How to Identify Nutrient Deficiencies

How to Identify Nutrient Deficiencies

Our body requires , minerals and other nutrients for optimum functional efficiency, and any kind of deficiency is a serious problem. It should be recognized and treated without delay. The good news is that the human body is like a mirror, reflecting deficiencies within in external symptoms. If you are vigilant and make it a point never to ignore these symptoms, you can easily detect a deficiency at an early stage and correct it. A blood test can confirm certain vitamin deficiencies, but as mentioned, nutrient deficiency symptoms are reflected in five important parts of the body.

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1. Head

  • Hair loss is a sign of vitamin deficiency. Common deficiencies include folic acid,vitamin B5, vitamin B6, and EFAs (essential fatty acids). Vitamin A toxicity or other environmental toxicities may also cause hair loss.
  • Dandruff problems indicate EFA, antioxidant (especially selenium), or B-complex deficiencies
  • Premature greying is a sign of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) deficiency.

2. Face

  • Dark circles under the eyes can indicate low intake of quercetin and .
  • Acne is mostly caused by zinc, EFA and vitamin A deficiency and may be triggered by the over-consumption of bad fatty acids like those present in fried, oily food.
  • Tooth decay is a sign of deficiency of vitamin B6 and minerals like boron, calcium, and silica.
  • Bleeding gums are a result of inadequate intake of vitamin C and bioflavonoids.
  • Cracks at the corners of the mouth are a sign of deficiencies in B2 (riboflavin) and other B-complex vitamins.
  • Sore tongue may be a sign of B12, folic acid, iron and/or zinc deficiency.
  • Pale tongue may indicate low iron levels, so an iron test is recommended.

3. Skin

  • Dry skin is often caused by deficiencies in EFAs, vitamin A and/or vitamin E.
  • Skins tags around the neck, arms and back are a sign of glucose intolerance or reactive insulin levels.
  • Small red bumps on back of arms may be indicative of deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc and EFAs.
  • Easy bruising of the skin may mean indicate low levels of vitamins K, C, or E, and/or bioflavonoids.
  • Slow wound healing is a sign of deficiencies in vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc and/or EFAs. It may also indicate the presence of diabetes.

4. Hands & Nails

  • Hang nails and cuticle inflammation may be a sign of zinc deficiency.
  • Skin cracking at the tips of fingers showcases deficiencies in zinc, vitamin E, or EFAs.
  • Cold hands are a sign of deficiencies in EFAs, niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin E, vitamin B12 or iron.
  • Flat angle/spooning of nails may be a result of iron deficiency.
  • Ridged nails are caused by low levels of minerals.

5. Feet

  • Nail abnormalities in the feet and toes similar to those found in hands (such as ridged nails), may indicate the same vitamin deficiencies.
  • Tingly feet with poor circulation is a sign of vitamin D3 deficiency. You may need to get more sunlight!

Deficiencies of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is usually a result of poor dietary habits like low intake of fruits and vegetables. If you eat a balanced diet, you can easily prevent vitamin deficiencies. For example, eating more foods rich in vitamin E (like almonds), can help to overcome skin and hair hassles that are very common nowadays.

Read more about female hair loss causes and treatment

If you have one or more symptoms highlighted above, consider discussing with a healthcare provider. Some of these symptoms may also point to a deeper issue, such as venous blood clots, kidney disorders or thyroid disease. Take a stand and protect your body from vitamin deficiencies by eating healthy!

Image: Paul Watson

Author Bio: Surela Mukherjee is a passionate blogger, a foodie and a fitness freak. She is a content writer who loves writing about beauty, lifestyle, food, health and wellness. She believes in spreading a word of happiness through her writings.

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Lisa Roth Collins is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) is the Marketing Manager at She is passionate about health and wellness and tries her best to make healthier choices every day for herself and her family. Her journey to natural health was driven by her own struggles with digestive discomfort, depression, and anxiety. Lisa returned to school in 2014 to study nutrition at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. She threw herself into her studies so she could learn as much as she could to help herself feel better and thrive. Upon completing the program and being certified as an RHN, Lisa began her work at Naturally Savvy where she has been able to help so many people learn to make healthier choices for themselves. Through her work, she has connected with so many incredible people in the industry whether other authors, influencers, or brands. Plus, she is affectionately known as "Techie Spice" because of her ability to wrap her head around technology. Every day she gets up with a renewed sense of energy and ready to make a difference. You can read all of Lisa's content here. In her spare time, Lisa loves to try new recipes, make delicious and nourishing meals, and she is an avid reader. For more information about Lisa, check out her profile on here.