• Charity Lawson, Nutritionist

What You Should Do if You Suspect a Diet Deficiency

It’s important to understand which nutrients you might be lacking in your diet. The six most common are Vitamin D, E, A, B12, Iron and Calcium. If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for at least a month or two it is possible that one of these deficiencies may be causing them. Keep reading to learn more about how each nutrient can affect your body and what you should do if you suspect that one of them may be missing from your diet.

Vitamin D Deficiency

It can be hard for people to get enough of this nutrient since it is found in few foods. Other factors that contribute to Vitamin D deficiency are a lack of sunlight, age and skin color. Symptoms include muscle weakness, mental confusion and brittle bones. It is important to follow a balanced diet and get some sunlight everyday.

How to Spot Signs of a Vitamin D Deficiency in Your Diet

Some signs that can help you identify a Vitamin D deficiency are feeling fatigued or weak, tingling or numbness in the hands and feet, gastrointestinal issues like nausea and abdominal pain, bone aches and easy bruising. If you suspect that your diet may be deficient in this vitamin, you should focus on getting more fortified foods into your diet as well as increasing your exposure to sunlight and avoiding tanning beds. You should also speak with a doctor about whether or not you may need prescription medication to get the proper amount of Vitamin D in your system.

What You Should Do if You Suspect a Vitamin D Deficiency

If you believe your diet may be deficient in Vitamin D, there are some foods that can help increase the amount of this nutrient in your body. These include fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, mushrooms, fortified milk and cereal products (fortified refers to any food with added vitamins) as well as beef liver. You should also make sure to spend some time outside in the sun. If you live somewhere that does not get much sunlight, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin E Deficiency

This nutrient is helpful in preventing your cells from damage and can slow the aging process. Most people are able to get enough of this nutrient from their diet, but vegetarians and vegans may have trouble getting it due to the lack of foods that contain this vitamin in them. Symptoms include muscle weakness, bruising and bleeding as well as stomach pain. Just like with Vitamin D, if you suspect a deficiency in your diet you should speak with a doctor immediately.

How to Spot Signs of a Vitamin E Deficiency in Your Diet:

There are many signs you can look for that will tell you if your diet may be lacking this nutrient. Some of these symptoms include fatigue, weakness, skin rashes and swollen gums or mouth sores. It is also important to note that Vitamin E deficiency is not the only thing that can cause issues with bleeding so be sure to speak with a doctor immediately if you notice any of the above symptoms.

What You Should Do if You Suspect a Vitamin E Deficiency

Your doctor can order blood tests to check your levels of this nutrient, but there are things you can do yourself to try and correct the issue on your own as well. One way is by consuming more foods that are rich in Vitamin E, including nuts and seeds as well as wheat germ.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Like Vitamin D, this nutrient is found in few foods, so vegetarians and vegans may have trouble getting it from their diet. Deficiencies can lead to many issues such as blindness and birth defects in infants. If you suspect a deficiency in your diet, you should speak with a doctor immediately.

How to Spot Signs of a Vitamin A Deficiency in Your Diet

Some of the symptoms that will tell you if you might have a deficiency of this vitamin are hair loss, vision issues like blurred or impaired vision, and irritated or sore eyes. Other symptoms include dry skin and fatigue. If you suspect your diet may be lacking Vitamin A, make sure to double check what foods contain it and eat more of those if you are able to.

How You Should Do if You Suspect a Vitamin A Deficiency

If your doctor determines that you may actually be deficient in this vitamin, they will typically prescribe an oral supplement for you to take each day or a series of high doses of the nutrient over several days. This is because a Vitamin A deficiency can cause many issues in your body so it is very important that your levels are correct.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Those who live a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle may have trouble getting enough of this nutrient from their diet. Just like with the other nutrients, you should speak with a doctor if you suspect a deficiency.

How to Spot Signs of a Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Your Diet:

There are many symptoms that will tell you if your diet may be lacking this nutrient, including fatigue, weakness, memory issues and poor coordination. If you suspect an issue with your levels of the vitamin, consult a doctor immediately as it can cause damage to your nerves.

