These Symptoms May Be from Undiagnosed Vitamin Deficiencies

Your body requires certain nutrients to function properly. There is a reason why there is a saying you are what you eat. Thinking of it in… Trista - January 5, 2022

Your body requires certain nutrients to function properly. There is a reason why there is a saying you are what you eat. Thinking of it in terms of a piece of machinery, you need to make sure you are putting the proper fuel in to keep all of the running the way that they should. When a car engine does not have enough power or fluids, it can begin to break down because of the irreparable harm the lack of what it needs is being done to it. Without proper nutrition, your body can shut down in similar ways. You will start to feel unpleasant and have various signs of discomfort. When what is on your plate lacks specific nutritional components, you may be experiencing vitamin deficiency.

Doctors determine a patient has vitamin deficiency depending on certain symptoms in the exam room. Your body will give you messages signaling that something is wrong. Once you identify the underlying cause, you can make plans to start feeling better. Check out this list of 20 symptoms and see if you could be suffering from a lack of vitamins in your diet. There are simple ways to incorporate vitamins and minerals into your diet. And don’t worry; you don’t just have to eat lettuce all of the time! Besides, if you don’t prefer eating fruits, veggies, wheat grains, and other healthy foods, you can always take a supplement. Although the natural source is ideal, having a supplement is better than lacking vitamins altogether.


20. Brittle nails and hair could be a sign of vitamin deficiencies.

If your fingernails and tresses are starting to become brittle, you may be lacking biotin, also known as vitamin B7 (via Healthline). This essential vitamin helps get your body to convert food into energy. While this deficiency is typically rare, when a patient is not getting enough biotin, your nails and hair may become brittle or easily break. You will also notice them starting to thin or split. This type of vitamin deficiency can also cause chronic fatigue, cramps, muscle pain, and some tingling in the hands and feet.

Some patients are more susceptible to developing biotin deficiency. That includes pregnant women, heavy smokers and drinkers. Individuals with digestive conditions like Crohn’s disease can also easily develop it. Another cause of biotin deficiency could be eating raw egg whites. Why? Because they contain a protein that binds to biotin and reduces the body’s absorption. You can include foods rich in biotin within your diet to counter this issue. That includes fish, meat, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, bananas, and whole grains. Adults with brittle hair and nails may want to have 30 milligrams of biotin-rich foods in their daily diet.


19. Bleeding gums are a sign you need more vitamin C.

A rough brushing technique could be the root of bleeding gums. However, it may also be caused by eating a diet lacking vitamin C (via Healthline). This vitamin plays a vital role in your body’s ability to heal wounds and build immunity. Furthermore, it also acts as an antioxidant and helps prevent cell damage. Because the body cannot make vitamin C, you can only keep adequate levels by eating nutrients. Research has shown that bleeding of the gums when you gently probe them is associated with low levels of vitamin C.

Other common signs include bruising easily, slow healing, dry skin, and frequent nosebleeds. Vitamin C deficiency conditions are rare for people who eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables. Many people fail to eat an adequate number in their diet, which is at least two servings of fruit and three to four vegetables each day. If you are experiencing bleeding gums, you may want to consider upping your intake and seeing if your condition improves.


18. You are experiencing poor night vision.

If your diet is poor, you could be experiencing some vision issues. Low intakes of vitamin A are linked to night blindness, where people experience a reduction in the ability to see in low light or darkness (via Healthline). Vitamin A is responsible for producing rhodopsin, the pigment of the retina that assists vision in the nighttime hours. If you leave this condition untreated, the problem can progress and cause xerophthalmia, damaging the cornea and leading to blindness.

This deficiency is rare in developed countries. If you suspect that you are not getting enough vitamin A, you may want to incorporate more organ meats, dairy, eggs, fish, yellow and orange vegetables, and dark leafy greens. It is important to note that you should avoid taking vitamin A supplements. When consumed in excess, vitamin A can accumulate in the body’s fat stores and then become toxic. Some vitamin A toxicity symptoms include nausea, skin irritation, headaches, and joint and bone pain. In the worst cases, it could even cause death (via Healthline).


17. Do you have dandruff or other itchy patches of skin?

If you have itchy parts of your skin, you may have seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff (via Mayo Clinic). These conditions are in the same group of skin disorders that negatively affect the oil-producing areas of your body. While dandruff is mostly on your scalp, the other condition can also appear on your face, armpits, upper chest, and even your groin.

