are required for hair growth and maintenance.

Niacin (Vitamin B3): Vitamin B3 is necessary for keeping hair healthy. Alopecia, a condition in which hair falls out in small patches, is one possible symptom of a Niacin deficiency.

Biotin (Vitamin B7): Biotin is another B vitamin that, when deficient, may be linked to hair loss.

Meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains are good sources of iron and zinc.

Niacin-rich foods include meat, fish, dairy, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy greens. These foods are also rich in biotin.

Leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, flaxseeds, chia seeds and vegetable oils are rich in essential fatty acids.

  • Red or white bumps on the skin

Some people suffer from a common condition called keratosis pilaris, which presents as goosebump-like bumps on the cheeks, arms, thighs or buttocks. Some research shows that these could be the result of a Vitamin A or C deficiency.  It is advisable that people with this condition may consider adding foods rich in vitamins A and C to their diet.

These include dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy greens, yellow-orange coloured vegetables and fruit.

These are some of the more specific symptoms to look out for, however other more general symptoms can present themselves which may indicate a combination of vitamin deficiencies and still needs to be addressed. These could include things like general fatigue and tiredness, digestive issues, or frequent illness/colds/infections.

Often increasing your intake of foods rich in the appropriate vitamins and minerals can help resolve or greatly reduce your symptoms however it is advisable to work with a nutritionist if any of the above present themselves.