Top 5 Nutritional Deficiencies

Many people do not realize they could be suffering from several nutritional deficiencies. The symptoms can be so subtle you tune them out, yet you feel like something is off. Experts say on average one out of ten people has at least one nutritional deficiency. The most common nutritional deficiencies are fat soluble vitamins like A, D and E and they’re on the rise because many do not eat a balanced diet. How do you know? What are the signs and solutions?

Vitamin A Deficiency

A vitamin A deficiency means we do not have enough vitamin A floating through our bloodstream and in our tissue. A telltale sign is red bumps and textured/rougher skin on the backs of your arms. It’s a good indicator that you’re low in beta-carotene which converts into vitamin A. Another symptom is night blindness. A lack of vitamin A can be caused by inadequate intake, malabsorption or liver disorders. Foods high in beta-carotene are yellow, orange and green leafy fruits and veggies. Carrots, spinach, broccoli, winter squash, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, melons, mangos, papaya and apricots are just a few foods you need in your diet to up your vitamin A game.

Low Iron

A low iron deficiency means you do not have enough vibrant red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout your body. It means a low hemoglobin which can make you feel tired and fatigued with low energy. You can also experience dizziness, shortness of breath, cold hands and feet, headaches and brittle fingernails. There can be several causes of low iron,  poor diet, heavy menstrual periods, internal bleeding and an inability to absorb iron. Foods rich in iron are your darker foods like blackstrap molasses, prunes, figs, dates, dark leafy greens, spirulina, liver, lentils, dark chocolate, spinach, black beans, pistachios and raisins.

Low Protein

Being low in protein is serious. It can cause muscle wasting and an inability to build muscle. A sluggish metabolism, trouble losing weight, slow wound healing, poor concentration, mood swings, hair falling, carb cravings and joint pain are a few symptoms. As a vegan myself I cannot tell you how often I’m criticized for not eating animal products as a protein source. There are so many options and just about everything natural has protein in it. Here are a few vegan proteins — spirulina, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, black beans, lentils, nutritional yeast, green peas and quinoa.

B12 Deficiency

It’s thought that a B12 deficiency is the leading nutrient deficiency in the world. Symptoms can include chronic fatigue, poor memory, inability to concentrate, poor appetite, digestive problems, dizziness, joint pain, tingling in various parts of your body, anemia and many more. B12 is stored in the liver and it’s impossible to get a genuine blood level. Your symptoms would be an indicator you’re low. Supplements are available if necessary. Incidentally, 90% of America is meat eaters and yet 60% are B12 deficient. How’s that possible?

Micro-organisms on plants like fresh berries or pulling a carrot out of the ground, brushing it off and eating will give you the B12 you need to thrive. Seaweed, sea moss, nutritional yeast, kale and cultured foods are great sources of B12. You really don’t have to look too far to find healthy sources of B12.

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium is by far one of the most important in the body. Without it, we will experience health problems. I wrote a whole article on this health concern. Check it out here. Symptoms include high blood pressure, heartburn, acid reflux, muscles twitches and cramping and headaches. Sadly, our the foods we eat are depleted and we do not get enough nutritional value. Many physicians will suggest a supplement and there are many brands on the market. Foods rich in magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, chard, almonds, black beans, avocados, figs, bananas and even dark chocolate.

Disclaimer: This article is not offering any medical advice. If you have any health issues, seek advice from your medical providers.


  • I would love to know what brands of Protein suppliment you like? I believe I have your described lack of protein signs. I hear they are all surgery tho? Do u have a recommendation for a beginner?

    • I get most of my protein from foods like lentils and black beans, etc. But, I do have a container of organic hemp protein that I sometimes toss in my smoothies. Google vegan proteins and you’ll find copious information.

  • This is great information because I am low in iron and low in magnesium. I will now put this to use. thank you.

  • I know at least 3 people who have a Vitamin B12 deficiency, 2 have to have shots at the doctor. Good to know what to eat to combat this problem.

  • Luckily I was only low in iron when I hemorrhaged very badly and iron helped me build my blood supply back up again.
    I have noticed that I feel so much better in many different ways when I eat high protein. My husband said that he does too.
    When I raised my magnesium, my anxiety attacks gradually became much milder and went from frequent to rare and my severe, chronic migraines that I suffered with since I was only 7 yrs old. also gradually went from pretty much disabling, too much of the time, numerous times a month, for decades to infrequent and usually tolerable and are faster to treat since raising my magnesium and eating higher protein and avoiding refined processed carbs & red food dye #40. I’m VERY grateful for these life-altering improvements, but it also makes me very sad to think of all the decades I suffered so horribly when these simple things helped me more than almost all of the medications they have ever prescribed for me. Magnesium also helps me when I start to feel ill at all or get any type of a headache, I soak in as hot of a bathtub water as I can stand with 2 cups or more of Epsom Salt (high in magnesium) and 2 cups of Baking Soda, for at least 20-30+ minutes and it’s surprising how much it takes the “edge off” and I can feel some noticeable relief just from that… sometimes a little, but sometimes a lot!

  • These do not shock me at all!! I am surprised to not see Vitamin D on here though as I thought that one was super high too!! I take prenatals all the time because they contain fabulous amounts of iron!

  • I remember when I was pregnant and had to take iron pills to keep my iron levels up. Low iron can cause havoc on a pregnant woman.

  • I was once diagnosed as anemic when I was pregnant. I often wonder if maybe I’m a little low on iron. I hate taking iron supplements though! The side effects were worse than the lethargy I felt from the deficiency!

  • The article was very informative, I know I don’t eat a balanced diet. Reading the article with the symptoms it sounds like I am deficient in all of them. I have had colon cancer. I’ve never really discussed my diet. After surgery I was told to continue eating fried chicken or what I eat. Go figure. Talking with doctors their diet isn’t the same as mine.

  • This is a great post because it’ll help a lot of people. I myself have low iron, B12 and at one point in my life low proteins but because I’m a quadriplegic sadly I’m plagued with a lot of medical problems.

  • I struggle with low iron count and take a iron pill everyday. I do notice when my energy is low and I adjust my diet and eat more spinach and kale and foods high in iron.

  • I appreciate your research on these nutritional ingredients…I’m very glad that I am already taking Magnesium and calcium as recommended by my doctor.

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