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Nutrient deficiency: causes, symptoms and treatment

A nutrient deficit often goes unnoticed for a long time. The signs are unspecific: you feel tired, restless or lack focus, your skin is irritated, your head hurts. This can be due to a lack of certain vitamins or minerals. We will show you which deficiencies are particularly frequent, which symptoms occur and how you can replenish your nutrient reservoir. 

Overview

How to recognize nutrient deficiency 

If you do not consume enough vitamins and minerals, your nutrient balance will be disrupted. Your body then sends you visible, noticeable and painful signals. 

But these signals are rather inaccurate. That is why it is not so easy to interpret them. If the symptoms occur collectively, there is a high chance that nutrient deficiency is the cause.

Symptoms of nutrient deficiency

  • Visible: fingernails become brittle, hair falls out, the skin is irritated, slips are brittle, the corners of the mouth torn, you look rather pale overall
  • Noticeable: You feel weak, tired and lethargic, you can hardly concentrate, you are often nervous.
  • Painful: headache, muscle pain, aching limbs, frequent infections, bleeding gums

These symptoms may or may not be related to a deficiency. A blood test can tell you exactly whether you are lacking nutrients and which ones. 

What nutrients are actually available?

When we speak of nutrient deficiency, we mean the lack of essential substances that make our body viable and functional in the first place.  

These include water, oxygen, micronutrients (such as trace elements, minerals, vitamins) and macronutrients (such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats). 

Causes of nutrient deficiency

Why is the body not sufficiently supplied with nutrients? The causes are numerous.  

If we are ill, do too much sport, smoke regularly or take certain medications, our body needs more nutrients than usual. Even during pregnancy and lactation, alcoholism and old age, deficiency symptoms can quickly occur.

Anyone who does not eat a balanced diet, but rather a one-sided diet, e.g. as a result of a diet, many ready-made products or veganism, may also deprive the body of essential nutrients. 

Discuss with your doctor about the possible causes of nutrient deficiency and the treatment options available.

 

Magnesium deficiency

Nothing much runs in our organism without the vital minerals: they boost muscle regeneration, energy balance, concentration and much more ... 

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency: 

  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Nervousness
  • Poor concentration
  • Sleep problems
  • Tense, trembling muscles
  • Calf cramps
  • Headache, migraine, dizziness
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Heart problems

Prevention of magnesium deficiency: 

Frequently eat balanced and magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, almonds, rice, bananas, raspberries, spinach, figs, oatmeal, green spelt, corn, millet, bread, peas, lentils, beans, soybeans and chickpeas, or drink mineral water.

Especially during physically or psychologically highly stressful phases of life, during an illness, in times of stress or with many sports activities, the magnesium level drops rapidly. Magnesium supplements which can be used very effectively provide you with an optimal supply of the important mineral.

+++ Read the magazine article "Magnesium – the essential mineral" +++

 

Vitamin D deficiency

The sun vitamin D can be produced by our skin with the help of the sun. When the short-wave UV-B rays of sunlight penetrate our epidermis, we produce vitamin D3.  

So why do we still have so much vitamin deficiency when we can replenish our vitamin stores ourselves? The answer is simple: we don't tan enough. During summer we often spend time indoors and during winter the sun shines too rarely and too weakly. During the "dark" months of October to March, therefore, many people are undersupplied with vitamin D. 

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency: 

  • Fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Bone weakness
  • Muscle tension and cramps
  • Increased risk of infection

Prevention of vitamin D deficiency: 

  • Dietary supplements with vitamin D, especially during winter
  • Vitamin D-rich foods such as salmon, eel, herring, mackerel, buckling, avocado, mushrooms, oatmeal, oat flakes

+++ Read the magazine article "Vitamin D deficiency: this is how important the special vitamin is" +++ 

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency (and all B vitamins)

Vegetarians and vegans watch out: Vitamin B12 is only found in large quantities in animal products such as milk, cheese, fish and meat; the vitamin B12 content in vegetable products is extremely low. Vegans should therefore continuously replenish their vitamin B12 stores with dietary supplements. A splendid pair: veganism and vitamin B12 supplements

Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency: 

  • Fatigue
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pale skin
  • Anaemia

Prevention of vitamin B12 deficiency: 

  • Eat vitamin B12-rich, animal food such as pork, beef, dairy products or fresh fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, buckling
  • Vitamin B complex dietary supplement encourages an active lifestyle with vitamin B12 and all other B vitamins 

Why all B vitamins are so important:

The eight B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 are involved in countless metabolic processes in the body and support the nerves, blood formation, immune system, energy supply and much more. For example, they are also important during pregnancy, especially vitamin B9 – also known as folic acid/folate.

Those who are exposed to particular pressures have an increased need for vitamin B in its entire spectrum of action: athletes, seniors, pregnant women, vegans and vegetarians, those who have an unbalanced diet and those who are ill. This is why the interaction of all eight B vitamins is so important for our well-being and performance. Our vitamin B complex combines all essential B vitamins in one tablet.

 

Calcium deficiency

The essential mineral calcium is of great importance for our body. It supports the maintenance of normal bones, teeth and a normal energy metabolism. Calcium also helps regular muscle activity, blood clotting and signal transmission between nerve cells. The signs of a mineral deficiency can be correspondingly varied.

Symptoms of calcium deficiency: 

  • Skin problems such as eczema
  • Hair Loss
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Muscle cramps and trembling
  • Heart and circulation problems
  • Digestive disorders
  • Disorders in bone metabolism, long-term osteoporosis

Prevention of calcium deficiency: 

  • Take sufficient vitamin D to make the absorption of calcium in the intestine possible
  • Eat calcium-rich food such as dairy products, almonds, poppy seeds, hazelnuts, kale, rocket, spinach, soybeans, sesame seeds
  • Take calcium supplements to prevent and treat calcium deficiency

 

Iron deficiency

The trace element iron ensures the transport of oxygen in the blood to the individual cells and supports the immune system. Women especially often suffer from iron deficiency. They eat much less meat than men (who often even have an increased iron level as a result).

Symptoms of iron deficiency: 

  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Concentration disorders
  • Pale skin
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Dry skin

Prevention of iron deficiency: 

  • Eat meat as a good usable source of iron 
  • In vegetarian and vegan diets, always combine vitamin C or fruit acids with meat-free, iron-rich food in order to achieve a better absorption of iron
  • Take iron capsules with best bioavailability

 


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Picture: istockphoto.com | sveta_zarzamora

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