Snob Essentials

Signs You May Have a Vitamin Deficiency

Do you always feel like you’re complaining about being tired even when you’ve slept a full night? Do you find yourself getting odd tingling sensations? You might be surprised to learn that it could be a vitamin deficiency that’s ailing you. To find out about what the signs of vitamin deficiencies are and what we should focus on eating to prevent them, we spoke with registered dietician, Nature’s Origin spokesperson, and founder of B Nutritious Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.

Iron: This mineral does hard labor for the body. It basically helps bring oxygen throughout the body allowing cells to grow. Iron is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide. Fatigue is one of the biggest indicators of low iron levels. Animal products contain a type of iron called heme that’s easy to digest and absorb. Meat, poultry, and fish/shellfish all contain healthy amounts of heme iron. Non-heme iron isn’t as easy to absorb, but can be found in plants like legumes, tofu, spinach, and fortified cereals. Vitamin C can help with the absorption of both forms of iron, so adding sweet potatoes, tomatoes, or even red peppers can help with iron absorption.

Vitamin C: Fatigue, dizziness, pale skin, weight loss, muscle weakness, unsteady movements, confusion/forgetfulness, and irregular heartbeats are all signs that you may be deficient in vitamin C. Per the above, consider adding sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, and citrus fruits into your diet.

Calcium: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and it’s essential for bone health. Muscle cramps, numbness/tingling of the fingers, and poor appetite are all common signs of a deficiency. While dairy has garnered a reputation for being an abundant source of calcium, there are plenty of non-dairy sources, including leafy greens like kale and bok choy, bananas, apples, grapefruit, almonds, hazelnuts, squash, and broccoli.

Vitamin D: This vitamin acts like a hormone in the body. Vitamin D levels are a great indicator for overall health. Deficiency signs can vary, but include the winter blues, GI conditions, and fatigue. I recommend everyone ask to have their D levels checked at their annual checkup! There aren’t too many natural food sources of vitamin D, but canned salmon, mushrooms, egg yolks, and fortified dairy do contain vitamin D.

Vitamin B12: While there are a lot of B vitamins, B12 is critical for maintaining many of your body’s functions like energy production, creation of red blood cells, and DNA synthesis; and many people are deficient. Signs you may be deficient include low energy levels, as well as nerve issues in your fingers and ringing in your ears. People who use acid blockers long-term may also be at risk for a B12 deficiency. Most animal sources of protein are good B12 sources; think fish, red meat, and dairy products.

Magnesium: This mineral is going to be more talked about in the next few years — it’s up-and-coming for good reason. Low levels are linked to everything from heart disease to migraines to blood pressure problems. It also works with calcium, and the two minerals keep each other balanced. Muscle cramping and spasms are common for those who are deficient. Constipation and sleep problems can also be related to low magnesium levels. Most nuts, especially cashews and almonds, are great sources. Dark chocolate, whole wheat, brown rice, spinach, and peas are also good sources.


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