How You Should Do if You Suspect a Vitamin B12 Deficiency

If your doctor determines that you actually do have an issue with your levels of this nutrient, the treatment will depend on the severity. The most common way to treat a deficiency is by getting an injection of the vitamin itself, but some people may need oral supplements as well.

Iron Deficiency

The most common type of Iron deficiency anemia is called “Iron-deficiency Anemia”. It causes your body to have less healthy red blood cells than normal and can cause you to feel tired or weak because it takes more effort for your body to get anything done. It is important to note that this type of deficiency can be helped by taking supplements, but if you don't take them, it can also cause a much more chronic and severe condition called “Pure Red Cell Aplastic Anemia” which means that there are no red blood cells in your body. This can be fatal because it does not allow oxygen to travel through the bloodstream. Some signs that your diet may be lacking this nutrient are fatigue, constipation and swollen or itchy gums. If you suspect a deficiency in your diet consult with a doctor immediately.

How to Spot Signs of an Iron Deficiency in Your Diet

The most common way to spot if your diet may be lacking this nutrient is by looking for signs of anemia. If you have a lack of energy or tire easily, you should speak with a doctor immediately about getting tested for anemia. You should also look at your stools when going to the bathroom as well and notice whether or not they are dark in color. If you can see a reddish or brownish tinge to your stool, it could mean that you may not be getting as much Iron in your diet as you need.

What You Should Do if You Suspect an Iron Deficiency

There are many different ways to treat this deficiency so do not be concerned, but you will need to get a blood test before your doctor can treat you. The first thing that is suggested is increased intake of food that is rich in Vitamin C because this helps the body absorb Iron better. You should also look at increasing the amount of red meat, seafood and poultry in your diet. Iron supplements are also recommended and eating foods that are rich in Vitamin C with the iron supplements you take can help absorption as well.

Calcium Deficiency

Calcium is a nutrient that is typically found in dairy products but it can also be found in other sources as well. Calcium deficiency can cause weaker bones, muscle cramps and pain including that of the teeth or ears. If you do not get enough calcium through your diet, you will need to take an oral supplement as prescribed by your doctor. The most common form of this deficiency is called “Osteopenia” in which the bones will be smaller, weaker and more brittle than healthy bone structures. This condition can lead to an even more severe illness known as “Osteoporosis” which means that your bones are almost hollow, brittle and very weak. The most common way to treat this is by taking calcium supplements as prescribed by your doctor.

How to Spot Signs of an Calcium Deficiency in Your Diet

A calcium deficiency can cause many different signs like lethargy, brittle bones and sore, weak muscles. To spot this problem in your diet you should look at the food that you are eating. If you have muscle pain or soreness after physical activities such as exercise, consult with a doctor immediately about getting tested to see if a deficiency is present. To determine if you are not getting enough calcium in your diet, look at the color of your stools. If they have a dull or yellowish tinge to them, this may be a sign that you should speak with a doctor about whether or not an Oral Calcium Supplement is needed.

What You Should Do if You Suspect a Calcium Deficiency

This deficiency is rarely found in adults but can be easily treated with oral supplementation or food sources that are rich in the nutrient . The one thing that you should do immediately if you suspect a calcium deficiency is to stay away from dairy products. Some sources of calcium in your diet can contribute to a lactose intolerance or other related digestive issues. Consult with your doctor about whether or not you should avoid dairy completely so it does not worsen the symptoms of this deficiency.

Conclusion

Although there are many ways that you can learn about the nutrients that your body needs to maintain good health, it is very important to understand which ones might be lacking in your diet. The six most commonly found deficiencies that people experience include vitamins D, E, A, B12, iron and calcium. By increasing your intake of the food sources that contain these nutrients or by taking oral supplements as prescribed by your doctor, you can easily treat any deficiencies and maintain good health. Have questions? Give us a call at (830) 992-3042.



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