Symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency
Common vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Every day your body depends on numerous vitamins and minerals to function optimally. However, when you fall deficient in one or more of these, your body functions at a sub-optimal level, increasing your risk of illness or disease and you may begin to recognise the symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency. Vitamins and minerals aid your body in completing all its most critical physiological processes.
A well-balanced diet should provide you with all the nutrients you need to prevent vitamin inadequacy. However, when your diet is not well balanced, or you are unable to absorb all the nutrients your need from your food you may begin to experience several unpleasant symptoms as you develop vitamin deficiencies.
Recognising these symptoms early can help you to adjust your diet and to reverse the imbalance sooner rather than later. In this blog, we explore some of the most common vitamin deficiencies and some common signs and symptoms that may help you to identify if you have a deficiency.
Recognise the signs of common vitamin and mineral deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin. It is responsible for helping to maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones, and cell membranes. It is also fundamental in helping to keep our eyes healthy by producing eye pigments.
Most people in the Western world consume enough vitamin A to remain healthy. However, is it starting to become a problem in more developing countries where preschool children are being identified as having a deficiency in vitamin A? A deficiency in this vitamin can be tragic in the long-term leading to either temporary or permanent eye damage and if left untreated may lead to blindness. Inadequate levels can also suppress immune health increasing the risk of illness and disease
Vitamin A is mostly found in organ meats, fish oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark leafy vegetables.
While it is very important to consume enough of this vitamin, too much of the preformed vitamin A (that found in organ meat and fish oil) may cause toxicity so provided you are consuming a varied diet supplementation is not often required unless a deficiency is diagnosed. This is not the case for the pro-vitamin A version (found in carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens). This version is not considered dangerous with high intakes so eat away (West & Darnton-Hill., 2008).
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, which plays several fundamental roles in keeping us healthy. It is essential for blood formation, brain function, and keeping our nerves healthy. Every single cell in our body requires vitamin B12 to function optimally. However, this vitamin must be obtained from food or supplements as our body cannot produce it.
B12 is mostly found in animal foods such as meat and fish. Therefore, vegans and vegetarians are at an increased risk of deficiency. Additionally, absorption of B12 decreases with age so older people frequently develop deficiencies. Lastly for some people absorption of this vitamin is hindered by the lack of a protein known as intrinsic factor, which is required for vitamin B12 to be absorbed. These people often require B12 injections or high dosage supplements to prevent a deficiency.
Symptoms of a deficiency may include:
- Impaired brain function
- Muscle weakness
- Numbing or tingling in the hands and feet
- Skin problems
- Poor cognitive function
- Memory loss
- Balance problems
Vitamin B-Complex vitamin deficiency
In addition to vitamin B12, it is important to note there are several other B vitamins (B-Complex), fundamental to support our health, which are frequently found to be at suboptimal levels. These include:
- thiamin (vitamin B1)
- riboflavin (vitamin B2)
- niacin (vitamin B3)
- pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)
- pyridoxine (vitamin B6)
- biotin (vitamin B7)
- folic acid (vitamin B9)
All B vitamins play specific roles, yet overall, these vitamins are used to release energy from our food, keep our nervous system healthy, form red blood cells and keep our skin and eyes healthy. Deficiencies in these other mentioned B vitamins often present with symptoms like those discussed for vitamin B12.
Vitamin C deficiency
We are all aware of the importance of vitamin C and its role in keeping us healthy, especially to help support a healthy immune system and fight off illness. Historically deficiencies in vitamin C were associated with the disease scurvy. Fast forward to today, whilst deficiency is relatively rare in developed countries, some individuals who are unable to consume a varied diet, or those who have vitamin malabsorption deficiencies can develop. Vitamin C is needed for the repair of all tissues in all parts of the human body. The most important functions of vitamin C include the formation of protein used to make skin, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels for healing wounds and forming scar tissues, for repairing and maintaining cartilage, bones, and teeth. It is an essential vitamin to support a healthy immune system, an important antioxidant to fight off free radicals, as well as helping in the absorption of iron. Since humans cannot make vitamin C or store it in large amounts, it must be consumed regularly to prevent deficiency. Foods highest in vitamin C include all fruits and vegetables and should be consumed daily. **Vitamin C IV Drip, Skin Brightening IV Drip
The most common risk factors for the development of a vitamin C deficiency include a poor diet, anorexia, smoking, or high alcohol intake. Symptoms of a deficiency often take a long time to show, however, there are some subtle signs to look out for if you may be concerned about a deficiency. Whilst the following symptoms may not always be due to a vitamin C deficiency, they are some of the key ones that you may want to watch out for:
- Rough, bumpy skin
- Bright red hair follicles
- Dry or damaged skin
- Bruising easily
- Slow wound healing
- Painful or swollen joints
- Bleeding gums
- Poor immunity/ frequent illness
- Fatigue and/or poor mood
(Devaki & Raveendran., 2017)
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, especially in those countries where there is limited sunlight exposure. Years ago, few people considered the concerning health effects that may occur with a vitamin D deficiency. However, more and more research is pointing towards a deficiency in this vitamin is associated with numerous health conditions.
