A well-balanced and healthy diet offers several advantages.
A nutrient-deficient diet, on the other hand, may result in a number of unpleasant symptoms.
These symptoms are your body’s method of alerting you to possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Recognizing them might assist you in adjusting your diet accordingly.
This article discusses the 7 most common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as how to treat them.
1. Mouth ulcers or cracks in the mouth corners
Lesions in and around the mouth may be caused in part by a lack of certain vitamins or minerals.
For example, mouth ulcers, often known as canker sores, are frequently caused by iron or B vitamin deficiencies.
According to one research, persons with mouth ulcers appear to be twice as likely to have low iron levels.
In another research, around 28% of individuals with mouth ulcers lacked thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
Excess salivation or dehydration can induce angular cheilitis, a disorder that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, split, or bleed. However, it might also be caused by a lack of iron and B vitamins, notably riboflavin.
Iron-rich foods include chicken, meat, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Whole grains, chicken, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, organ meats, legumes, green and starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds are all good sources of thiamine, riboflavin, and pyridoxine.
If you have these symptoms, consider including the items listed above in your diet to see if they improve.
2. Bleeding gums
Bleeding gums can be caused by rough teeth cleaning, but a diet deficient in vitamin C might also be to blame.
Vitamin C is essential for wound healing and immunity, and it also functions as an antioxidant, preventing cell damage.
Because your body can not produce vitamin C on its own, the only way to maintain appropriate amounts is through nutrition.
Vitamin C deficiency is uncommon in those who eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Having said that, many people do not consume enough fruits and vegetables each day.
This might explain why regular screenings of healthy persons estimate low vitamin C levels in 13–30% of the population, with 5–17% of those deficient.
Consuming too little vitamin C through the food for extended periods of time can result in deficiency symptoms such as bleeding gums and even tooth loss.
Scurvy, which depresses the immune system, weakens muscles and bones, and makes individuals feel exhausted and sleepy, is another major effect of chronic vitamin C insufficiency.
Other symptoms of vitamin C insufficiency include easy bruising, slow wound healing, dry scaly skin, and nosebleeds on a regular basis.
Consume at least 2 pieces of fruit and 3–4 plates of vegetables every day to ensure adequate vitamin C intake.
3. Scaly patches and dandruff
Seborrheic dermatitis (SB) and dandruff are both skin conditions that affect the oil-producing parts of your body.
Both involve itchiness and flaky skin. Dandruff mostly affects the scalp, although seborrheic dermatitis can affect the face, upper chest, armpits, and groin.
These skin problems are most common in the first three months of birth, during puberty, and in mid-adulthood.
According to studies, both illnesses are very common. At some time in their lives, up to 42% of kids and 50% of adults may suffer with dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis.
While the relationship between a nutrient-deficient diet and these skin disorders is not fully understood, those who suffer from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis may benefit from consuming more of these nutrients.
Whole grains, chicken, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, organ meats, legumes, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds are high in niacin, riboflavin, and pyridoxine.
Zinc may be found in seafood, meat, legumes, dairy, nuts, and whole grains.
4. Brittle hair and nails
Brittle hair and nails can be caused by a number of factors. One of them is a deficiency in biotin.
Biotin, often known as vitamin B7, helps the body in the conversion of food into energy. Biotin deficiency is extremely rare, but when it does develop, the most apparent signs are brittle, thinning, or splitting hair and nails.
Other signs of biotin deficiency include chronic exhaustion, muscular soreness, cramping, and tingling in the hands and feet.
Pregnant women, heavy smokers or drinkers, and persons with digestive diseases such as Crohn’s disease are the most risk to biotin deficiency.
Prolonged use of antibiotics and some anti-seizure drugs is also a risk factor.
5. Hair loss
Hair loss is a pretty common symptom. In fact, by the age of 50, up to half of all individuals have experienced hair loss.
A diet high in the nutrients listed below may help prevent or reduce hair loss.
Iron: it is a mineral involved in DNA production, including the DNA found in hair follicles. Hair might stop growing or fall out if you don’t have enough iron.
