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The Main Signs of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies: How Do You Know Which Vitamins Are Missing?


  • The Main Signs of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies: How Do You Know Which Vitamins Are Missing?

    If your diet is balanced and includes a variety of natural products, then most likely the body receives more than enough trace elements to be healthy.

    "If" is the keyword here.

    Most people are characterized by a state of deficiency of vitamins or minerals, one or more, which is important to be able to distinguish in time. This is especially important when high physical activity and various dietary restrictions (vegetarianism, raw food diet, detox, etc.).

    A lack of even one mineral or vitamin in the diet can cause dysfunction, fatigue, and a decrease in stamina against the background of increased frequency of colds and other infectious diseases.

    Below we will tell you about the most common deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in the human body, as well as the symptoms by which they can be recognized.

    About the causes of micronutrient deficiency

    The main reason for the lack of vitamins and minerals in the body is an inadequate or improper diet. "Inadequate" means inappropriate to the current needs of the body.

    The reasons for nutritional deficiencies vary from basic illiteracy in dietetics, to the lack of opportunities to buy food.

    However, even with a full diet, there are factors such as age, health problems, nutritional abnormalities, etc. - which affect the body's ability to absorb nutrients from food.

    The quality of the soil on which plants are grown, the conditions and duration of storage, processing technology largely determine the quantitative content of trace elements in the composition of foods - the primary sources of vitamins and minerals conceived by nature.

    Vitamin and mineral deficiencies themselves can be very sophisticated: symptoms may not be noticeable until the degree of deficiency becomes significant.

    But still, more often the lack of vitamins and minerals makes itself felt in pre-defined signs, both barely noticeable and obvious.

    If you do not know the language in which your body signals "problems" in it, then most likely you will not be able to distinguish them, and if you can, then you are very likely to misinterpret them.

    5 signs of vitamin or mineral deficiency in your body

    Any unusual deviations from the norm in the functioning of the body without obvious causes - a reason to believe the presence of a deficiency of trace elements.

    "The lack of vitamins may not manifest itself in the form of any obvious disease, but negatively affect the functioning of a certain mechanism, since vitamins are necessary components of biochemical reactions in the body. They are important for the proper functioning of organs and systems."- Dr. Susan Blum.

    The following are 5 typical symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiency, which are most likely to indicate a lack of any of them:

    1. Cracks in the corners of the mouth

    Cracks in the corners of the mouth usually indicate a lack of iron, zinc, B vitamins (B3, B2, B12) or.. protein in the diet.

    Good dietary sources of these microelements are eggs and poultry, salmon, oysters and shellfish, sesame seeds, etc.

    Here and further: every time we mention certain foods, we will remember that the most useful for health (including the quantitative content of trace elements in them) are eggs, meat and other animal products obtained from animals raised in conditions that are closest to natural ("rural").

    The beneficial properties of fish, shellfish, and other marine products are largely determined by the quality of water in the reservoirs in which they were contained.

    Since iron is absorbed better in the presence of vitamin C, include rich vegetables such as broccoli, red pepper, white cabbage, and cauliflower in your diet.

    2. Hair loss and red scaly rash (especially on the face)

    They may be a symptom of vitamin B7 (Biotin) deficiency. This vitamin is involved in the conversion and absorption of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (amino acids) and is known as the "hair and nail strengthening vitamin".

    Vitamin B7 is found in large amounts in the egg yolk.

    - Which eggs are more useful: raw or cooked/fried?

    Raw eggs contain the maximum amount of vitamin B7.

    However, it should be borne in mind that when using only raw protein, the substance avidin contained in it "binds" vitamin B7, preventing its absorption.

    The effect of avidin is neutralized when cooking eggs.

    Also, when using a whole raw egg (protein and yolk), the increased content of vitamin B7 (Biotin) in the yolk compensates for the effect of avidin.

    Other sources of vitamin B7 are nuts (almonds), cheeses, mushrooms, cauliflower.

    3. Red and white acne-like formations (on the cheeks, arms, thighs and buttocks)

    These signs may indicate a deficiency of essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3s, as well as vitamins A and D.

    Increase your omega-3s intake by including more fatty fish (sardines, anchovies, salmon, mackerel) in your diet or by using dietary supplements.

