Recognizing deficiency symptoms – typical symptoms of nutrient deficiency

A nutrient deficiency can manifest itself through a variety of symptoms. Typical signs of a vitamin or mineral deficiency include hair loss, tiredness or  dry skin . But torn corners of the mouth or  burning tongue  can also indicate a vitamin deficiency. Possible causes of a nutrient deficiency are an unbalanced diet, a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle or an increased need for nutrients, for example during pregnancy or breastfeeding. In the following photo series you will learn which signs you can use to recognize a nutrient deficiency.

A healthy and balanced diet is one of the most important measures to prevent nutrient deficiency. Even low-dose nutrient preparations can help to supply the body with the nutrients it needs. In order to avoid an overdose of dietary supplements, however, no high-dose preparations should be taken without consulting a doctor.

If you are already suffering from possible deficiency symptoms and there is a suspicion that you are undersupplied with nutrients, you should have this clarified using your  blood values  . During the medical examination, it can be determined whether it is actually a question of deficiency symptoms or whether other causes, such as illnesses or side effects of medication, are at the root of the symptoms.


Hair loss and damaged hair as deficiency symptoms

Dull, brittle hair and hair loss can have different triggers. In addition to stress and hormonal causes, possible reasons include a nutrient deficiency. A lack of zinc, iron, magnesium or copper in particular can result in hair loss.

But it can also be caused by a vitamin deficiency. Vitamin A, vitamin B12 and biotin are particularly noteworthy here. vitamin C deficiency can also be  responsible for damaged hair and hair loss. Since protein also plays an important role in hair production, a protein deficiency should also be considered as a trigger for thin hair and hair loss.

Fatigue as a result of nutrient deficiencies

Constant tiredness, exhaustion and exhaustion can indicate a nutrient deficiency. Fatigue is a typical symptom of iron deficiency, but a lack of vitamin B12 or  folic acid  can also be the cause. Women in particular are often affected by iron deficiency as a result of their periods. However, a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle can also promote a lack of iron and vitamin B12.

Cracks: dry skin and cracked corners of the mouth

Cuts are small tears in the skin that can occur, for example, on the elbows and heels. Sometimes there are also cracks on the fingers and fingertips or the skin on the hands even peels off a little. But torn corners of the mouth (rhagades) are colloquially referred to as cracks. Cracked, dry skin is always a sign that the skin lacks elasticity or moisture.

A vitamin deficiency is often behind the symptoms, because a number of different vitamins are involved in cell regeneration. Cracks are therefore a possible deficiency symptom of a deficiency in vitamin A, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C, vitamin E or vitamin H (biotin). The nutrients  zinc and iron as well as omega-3 fatty acids are also important for healthy skin  .

Burning and cracking of the tongue

Often a vitamin deficiency or another nutrient deficiency can also be recognized on the tongue. Symptoms may include a burning tongue, discoloration, or cracks in the tongue. While a conspicuously red tongue (raspberry tongue) can indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency, among other things, a gray coating on the tongue can occur with an iron deficiency. A lack of iron and vitamin B12 can also cause a burning tongue – as can a lack of  vitamin B6 , vitamin C or folic acid. On the other hand, cracks in the tongue can be caused by a biotin deficiency.

Tingling in the body as a symptom of a deficiency

Numbness or “pins and needles” in the hands and feet or tingling throughout the body can indicate nerve damage and should always be checked out by a doctor. One possible cause is a vitamin B-12 deficiency. magnesium deficiency  can also be responsible for a tingling feeling.

Brittle nails and white spots

Brittle toenails and fingernails can be a sign of deficiency. Possible causes include a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B (especially vitamin B12 and folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D or  biotin . Likewise, too much vitamin A can be responsible for splitting nails. An undersupply of calcium, magnesium or  iron  can also cause brittle nails.

A zinc deficiency can also lead to the so-called Beau Reil transverse furrows of the nails, while a brown discoloration of the nails can indicate a vitamin B12 deficiency.

White spots on fingernails are often associated with a calcium deficiency. Contrary to popular belief, however, there is no mineral deficiency behind it, but mostly an injury to the nail root, for example in the course of somewhat too rough nail care.

Concentration problems as a deficiency symptom

Difficulty concentrating can have many different causes. One possible explanation is a nutrient deficiency. Possible triggers include, for example, a lack of vitamin D, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 or magnesium. In addition, an insufficient intake of  carbohydrates  can lead to blood sugar fluctuations and, as a result, to a drop in performance with impaired concentration.

Muscle weakness due to nutrient deficiency

The term muscle weakness is used when the muscles tire exceptionally quickly. Numerous diseases can be behind the symptom, but it can also be a deficiency symptom. Possible causes include a vitamin D deficiency and a protein deficiency, i.e. a protein deficiency. This can occur in particular as a result of malnutrition or an unbalanced diet. A lot of sport and a  vegan  diet can increase the risk of protein deficiency, which is also more common in older people.

Night blindness: a sign of a vitamin deficiency

Night blindness causes sufferers to have difficulty seeing at night and at dusk, while vision is unaffected during the day. There can be various reasons for this. A possible cause, although rare in Europe, is a severe  vitamin A deficiency . Problems with color vision and dry eyes often occur at the same time. A severe zinc deficiency can also be behind night blindness, since the trace element influences the vitamin A metabolism.

Heart palpitations – possible symptom of deficiency

The rhythm of our heartbeat is influenced, among other things, by the two minerals potassium and magnesium. If these two nutrients are not in balance, so-called extrasystoles can occur, i.e. extra beats that are usually harmless. Such a palpitations can lead to dangerous cardiac arrhythmia , especially in the case of an existing heart disease   . Therefore, the suspicion of a potassium deficiency or magnesium deficiency should be clarified by a doctor.

In addition, a lack of iron or folic acid can cause heart palpitations.

Pallor as a possible deficiency symptom

Pale skin is not always a sign of a nutrient deficiency – after all, there are different skin types. However, if the skin appears unusually pale, this could indicate a deficiency. It is possible that  anemia is  behind the pallor – in most cases it is caused by an iron deficiency, but a lack of folic acid or vitamin B12 can also be the reason. Anemia is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as tiredness and exhaustion.

Increased susceptibility to infections as a result of a deficiency

Our immune system depends on a variety of different nutrients. Without an adequate supply of micronutrients, the immune system cannot function properly. Anyone who keeps getting sick or is slow to recover from colds and other infections may have a weakened immune system.

Even if diseases and medication as well as too much stress, cigarettes or alcohol can weaken the immune system, it is often just a lack of nutrients that is behind it. In particular, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E as well as the trace elements  zinc , iron and selenium are required for the immune system.

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