Zinc: it is required for protein synthesis and cell division, both of which are required for hair development. As a result, zinc deficiency may result in hair loss.
Linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): they are necessary fatty acids for hair development and maintenance.
Niacin (vitamin B3): this vitamin is essential for maintaining healthy hair. One possible sign of niacin deficiency is alopecia, a disorder in which hair falls off in small patches (vitamin B7). Biotin: is another B vitamin that has been related to hair loss when deficient.
Iron and zinc are found in meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Meat, fish, dairy, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are all high in niacin. Biotin, which is also abundant in egg yolks and organ meat, is high in these meals.
LA is abundant in leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and vegetable oils, whereas ALA is abundant in walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and soy nuts.
Many supplements claim to be able to stop hair loss. Many of them include a mix of the nutrients listed above, as well as many more.
In those with proven deficiencies in the aforementioned nutrients, these supplements appear to enhance hair development and prevent hair loss. However, research on the effects of such supplements in the absence of a deficit is very limited.
It’s also worth mentioning that taking vitamin and mineral supplements without a deficit may aggravate rather than cure hair loss.
Excess selenium and vitamin A, for example, two elements commonly found in hair development supplements, have both been associated to hair loss.
Unless your doctor confirms a deficiency, it’s recommended to consume these nutrients through food rather than supplements.
If you or any of your friends or relatives suffer from hair loss, please read this article to know the best foods for hair growth.
6. Poor night vision and white growths on the eyes
A nutrient-deficient diet can occasionally lead to vision issues.
Low vitamin A consumption, for example, is usually connected to night blindness, a disorder that impairs people’s ability to see in low light or darkness.
This is because vitamin A is required for the production of rhodopsin, a pigment located in the retinas of the eyes that helps in night vision.
Night blindness, if left untreated, can proceed to xerophthalmia, a disorder that damages the cornea and eventually leads to blindness.
Bitot’s spots, which are slightly raised, foamy, white growths on the conjunctiva or white area of the eyes, are another early symptom of xerophthalmia.
The growths can be eliminated to some extent, but they will not go completely until the vitamin A deficit is corrected.
Vitamin A deficiency is, fortunately, uncommon in developed countries. Those who feel they are deficient in vitamin A can increase their intake by consuming more vitamin-A-rich foods such as organ meats, dairy, eggs, fish, dark leafy greens, and yellow-orange colored vegetables.
Most people should avoid taking vitamin A supplements unless they have been diagnosed with a deficiency. This is due to the fact that vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that, if taken in excess, may build in the body’s fat stores and become toxic.
Vitamin A intoxication symptoms include nausea, headaches, skin irritation, joint and bone pain, and, in exceptional cases, coma or death.
7. Restless leg syndrome
Restless leg syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom illness, is a neurological condition that produces unpleasant or painful feelings in the legs as well as an overwhelming need to move them.
RLS affects up to 10% of Americans, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, with women being twice as likely as men to suffer from the disorder. When most individuals are resting or attempting to sleep, the need to move tends to increase.
While the precise causes of RLS are unknown, there appears to be a correlation between RLS symptoms and a person’s blood iron levels.
Iron supplements can help reduce RLS symptoms in general, especially in patients who have a documented iron deficit. The effects of supplementing, on the other hand, may differ from person to person.
Because greater iron intakes seem to relieve symptoms, eating more iron-rich foods including meat, chicken, fish, legumes, dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains may be beneficial.
Combining these iron-rich meals with vitamin-C-rich fruits and vegetables may be especially beneficial, since they can help boost iron absorption.
Using cast-iron pots and pans and avoiding tea and coffee at mealtimes can also help increase iron absorption.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that excessive supplementation might do more damage than benefit and may limit the absorption of other nutrients.
A diet that is deficient in vitamins and minerals can result in a variety of symptoms, some of which are more prevalent than others.
Increasing your consumption of foods high in the necessary vitamins and minerals can often help resolve or significantly reduce your symptoms.