Five ‘important’ warning signs of a vitamin deficiency to look out for

Dr Ellie on why people should be taking Vitamin D supplements

Our bodies need certain vitamins and minerals to function at their best.

While most of what we need can be absorbed through a healthy, balanced diet, sometimes it is possible to become deficient.

Melissa Snover, registered nutritionist and founder of Nourished, warned that vitamin deficiencies can result in various health complications.

She shared five warning signs that could indicate that you need to change your diet or introduce supplements into your routine.

Ms Snover said: “Warning signs of a vitamin deficiency can change from person to person, but there are a couple of key factors that are important to keep an eye on as they may be an indication that your body is lacking in certain minerals and vitamins.”

Dry skin

“Any dryness accompanied by other symptoms, such as itchiness and flaking of the skin, could suggest that your body is lacking in certain vitamins and minerals,” she said.

“Dry skin can be caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body. As vitamin D is created through skin exposure to the sun and cholesterol in the skin, in the winter months, where there is less sunlight, people often experience dry, itchy skin due to the cold weather.

“Supplementing your body with this vitamin can help to increase your skin hydration levels.”

Mouth ulcers

She explained: “Mouth ulcers and cracks in your mouth can often be a sign of insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals within the body.

“Mouth ulcers can be a warning sign of low iron levels and can be an indication of an iron deficiency.

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“Although cracks in the corners of your mouth can be caused by excess salivation or dehydration, they can also be caused by an insufficient intake of iron and B vitamins, so it’s important to check you’re receiving both of these nutrients within your diet and supplement intake.”

Bleeding gums

“Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of a vitamin C deficiency,” Ms Snover said.

“Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing and general immunity, it also acts as an antioxidant which helps to prevent cell damage.

“As vitamin C is not created by the body on its own, it’s extremely important to monitor whether your body is receiving adequate levels of the vitamin.

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“Bleeding gums, easy bruising, and frequent nose bleeds are all key warning signs to keep an eye on, as they indicate a severe lack of vitamin C in the body.

“Another serious consequence of a more severe vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, which depresses the immune system, and weakens muscles and bones, making people feel fatigued and lethargic.

“It’s important to speak to a doctor if you’re experiencing any of those symptoms.”

Hair loss

She said: “We all lose strands of hair daily, however, if you suddenly find yourself finding clumps of hair on your pillow or when you wash your hair, this could be a sign of low iron, biotin and zinc levels.

“These vitamins and minerals are all needed to help stimulate hair growth and encourage regrowth.”

Bone pain

She added: “If you are feeling pains in your bones, this could be a warning sign of a lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D is also vital to help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, keeping your bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

“If you’re experiencing any growing pains, like you do as a teenager in your adult life, it’s important to monitor your levels of vitamin D and speak to a doctor.

“Unlike other vitamins and minerals, vitamin D levels are regularly tested in routine blood tests at your annual physical, so it’s easy to identify deficiencies.”

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