With the average American’s rushed schedule and inadequate diet, it’s no wonder that many of us are lacking many of the vitamins and nutrients considered essential to maintaining healthy bodies. In fact, most of us aren’t consuming enough vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium and iron, according to numerous studies. Even worse, we’re eating too much of the bad stuff — including saturated fat and sodium.
In many cases, our bodies are giving off signals to let us know when we’re deficient in certain vitamins.
5 Symptoms of Potential Vitamin Deficiency
1. Muscle cramps, dull pain in legs. You could be experiencing these symptoms because your body is deficient in potassium, magnesium and calcium. Foods that can help you make up these mineral deficiencies include grapefruits, spinach, broccoli, bananas, nuts, apples, and cabbage.
2. Insomnia and fatigue. Chances are your diet could be inadequate in vitamin B1 (thiamin). You can add fish, sunflower seeds, green peas, nuts and wheat bread.
3. Bruises. You could be experiencing lower than normal levels of iron, which can impact how well you heal from wounds. Foods rich in iron include red meats, seafood, beans and dark leafy vegetables.
4. Hair loss. Loss of hair could be an indication that your body is lacking in zinc, vitamin B-7, and vitamins A, D and E. Add pumpkin seeds, bananas, avocados, dairy products, whole grains, and raspberries to your diet.
5. Bleeding gums. You may be experiencing a vitamin A deficiency. Try adding sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy vegetables, and cantaloupes to your diet.
If changing your diet is challenging for you, try to gradually add one or two healthier options to your meals. In the meantime, you could add supplements to your diet. Also, make sure that you’re able to properly absorb the vitamins and minerals — whether from your diet or from supplements.
For example, people with an Intrinsic Factor deficiency cannot absorb vitamin B-12. The intrinsic factor is a protein that the stomach secretes; it is paired with vitamin B-12 in the stomach and goes through the small intestine where it is then absorbed into the bloodstream.