At least one-third of the U.S. population is at risk of being deficient in at least one vitamin. Women between the ages of 19-50 years old (41%) tend to be most at risk to have a vitamin deficiency, and the risk is higher (47%) if they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Researchers also found that people are most commonly deficient in vitamins A, B6, B12, E and C.
Because such a large portion of the United States population is at risk for vitamin deficiency, which can negatively impact overall health, it’s important to make a conscious effort to ensure you and your loved ones get the nutrition you need. When it comes to health, it may be hard to tell if you are deficient in specific vitamins and know what warning signs to look out for. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common signs associated with a deficiency, what to do when you have a vitamin deficiency and how to treat it.
- Common Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms & Treatments
- Use IV Therapy From Mobile IV Medics for Vitamin Deficiency
Common Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms & Treatments
The symptoms and long-term effects of being deficient in vital vitamins may surprise you. Keep reading to discover the warning signs and how to fix them.
1. Eye Problems
Although having eye problems is most often associated with thyroid disorders, aging or Sjogren’s syndrome, it may be a warning sign that you have a vitamin A deficiency. Some common eye problems that can occur with such a deficiency include dry eyes, poor night vision and low light blindness.
Eye problems are prevalent when someone is deficient in vitamin A because that vitamin is responsible for producing rhodopsin, a pigment in your retinas that aids in night vision. Some other symptoms associated with vitamin A deficiencies are anemia, nausea, headaches and joint pain. The headaches and nausea are likely secondary symptoms as they’d occur due to straining the eyes to see at night or in low light.
If you’ve noticed any of the above-mentioned eye problems, it’s important that you consult your primary care physician and request a blood test before treating your symptoms with the assumption that you have a vitamin A deficiency. In the event that you do need more vitamin A, take supplements with the guidance of your doctor.
Another way to incorporate vitamin A is by adjusting your diet. Eat foods that are naturally high in vitamin A, such as dairy products, eggs, fish and dark leafy greens. You can also eat yellow-orange colored vegetables like carrots, bell peppers, sweet peppers and sweet potatoes.
2. Muscle Cramps
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night with a severe muscle cramp? Was it generally in your leg, such as your calf? These sudden muscle cramps and spasms, also known as Charley horses, occur because of a deficiency in calcium. According to baseball lore, the phrase Charley horse was coined after a baseball player’s family horse, who appeared to suffer from stiff legs.
As with any medical issue, it’s wise to seek the advice of your medical professional. With the guidance of your doctor, you can prevent having such excruciating muscle cramps by taking calcium supplements. You can also incorporate foods like dairy products, sardines, dark leafy greens and black beans into your diet, as they are all high in calcium.
3. Dandruff or Dry Scalp
Having issues with your scalp, whether it is dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, dry scalp or scalp psoriasis, is painful. It can also be embarrassing. Although these skin conditions are usually on the scalp, seborrheic dermatitis can also occur on the face, chest, armpits and groin.
The cause for such issues links back to vitamin deficiencies in vitamins B3 (niacin), B2 (riboflavin) and B6 (pyridoxine). To mitigate dandruff and other scalp problems, your doctor might recommend that you take vitamin supplements. You can also eat more whole grains, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products and green vegetables. Even if these recommendations don’t eliminate the symptoms, they can often help to lessen the severity.
4. Mood Changes
Abnormal changes in your mood could very likely be a warning sign that you suffer from a deficiency in vitamin D. It is true that mood changes can occur from life events, pre-menstrual hormones in women and mental illnesses, but you may want to consider the possibility that an inadequate amount of vitamin D may also be contributing.
Vitamin D is important to your mental health and your physical well-being as it’s responsible for maintaining the serotonin levels in your body. This is vital to your mental health because serotonin is the body’s “happiness hormone.”
To treat a deficiency in vitamin D, incorporate more starchy foods, salmon, mushrooms and egg yolks into your diet. Your body also produces vitamin D when it receives exposure to the sun’s UVB rays, so getting 10-30 minutes of sun each day can help boost your body’s vitamin D totals. However, too much time in the sun can still lead to adverse effects on your skin and other potential health issues. It’s crucial to take the proper precautions if you plan to be out in the sun for longer durations.
5. Brittle Hair or Hair Loss
Hair loss can happen to anyone who suffers from a vitamin deficiency, specifically in vitamins B3 or B7 (biotin). If you’re experiencing thinning hair, splitting hair and weak nails, then chances are you have a vitamin deficiency. Other common symptoms associated with vitamin B3 and B7 deficiencies include chronic fatigue, muscle pain and a tingling sensation in your feet and hands.
To treat such issues, you can consider adjusting your diet to include organ meats, fish, nuts, seeds, cauliflower, yeast, whole grains and bananas to name a few. As always, we recommend that you see your medical professional for advice and so they can take a blood test to determine the vitamin deficiencies you suffer from.
6. Gum Issues
While gingivitis, infections, hormonal changes and other conditions can cause bleeding of the gums, a condition called scurvy can also contribute. Scurvy occurs as the result of a vitamin C deficiency. It’s been around for thousands of years, having even been documented in ancient times.
Cases of scurvy are rare today, but they can still happen. For example, the National Center for Biotechnology Information performed a study in 2018 where two older gentlemen were diagnosed and treated for scurvy.
In addition to having swollen or bleeding gums, people can also experience loss of teeth and the opening of wounds that had previously healed. To help remedy such issues, you can eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin C. Some examples include oranges, peppers, strawberries, broccoli, potatoes and kiwi.
7. Mouth Ulcers
When you have an ulcer in your mouth, it is very painful. It can make also be difficult to talk and eat, depending on the ulcer’s location. Mouth ulcers are defined as lesions in the mouth that occur randomly or from accidentally biting the mouth’s soft tissue.
These ulcers can occur more often from a deficiency in vitamin B12. Eat clams, beef, fortified cereal, fish, dairy products, and eggs to naturally increase the amount of B12 in your body.
Use IV Therapy From Mobile IV Medics for Vitamin Deficiency
Do you think you might have a vitamin deficiency? Consider contacting your medical professional and get a blood test to see which vitamins you lack and make a plan to increase those vitamins in your body. In addition to adjusting your diet and taking supplements as directed by your doctor, IV therapy from Mobile IV Medics can also help to increase your vitamin intake.
We offer mobile IV therapy that can be done in the comfort of your own home, office or even hotel room. You can create a customized IV, filled with only the vitamins that your body needs to help you feel your best. Contact us today to learn more about IV therapy and how it can help prevent you from experiencing the most common types of vitamin deficiencies.
About the author
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D.
Brad Wenderoth, Pharm.D. is a licensed pharmacist and co-owner of Mobile IV Medics. With over 16 years of healthcare experience, Brad is bringing his expertise and passion for patient care to the Mobile IV Medics patient population. Prior to Mobile IV Medics, Brad worked in varying areas including both direct patient care and hospital leadership at Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, nationwide health system pharmacy consulting for Comprehensive Pharmacy Services (CPS), and professor of pharmacy at the USC School of Pharmacy. He holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Arizona, a pharmacy practice residency from USC, and a lean six sigma green belt from Johns Hopkins.