Recognizing Signs of Vitamin Deficiency
Do you know if you have a vitamin deficiency? If not, review our helpful guide for recognizing nutrient deficiency signs and what to do if you have them.
Many people think vitamin deficiencies are things of the past. So it might surprise you to discover that not only are vitamin deficiencies still happening, but they are pretty common.
Could a vitamin D deficiency or some other type of deficiency be responsible for some of your aches, pains, and other seemingly mysterious symptoms? Here’s how to recognize common signs of vitamin deficiencies, and how to use Hermulti to boost your nutrient intake.
What Is Vitamin Deficiency?
The term “vitamin deficiency” refers to insufficient amounts of one or more vitamins in the body. People who live in developing countries are more likely to be affected by micronutrient deficiency, but it is also surprisingly common in developed countries as well.
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common types of deficiencies women experience. Vitamin D deficiency occurs when you don’t have enough vitamin D within your body. Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is formed in a unique way. The body uses sunlight to help it produce vitamin D. Since we’re less likely to get out in the sun during the colder months, vitamin D deficiency tends to be more common during the winter.
But even in the summer, it’s possible to develop vitamin D deficiency if you spend limited time in the sun or if your body has trouble producing vitamin D. Fortunately, you can avoid low vitamin D levels by taking a vitamin D supplement.
What Are the Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency?
There are dozens of different micronutrients you could potentially be deficient in, so how can you know which ones you need to take? One way you can pinpoint which deficiencies you may have is by paying attention to your symptoms. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with various vitamin deficiencies.
- Vitamin D deficiency: It isn’t unusual to develop a vitamin D deficiency. If you have an inadequate intake of vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol), you’re more likely to feel excessive fatigue, get sick often, and experience joint pain. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause you to feel depressed, have digestive health issues, and experience hair loss.
- Vitamin C deficiency: Too little vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is associated with dry skin, bleeding gums, tooth decay, nosebleeds, and poor immune function. Severe vitamin C deficiency can lead to a painful condition known as scurvy.
- Folate deficiency: Folate is also known as vitamin B9, and it’s an important vitamin for cell metabolism. If you have a folate deficiency, you may experience headaches, muscle weakness, lethargy, dizziness, shortness of breath, and neurological symptoms (such as tingling, burning, or pins and needles in your extremities). It’s especially important for pregnant women to take folate because they’re more likely to be deficient in it.
- Vitamin B deficiency: There are several different B vitamins, and they’re all important for optimal health. If you don’t get enough vitamin B1 (thiamine) from your diet, you may become irritable, fatigued, and experience muscle weakness. Insufficient vitamin B3 (niacin) is associated with circulatory problems, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and oral ulcers. Too little vitamin B5 (ascorbic acid) can cause insomnia, muscle cramps, high blood cholesterol, hypoglycemia, and fatigue.
- Vitamin E deficiency: You may have a vitamin E deficiency if you experience visual disturbances, muscle weakness and/or pain, difficulty with coordination, and a general feeling of unwellness. It is pretty rare to have a vitamin E deficiency, but it is possible.
- Vitamin A deficiency: Vitamin A helps form healthy teeth, bones, skin, and cell membranes. Fortunately, most people who eat a Western diet don’t have to worry about vitamin A deficiency because we get plenty of vitamin A from the foods we eat. But in developing countries, a vitamin A deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency people experience. A vitamin A deficiency can cause vision problems, dry eyes, and poor immune function.
- Vitamin K deficiency: Vitamin K is an important vitamin for disease prevention and skin health. Vitamin K deficiency can lead to easy bruising, excessive bleeding, and poor bone development.
- Biotin deficiency: Biotin is also known as vitamin B7. It helps break down carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in the body. It also helps keep our blood sugar levels balanced. Symptoms of a biotin deficiency include increased infections due to compromised immunity, thinning hair, and numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the extremities.
What Are the Symptoms of Mineral Deficiencies?
Now that we’ve talked about common vitamin deficiencies and how to recognize them, let’s dive into mineral deficiencies and their symptoms.
- Calcium deficiency: Calcium is a mineral that helps with blood clotting, supports healthy bones, and assists with muscle contraction. Symptoms of calcium deficiency include muscles spasms and cramps, abnormal heart rhythm, fatigue, and tingling or numbness in the extremities.
- Iron deficiency: Iron is an essential mineral that helps form hemoglobin (in red blood cells), produce energy, and aid in hormone synthesis. If you are deficient in iron, you may feel extreme fatigue, have pale skin, and experience intense headaches.
- Zinc deficiency: Your body needs zinc to keep your immune system functioning optimally. Zinc also supports a healthy metabolism and plays a role in taste and smell. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, decreased immune function, and mood swings.
Am I Vitamin Deficient?
If you can relate to any of the nutrient deficiency symptoms listed above, you may be vitamin deficient. Taking vitamin supplementation may help relieve your symptoms and boost your overall health.
If you want to know for certain whether you’re nutrient deficient, you can request a blood test from your doctor. Such a test will reveal any nutrient deficiencies you’re currently experiencing so you can take action to correct them.
What Are the Health Effects of Vitamin Deficiency?
In addition to making you feel pretty miserable, some vitamin deficiencies can have serious health consequences. Here are some of the dangerous health effects associated with common vitamin deficiencies.
- Vitamin D Deficiency: If you have vitamin D deficiency, you are at greater risk of the following health problems: type 2 diabetes, cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, hypertension, and bone fractures. Vitamin D deficiency should be corrected right away.
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency: People with vitamin B12 deficiency are more likely to develop pernicious anemia, which is an autoimmune disorder that can be life-threatening. Megaloblastic anemia is another health condition associated with vitamin B12 deficiency. This condition causes problems with the production of red blood cells.
- Vitamin A Deficiency: If you are deficient in vitamin A, you could experience a condition called night blindness, which makes it difficult to see in low-light conditions. Vitamin A deficiency can also compromise the immune system so severely that mild illnesses become life-threatening.
- Iron Deficiency: Though iron is a mineral and not a vitamin, we decided to list it here because the consequences of having an iron deficiency can be quite severe. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia and life-threatening heart problems.
How Do You Treat Vitamin Deficiency?
Whether you’re dealing with a vitamin A or a vitamin K deficiency, there are things you can do to treat it. If your deficiency is severe, talk to a doctor about available treatment options. If you have a minor nutrient deficiency like so many of us do, start by changing your diet and eating healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals
You may also want to supplement your diet with a quality multivitamin supplement such as Hermulti. This product contains all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. To learn about additional things you can do to achieve optimal health, browse through our Mixhers resources today.