Common Nutrient Deficiencies & Their Symptoms


While it's normal to have common health ailments, such as the occasional headache or muscle aches, noticing these chronic problems may be a symptom of a nutrient deficiency. Certain factors can quicken the onset of such deficiencies; for example, women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding are at a high risk of becoming anemic due to low iron levels. Before nutritional deficiencies lead to more severe health complications, understanding what your body is telling you is vital to your well-being.

  • Iron Deficiency

Typical symptoms of an iron deficiency include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Cold extremities
  • Nails prone to breaking

Red blood cells are vital for oxygen transportation throughout the body, and their production depends on iron, as San Fransisco's University of California reported. An insufficient body count of red blood cells results in anemia, and menstruating women, is a common problem among individuals with plant-based diets and children or pregnant women, whose bodies are going through a more rapid growth rate. Iron-rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, beans, pork and poultry, red meats, and seafood can help offset anemia.

  • Vitamin D Deficiency

Typical symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Bone aches
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Mood swings

Maintaining strong, healthy bones results from adequate Vitamin D. Vitamin D consumption may also lower your risk of contracting specific types of cancers, as stated by the Clevland Clinic. Although indicators of a Vitamin D deficiency are so concrete, it typically manifests as aches in the bones and muscles, fatigue and weakness, or unstable mood. Chronic, untreated Vitamin D deficiency may cause brittle bones and a higher risk of fractures and autoimmune diseases. Various types of seafood (canned tuna, salmon, herring, and sardines), mushrooms, and egg yolks are all excellent sources of Vitamin D. In addition, outdoor exposure to sunlight also helps the body replenish Vitamin D levels, according to NASM-certified nutrition coach, Michelle Zive of San Diego.

  • Calcium Deficiency

Typical symptoms of a Calcium deficiency include:

  • Overwhelming fatigue
  • Feeling lightheaded and disoriented
  • Brain fog
  • Inattentiveness and memory loss

When chronic and untreated, calcium deficiency may result in poor dental health, brain impairments, cataracts, and osteoporosis, which lead to softened bones. This deficiency, in particular, is dangerous as it is life-threatening, and early detection is challenging as symptoms are either mildly present or do not show at all. Elderly individuals and women of varying ages are more susceptible to calcium deficiency. Inadequate calcium supply is most commonly associated with health conditions of medical treatments rather than a diet. For example, Stomach removal procedures, kidney failure (kidney disease), liver problems, and certain medications such as corticosteroids and diuretics can result in calcium deficiency. Calcium-rich foods include dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk), calcium-enriched orange juice, and winter squash.