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8 common signs that you are suffering from a vitamin deficiency

8 weit verbreitete Anzeichen dafür, dass Du unter einem Vitaminmangel leidest

A balanced and nutritious diet has many benefits. On the other hand, a diet that lacks nutrients can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms.

These symptoms are your body's way of telling you that there are potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Recognizing these signs can help you to adjust your diet accordingly.

It is important to remember that the symptoms described in this article are just the tip of the iceberg and that a lack of the relevant vitamins and minerals can have further serious negative consequences for your health, well-being and performance. The symptoms of these effects are often less specific and not so easy to attribute to a particular deficiency.

Therefore, if you experience the symptoms described in this article and compensate for the corresponding deficiencies, you will not only alleviate these symptoms, but also do something about all the other negative effects associated with the corresponding deficiency. This article looks at 8 of the most common signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies and how you can correct them.

1. brittle hair and nails

A number of factors can cause brittle hair and nails. One of these is a biotin deficiency. Biotin - also known as vitamin B7 - helps the body to convert food into energy.

Biotin deficiency is very rare, but when it does occur, brittle nails and brittle, thinning, split ends are some of the most visible symptoms. Other symptoms of biotin deficiency include chronic fatigue, muscle pain, cramps and tingling in the hands and feet (1).

Pregnant women, heavy smokers, people who drink a lot of alcohol and people who suffer from digestive tract problems such as a pathologically permeable intestinal wall or Crohn's disease are at the highest risk of developing a biotin deficiency.

In addition to this, prolonged use of antibiotics and some anti-seizure medications are risk factors (2). Eating raw eggs - more specifically raw egg white - can also cause a biotin deficiency. This is because raw egg white contains a compound called avidin, which binds biotin, reducing its absorption (1, 3, 4).

Foods rich in biotin include egg yolks, offal, fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, seeds, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, yeast, whole grains and bananas (5, 6).

Adults who suffer from brittle hair or nails may consider using a biotin supplement that provides 30 mg of biotin per day. However, benefits of biotin supplementation have only been observed in a few case studies and a few small trials, so a biotin-rich diet may be the best choice (7, 8, 9).

Summary: Biotin is a B vitamin that is involved in many bodily functions and plays an important role in strengthening hair and nails. Biotin deficiency is generally rare, but can occur in certain cases.

2. mouth ulcers and cracks in the skin at the corners of the mouth

Lesions in and around the mouth can sometimes be linked to an inadequate intake of certain vitamins and minerals. Mouth ulcers, for example, are often the result of a lack of iron or B vitamins.

One small study found that patients suffering from mouth ulcers were twice as likely to have low iron levels than people without mouth ulcers (10). In another small study, around 28% of patients with mouth ulcers were deficient in the vitamins thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) (11).

Chelitis angularis, a condition that causes chapped skin and bleeding cracks in the corners of the mouth, can be caused by excessive salivation or dehydration. However, it can also be the result of an inadequate intake of iron and B vitamins - especially riboflavin (10, 11,12, 13).

Foods rich in iron include poultry, meat, fish, legumes, dark leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains (14).

Good sources of thiamine, riboflavin and pyridoxine include grains, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products offal, legumes, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds (15, 16, 17).

If you suffer from these symptoms, you should try to include the above foods in your diet and see if your symptoms improve. Summary: People with mouth ulcers and chapped corners of the mouth should eat more foods rich in iron, thiamine, riboflavin and pyridoxine to relieve these symptoms.

3. bleeding gums

Sometimes rough brushing can cause bleeding gums, but a diet lacking in vitamin C can also be responsible. Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing and immune system function, as well as acting as an antioxidant that helps to alleviate cell damage.

The human body cannot produce vitamin C itself, which means that this vitamin must be obtained from food (18, 19, 20). Vitamin C deficiency is rare in people who eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately, many people do not manage to eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

This may explain why studies using routine screening of healthy people estimate that 13 to 30% of the population has low vitamin C levels and 5 to 17% of the population is vitamin C deficient (21).

If very little vitamin C is consumed in the diet over a long period of time, this can lead to deficiency symptoms including bleeding gums or even tooth loss (21, 22, 23).

