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5 Common Nutrient Deficiencies and Their Signs

December 30, 2022 4 min read

5 Common Nutrient Deficiencies and Their Signs

A well balanced and nutritious diet is very beneficial for your health. Vitamins and minerals are an essential part of a healthy diet. The body needs adequate minerals to help build strong bones and teeth, control body fluids inside and outside of cells, and turn food that is consumed into energy.

A diet that lacks the proper nutrients can result in a wide range of discomforting symptoms. Your body uses these symptoms as a way to communicate a particular deficiency in minerals or vitamins in your body. If you pay attention to these symptoms, you can adjust or supplement your diet to assure that your body stays healthy. In our blog we will review some common deficiencies and discuss how to handle them. 

1. Iron: Fragile Nails, Shortness of Breath, Tiredness, Cold Feet and Hands, Pale Skin, and More

Red blood cells have the important function of carrying oxygen throughout the body. Iron is a necessary component of these red blood cells. If iron levels become too low, it can thus create a deficiency of red blood cells, which can cause anemia. Some groups of people such as vegans, vegetarians, and individuals who are growing find themselves at an increased risk of anemia. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, iron deficiency anemia can initially be so mild that it is unnoticed. However, as anemia worsens, the symptoms and signs become more pronounced. Some symptoms to watch for include weakness, inflammation or soreness of your tongue, headache, dizziness, or shortness of breath, lightheadedness, chest pain, pale skin, brittle nails, poor appetite, and cravings for substances like ice or dirt. 

To increase iron levels, one can consume iron-rich cereals, oysters, beef, beans, and spinach. Depending on your age and gender, you should regularly intake 8mg - 18mg per day of iron. Another great way to get sufficient quantities of iron is by using an iron supplement

2. Magnesium: Decrease in Appetite, Fatigue, Muscle Cramps, Nausea, Seizures, and More

Magnesium plays an important role in bone health and energy production in the body. Magnesium deficiency is not extremely common in healthy adults. However, some health conditions and medications can cause loss of magnesium from the body or limit the amount of magnesium that the body can absorb. Adults typically need between 310mg and 420mg of magnesium daily. 

Magnesium deficiencies result in poor appetite, sleepiness, weakness, nausea, numbness and tingling, seizures, abnormal heart rhythms, and muscle spasms. To add more magnesium to your diet, consume foods such as greens, dry beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. In addition, magnesium supplements are a great way to effectively combat a magnesium deficiency. 

3. Vitamin B12: Fatigue, Swollen Tongue, Numbness, and More

Vitamin B12 aids in the production of red blood cells and DNA. Vegans and vegetarians may be at an increased risk for vitamin B12 deficiencies because plants do not make vitamin B12. Symptoms of B12 deficiency include memory loss or difficulty thinking, weakness, a swollen tongue, and numbness throughout the body.

Adults need at lest 2.4mcg of vitamin B12 per day. You can find vitamin B12 in fish, milk, chicken, and yogurts. Vegans and vegetarians may consider eating non-meats that are high in vitamin B-12. A supplement that has B12 is also an excellent choice for supplementing your diet. 

4. Calcium: Numbness and Tingling Fingers, Abnormal Hearth Rhythm, and Convulsions

Calcium is required for your body to maintain strong bones and carry out many other important functions. It is the most abundant mineral in the body and is stored predominantly in the teeth and bones. 

The majority of adults need 1,000mg of calcium per day, although older people need even more. Good natural sources for calcium include dairy products such as milk and yogurt, as well as leafy greens like broccoli and kale. You should also consider a calcium supplement to help your body get all of the calcium that it needs. 

5. Vitamin D: Bone Pain, Fatigue, Mood Alteration, Muscle Fatigue, and More

Vitamin D is another essential vitamin that your body needs for normal bone development and maintenance. Vitamin D deficiencies are common in people over the age of 65. Some symptoms to watch for include muscle weakness, bone pain, mood changes, muscle weakness, and cramps. According to the Cleveland Clinic, medications such as steroids, laxatives, and cholesterol-lowering drugs, can lower vitamin D. levels.  

The majority of adult need at least 15mcg of vitamin D per day. A good way to get vitamin D is through certain milks, yogurt, fatty fish, or get some sunlight. 

Notice the Signs and Make a Change

In this article, we reviewed several nutrient deficiencies and the symptoms that can help you recognize them. We also discussed what your body needs on a daily basis to remain healthy. We added some ways to supplement your diet both naturally and through supplements. With a little effort, the right changes can make a big difference in your overall health. 

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