Studies have shown that these ailments are not only common, but they can be found in individuals who have low levels of zinc, vitamin B3, vitamin B2, and vitamin B6 (via Healthline). Poor diet may be the culprit, but it is also likely to have developed with the first three months of life, during puberty, and in adulthood. If you are experiencing this situation, you may want to consume more eggs, meat, fish, green vegetables, seafood, dairy, whole grain, and nuts.


16. Mouth ulcers might be a lack of vitamins and minerals.

If you are experiencing mouth pains, it may be due to insufficient specific vitamins or minerals in your diet. Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, may result from vitamin deficiencies of iron or B vitamins (via Healthline). Research has found that these lesions appear twice as likely in patients with low amounts of iron in their blood levels.

You may also develop a condition that causes the corners of the mouth to crack, split or even bleed, and this can cause excess salivation or dehydration. If you notice some kinds of sores develop in or near your mouth, you may want to add more iron and B vitamins foods and see if you start feeling better (via Hopkins Medicine). These foods include poultry, meat, legumes, fish, dark leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and whole grains.


15. If you are losing your hair, you might need more vitamins.

Hair loss is a common problem that up to 50 percent of adults report by the time they are 50 years old. Rapid loss of your tresses can be quite distressing, and four different vitamin deficiencies could be causing the problem. It could be an iron deficiency in premenopausal women because iron is vital in hemoglobin production, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles (via Healthline). Also, vitamin D deficiency can cause hair thinning and bald spots. In some cases, the hair may even stop growing entirely (via Healthline).

Zinc deficiency can cause a similar effect when you are low on iron. When your zinc levels are low, your hair tends to become damaged and broken easily. While selenium deficiency is rare, it can cause hair loss, hypothyroidism, and other detrimental effects on your health. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that defends your body’s serious and chronic illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. It could be more than just hair loss, and your body may be trying to tell you something is seriously wrong. If you are experiencing a loss up top, you may consider a diet rich in various nutrients to slow the hair loss.


14. Do you have unexplained red and white spots?

You may have noticed a condition known as keratosis pilaris, where goosebump-like rashes form on your cheeks, thighs, and even butt. Also, you might see these bumps with ingrown hairs. Physicians believe this condition appears when too much keratin is produced in hair follicles, and this symptom usually comes out during childhood and vanishes during adulthood. Doctors have also observed people who lack vitamins A and C in their diets (via Healthline).

If you find these red and white bumps, you may want to consider adding foods rich in vitamins A and C in hopes of alleviating the symptom. The foods include organ meats, dairy, fish, eggs, dark leafy greens, fruit, and yellow- and orange-colored vegetables. If you have any further concerns about your skin condition, you should consult with your doctor, who may refer you to a dermatologist (via Hopkins Medicine).


13. You have uncomfortable sensations in your legs, especially at night.

Restless leg syndrome is also known as Willis-Ekbom disease. This nerve condition may cause unpleasant and uncomfortable sensations in the legs and an irresistible urge to keep them moving. Experts suggest that up to 10 percent of Americans are affected by restless leg syndrome, and women are twice as likely to experience the condition (via Healthline). It can be stressful because many people say that the urge to move the legs intensifies when trying to sleep or relax.

It is unknown the exact causes of resting leg syndrome. There are some theories on how to make your symptoms less intense. Several studies have linked resting leg syndrome with low iron and magnesium levels in the blood—the lower the level, the more severe the symptoms (via Healthline). If you want to decrease your symptoms, try increasing your intake of beans, lentils, cashews, and fortified cereals.


12. If you constantly feel weak or fatigued, it might be a lack of vitamins and minerals.

Iron deficiency can affect more than just your legs, and it is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies diagnosed worldwide. Another common symptom with low iron blood levels can also cause you to feel extreme fatigue or weakness (via Mayo Clinic). This is a condition known as anemia, which occurs when the number of red blood cells and the blood’s ability to carry oxygen drops and causes you to feel tired.

Anemia can, over time, weaken your immune system and impair brain function (via Hopkins Medicine). If you feel you have low iron levels, you should increase your intake of red meat. The daily recommended amount can be three ounces of ground beef to achieve that benchmark each day. Other iron-rich foods include organ meat, shellfish, canned sardines, dark leafy greens, and seeds. Be careful with adding iron supplements because too much iron can be harmful to your health.


11. Weight gain could be from vitamin deficiencies.

If you noticed that you have been packing on the pounds recently, you might be suffering from abnormal thyroid function. The thyroid has an important job to do, and it is in charge of controlling your metabolism, which is the process your body transforms food into energy. Iodine is an essential mineral to keeping the thyroid operating as it should in its hormone production. Nevertheless, iodine deficiency is a common problem, with nearly a third of the world’s population dealing with this affliction (via Healthline).

