nutritional deficiencies

Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies to be Aware of

Have you ever wondered if you had any nutritional deficiencies? If you had vitamin deficiencies due to a lack of proper nutrition in your diet?

Well, you have come to the right place if you answered yes to that question! Because in this article we will be talking about a few of the most common nutritional deficiencies.

Many of us do not get the proper amounts of nutrition from our diet which can result in a deficiency somewhere along the way. I for one know that I don’t always hit all of my nutritional bases!

This is why it is important to become aware of what nutritional deficiencies that you might be suffering from. In order to remedy the problem and get all of that good stuff back into your diet.

So, keep reading to find out more about the most common vitamin deficiencies. And don’t forget to read till the end to learn about common deficiency and malnutrition symptoms.

Disclaimer: I am not a health care practitioner or a doctor. The information in this post is for informational purposes and does not constitute legal health care advice in any way. I am not liable for any damages resulting from using the information included in this article. It is always best to consult a health care professional for advice on your own personal health needs.

Six Common Nutritional Deficiencies 

No matter how healthily you eat there is most likely some kind of deficiency in your diet. It is just bound to happen no matter how hard you might try to avoid it.

Not only can our diets lack the needed nutrition and vitamins but sometimes we might also not be absorbing those nutrients properly. Which will result in a deficiency even if you should technically have enough nutrients in your diet.

This is why it is important to do yearly blood tests to make sure that everything is where it should be. This is by far the best way to look for deficiencies as it is the most reliable way of getting results.

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Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiencies are incredibly common and I have to watch out for them as I tend to struggle with an iron deficiency.

Luckily iron is relatively easy to find and can be worked into your diet in order to replenish your body’s iron reserves.

Some of the best places to find iron through food is:

  • Red meat and organ meat
  • Shellfish
  • Beans
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Seeds

These foods are a great way of getting enough iron in your diet without having to resort to using an iron supplement. This is ideal since too much iron can be harmful and shouldn’t be supplemented unless absolutely necessary.

Some symptoms of an iron deficiency to watch out for are:

  • Anemia
  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue
  • Fast heart rate or palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
nutritional deficiencies

B12 Deficiency

Like iron deficiencies, b12 deficiencies are also incredibly common and too frequently overlooked. It is one of those nutritional deficiencies that are not often mentioned though it should be.

This is a nutrition fact that you don’t want to overlook as having a b12 deficiency can have dire consequences!

The body does not create b12 but every cell in your body requires it to function properly.

Some places that you can find b12 are:

  • Milk products
  • Organ meat
  • Shellfish
  • Fortified plant milks
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Tempeh
  • Nori seaweed
  • Chlorella

These are a hand full of good places to start when including b12 rich foods in your diet.

If you suspect that you still have b12 deficiencies even with the necessary, diet changes you might need to take a b12 supplement.

These B12 lozenges would be an excellent option and you would only need to take about two per week.

Some symptoms to watch out for that a b12 deficiency would cause are:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Poor balance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tingling extremities

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Vitamin D Deficiency

Having vitamin D deficiencies is extremely common especially in areas that are far from the equator as we absorb vitamin D from the sun through our skin.

But you can have a vitamin D deficiency no matter where you live as you might not go out into the sun enough or you might not absorb it properly.

Even your skin color can have an effect on how much vitamin D you absorb as darker shades of skin create less vitamin D.

Where you can find it:

  • Fortified almond milk
  • Orange juice
  • Chanterelle mushrooms
  • Fatty fish
  • Cod liver oil

These are all great places to try to supplement your body’s levels of vitamin D.

It also couldn’t hurt to try to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sun whenever possible. Just make sure to rehydrate afterward and to wear sunscreen on exposed skin.

If you need to take it in pill form this vitamin D supplement is a good option. If you are very low in vitamin D you will need a doctor-prescribed supplement.

Here are some symptoms of vitamin D deficiencies to watch for:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Achy or painful muscles

Calcium Deficiency

Having calcium deficiencies is another very common nutritional deficiencies that many people have which should be remedied if you are aware of it.

Many vital parts of your body need calcium to function and if you are deficient in calcium your bones will begin to release it. Which will weaken them and cause them to become brittle.

Thankfully several food groups naturally contain calcium!

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fortified plant milks
  • Tofu
  • Sesame seeds or tahini
  • Dairy products

These are all great foods to incorporate into your daily diet in order to replenish your body’s calcium content.

If you still worry that you aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet. Try out this calcium and magnesium supplement.

Some symptoms of calcium deficiencies to look out for are:

  • Cramping
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Pins and needles
  • Irritability
  • Weak teeth

Omega-3 Deficiency

Omega-3 fatty acids are another nutrient that many of us are probably deficient in no matter what kind of diet you might follow.

