While eating a well-balanced, whole foods diet is essential for disease prevention and the maintenance of health, is it enough if you are deficient in key vitamins and minerals? What are the signs and symptoms of deficiencies you can observe in your body?
The remainder of this article provides a listing of some of the signs that may suggest a deficiency in certain nutrients. Remember, these are signs which can vary between people. Each sign can often mean multiple things that aren’t necessarily related to a deficiency. This should not replace proper medical examination and laboratory testing.
Thin, dry hair: Low thyroid function or essential fatty acid deficiency
Hair loss: Zinc deficiency
Noise sensitivity: Magnesium deficiency
Excess earwax: Fat deficiency
Dry, cracked lips: B-vitamin deficiency
Pale under eyelids: Anemia
Blood vessels visible around nose and cheeks: Gastric (hydrochloric) acid deficiency
Goiter/swollen thyroid: Iodine deficiency
Loss of smell: Zinc deficiency
Light sensitivity: B2 deficiency
Eye twitches: Magnesium deficiency
Loss of taste: Zinc deficiency
Spongy gums and loose teeth: Vitamin C deficiency
Hoarse voice: Iron deficiency (also consider low thyroid function)
Tingling in hands (carpal tunnel): B6 deficiency
White specks in nails: Zinc deficiency
Ridges in nails (longitudinal): Gastric (hydrochloric) acid deficiency
Red palms: B-vitamin deficiency
Pale skin: Iron deficiency anemia
Do any of these sound familiar? Are you getting enough of these nutrients?
*Note: This list is NOT meant to diagnose medical conditions.
The following are a few conditions or situations where deficiencies of minerals or vitamins can play a role in the disease process. Adequately replacing these essential nutrients may help reverse the conditions.
High blood pressure: Magnesium plays a key role in blood vessel relaxation. Low levels lead to constricted blood vessels and increase pressure. Chronic magnesium deficiency also allows calcium to build up in the lining of the vessels creating constriction and hardening.
Depression: Zinc, Magnesium, vitamin B6 and B3 are all essential for the formation of the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin. Deficiencies in the above nutrients can lead to poor production of serotonin and melatonin decreasing mood and impairing sleep. Unfortunately, anti-depressant drugs don’t address this root cause since they don’t increase production of serotonin, but only allow it to stay in the brain longer.
Hypothyroidism: Most people have heard of iodine being essential to thyroid hormone production, but selenium and zinc are also required in this process. Selenium is especially important since it is required for the conversion of T4 to T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone) in the liver and peripheral tissues. Additionally, it also reduces autoimmunity against the thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis).
Acne: Zinc plays an essential anti-inflammatory role by stabilizing the immune system. When levels are low people may be predisposed to more acne outbreaks and increased severity. It’s important to note that copper should always be supplemented along with zinc since long-term zinc use can lead to a copper deficiency.
Fibromyalgia: Magnesium is a key factor in muscle function and some research shows that people with fibromyalgia have low intracellular magnesium levels despite blood levels being normal. The combination of magnesium and malic acid has been shown to have a positive effect on symptoms.
Restless legs syndrome (RLS): Iron is an often-overlooked mineral in RLS. It is required for the formation of dopamine in the brain, which regulates muscle movement. Before supplementing be sure to get your ferritin levels checked to see if you are iron deficient.
Source: Dr Hrkal
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