Five Signs You Have a Vitamin Deficiency

BY Kiku Chaudhuri

Could a vitamin deficiency be causing you health problems? Here’s how to tell and what to eat to ensure your vitamins are all up to mark.

With the easy availability of on-the-go meals and processed foods, our bodies may easily experience vitamin deficiencies, resulting in a host of health problems that affect our physical and mental well-being. But how do you know if you have a vitamin deficiency? Scroll ahead to know some common symptoms of a vitamin deficiency and what dietary and lifestyle changes you can make for better nutrient intake and improved overall well-being.

What are the symptoms of a vitamin deficiency?

The best way to know if you have a vitamin deficiency is to get a blood test from your primary care physician. Nonetheless, some common symptoms may also help you [1]determine vitamin deficiencies in your body. These are:

Fatigue

Often dismissed as a symptom of a busy lifestyle, fatigue is actually one of the most common and early signs of vitamin deficiency. Almost all nutrient deficiencies are linked to fatigue. The shortfall of iron and vitamin B12, in particular, can result in tiredness, weakness, anemia and poor concentration. This is because vitamin B12 plays a crucial role in the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the rest of the tissues in the body. Thus, the lack of it may impair oxygen delivery to the muscles, brain and organs and result in low-energy levels.

What can you do?

Animal sources of food like tuna, salmon, trout and beef contain high concentrations of vitamin B12. Moreover, vitamin B2 and B6 also help fight fatigue and promote a healthier lifestyle. They can be found in almonds, mushrooms, potatoes and bananas.

Mood swings or low mood

Mental health conditions like depression and anxiety are often linked with vitamin deficiency. Inadequate levels of vitamin B can negatively impact the memory function and even lead to cognitive impairment and dementia. For instance, low levels of vitamin B1 (thiamin) is linked with mental health problems like anxiety, insomnia, irritability and depression as this nutrient converts blood sugar or glucose into energy and when there is a lack of it, the brain may lack the energy it needs to function normally. Moreover, deficiency in vitamin D, also called the sunshine vitamin, has also been associated with active mood disorders and depression. Remember, if you feel depressed, always seek the help of your doctor for a proper diagnosis. 

What can you do?

B vitamins, that support our mental and emotional well-being, can be found in asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, eggs, yogurt, fish, nuts and seeds. Furthermore, avoid excess alcohol, refined sugar, nicotine and caffeine as they may deplete these vitamins and play a role in B-vitamin deficiency.

Hair loss

Hair loss is a common sign of vitamin deficiency which can impact a person's appearance and self-esteem. Alopecia, a condition in which hair falls out in small patches, is one possible symptom of low levels of niacin (vitamin B3). A lack of vitamin D may also cause the hair to thin, split or stop growing. Moreover, changes in the quality and texture of hair may be a sign that there is insufficient vitamin B 12, B 6, and/or iron in the body. These nutrients strengthen hair by promoting a healthy blood supply that carries oxygen to the hair and scalp.

What can you do?

To combat hair loss caused by vitamin deficiency, consume foods such as egg yolks, meat, leafy greens, bell peppers, wholegrains and citrus fruits that contain essential vitamins like vitamin c and vitamin B7 that help promote hair growth. Switch to gentle hair cleansers that are free of parabens. Try our Balancing Clay Hair Cleanser, an award-winning shampoo that contains multani mitti, moringa oil and other nutrient-rich Ayurvedic ingredients which help repair damaged hair cuticles and promote hair growth.

Dry eyes

A vitamin A deficiency may cause the eyes to become drier. Low levels of vitamin A are also associated with night blindness, a condition which reduces a person’s ability to see in low light or darkness. This is because vitamin A is essential for the production of rhodopsin, a pigment found in the retinas of the eyes that help a person see at night.

What can you do?

Vitamin A-rich foods include dark leafy greens, dairy, eggs and yellow and orange colored vegetables. Nuts like walnut and cashews and leafy greens contain antioxidants like vitamin E and C which support eye health by fighting age-related damage.

Dandruff and scaly patches

Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff are skin disorders that impact the oil-producing areas of the body. The symptoms of both include itchy, flaky skin. Studies have shown that around 42% of infants and 50% of adults may experience them at one point or another. A vitamin-poor diet may be one of the many causes of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Vitamin deficiency of riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and zinc have been linked with the occurrence of these skin disorders.

What can you do?

Foods that are rich in riboflavin, niacin and pyridoxine include poultry, meat, fish, wholegrains, leafy vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds. You can also infuse your scalp with neem, an ayurvedic ingredient that contains anti-microbial properties and keeps the scalp clean. Try our Handmade Neem Wood Comb that minimizes oily roots and helps reduce dandruff.

A well-balanced diet remains the best way to receive sufficient vitamins and minerals in the body. Moreover, multivitamins are not always a safe ticket to good health as they have been known to cause harm in some cases. Nonetheless, consult your doctor if you suspect that you suffer from a vitamin deficiency and aren’t getting enough nutrients from food alone.

Your Healthiest Hair Harnessing the Power of Ayurveda