Signs you’re experiencing a vitamin deficiency & how to treat it

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In an era where food is easy to access for most, it’s still possible to experience a vitamin deficiency or mineral deficiency. According to some reports, diseases such as rickets are increasing due to low vitamin D levels. Although some deficiencies cause temporary symptoms you can address, others may have devastating consequences. If you suspect a vitamin deficiency is becoming problematic for you, it’s time to learn more about some of the commonest ones.

Low iron levels causing fatigue

Around 11% of women and girls of childbearing age suffer from poor iron levels as their vitamin deficiency. If you suspect you’re one of them, watch out for the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • A sore tongue
  • Cracked lips
  • Brittle nails

Of course, you can attribute the symptoms above to lots of conditions. That’s why it’s important to see a doctor to get a blood test that rules a deficiency out. If they find that you are suffering with one, they can address the root cause with either supplements or quarterly injections.

A vitamin deficiency that’s on the rise: Vitamin D

Historically, poor vitamin D intake was seen as a vitamin deficiency that would be confined to the Victorian era. However, changes in modern lifestyles, population differences, and the way we eat from birth onward have all resulted in this vitamin deficiency making a comeback.

If you’re suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, you may experience:

  • Fatigue, even when you sleep well
  • Muscle and bone aches
  • Depression
  • Slow wound healing
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle hair

Some experts believe that this vitamin deficiency is more common due to increased breastfeeding rates. However, you shouldn’t see that as a sign to abandon breastfeeding if it’s going well for you. Instead, you may want to ensure you’re benefiting from the right supplements.

Additionally, the population now spends more time indoors than it used to. So, when the sun shines, make sure you’re spending 15 minutes exposing your skin to it each day. In addition to preventing a vitamin deficiency, you may find it easier to sleep at night.

Lower than normal vitamin C levels

Although it’s unusual for this particular vitamin deficiency to occur, medical professionals still encounter it in certain communities. Recent research suggests there’s only been a slight decline in vitamin C deficiencies since the 1980s. Those who are most likely to encounter it usually have a low socioeconomic status, they smoke, or they’re refugees who haven’t benefited from a good diet.

If you’re experiencing this vitamin deficiency, you may notice:

  • Slow healing wounds
  • Easy bruising
  • Red hair follicles
  • Painful and swollen joints
  • Dry and cracked skin
  • Rough and bumpy skin

In other words, you’re experiencing the signs of scurvy. The best way to treat a vitamin C deficiency is to start adding more of it to your diet. In addition to finding it in oranges, you’ll get more of it if you eat spinach, broccoli, and peppers. If your symptoms aren’t improving it’s worth seeking medical advice to address other potential causes.

Suffering from a vitamin deficiency doesn’t always need to result in poor long-term health. However, if you encounter one during pregnancy the effects can become pronounced for your unborn child. As such, it’s worth remaining extra vigilant when addressing your nutrition as an expectant mother.

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About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.