Enjoying a nutritious and well-balanced diet has many benefits, but a diet which is lacking in nutrients can cause a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. When you have a vitamin deficiency, these symptoms are your body’s way of communicating that there are some issues going on.
There are a number of different reasons behind vitamin deficiencies and the symptoms which present themselves once you have a deficiency can vary from person to person. With that in mind, here are 3 of the most common signs of vitamin deficiency.
Sometimes, bleeding gums can simply be a sign of an over-vigorous tooth brushing technique, but a diet which is lacking in vitamin C can also be the cause. Vitamin C plays a huge role when it comes to your immune system and the way your body heals and it even acts as an antioxidant and protects against cell damage.
Your body doesn’t produce vitamin C on its own, so the only way you can ensure you are having the recommended amount is through your diet. Vitamin C deficiencies are very rare in people who consume plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, but a lot of people fail to eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables a day, meaning it is becoming more common.
Hair loss is a very common symptom of when your body is deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. Around 50% of adults report hair loss before they are 50 years of age.
A diet rich in these nutrients can help prevent hair loss:
- Iron. Iron is involved in DNA, which is present in hair follicles and too little iron can cause hair to fall out or stop growing.
- Zinc. Zinc is essential when it comes to protein synthesis and cell division, which are two processes needed when it comes to hair growth, so a zinc deficiency can cause hair loss.
- Niacin (Vitamin B3). This is essential for keeping your hair healthy. Alopecia, which is a condition where your hair can fall out in small clumps or patches, can be linked to a deficiency in niacin.
Eggs, meat, fish, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains are all great natural sources of zinc and iron. Niacin rich foods can include fish, meat, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds. A lot of supplements claim to help prevent hair loss and many contain high levels of the above nutrients, as well as others. It has been discussed that taking supplements to tackle hair loss can actually worsen hair loss, so if you believe you have a vitamin deficiency linked to hair loss, then it is best to discuss this with a doctor.
Brittle Hair and Nails
There are a number of different factors which can cause brittle hair and nails and one of these is a lack of vitamins and minerals, notably biotin. Biotin, which is also known as vitamin B7, aids the body in converting food into energy.
When your body is deficient in biotin, which is very rare, brittle, splitting or thinning hair and nails are the most common and noticeable symptoms, but other symptoms also include muscle pain and cramps, fatigue and tingling in the hands and feet. Pregnant women, people who smoke and drink heavily and people suffering from digestive disorders are at the most risk of developing a biotin deficiency.
A diet doesn’t provide the right amount of vitamins and minerals can cause several different symptoms, some more common than others. Often, the best advice is increasing your intake of vitamin and mineral-rich natural, whole foods, but health supplements can often be prescribed.