Common Nutritional Deficiencies

"10 Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies."


Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body, yet most people still manage to have a calcium deficiency.

Calcium is best know for adding strength to your bones and teeth. It also plays and important role in nerves system and muscle contractions.

Children have special calcium needs because their teeth and bones are still forming. Parents usually make their children's nutritional intake a priority over their own nutritional intake. Children are usually fine when it comes to a calcium deficiency.

Calcium deficiency usually comes in adult years. Our bone strength is directly linked to our intake of calcium and other vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium and vitamin D.

If our body is deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, then it's a good bet that there is also a calcium deficiency.

Signs of Deficiency: Increased tooth decay, weak bones, bone disease in later life, muscle weakness and cramps

Food Sources: Leafy green vegetables, dairy products, beans, figs (fresh or dried), almonds, sesame seeds


Magnesium works to activate many energy-producing functions with the cells. It also works to manufacture protein.

It helps to build and maintain muscle tone, including the heart muscles. Magnesium is the most common mineral deficiency among people in developed countries.

People just don't think about it; magnesium is the "forgotten mineral." Even a small deficiency can cause irregular heartbeats or muscle cramps.

Signs of Deficiency: Irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, increased muscle cramps

Food Sources: Dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a must have for calcium use and absorption by the bones. Just 20 minutes outside on a sunny day should be enough to get the daily requirements of vitamin D in your skin.

So if sunlight is all we need, why is deficiency so common?

Simply put, most people don't get 20 minutes of sunshine a day. If you have a desk job or spend a a lot of time inside, you are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency.

If you have pale white or dark skin, you may not be getting enough vitamin D. If you were sunscreen (which should be everyone), you are at a deficiency risk. Elderly people, tend to be deficient in this vitamin, which is why elderly people fracture easily when falling.

All of the above factors put people at risk of a vitamin D deficiency, which causes a calcium deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency among African Americans tends to be at the highest because their skin acts as a natural sunblock. Pale skin is a sign that your body does not absorb sun very well; if it did, you wouldn't be pale.

Sign of Deficiency: Weak bones, calcium deficiency, bone disease

Food Sources: Fish oil, egg yolk, small amounts of butter

Folic Acid

Folic acid helps your body make red blood cells. It benefits protein and amino acid breakdown and use.

A folic acid deficiency can be most critical to pregnant women. It has been discovered that pregnant women who are deficient in this nutrient are much more likely to give birth to children with brain defects.

Folic acid should also be taken by women who are considering pregnancy in preparation for pregnancy.

Signs of Deficiency: Fatigue, irritability (mood swings), poor memory, birth defects, pregnancy complications, anemia

Food Sources: Green leafy vegetables are the best source, dried beans (pinto, soy, lentils), nutritional yeast


Iron is an essential part of the chemical compound that makes your blood red and carries oxygen to all your tissues.

Women are especially vulnerable to and iron deficiency because women lose iron each month through their menstrual flow.

Signs of Deficiency: Fatigue, brittle nails, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, poor endurance, anemia

Food Sources: Red meats, spinach, nuts, seeds, dried apricots

Vitamin B6-pyridoxine

Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, can be called the "mood vitamin." It is required by the body to convert certain amino acids into serotonin.

Serotonin is known as the "happiness hormone." It is a well-known contributor to feelings of well-being. A serotonin deficiency is linked to mood swings, depression, eating disorders, and sleeping problems.

B6 is also necessary for maintaining a healthy nerves system and for releasing energy from your food. It can also help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Signs of Deficiency: Nerve pain (neuropathy), mood swings, depression, irritability, fatigue, bone disease in later life

Food Sources: Whole grains, meats, nuts and seeds, bananas, prunes, cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps your body make nerve coverings and is essential for growth, maintaining normal appetite, and making red blood cells.

It has also been credited with increasing energy, metabolism, and bettering mood. B-12 can also help reduce your risk of heart disease.

If you are a vegetarian, eat very little meat, or are elderly, pay special attention to this important nutrient. Pernicious anemia from low blood cell counts is a potential risk.

Signs of Deficiency: fatigue, reduced appetite, problems with nervous system, some mental confusion, pernicious anemia

Food Sources: Animal foods such as meat, eggs, and some dairy products.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C detoxifies and acts as an antioxidant that helps your body produce strong bones, fight viruses, and promote regular bowel movements. It is also aids in the production of collagen, and cartilage. Healthy collagen is essential for healthy, young-looking skin.

Vegetarians and fruits and vegetables loves usually do not have to worry about vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C is abundant in most fresh and properly ripe fruits and many vegetables. Old, wilted vegetables and overripe fruit do not provide much of this vitamin.

People under stress, people who smoke or drink, and people with other drug problems should increase their vitamin C intake.

Signs of Deficiency: Frequent viral infections (cold/flu), bleeding gums, delayed wound healing, frequent muscle strain

Food Sources Most fruit and vegetables such as bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits.

Essential Fatty Acids

"Is it really possible to have deficiency in fat? I know it sounds like a joke, but yes many people have a deficiency in essential fatty acids, the good fats, but an overdose in the bad fats. I know it's confusing, but some fats are necessary for good health. Fats your get from a variety of whole vegetable foods are healthful, along with a moderate amount from a variety of animal sources-especially fish.

Your body uses essential fatty acids to lubricate your skin and tissues and also to support your cell membranes. Your body's cells depend on essential fatty acids to function normally and a deficiency can do quite a bit of harm. Not only do your cells need essential fatty acids, research has shown that the brain and nervous system also need essential fatty acids to function properly.

Signs of Deficiency:Hair loss, dry skin, skin rashes, coldness of the body, easy bruising, joint inflammation, and repeated infections due to weak cells, increased risk of depression or anxiety

Food Source:Oily fish like salmon, seeds (flax, pumpkin, sunflower), nuts, soybeans, some tofu

Essential Amino Acids

Essential amino acids act as building blocks for the chemical messengers that allow your nervous system to work called neurotransmitters. Your body also uses amino acids to produce energy and to help vitamins and minerals function at their best.

At least 80% of your nervous system, including the brain and mental functions, run on amino acids. Our bodies need a good supply of amino acids to support the nervous system, be the building blocks of protein, and for muscle and organ repair. If you are wanting to building muscle and gain strength, think of amino acids and proteins.

Signs of Deficiency: Long healing time from muscle injuries and strain, chronic and frequent back pain, fatigue, mood swings and imbalances

Food Sources: Beans, spirulina, nuts, seeds, fish and other animal meats, tofu, soy

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