    Vitamin A is found in large amounts in green vegetables.

    The best source of vitamin D is the sun. If you live in latitudes with a small number of sunny days a year or spend every day indoors, be sure to include natural sources of this vitamin in your menu: salmon, mackerel, sardines, cod liver, egg yolks.

    4 Tingling, and numbness in the hands and feet

    They may indicate a lack of b vitamins (especially B9 (folic acid), B6, and B12).

    Such symptoms are explained by the fact that B vitamins ensure the health of nerve cells and when they are deficient, damage occurs primarily to small peripheral nerves (in the legs and arms), which is accompanied by tingling.

    Other characteristic manifestations of their lack can be a feeling of anxiety, depression, anemia, a feeling of increased fatigue, and hormonal imbalance.

    Sources of B vitamins are eggs, salmon, green leafy vegetables (lettuce), liver of domestic animals and birds, milk, beef, seafood (oysters, clams, and mussels), beans, poultry.

    5. Muscle cramps (on the toes, shins, back muscles of the legs and feet)

    They indicate a likely lack of magnesium, calcium, and potassium in the diet, especially if they occur frequently. These minerals ensure the propagation of nerve impulses through muscle fibers that precede muscle contraction.

    For prevention and treatment, regularly include legumes, nuts, cereals, dark leafy greens in your diet.

    80% of people have a magnesium deficiency in their body.

    Magnesium deserves special attention since according to scientists, approximately 80% of people live in a state of chronic magnesium deficiency.

    Magnesium is a health-critical mineral that performs a wide range of biological functions, including:
    • digestion and assimilation of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates
    • energy production: magnesium is essential for the production of ATP molecules, a universal source of energy in the body
    • the creation of DNA and RNA, the carriers of hereditary information
    • the creation of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which are transmitted via nerve impulses and the contraction of the muscles

    The balance between calcium and magnesium in the diet is very important. If there is too much calcium compared to magnesium, it is a serious health hazard: excess calcium with a lack of magnesium can cause muscle spasms, including heart muscle, lead to heart attack and sudden death.

    The balance between calcium and magnesium is critical: excess calcium compared to magnesium can cause muscle spasms, including heart muscle, which can lead to heart attack and even death

    - Can I detect a magnesium deficiency using a blood test?

    There are no readily available laboratory tests that can accurately determine the concentration of magnesium in tissues: only 1% of the total amount in the body is in the blood, which makes the assessment of the concentration in the body by analyzing a blood sample in the laboratory very inaccurate.

    Some specialized laboratories allow fairly accurate assessment of its concentration, however, they are usually less accessible. Therefore, it is important to know and be able to recognize the symptoms of this mineral deficiency in the body.

    Early signs of magnesium deficiency include:
    • lack of appetite
    • headache
    • nausea
    • fatigue
    • weakness

    Chronic magnesium deficiency leads to more serious consequences:
    • numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes
    • muscle cramps
    • seizures
    • mental abnormalities (unusual and strange behavior that does not correspond to the circumstances)
    • spasm of the coronary arteries (vessels that feed the heart)

    It is difficult to get the necessary amount of magnesium from food alone

    Theoretically, large amounts of magnesium are found in seaweed, green leafy vegetables, nuts, avocado.

    However, most plants grown today are very low in magnesium and other useful minerals. The reason is herbicides that are actively used to destroy weeds: they contain substances that block the absorption of minerals by plants.

    As a result, the foods that end up on our table, even if they initially have the ability to accumulate certain minerals, are very poor in magnesium. This is the main reason why modern doctors recommend taking magnesium in the form of dietary supplements.

    In addition to special medications, another good way is to regularly take Epsom salt baths, either entirely or for the feet. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which is well absorbed through the skin.

    You can also use magnesium oils (from magnesium chloride) for topical application.