Another serious consequence of vitamin C deficiency is a disease called scurvy, which suppresses the function of the immune system, weakens muscles and bones and leads to fatigue and lethargy (24). Other common signs of vitamin C deficiency include a tendency to bruise, slow wound healing, dry, flaky skin and frequent nosebleeds (22, 24).

Make sure you are consuming adequate amounts of vitamin C by eating at least 2 pieces of fruit and 3 to 4 servings of vegetables per day.

Summary: People who eat little fresh fruit and vegetables can develop a vitamin C deficiency. This can lead to unpleasant symptoms such as bleeding gums, a weakened immune system and, in severe cases, tooth loss and scurvy.

4. night blindness and white growths on the eyes

A nutrient-poor diet can cause vision problems. Low intake of vitamin A is often associated with night blindness, which reduces vision in dim light and darkness. This is because vitamin A is needed for the production of rhodopsin - a pigment found in the retina of the eye that helps us to see in the dark.

If night blindness is left untreated, it can develop into xerophthalmia - a condition that can damage the cornea and eventually lead to blindness (25).

Another early symptom of xerophthalmia is bitotic spots - slightly raised foamy white ulcers that can develop in the conjunctiva or the white part of the eye. These ulcers can be removed to some extent, but do not disappear completely until the underlying vitamin A deficiency is corrected (26).

Fortunately, vitamin A deficiency is rare in the developed world. If you suspect your vitamin A intake is inadequate, you can try eating more vitamin A-rich foods such as offal, dairy products, eggs, fish, dark leafy green vegetables and yellow-orange colored vegetables (27).

Unless a vitamin A deficiency has been diagnosed, most people should avoid taking vitamin A supplements. This is because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that, when consumed in excess, can accumulate in the body's fat stores and have a toxic effect.

Symptoms of vitamin A poisoning can be serious, ranging from nausea and headaches to skin irritation, joint and bone pain and, in severe cases, even coma and death (28).

Summary: Low vitamin A intake can cause night blindness or the growth of ulcers in the white part of the eye. Eating foods rich in vitamin A can help prevent or reduce these symptoms.

5. scaly patches and dandruff

Seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff belong to the same group of skin conditions that affect the oil-producing areas of the body. Both involve itchy, scaly skin.

Hair dandruff is mainly confined to the scalp, whereas seborrheic dermatitis can also occur on the face, chest, crook of the arm and crotch. The likelihood of these skin conditions occurring is highest during the first three months of life, during puberty and in middle adulthood.

Studies have shown that both conditions are very common. Up to 42% of all infants and up to 50% of all adults will suffer from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis at some point in their lives (29, 39).

Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis can be triggered by many factors, including a nutrient-poor diet. Low blood levels of zinc, niacin (vitamin B3), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6), for example, can play a role (13, 29, 31).

The exact link between a nutrient-poor diet and these skin conditions is not yet fully understood. Nevertheless, people who suffer from dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis should consider consuming more of these nutrients.

Foods rich in niacin, riboflavin and pyridoxine include whole grains, poultry, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, offal, legumes, green vegetables, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds (15, 16, 17). Seafood, meat, legumes, dairy products, nuts and whole grains are all good sources of zinc (32).

Summary: Stubborn dandruff and scaly patches on the head, eyebrows, ears, eyelids and chest can be caused by low intakes of zinc, niacin, riboflavin and pyridoxine. Increasing the intake of these nutrients in the diet can help reduce these symptoms.

6. hair loss

Hair loss is a very common problem. Up to 50% of men and women report hair loss after the age of 50 (33). A diet rich in the following nutrients could help prevent or slow down hair loss (34).

  • Iron: This mineral is involved in the production of DNA, including the DNA found in hair follicles. Too little iron can cause hair growth to stop or hair to fall out (35, 36, 37).
  • Zinc: This mineral is essential for protein synthesis and cell division - two processes that are necessary for hair growth. For this reason, a zinc deficiency can lead to hair loss (38, 39, 40).
  • Linolenic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): These essential fatty acids are needed for hair growth and maintenance (34).
  • Niacin (vitamin B3): This vitamin is needed to keep hair healthy. Alopetia, a condition in which the hair falls out in small round areas, is a possible symptom of niacin deficiency (41, 42).
  • Biotin (vitamin B7): Biotin is another B vitamin that has been linked to hair loss when deficient (34, 43).

