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Common Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency

May 02, 2023
Common Symptoms of a Vitamin Deficiency
Even when you think you eat well, you may still have a vitamin deficiency. Your diet may lack key vitamins and minerals. Or a leaky gut could impair your ability to absorb nutrients. Do you have a vitamin deficiency? Here’s how to tell.

Almost half of the men, women, and children in the United States are obese. But being overweight or obese doesn’t mean that you’re well-nourished or overnourished. In fact, in many cases, it means just the opposite.

Americans tend to consume a nutrient-poor, calorie-rich diet of junk and processed foods that triggers weight gain without providing adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

About 75% of the population don’t consume the daily recommended portions of fruits and 80% don’t consume enough vegetables. 

Nutrient and vitamin deficiency isn’t only related to what you eat or don’t eat. It’s not even wholly about what supplements you take. Even with a whole-foods diet and even while taking supplements, you can’t absorb or use those nutrients if your gut isn’t healthy. 

Digestive health is as vital to good nutrition as the right foods are. 

At Natural Health Specialists, our Naturopathic Doctor, Christopher J. Fischer, ND, recommends tests that evaluate your nutritional status as well as the functioning of your gut.

Do you have a vitamin deficiency? Here are some of the most common symptoms that indicate you need help getting or absorbing vitamins.

You don’t see well at night

Although eating bunches of carrots may not preserve your eyesight, the vitamin A they contain is essential for eye health. A lack of vitamin A can cause your cornea to become dry, so your eyes begin to get cloudy.

One of the first symptoms of a vitamin A deficiency is a decrease in your night vision. If you do notice any changes in your vision, consult an ophthalmologist right away. A vitamin A deficiency can also damage your retina and lead to blindness.

To prevent vitamin A deficiency, consume 900 mcg of vitamin A daily if you're a man, and 700 mcg if you're a woman. Other foods that are rich in vitamin A include eggs, mangos, sweet potatoes, and apricots.

Your feet or your tongue burn

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient found in such foods as liver, meat, dairy products, and nutritional yeast. Your body needs B12 to produce hemoglobin, which helps transport life-giving oxygen to your cells.

Without adequate vitamin B12, your organs — including your brain — can’t function well. You may experience brain fog, memory problems, balance problems, and constipation. Burning sensations in your feet or tongue are also warning signs of a B12 deficiency.

Other B vitamins that your body needs include vitamins B1 (i.e., thiamine), B2 (i.e., both riboflavin and niacin), and B5. Taking a vitamin B complex supplement may stave off dementia. 

Your wounds take a long time to heal

Vitamin C acts as a kind of cement in your cells, helping to pull them together to heal wounds. If you’re deficient in vitamin C, you may notice that even small scratches are slow to heal. You may bruise easily, too.

You also need vitamin C to combat inflammation in your body and to act as an antioxidant to prevent cell damage. Fruits and vegetables such as kiwis, oranges, and red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C. You may also need to supplement.

You still have growing pains

If your bones ache and you’re not an adolescent in the midst of a growth spurt, you could be deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the country, affecting about 42% of the US population. 

Vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” because exposure to sunlight stimulates its production in your body. A vitamin D deficiency can weaken your bones, so if you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you may need more vitamin D.

You can get your daily D by exposing yourself to sunlight for about 10 minutes per day and by eating foods that are rich in D, such as cod liver oil, salmon, liver, and yogurt. You may also need to take a supplement.

Although we’re based in East Northport, New York, we offer our holistic and integrative health care only via a secure online telehealth portal. And we can work with your current health care team.

Subscribe to our New Client Spring Special for your monthly telehealth sessions with Dr. Fischer for nutritional consultation or digestive health evaluation and recommended tests to identify and correct any vitamin deficiencies that could affect your quality of life.