    Magnesium in tablets. Effectiveness of pharmaceutical preparations. The best form of magnesium

    Today, you can buy magnesium in pharmacies in several forms for internal use, which differs in the concentration of the active ingredient and the degree of absorption:
    • magnesium glycinate - considered the best form of magnesium for those trying to correct its deficiency; it is a chelated (type of chemical compound) form that provides the highest levels of absorption and bioavailability;
    • magnesium oxide is a non-chelated type of magnesium that is bound to an organic or fatty acid. Contains 60% magnesium and has stool softening properties;
    • magnesium chloride / magnesium lactate contains only 12% magnesium, but has better absorption than other types, such as magnesium oxide: it has five times the concentration of magnesium, but it is much worse absorbed;
    • magnesium sulfate / magnesium hydroxide is usually used as a laxative; it is very easy to overdose, so it is recommended to take strictly according to the instructions;
    • magnesium carbonate has antacid properties (neutralizes stomach acidity), contains 45% magnesium;
    • magnesium taurate contains a combination of magnesium and the amino acid taurine: together they have a calming effect on the body and mind;
    • magnesium citrate - a combination of magnesium and citric acid; has laxative properties, but is one of the highest quality varieties of magnesium;
    • magnesium threonate is a relatively new type that seems promising, primarily due to its excellent ability to penetrate the mitochondrial membrane of cells

    Omega-3s deficiency is the sixth biggest killer in the US

    A lack of omega-3 fatty acids, according to scientists, is a significant factor in >90,000 premature deaths per year (in the United States)! In terms of scale, this is the sixth-largest killer of Americans!

    Research suggests that an insufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids increases the risk of death from all causes and accelerates the decline in mental function. It was found that people suffering from depression also receive less omega-3.

    Part of the problem is that most Americans eat too much of the inflammatory omega-6s and too little of the anti-inflammatory omega-3s.

    Omega-3 and omega-6 compete "for the same places" in the cellular structure, so the more of one, the less space for the other.

    This diet sets the stage for heart disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and many other diseases. Their range is very wide.

    The ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fats is 1: 1, but in the diet of the average Western person, this ratio most often reaches from 1: 20 to 1: 50.

    Typical signs that your diet contains more omega-6 than omega-3:
    • dry, rough skin, "alligator skin", or" chicken skin " on the back of the hands
    • dandruff or dry hair
    • brittle and soft nails
    • cracked heels or fingertips
    • reduced immunity and frequent infectious diseases
    • dry eyes
    • slow wound healing
    • frequent urination and excessive thirst
    • fatigue
    • allergies
    • difficulty with prolonged concentration, hyperactivity, and irritability
    • a problem of learning

    Recommendations for preventing omega-3 deficiency

    Fatty fish, and sardines, in particular, are one of the best sources of omega-3: one serving contains more than 50 percent of the recommended daily value.

    Besides, they also contain many other useful substances: from vitamins B12, B4, calcium, and selenium, to high-quality protein, which makes them one of the best dietary sources of animal omega-3.

    If you decide to take omega-3 supplements (capsules), keep in mind that krill oil is superior to fish oil as a source of omega-3.

    The omega-3s in krill oil are bound to phospholipids, which improve the absorption process. It does not cause belching, like fish oil and preparations based on it, and requires less of it to meet the daily norm.

    Besides, krill oil contains almost 50 times more powerful antioxidant astaxanthin than fish oil. This antioxidant also prevents omega-3 from oxidation (a typical problem for fish oil capsules), which makes preparations based on krill oil more resistant to long-term storage.

    90% of people don't get enough vitamin B4

    Choline (vitamin B4) is another vitamin worthy of attention, as according to a study by scientists, 90% of American children and adults (including pregnant women) are deficient in it.

    Choline is a B vitamin known for its role in brain development: its use during pregnancy is necessary for the proper formation of the animal brain during fetal development, in particular, the function of learning and memory.

    Vitamin B4 protects the brain throughout life, including the brain's vulnerability to toxins in childhood and age-related memory loss.

    In adults, vitamin B4 ensures the proper functioning of cell membranes, plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses, prevents the accumulation of homocysteine in the blood (an increase in its level is associated with heart disease), and reduces chronic inflammation.

    Vitamin B4 is responsible for cognitive function. The risk of its deficiency is very high in vegetarians.

    Animal products such as poultry eggs and animal meat are among the best sources of choline. This means that the risk of its deficiency is high for vegans and vegetarians who do not consume animal products.

