The signs of nutrient deficiency to watch out for and what they mean

Common signs of nutrient deficiency

Any one of these signs can point to a vitamin deficiency (Picture:

Modern diets and sedentary lifestyles have left people with a range of nutrient deficiencies they may not even be aware of.

While someone’s body may be in desperate need of more iron, zinc or vitamin b12, they ignore the symptoms because they don’t seem that important.

Poor sleep and brittle nails may be easily passed off as a result of a busy work schedule or the weather – but there could well be more to it than that.

‘There are many telltale signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies,’ says Dr. Patricia Graham, an internal medicine specialist at RUSH University Medical Center.

‘But the good news is that often, if you take steps to address the deficiency, the symptoms will either improve or go away altogether.’

While some vitamin deficiencies can easily be addressed with a few carefully-chosen supplements (such as Vitamin D pills during the winter months) others may need a more wholesale approach to diet and exercise.

Here are some of the signs to watch out for and what to do about them.


Fatigue is a common symptom shared by a lot of ailments but can notably come from a lack of iron in the blood.

Iron is a mineral the body uses to create hemoglobin which, in turn, carries oxygen. If you’re deficient in iron your body will feel tired because not enough oxygen is getting around it.

Iron-rich foods like beef, lamb, chicken, broccoli and strawberries can be consumed to help redress the balance.

Dry hair

If your hair is fuzzy and straw-like it could be as a result of poor iron (see above) and protein levels in your diet.

As with fatigue, it’s due to a lack of oxygen making its way around your body and up to your follicles. Add a bit more chicken, eggs and nuts into your diet to sort this out.

Ridged nails

If you’ve got ridges along your nails, these can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Known as ‘Beau’s lines’, small indented lines across the fingernails can be associated with diabetes and vascular disease.

But, in some cases, it could also be a sign a person needs more of the nutrient zinc in their diet. Zinc helps the body grow cells and some of the foods containing it are red meat, chicken and avocadoes.

Red meat, chicken and avocadoes can help put zinc into your body (Picture: Getty)

Burning mouth

Burning mouth syndrome can, as the name suggests, feel like your mouth is spontaneously burning. The feeling can come out of nowhere and disappear again just as quickly.

Among the different causes of the condition are deficiencies in vitamin b12 and iron. As with ridged nails, this symptom can also be caused by a lack of zinc in a person’s diet.

‘If you’re experiencing this, it should definitely sound an alarm,’ Graham says.

Plant-based diets eliminate most foods (meat and dairy products) rich in B12, increasing the risk of deficiency. But you …read more

Source:: Metro


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