8 Signs of a Nutrient Deficiency

Is your hair lacking its usual fullness and luster? Do you have tingling sensations in your fingers or toes? These may be signs of a nutrient deficiency. 

Despite access to a wide variety of foods, most Americans fail to meet their daily vitamin and mineral needs from the food they eat. The good news is, your body gives you signs that you’re not getting what you need. 

Here at Legacy Pain and Regenerative Medicine, our chiropractor, Dr. Trace Alexander, specializes in nutrition. He shares eight of the most common signs of a nutrient deficiency. 

1. Thinning hair

Normally, you shed 50-100 strands of hair a day. But if you’re losing hair in large clumps, it may be signs of a nutrient-poor diet.

According to a January 2017 article published in the journal Dermatology Practical & Conceptual, your hair follicles are some of the most metabolically active structures in your body and require a slew of nutrients — iron, selenium, zinc, and fatty acids to name a few — to maintain normal hair growth.

If you’re not getting an adequate supply of these nutrients, you may start to notice a change in the growth, look, and health of your hair.

2. Tingling sensation in your toes or fingers

A tingling or burning sensation in your toes or fingers may be a sign of any number of health issues, including a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Your body uses vitamin B12 to make red blood cells and nerves. One of the earliest signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency is a pins-and-needles sensation in the extremities. 

When left untreated, a vitamin B12 deficiency may lead to more serious health issues such as depression, memory loss, or permanent neurological damage. 

3. Bleeding gums

Typically, bleeding gums is a sign of gum disease. But if your dentist says your oral hygiene is good and there are no signs of gum disease, your bleeding gums may be a sign you’re not getting enough vitamin C in your diet. 

Vitamin C is best known for its antioxidant powers, but this water-soluble vitamin also plays an essential role in the production of collagen. Collagen is a structural protein found in your skin, bones, and connective tissue that helps hold the cells together. 

4. Difficulty seeing at night

If you’re having a hard time seeing after the sun goes down, then you may be deficient in vitamin A. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, more than half of adults in the United States fail to meet their daily vitamin A needs. 

5. Cramping muscles

In addition to nutrition, we also specialize in sports medicine. We know it’s not uncommon to experience muscle aches and pains after a strenuous workout. That’s part of the healing process.

But cramping muscles that wake you from a deep sleep may be signs you’re not getting enough potassium or fluids in your diet. 

6. Aching bones

If you’re experiencing what your mom used to call “growing pains” even though you’re no longer growing, you may be experiencing a vitamin D deficiency. Your body needs vitamin D to keep your bones healthy and strong. 

A vitamin D deficiency puts you at risk of developing osteomalacia, which is a demineralization of your bones that makes them weak and brittle. 

7. Misshapen nails

Though brittle nails are considered a sign of a nutrient deficiency, a change in the shape of your nail is a more accurate indicator. Nails that are ridged or depressed are some of the early signs of a nutrient-poor diet. 

8. Drying, cracking skin

Like your hair and nails, changes in the look and health of your skin may also be a sign of nutrient deficiency. If your skin is dry and cracked and doesn’t get better with at-home care, then it may be a sign you’re not getting an adequate supply of B vitamins in your diet.

Poor intakes of vitamins A and C, as well as essential fats like omega-3s, may also affect the health and look of your skin.

Good nutrition is the cornerstone of health, wellness, and prevention. If you have concerns about nutrient deficiencies but don’t know where to start, we can help. 

Call one of our offices in Plano or Addison, Texas, or book an appointment online to schedule your nutrition consultation.

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