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7 Common Issues that May Be a Sign of Nutritional Deficiencies

Many of us try to have a well-rounded diet and take care of our bodies, but symptoms tend to pop up here or there. These can be a result of our actions or behaviors, but they can also be related to nutrition. Here are some really common symptoms that may be caused by nutritional deficiencies and what you can do to stop them!

1) Leg Cramps

Do you get frequent muscle cramping on your calves, feet, or toes? Well you are not alone and you may be able to prevent it with nutrition. Potassium, a common electrolyte, is something your body needs to build muscle and protein. So, if potassium levels get low, you may find your calves cramping up. The good news is, there are lots of foods that can help stop this! Try adding sweet potatoes, bananas, avocado, coconut water, and almonds to your diet!

2) Dandruff

There are many factors that can cause dandruff and nutrition could be one of them. Dandruff is generally the result of your skin not producing enough oil to keep your scalp happy and moisturized. This happens when your body is deficient in zinc, niacin, and riboflavin. The good news is that you can get all of those nutrients in whole grains, starchy vegetables, poultry, and legumes.

3) Brittle Nails

Just like our scalp, our nails need moisture to be happy and healthy. And the best source of that nail moisturizer is biotin, also known as Vitamin B7. So, when our bodies don’t get enough biotin, our nails end up dry and brittle. Biotin is something our body prefers to get from food instead of supplements but there are a lot of food sources out there. Focus on incorporating whole grains, spinach, sweet potatoes, and eggs into your diet to keep your nails strong.

4) Hair Loss

Hair loss is not always something you can fix. It is commonly causes by aging and genetics. However, there are also some behavioral causes of hair loss and one of them is a deficiency in iron, zinc, and niacin. Iron helps make the DNA present in our hair, Zinc is needed for the protein synthesis and cell division involved in hair growth, and niacin helps the hair follicles produce stronger strands. Good food sources of the above? Whole grains, (again!), meat, eggs, and leafy greens.

5) Cracks in the Corners of the Mouth

Angular cheilitis is the inflammation of the corners of the mouth that causes cracks, splits, and/or bleeding. It can be causes by dehydration or excessive salivation. But it can also be the result of a deficiency iron and riboflavin. Well, you can get both of these important nutrients in the same place. The best food sources? Liver, Spinach, and Lentils.

6) Poor Night Vision

Do you have a much harder time seeing at night than in the day? Well, this could be a normal part of the aging process or it could be a deficiency in Vitamin A. Vitamin A produces rhodopsin, which is a pigment found in the retinas that helps with night vision. So, a deficiency in this is often linked to vision issues in low light or darkness. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin so you want to avoid supplements if possible. Instead focus on food sources, like yellow/orange veggies, eggs, fish, and dark, leafy greens.

7) Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed easily or regularly, it may be the result of a Vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C helps heal wounds while preventing cell damage so this deficiency commonly shows up as bleeding gums. Considering the fact that our body doesn’t make Vitamin C on its own and we need to take it in elsewhere, it is not surprising that this issue is so common. Best sources? Citrus fruits, kale, cruciferous vegetables, tomatoes, and red bell peppers.

So, if you have any symptoms on this list, start playing with your diet and adding in some of these nutrient-rich foods to minimize, and hopefully eliminate, your symptoms!

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Dr. Candice Seti


California-licensed Clinical Psychologist, Certified Nutrition Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer

Dr. Candice Seti

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