Meat, fish, eggs, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains are good sources of iron and zinc. Niacin-rich foods include meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables. These foods are also rich in biotin, which is also found in egg yolk and offal. Leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains and vegetable oils are rich in linolenic acid, while walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds and soy nuts are rich in alpha-linolenic acid.

Many hair loss supplements are marketed and many of these contain a combination of the nutrients listed above, as well as a few others. These supplements appear to stimulate hair growth and reduce hair loss in people with documented deficiencies of the aforementioned nutrients. However, there is limited research on the benefits of such supplements in the absence of nutrient deficiencies.

It is also worth noting that taking vitamin and mineral supplements in the absence of a deficiency may actually exacerbate hair loss rather than alleviate it (44). Excessive intake of selenium and vitamin A - two nutrients often found in supplements to promote hair growth - has been linked to hair loss, for example (34).

So unless your doctor has confirmed a deficiency, it's best to aim for a diet rich in these nutrients rather than relying on supplements.

Summary: Numerous vitamins and minerals are required for hair growth and a diet rich in these nutrients can help prevent hair loss. However, using supplements without the presence of a deficiency can do more harm than good.

7. red or white bumps on the skin

Some people suffer from keratosis pilaris, a condition that causes goosebump-like bumps on the cheeks, arms, thighs and buttocks. These small bumps can also be accompanied by ingrown hairs. Keratosis Pilaris often occurs during childhood and disappears on its own later in adulthood.

The cause of these small bumps is not yet fully understood by science, but they can occur when too much keratin is produced in the hair follicles. This leads to raised bumps on the skin that can appear either red or white (45).

Keratosis Pilaris may have a genetic component, which means that the likelihood of developing this disease is higher if a family member suffers from it.

However, this disease has also been observed in people with low vitamin A and vitamin C intake (22, 28). These people might consider adding foods rich in vitamins A and C to their diet in addition to traditional treatments with medications and creams. These include offal, dairy products, eggs, fish, dark green leafy vegetables, yellow-orange colored vegetables and fruits (24, 27).

Summary: Inadequate intake of vitamins A and C may be associated with a condition called keratosis pilaris, which causes red or white bumps on the skin.

8 Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless leg syndrome (RSL) is a nervous disorder that causes uncomfortable sensations in the legs, as well as an irresistible urge to move the legs (46). According to a study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, up to 10% of all Americans are affected by this condition, and it occurs twice as often in women as in men. For most people, the urge to move their legs seems to intensify when they are trying to relax or sleep.

The exact causes of restless leg syndrome are not yet known. However, there appears to be a link between symptoms of this condition and blood iron levels. Several studies link low iron stores to increased severity of symptoms of this condition. Several studies also note that symptoms often occur during pregnancy, when iron levels tend to fall (47, 48, 49, 50).

Iron supplementation generally helps to alleviate the symptoms of restless leg syndrome, especially when iron deficiency has been diagnosed. However, the effects of iron supplementation can vary from person to person (51, 52, 53, 54).

Since higher iron intake appears to reduce symptoms, increased consumption of iron-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains may also be helpful (14).

It may be particularly useful to combine these iron-rich foods with vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, as vitamin C can help increase the absorption of iron (55). Using cast iron pots and pans and avoiding tea or coffee with meals can also increase iron absorption.

However, it should also be noted that unnecessary iron supplementation can do more harm than good and can reduce the absorption of other nutrients (56). Extremely high iron levels can even be fatal in some cases, so it is best to consult a doctor before taking iron supplements (57).

Some evidence also suggests that magnesium deficiency may play a role in restless leg syndrome (58).

Summary: Restless leg syndrome is often associated with low iron levels. People suffering from this condition should therefore increase their consumption of iron-rich foods and discuss supplementation with their doctor.


A diet that is deficient in vitamins and minerals can cause a variety of symptoms to occur, some of which are more common than others. Often, increasing your intake of foods rich in the right vitamins and minerals can help reduce or diminish these symptoms.




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