How can I tell if I have nutrient deficiencies?


"I eat well, so I can't be missing nutrients."

Many people believe that nutrient deficiencies are uncommon today. However, for the majority of the population, this is simply not the case. Even if you eat well, there is a good chance you are lacking in important nutrients. Some of the factors that can contribute to nutrient deficiencies include poor soil quality, eating processed foods, drug induced nutrient depletions, and poor intestinal health. When you have nutrient deficiencies, you may or may not recognize the symptoms.

According to Dr. Susan Blum, founder of the Blum Center of Health,

“You may not get a disease but you can end up with impaired functioning, because vitamins are co-factors for all the bio-chemical reactions in the body. We need them in order to function properly.”

Signs you may have nutrient deficiencies

1. Muscle cramps

Muscle cramps can be a sign of deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, or potassium. Magnesium deserves special attention because it is estimated that 80 percent of American are deficient. It is a critical nutrient as it is involved in over 300 reactions in the body. If your doctor tests for magnesium levels, make sure they check RBC magnesium as serum magnesium levels are highly inaccurate.

Be careful about supplementing with calcium alone as excessive calcium without being combined with magnesium can deposit in the arteries.

Dietary sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, almonds, hazelnuts, broccoli, bok choy, and apples.

2. Hair loss and red scaly rash

This can be a sign of biotin deficiency. Biotin is used to metabolize fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids. It is best known for strengthening hair and nails.

Dietary sources of biotin include salmon, avocados, eggs, mushrooms, bananas, nuts, and cauliflower.

3. Cracks in the corners of your mouth

Possible deficiencies include niacin, riboflavin, B-12, iron, and zinc deficiency.

Dietary sources include salmon, eggs, swiss chard, and tahini.

4. Acne-like bumps on cheeks, arms, thighs or buttocks

Possible deficiencies include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D.

Dietary sources of omega-3s include salmon and sardines. Sources of vitamin A include leafy greens, carrots, red bell peppers, and sweet potatoes. While vitamin D is best obtained through safe sun exposure and supplements.

5. Tingling and numbness in your hands and/or feet

Potential deficiencies include B vitamins like folate, B6 and B12.

Good sources of these vitamins include spinach, beets, asparagus and grass-fed beef.

The good news is that most deficiencies can be corrected with a supplementIf you suspect you have nutrient deficiencies, contact your health care provider.

Also, please check out our in-depth articles on preventing and healing chronic diseases utilizing a Functional Medicine approach. We also encourage you to subscribe to our distribution list so you can receive the most current scientific information on preventing and treating chronic disease.

Wishing you good health!

Mike Woodley, R.Ph, FAARM, FMNM


Posted by Mike Woodley on


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