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.
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.
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.
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 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, muscle twitches, and cramping and headaches. Sadly, 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.