Even if you’re taking your daily multivitamin or eating healthy, you could be lacking in some nutrients. Common nutritional deficiencies can affect your body in really important ways. Vitamins keep your body balanced with enzyme functioning, digestion, nerve signaling, metabolism, and all sorts of other constant processes. It’s more than just regular functioning, though. If you’re low on certain nutrients, you can also increase your risk of developing diseases. Here are 6 of the most common nutritional deficiencies and signs you have them. It’s time to get to the supplement aisle.
Even if you only know the bare minimum about vitamins, you probably equate calcium with a glass of milk with dinner and strong bones. And you’re right. Calcium keeps bones, muscles, and nerves strong and high-functioning.
Signs of calcium deficiency include feeling worn out and tired, getting muscle cramps, abnormal heartbeat rhythms, and a lack of appetite.
To deal with a calcium deficiency, up your intake of dairy products and other calcium-rich foods like orange juice and dark leafy greens. You can’t go wrong with vitamins, either.
Iron is necessary for red blood cell production. Red blood cells circulate oxygen around the body. Without iron, you develop anemia and become increasingly tired. Your hair may also thin and become brittle.
To boost your iron intake, go for beef, oysters, beans, lentils, and spinach.
Got cramps? Don’t eat bananas? Say hello to a potassium deficiency. Potassium helps the kidneys, heart, and other organs to function smoothly. A deficiency results in weight loss, muscle weakness, constipation, and even abnormal heartbeats.
For more potassium, you can’t lose with bananas. Whole grains, milk, vegetables, and beans are also great sources of potassium.
If you’re a vegetarian and you’re not careful, chances are you’re going to start bruising more easily due to a Vitamin B12 deficiency. That’s not all, though. Vitamin B12 helps out with DNA and neurotransmitter production. A lack of B12 results in anemia, tiredness, weakness, and even memory loss and hallucinations.
Vitamin B12 comes from animal sources or foods fortified with B12. Think seafood, chicken, milk, and yogurt as well as fortified breakfast cereals and meat substitutes.
Deficiencies in Vitamin D are so common about half of people around the world probably have them. Symptoms of this deficiency can include aches and pains, head sweating, a poor immune system, and a low mood.
The best way to up your Vitamin D intake is to get some sunshine. You can also get Vitamin D in cheese, egg yolks, and fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, and salmon, for example).
Just as many people who don’t get enough Vitamin D also don’t get their magnesium which is essential for bone structure and enzyme reactions. Low magnesium levels have been linked to an astounding amount of diseases including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and osteoporosis. Symptoms include muscle cramps, restless legs, fatigue, migraines, and constipation.
To up your magnesium intake, go for whole grains, nuts, and leafy greens. Dark chocolate doesn’t hurt, either.