Signs Of Common Nutrient Deficiencies Might Mean Bigger Problems
Nutrient deficiencies can lead to health problems and even shorten your lifespan. Your long-term health depends on your ability to recognize them for what they are and counteract the problem. Fortunately, when some simple tips, this is easy to do. I’ll show you how.
The human body needs a wide range of nutrients in order to function properly. If you eat a diet rich in a variety of natural foods, chances are good you’re getting what you need. Unfortunately, most people in the United States (and in many parts of the world) are short on the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they need to reach peak health.
Even if you do eat a whole food diet, the quality of food may vary depending on where and how it’s grown. If you’ve assumed that healthy eating habits automatically means you’re receiving the right nutrients, think again. Even people with the best diets may be deficient if some of their foods were grown in low-quality soil, have been stored too long (leading to nutrient breakdown), or have been processed.
Sadly, many people let nutrient deficiencies go too long because they don’t recognize the symptoms. Luckily, most deficiencies do leave their mark. Learn to recognize some of the most common symptoms below.
1. Fatigue and Weakness
Fatigue is one of the most common reactions to nutrient deficiency. As men age, many under eat. And a deficiency in calories can quickly lead to fatigue. So the first thing to do is look at how much you are eating. Is it enough?
But in addition to caloric deficiencies, other nutrient deficiencies can also cause these symptoms. Tiredness and weakness can be a sign that you’re not getting enough calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate, or magnesium. Because the range of possible causes is so wide, you should eat a range of foods to correct the problem. Good choices are eggs, leafy greens, beans, fruit, organ meats, and seafood. To up your vitamin D, head outside for some time in the sun.
2. Hair Loss or Rash
Lack of the nutrient biotin, or vitamin B7, is a common culprit in hair loss and red, scaly rash, especially if it appears on your face. Biotin is also responsible for strong nails. It also performs a range of other services, including helping to digest food. Eggs are a beneficial way to get enough biotin, so eat up.
Other deficiencies can also affect your hair. If you’re not getting enough iron, it may thin and fall out. Though iron deficiencies are rare in men, they are possible, particularly among those who avoid meat.
If you lack folate, you may see a sudden spike in the amount of gray hairs you’re getting. Leafy greens are rich in both folate, so turn to them.
3. Acne-Like Bumps
It is tempting to dismiss these symptoms as irritated skin or acne. However, this frequently results from not getting enough vitamins A and D, or even more commonly from a lack of omega-3 fatty acids compared to omega-6 fatty acids.
The best source of vitamin D is the sun.
For vitamin A, try liver along with leafy greens, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
And when it comes to fatty acid balance, the main thing to do is reduce vegetable oil intake. Enjoying small amounts of healthy seafood such as sardines or salmon can also help improve the balance.
4. Poor Appetite and Weight Loss
If you’re losing your appetite and having a hard time keeping weight on, the culprit is most likely calcium or magnesium. To counterbalance a calcium insufficiency, eat yogurt and milk, cheese, dark leafy greens, and orange juice fortified with calcium. Excellent sources of magnesium include avocado, beans, and leafy green vegetables..
5. Abnormal Heart Rhythms
Abnormal heart rhythms are very serious and can be detrimental to your long-term health. If you’ve experienced these, it may be a good idea to visit your doctor and rule out serious problems. However, they’re often caused by lack of calcium, potassium, and magnesium, so fix the problem by upping your intake of leafy greens, beans, dairy, potatoes, avocado, and fruit..
6. Tingling and Numbness in Extremities
This can be a sign of severe vitamin B12 deficiency, as well as a lack of other B vitamins, including B6 and B9. You may also notice anxiety, fatigue, or depression in addition to tingling, as well as hormonal imbalances. To correct a B12 deficiency, follow the guidelines I’ve provided in previous articles. Namely, eat enough B12-rich foods (especially organ meats and seafood) and enough salt and calories to support absorption. If you still aren’t absorbing enough B12, B12 injections may be needed.
To support you B6 and B9 (folate) needs, eat spinach and other leafy greens, asparagus, beets, beef, and eggs.
Magnesium deficiency can also lead to numbness and tingling. You can get more magnesium from avocados, chard, spinach, and other leafy greens, but it may be difficult to get enough just from food. If that’s the case, try a supplement, too.
7. Muscle Cramps
Calcium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, as can magnesium and potassium. Up the amount of fruits and vegetables and dairy that you eat.
8. Cracking in the Corners of the Mouth
This seems like a mild enough sign, and most people attribute it to dehydration, chapping or other normal issues. However, it can also be a sign of serious nutrient deficiency. If you’re not getting the right amounts of iron, zinc, vitamin B3, B2, or B12, this can be the result. Cracks may also appear in the corners of your mouth if you aren’t getting enough protein. Solve this problem by eating foods high in these nutrients, including poultry and eggs, salmon, oysters, clams, Swiss chard, and sesame (tahini is great, too).
Stay Healthy With Smart Choices
If you do spot a nutrient deficiency, keep in mind that eating the right foods will only correct it if those foods are nutrient-dense, healthfully grown, and fresh. Look for the best produce and high quality meats, eggs, and dairy. Find fruits and veggies grown with attention to soil health and natural methods. Research shows that these things really matter. These are the best foods for your body, and the most likely to prevent the kinds of problems that can compromise your health long-term.
Beyond that, it’s important not to dismiss small symptoms as “nothing.” You shouldn’t wait until your heart rhythms are irregular to consider a calcium deficiency, or until you have severe muscle cramps to think about potassium. Instead, monitor your body. Notice how it feels in good times and bad, take note of symptoms when you do catch a nutrient deficiency, and be vigilant. Your health is worth it.