    The table below lists the best sources of choline (vitamin B4): *

    Product Portion size Amount of vitamin B4 (mg)
    Beef liver (fried) 8.4 oz (240g) 355
    Wheat germs (dried) 1 cup 172
    Eggs 1 big 126
    Beef (cooked) 8.4 oz (240g) 67
    Brussels sprouts 1 cup 63
    Broccoli 1 cup 62
    Salmon 8.4 oz (240g) 56

    Little sun - a big risk of deficiency of "solar" vitamin D

    Vitamin D deficiency is common in adults of all ages, especially those who purposefully protect themselves from the sun or are outdoors for a limited time, not allowing the natural mechanism of its synthesis in the skin under the influence of sunlight to function.

    About 50% of the population is at risk of vitamin D deficiency. Older people and dark-skinned people are, particularly at risk.

    Scientists estimate that more than 95 percent of older U.S. citizens may have a vitamin D deficiency.

    This is not only because they tend to spend a lot of time indoors, but also because the body's ability to synthesize vitamin D in the sun is reduced by more than 70% compared to young adults.

    Factors that increase the risk of vitamin D deficiency:
    • age over 50
    • dark skin color
    • obesity
    • unhealthy bones
    • depression
    • head sweating
    • problems with the intestines

    Interestingly, scientists regularly adjust the optimal recommended dosage of vitamin D for humans.

    Currently, based on an assessment of a healthy population that receives sufficient natural sun exposure, the optimal health concentration of vitamin D in the blood, according to scientists, is in the range of 50-70 ng/ml.

    It is best to fight vitamin D deficiency and prevent its development by taking regular sunbaths.

    Recommendations for the prevention and treatment of vitamin and mineral deficiencies

    The best recommendation to protect yourself from a lack of vitamins and minerals is to build your diet using a variety of whole natural products, using them in sufficient quantities that correspond to your level of physical activity.

    Keep refined foods to a minimum.

    The basis of a healthy diet should be:
    • healthy fats and oils (lard, olive, coconut oil)
    • meat of animals and birds
    • dairy products, eggs
    • fresh vegetables
    • nuts and seeds

    To get all the necessary trace elements, it is important to eat a variety of foods.

    Read more: The Benefits of Fats - for Very Beginners

    Should I take synthetic vitamins or multivitamin complexes? Provided a full variety of food - no.

    No artificial vitamins will ever replace the wrong defective diet.

    Do not forget about fermented milk products and bone broth:
    • Fermented milk products support the health of the intestinal microflora, which is of great importance in the processes of assimilation of vitamins and minerals, as well as the synthesis of some of them (B and K2 vitamins).
    • Homemade bone broth

    Bone broths are an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals.

    Let's sum up:
    • Cracks in the corners of the mouth are signs of a lack of iron or zinc, or B vitamins (B3, B2, B12), or protein. In large quantities, these trace elements are found in eggs, meat, sesame, salmon, oysters
    • Hair loss and a red rash on the face are symptoms of vitamin B7 deficiency. It is found in large quantities in eggs, nuts, and cheese
    • Red and white acne on the cheeks, hands, thighs, and buttocks - signs of a deficiency of omega-3s or vitamins A and D
    • Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet are characteristic symptoms of vitamin B deficiency (B9, B6, B12), which causes damage to the peripheral nerves
    • Muscle cramps are signs of a possible deficiency of magnesium, calcium, and potassium - minerals that ensure proper muscle contraction
    • 80% of people are deficient in magnesium
    • The balance between calcium and magnesium is critical: excess calcium compared to magnesium can cause muscle spasms, including heart muscle, which can lead to heart attack and even death
    • Vegetables and fruits that are grown today contain significantly lower amounts of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium: chemicals that are actively used for their cultivation prevent plants from absorbing trace elements from the soil
    • Magnesium glycinate - considered the best form of magnesium in terms of absorption
    • Omega-3 deficiency increases the risk of death from all causes. The main reason for it is too much omega-6 in the diet
    • Sardines are one of the best natural sources of omega-3
    • Vitamin B4 is responsible for cognitive function. The risk of its deficiency is very high in vegetarians
    • The best way to fight vitamin D deficiency is to stay in the sun
    • Bone broths, fermented milk products are very rich in vitamins and minerals

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