Iodine deficiency may cause your thyroid to become enlarged. In turn, this condition can cause an increase in heart rate, shortness of breath, and weight gain (via Mayo Clinic). This makes sense because if you feel fatigued and lack energy from a decreased metabolism, you are less likely to want to be active. How can you combat iodine deficiency? You should consume cod, shrimp, dairy products, tuna, eggs, and prunes. That way, you can get yourself back to healthier levels of the nutrient.


10. You are experiencing muscle pain.

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that functions similar to a steroid hormone within your body, and the fat-soluble vitamin travels through the bloodstream and into your cells. Nearly every cell in the body has a receptor specifically for vitamin D. Your body produces the vitamin from cholesterol in your skin when exposed to sunlight. About 42 percent of people in the US are believed to be living with a vitamin D deficiency (via Healthline).

Adults deficient in vitamin D may also experience some muscle weakness and bone loss, which could lead to an increased risk of fractures. Experts have also suggested that vitamin D deficiency could reduce immune function and increase cancer risk. To make sure you are getting enough vitamin D, be sure to include fatty fish dishes and eggs in your diet (via Hopkins Medicine). You can also take a supplement or increase your time outdoors to get more of the ever-important vitamin.


9. You have a tingling sensation in your fingers.

Calcium is one of the most well-known nutrients, and it has the critical task of maintaining strong bones and controlling your muscles and nerve functions (via Medline Plus). If you are experiencing a numbing and tingling feeling in your fingers, hands, and feet, you may be low in calcium. Other symptoms include an abnormal heart rhythm, and low calcium levels can harm your mind. Other signs are depression, memory loss, and even hallucinations.

Indeed, there are no short-term or apparent symptoms of calcium deficiency. However, experts understand that many individuals consume fewer calories from dairy products. Adults need about 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day, and women who are over 50 and men over 70 years old need 1,200 (via Healthline). This can be achieved through three servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese each day. If you are not a fan of dairy or lactose intolerance, you can get your recommended dose from fortified cereals, orange juices, and leafy greens like kale and broccoli.


8. Constipation could be from vitamin deficiencies.

Going to the restroom is a natural part of life, and the frequency – and sometimes, the urgency – can indicate something is wrong. Potassium is a helpful vitamin that not only helps your heart, nerves, and muscles operate the way they should it also delivers nutrients to cells while removing waste (via Medline Plus). If you are low on potassium, you are more likely to experience constipation and bloating. This is because when blood potassium levels are in the basement, the brain loses the ability to relay effective signals.

You will also want to be aware that you could become low in potassium levels if you are sick with diarrhea or vomiting. Adult men need to consume 3,400 milligrams of potassium each day, and women should take in about 2,800 (via Medical News Today). Foods include bananas, oranges, cantaloupes, honeydew, grapefruit, and dried fruits like raisins and prunes. If you are not the biggest fan of fruits, you may put more broccoli in your diet.


7. You have memory loss and fatigue.

If you feel tired and have trouble keeping concentration, you may be having a vitamin deficiency. One of the nutrients you may be low on is vitamin B12. This vitamin is vital in the production of red blood cells and DNA, and it also improves neurotransmitter function. Experts have linked vitamin B12 deficiency to impaired cognition, difficulty thinking, and memory (via Mayo Clinic). Other signs include tingling and numbness, fatigue, weakness, and an inflamed tongue.

Individuals who have adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle are particularly at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency because plants cannot make the nutrient. Adults need a significant amount of vitamin B12 each day, and the vitamin can be found in chicken, milk, yogurt, and fish (via Healthline). Vitamin B12 is also available in multivitamins, so you can easily add it to your daily routine if you are at risk of being low.


6. Have you noticed a slowdown in growth?

Folate is also known as folic acid. A B vitamin is essential for women to consume, especially if they are of childbearing age or want to conceive (via Kids Health). Prenatal vitamins are notorious for containing folic acid because it supports growth and function. The nutrient also reduces the risk of congenital disabilities. A folate deficiency decreases the number of cells and large blood cells and causes neural tube defects in unborn children. Other symptoms of folate deficiency include poor growth and a tender-feeling tongue. It can also affect your mood, causing fatigue and irritability.

Women who may or want to become pregnant should have 400 micrograms of folic acid each day (via Mayo Clinic). That is, in addition to already eating foods that contain folate. You can best absorb this nutrient when it is in supplement. However, if you prefer taking it in a natural form through food, you can consume many of your favorites. Enjoy folic acid when you eat fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, beans, peanuts, whole grains, dark and leafy greens, and eggs.


