That fatigue you’re feeling may not just be caused by a few sleepless nights and your muscle weakness might not be from overdoing it at the gym. When our bodies are deficient in essential vitamins, they can act out in unexpected ways. Given our access to processed foods, it’s very easy to become deficient in key elements that our bodies need. We spoke to two leading wellness experts to find out some common warning signs and vitamin deficiency symptoms.
Fatigue, Exhaustion and/or Weakness
“These can all be signs that you have a deficiency in vitamin B12,” says Katrine van Wyk, a health coach at Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. “This is a pretty common deficiency, especially among vegetarians and vegans as this vitamin can only be found in animal foods. In addition to fatigue, nerve tingling is a common symptom of B12 deficiency.” Iron deficiency may also be the culprit here. “Iron is responsible for building red blood cells, which move oxygen around the body. Without enough iron, the body cannot produce these blood cells and the body will lack oxygenation resulting in feelings of fatigue and weakness,” explains Indie Fresh nutritionist Bridget Bennett.
“These are a common sign of vitamin D deficiency. You can check your levels easily with a blood test and supplement accordingly. Another common sign of a vitamin D deficiency is a tendency to catch every cold and getting sick a lot,” says van Wyk. Bennett adds that for many people, however, the symptoms are subtle. “Even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose health risks, such as increased risk of death from heart disease, cognitive impairment in older adults and cancer. Vitamin D is also mandatory to help calcium form strong bones.”
Rashes and Cracks Around the Mouth
“This can mean you’re deficient in vitamin B6. Although you can supplement with vitamin B6, take care to check your levels and avoid overdoing it as there is such a thing as too much B6. Many vitamins are water soluble and the body just gets rid of what it doesn’t eat, but vitamin B6 is not one of them,” cautions van Wyk.
Tingling, Numbness in the Fingers and/or Mental Confusion
These may all be signs that you should check your calcium levels. “That said, a subtle deficiency might go unnoticed, however, the long-term effects of brittle and weak bones certainly will not,” notes Bennett. “Calcium is required to build and replete bone tissue, but if one doesn’t consume enough of this nutrient, it will leach out of the bones and weaken them over time.”
Turns out that sugar craving may be related to a magnesium deficiency. “Chocolate contains a decent amount of magnesium and so our body craves it when it’s running low. It’s also worth highlighting that magnesium is a calming nutrient and can be very useful for people who tend toward anxiety, stress and having a hard time unwinding,” says van Wyk.