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5 Signs of Nutrient Deficiency

Have you ever wondered if you’re nutrient deficient? If your diet is lacking in fresh, whole foods, the answer is most likely yes. Even If you eat a balanced, whole-food diet, there’s still a chance you aren’t getting the right balance of vitamins and minerals your body needs. A healthy diet doesn’t always equal proper nutrition.


One study found that even people who eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day may not get enough of certain vitamins needed for optimal health. So even for healthy eaters, it’s difficult to get all of the essential vitamins and minerals strictly from diet. If you’ve noticed a mysterious health symptom with no apparent cause, a nutrient deficiency might be to blame.

Signs of a nutrient deficiency include:

  1. Cracks at the corners of your mouth

    This can be a sign of iron, zinc and B-vitamin (niacin, riboflavin and B12) deficiency, or a sign that you’re not getting enough protein. Good dietary sources of these nutrients include organic free-range poultry and eggs, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, oysters, clams, Swiss chard and tahini.

  2. Hair loss and a red, scaly rash

    This can be a sign of a biotin (vitamin B7) deficiency. Your body needs biotin for metabolizing fats, carbohydrates and amino acids, but it’s most well-known for strengthening hair and nails. The best sources include egg yolks from organic, free-range eggs.

  3. Red or white acne-like bumps on your cheeks, arms, thighs and buttocks

    This can be a sign of a deficiency in essential fatty acids like omga-3s as well as a vitamin A or vitamin D deficiency. Increase your intake of omega-3 fats by eating more sardines and anchovies, or wild-caught Alaskan salmon, or taking a krill oil supplement. Vitamin A can be found in foods like leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes and red bell peppers. Vitamin D is best obtained through safe sun exposure.

  4. Tingling, prickling and numbness in your hands and feet

    This can be a sign of a B-vitamin deficiency, particularly folate, B6 and B12. Good sources of B vitamins include spinach, asparagus, beets, organic free-range eggs and poultry, and grass-fed beef.

  5. Muscle cramps

Frequent muscle cramps may be a sign of deficiencies in magnesium, calcium and potassium. Add more almonds, hazelnuts, squash, dark leafy greens, broccoli, Bok choy and apples to your diet.

The most common nutrient deficiencies are vitamin D, omega-3s, magnesium, vitamins A, E and B12, iodine, calcium, iron and zinc. While getting your nutrients from a healthy whole-foods diet is optimal, it still might not be enough to keep your body balanced. If you’ve noticed any of the symptoms above, or other common symptoms of a nutrient deficiency, such as frequent colds or flu, low energy, weight gain, shortness of breath, mood swings, muscle weakness or mental fog, consider supplementation to help your body get back on track.

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