Years ago, most of our ancestors spent much of their time outside, exposed to sunlight, which is essential for us to produce vitamin D. However, fast forward to today; many of us spend a lot of our day inside or living in a country where there is very little sunlight exposure. Coupled with the fact that there are few food sources high in vitamin D could be a contributing factor as to why there is an estimated one billion people living in insufficient vitamin D levels.
One of the most important functions of vitamin D is its role in helping to support strong and healthy bones. Calcium can only be absorbed from the gut and kidneys when adequate levels of vitamin D. This, in turn, helps to strengthen our bones. Vitamin D is also fundamental to support a healthy and strong immune system, as well are reducing excess inflammation in the body. More research is also finding other roles of this vitamin, which include but not limited to improving heart disease and those suffering from depression.
If you spend a lot of time inside, eat little amounts of fish or dairy, or live in a country where there is little sunlight you are at a high risk of a vitamin D deficiency. You may fall into inadequacy without a presentation of symptoms, so it is important to get your vitamin D levels checked regularly. It is important to note that whilst sufficient vitamin D is fundamental for optimal health, consuming too much can also be associated with detrimental health effects, so we advise always checking with your GP as to whether you need to consume a supplement or not.
Some of the most common vitamin D deficiency symptoms to look out for include:
- Low immunity or frequent illness
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive fatigue or lethargy
- Imbalanced hormones
- Low bone mineral density
Vitamin K deficiency
There are two main kinds of vitamin K. Vitamin K1 which are found in leafy greens and vitamin K2, which we produce in the intestinal tract. Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting, which helps to prevent excessive bleeding both inside and outside the body. Your body needs vitamin K in order to produce the proteins that go to work during the clotting process. When you develop a vitamin K deficiency your body does not have enough of the proteins required to prevent excessive bleeding.
Most people should be able to consume enough Vitamin K in their diet, however certain health conditions and drugs can interfere with the vitamin K absorption and creation, increasing deficiency risk. Deficiency is more common in infants and young children (Shearer., 2009). Symptoms of inadequate levels of vitamin K can include:
- Excessive bleeding
- Bruises easily
- Small blood clots under the nails
- Stool that is dark/ black and may contain blood
Those who may be at an increased risk of developing this deficiency include:
- Those who take coumarin anticoagulants such as warfarin, which thins the blood
- Those on antibiotics
- If you have a condition that causes the body to not absorb fat properly (fat malabsorption)
- If you have a diet that is extremely lacking in vitamin K
Minerals & Electrolytes
❖Calcium: Learn More
❖Magnesium: Learn More
❖Potassium: Learn More
❖Zinc: Learn More
❖Selenium: Learn More
Do you consume a well-balanced diet?
Whilst most people should be able to consume a diet that is well balanced and ensure that they do not develop vitamin deficiencies, sometimes people miss out on reaching their required intake, or due to health conditions are unable to absorb enough from food. In these instances, supplementation can prove helpful.
Have you considered boosting your vitamin intake for vitamin and mineral deficiency?
Here at Cryojuvenate, we offer a range of different vitamin and nutrient (IM) Vitamin Booster Shots and IV Infusions (IV Drip) to help support you in ensuring you have optimal amounts for you to remain healthy. By receiving the vitamins via an injection or intravenously means you are able to absorb all of the administered doses, compared to when you take vitamins orally, and much may be lost when passing through the digestive tract.