The human body is very intelligent; it has its own way of telling us things. The hard part can be listening to those signs and symptoms. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are a concern for many. Counting our daily intake of each nutrient isn’t realistic, but at the same time, we don’t want to be lacking in essential nutrients. To help us listen to our bodies I have shared a list of ways to help identify the signs of deficiency, and ways to boost those deficiencies naturally.
- Calcium Deficiency
Cracking sounds from joints and bones can be one indication that your body lacks Calcium. Low calcium levels can cause teeth and bone degeneration and it increases the risk of developing diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis in the future.1 Vitamin D is an essential component required for the absorption of calcium in the body,2 and your body creates it with the help of sunlight. Sunbathing, going for a walk on a sunny day, or spending time outdoors can be a good way to boost Vitamin D levels. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen! Sunlight is one of the best ways to get Vitamin D, but you can also eat more milk, cheese, peanut butter, and green leafy vegetables to boost calcium levels.
- Vitamin C Deficiency
Do you experience bleeding gums while brushing your teeth? What about mouth ulcers? Maybe your body wants you to know you are lacking vitamin C.3 This vitamin is well known for its immune system boosting powers. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and pineapples can increase vitamin C. Amla is a superfood commonly found in India which has twenty times more vitamin C than oranges;4 it’s one of the best ways to boost Vitamin C and is available online and at specialty health food stores. You can consume alma candy, pickle juice, or even eat raw amla. A famous saying in Punjabi is associated with this fruit “Siyaniyan da keha te auliyan da khada baad vich pata chalda hai” which means the words of a wise person and the sweet taste of amla fruit can only be understood after a while. Amla is sour, but after a few seconds of eating it you will find the taste turns sweet.
- Biotin Deficiency
Weak and brittle nails can be an aesthetic concern, but they can also mean low biotin levels. Peeling cuticles are another sign of this deficiency.5 Eating foods rich in probiotics will help increase your biotin because certain good bacteria help with biotin production. Cheese curds and pickles are ideal foods for people experiencing biotin deficiency.6
- Zinc Deficiency
Ever wondered why those white spots pop up on your nails? Zinc deficiency could be the reason. Sugar cravings can be another sign of low zinc levels.7 Cut down on sugary foods (despite those cravings) and increase your consumption of nuts and protein-rich foods to boost the zinc reserves within your body.
- Iron Deficiency
A pale face, discoloured lips, white nails, and excessive tiredness can be indications of low iron in the body.8 Iron is essential for blood formation. Cooking food in a cast iron vessel is a good way to boost iron content, but avoid cooking citrus foods in cast iron, as it can damage the pan. Boiling milk in a cast iron pot is an excellent way to increase iron content in the milk, and won’t change the taste much. Pomegranate and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and beetroot will help in boosting your iron levels as well.9
- Vitamin A Deficiency
Poor night vision might be an indication of low Vitamin A levels. Some other signs include uneven nails and poor wound healing. Vitamin A is fat-soluble hence why it helps to include ghee, butter, and cold-pressed oils in your diet. Sweet Potato, mangoes, carrots, and broccoli are also foods worth eating to reduce vitamin A deficiency.10
- Vitamin E Deficiency
Vitamin E is well known for its importance in good skin health. Many facial creams and oils showcase their products having Vitamin E. Benefits aren’t just limited to the skin, though. Suffering from body cramps? Body cramps can be a sign of low levels of vitamin E in the body. Almond oil is one of the best sources of vitamin E, and it can be used for both massages and consumption. A spoonful of almond oil with a warm cup of milk before bedtime can help you boost Vitamin E, but make sure you use edible almond oil and not almond hair oil. Hair oils often contain fragrances, mineral oils, and chemicals that aren’t safe to consume.
A balanced and wholesome diet will help maintain good physical health and keep your vitamin and mineral levels balanced. Remember that prevention is always better than treatment, and finding what your body is lacking will help you prevent diseases and illnesses. Regular visits to a doctor or nutritionist will also help you follow a nutrition routine that works for you. Try to eat a varied diet and remind yourself that eating directly affects your health.
1 “Osteoporosis.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, August 21, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968.
2 Cleveland Clinic. “Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic. Accessed October 29, 2021. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15050-vitamin-d–vitamin-d-deficiency.
3 Johnson, Larry E. “Vitamin C Toxicity – Nutritional Disorders.” MSD Manual Professional Edition. MSD Manuals, October 28, 2021. https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/nutritional-disorders/vitamin-deficiency-dependency-and-toxicity/vitamin-c-toxicity.
4 Rupani, Ms.Khyati. “Amla: The Vitamin C Powerhouse.” Practo. Practo, January 2, 1970. https://www.practo.com/healthfeed/amla-the-vitamin-c-powerhouse-26192/post.
5 Praderio, Caroline. “Those ‘Hair and Nail’ Vitamins Aren’t Doing Anything for Your Hair and Nails.” Insider. Insider, August 24, 2017. https://www.insider.com/does-biotin-work-hair-nails-2017-8.
6 Tadimalla, Ravi Teja. “16 Biotin-Rich Foods for a Healthy You.” STYLECRAZE. StyleCraze, September 14, 2021. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/simple-and-best-biotin-rich-foods/.
7 Genesis Medical. “Curb Your Carb Cravings: Supplements.” Genesis Medical, June 9, 2021. https://www.genesismedical.co.za/10-supplements-that-may-curb-your-carb-cravings-and-help-you-lose-weight/.
8 Medical News Today. “Causes of Skin Paleness in Dark and Light Skin.” MediLexicon International. Accessed October 29, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325562.
9 Caroline Kaufman, “Foods to Fight Iron Deficiency,” EatRight, accessed October 25, 2021,
10 Streit, Lizzie. “8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency.” Healthline. Healthline Media, June 2, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-deficiency-symptoms.