5. Vitamin deficiencies can cause irregular heartbeats.

Magnesium supports good bone health, but it also helps with energy production. Adults need to consume between 310 and 420 milligrams, depending on their age and sex (via Mayo Clinic). This type of vitamin deficiency can cause a host of problems including, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. However, it can also cause irregular heartbeats and seizures in the most severe cases. In most cases, heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, symptoms can be mild. Be on the watch for lightheartedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, or sudden fainting spells.

It is important to note that heart palpitations could result in some people. Because magnesium deficiency increases blood pressure, you may be more likely to develop heart disease (via Everyday Health). You can increase your magnesium levels to normal levels by consuming more nutrient-rich foods like spinach, black beans, peanuts, cashews, almonds, and edamame. You should also discuss options with your doctor if you believe you have developed more severe symptoms.


4. Do you experience muscle spasms?

Muscle cramps can be more than a painful inconvenience. These spasms occur when a muscle involuntary and forcibly contracts. The out-of-control movement cannot be relaxed. It is a common affliction, and it can affect any of the muscles in your body, and they can also involve part or all of one muscle or several muscles at one time. Muscle cramps can strike at any time, affecting your exercise routine, your sleep, and even other activities. If you are having frequent leg cramps, they may signify something serious.

What causes muscle cramps could be one or more of several vitamin deficiencies, including vitamins B1, B5, and B6 (via Everly Well). You could also be experiencing cramps due to a lack of calcium because the nutrient is needed for proper muscle contraction, blood vessel function, and the vital secretion of hormones and enzymes (via Mayo Clinic). Those low in these vitamins can make sure they are taking in 1,000 milligrams if they are under 50. Suppose they are over 50 years in old. In that case, they should consume 1,200 milligrams. You can also take vitamins D and K to aid in better absorption and healthier distribution of calcium throughout your body.


3. If you have difficulty walking, it could be a vitamin deficiency.

If you have noticed that your balance is off and you cannot walk, you may be experiencing a vitamin B12 deficiency (via Mayo Clinic). It may be slow to develop or could come on suddenly. Muscle weakness from this condition may cause difficulty in walking, increasing the risk of falling and developing a fracture. The abnormal muscle contraction caused by the deficiency can also lead to movement issues as the reflexes are diminished. Because you walk and move every day, catching vitamin B12 deficiency as early as possible is essential.

There are a couple of ways to combat this type of vitamin deficiency. Vitamin B1 can be found in bread, cereals, and other grains that have been fortified in the vital nutrient. You can also take a daily supplement to ensure you get the recommended amount. A standard multivitamin gives you six micrograms, which is more than what you need to get your daily amount of vitamin B12 (via Healthline).


2. Are you prone to pimples and other skin irritations?

Acne is at times unavoidable. Although, they are synonymous with puberty, the deep-rooted truth is you can get pimples well into adulthood. In fact, the vitamins you are missing can be disrupting your face. Acne is an inflammatory condition closely related to hormonal imbalances, and it could be a sign of one of several vitamin deficiencies. For example, zinc supports the immune system with its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (via NCBI). Since clogged pores cause zits, it stands to reason that may be the culprit.

You may also be experiencing a vitamin B deficiency. As a result, it could wreak havoc on the skin by causing acne, rashes, and dry and flaky skin. Another potential problem for your skin could be a lack of vitamin D. Studies have found that people with acne have lower levels of the vitamin than those who are not afflicted with the skin condition. Vitamin D reportedly blocks skin cells from being affected. You can eat several foods to increase your levels of these critical vitamins, including whole grains, fortified cereals, dairy, and dark leafy greens (via Mayo Clinic).


1. Signs of scurvy are from vitamin deficiencies.

One illness synonymous with the sea can be seen even inland lovers. Scurvy is a disease caused by the lack of vitamin C in the diet (via Mayo Clinic). Sailors in the 1800s often were afflicted with scurvy. It is characterized mostly by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds. You may also experience many other symptoms, including depression, fatigue, gingivitis, rash, internal bleed, and others.

You may not get full-blown scurvy, but if you are not feeling well, you could rely on some fresh foods to help you get better sooner rather than later. Adding these foods to your diet is the only way to treat scurvy (via NHS). Some foods that are good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruit, such as oranges, peppers; strawberries; broccoli; Brussel sprouts; and potatoes. These vitamin-rich fresh foods will be the cure to what ails you in more ways than one.