These fatty acids are very important for heart health as well as several other areas of the body. Including your skin, hair, and nails!

Some incredibly foods that can provide omega-3’s in your diet are:

  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Canola oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Fish oil

These seeds and oils are all great ways of getting more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to avoid this common deficiency.

You could also take flaxseed oil or flaxseed oil capsules in order to get an extra dose of omega-3’s.

A few symptoms that might give you a hint if you are deficient are:

  • Dry skin, hair, and nails
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Menstruation problems
  • Joint pain and leg cramps
  • Lack of concentration

Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiencies are another one of those deficiencies that tend to be pretty common amongst people.

It plays a very important role in the body and though it is usually easy to absorb you might still not be getting enough of it.

Some foods to include in your diet for more magnesium are:

These foods are all great ways of including more magnesium in your diet without having to resort to supplements.

Though supplements are wonderful it is always better to try to naturally consume the nutrients that you need.

Magnesium is an important mineral so if you aren’t able to get enough through your diet you should supplement it. This calcium and magnesium supplement is a great way of targeting two deficiencies with one supplement!

Some symptoms of magnesium deficiencies include:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Seizures
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure

Common Deficiency and Malnutrition Symptoms

Having deficiencies or problems with malnutrition isn’t actually as rare as you might think. As many of us either don’t have a balanced diet or cannot properly absorb the needed nutrients.

This can lead to malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies that can have serious effects on your health over time.

This is why it is important to keep an eye on your health and to act when you notice your body acting strangely.

It is also a good idea to have yearly blood tests drawn as well as to try to eat a balanced diet rich in several food groups.

And when necessary it is important to supplement nutrients that you are unable to get or absorb through food.

Some symptoms of nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition to watch for are:

  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Slow Growth
  • Weak hair and nails

How Are Deficiencies Diagnosed

If you suspect that you have a nutritional deficiency, the best course of action is to visit your doctor. You can tell them what kinds of symptoms you are experiencing and they can decide whether to look into the matter further.

Make sure to mention any changes in bowel habits, menstruation changes, fatigue, weight loss, or weight gain. Anything that seems to be abnormal is a good thing to mention to your doctor.

There are several things that can be done to look for any kinds of deficiencies including:

  • blood tests
  • complete blood count test
  • nutritional tests

How Are Nutritional Deficiencies Treated

If you are concerned that you have a deficiency, you should schedule a visit to your doctor to discuss the symptoms you are having.

It is best to know exactly what deficiencies you have instead of trying to blindly treat yourself.

If you do in fact have a nutritional deficiency your doctor has a few options when it comes to treatment. Usually, you will have success either will making dietary changes or taking a few supplements.

Dietary Changes

One of the very first things that your doctor will want you to do is to start to make dietary changes. Such an adding i a greater variety of foods to your diet that you may be missing.

This is the best way to treat deficiencies as it is an all-natural solution. Not requiring anything harsh or that has side effects.

Use Parenteral Administration

Parenteral administration would be your doctor’s last option if you were not responding to dietary change or supplementation.

This is a harsh treatment where the necessary nutrients are provided to you through a feeding tube or through your muscles or veins.

This treatment comes with several side effects and requires you to get the treatment at a hospital. This is why it is only used in extreme cases.

Supplementation

You might also need to start taking supplements to make up for what your diet is lacking.

This is a good alternative that is still relatively mild on your body. You can either use supplementation on a long-term basis or just until your deficiencies have become more manageable.

Can Deficiencies Cause Long-Term Health Problems 

If you are concerned that you have some kind of deficiency, you might be worried about whether or not it can have long-tea effects.

The good thing is that most deficiencies only show symptoms while you are still deficient. Once you fix the issue the symptoms should all go away on their own.

There are only a few kinds of deficiency that can have a more long-term effect on your health. And only when you have been severely deficient for a long period of time.

The majority of the time, you will be able to completely recover and the symptoms will go away with no lasting side effects.

Nutritional Deficiencies Conclusion

Did any of these nutritional facts surprise you or do you suspect that you might have a nutritional deficiency?

If so, I hope that this article has been able to help you in whatever way you needed it to and that you can start to give your body the nutrients that it needs.

These vitamin deficiencies are some of the most common out there which means that you most likely have one of these deficiencies!

Let me know in the comments how you try to supplement nutrients and vitamins through your diet! I am curious to know what ways work for you.

References:

Aline Petre 2019, 8 Common Signs You’re Deficient in Vitamins, Heathline, viewed September 28, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-deficiency.

Debra Rose Wilson 2020, Malnutrition: What you Need to Know, Medical News Today, Viewed September 28, 2020, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179316.

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