While eating poorly for a week or two won’t do much damage to your health, consistently eating a diet low in essential nutrients can cause serious health problems and impair the ability of your organs to function properly.
Here are a few warning signs that you may have a nutrient deficiency.
9 signs of nutrient deficiencies
- Vitamin D-fortified foods such as milk and cereals
- Vitamin D supplements
2. Hair loss
On average, we lose approximately 100 strands of hair a day. However, if you notice clumps of hair falling out after a shower, it could be a sign of iron deficiency.
Good dietary sources of iron include:
- Lean meat
3. Dry skin
Dry or scaly skin could be a sign of vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in the growth and maintenance of skin tissues.
You can increase your intake of vitamin A by consuming foods such as:
- Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
- Orange vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots
- Orange or citrus fruits such as cantaloupe and apricots
4. Spoon-shaped nails
Another warning sign that your iron levels are too low are softening and bending of the nails at the edges, resulting in a spoon shape. This spooning of the nails may be a sign of hemochromatosis, a condition that causes the body to absorb excess iron.
5. Cracks in the corners of the mouth
Initially, cracks in the corners of your mouth (angular cheilitis) may develop as skin becomes dry or irritated at one or both the corners of the mouth and can later turn into painful, bleeding sores.
If these cracks do not go away even after using lip balm, it could be a sign that you are deficient in iron or B vitamins (riboflavin). If that is the case, consume riboflavin-rich foods such as:
- Lean meats
- Green vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli
6. Swollen tongue (glossitis)
- Fortified cereals
7. Easy bruising
Collagen is a protein that is responsible for holding intact your skin cells. If you notice more bruises than usual, you may be low in vitamin C, which is a key element in collagen. Vitamin C deficiency could be a result of smoking, an eating disorder, and severe digestive conditions.
Vitamin C deficiency can be treated by eating foods such as:
- Bell peppers
- Citrus fruits
8. Burning mouth syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome is a condition that causes a burning sensation, dryness, and numbness in the gums, lips, inside of the cheeks, and roof of the mouth. This condition can be a sign of a vitamin B deficiency—folate, thiamin, and B6.
To boost vitamin B6 in your diet, eat more of the following:
- Fortified cereals
9. Mood disorders
A lack of nutrients can also affect your mental health, making you feel depressed or overall low in energy. B vitamins such as folate or folic acid help the body produce red blood cells and create chemicals that regulate sleep patterns and mood.
Folate deficiency can be made up with:
- Fortified cereals
What are daily requirements of essential nutrients?
|Vitamins or minerals||RDA or ADI|
|Vitamin B1 (thiamin)||
|Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)||
|Vitamin B3 (niacin)||
|Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)||
|Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)||
|Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)||
|Vitamin B complex (choline)||
|Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)||
|Vitamin D (cholecalciferol)||
|Vitamin E (tocopherol)||
|Biotin (B complex)||
|Folic acid (folate)||
Christine Mikstas. Signs You’re Not Getting Enough Nutrients. WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-not-enough-nutrients
Sabrina Felson Vitamins and Minerals: How Much Should You Take? WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/vitamins-minerals-how-much-should-you-take
Vitamins and Minerals for Older Adults. NIH: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/vitamins-and-minerals-older-adults
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