You might think that nutrient deficiencies are a thing of the past, reserved for sailors trapped at sea. But even today, it’s possible to lack some of the essential nutrients your body needs to function optimally. Telltale symptoms are usually the first clue that you might be low in one or more important vitamins or minerals.
Here’s how to recognize some common nutrient deficiencies:
- Cracks at the Corners of Your Mouth
This can be a sign of iron, zinc, and B-vitamin deficiency, or that you’re not getting enough protein. Good dietary sources of these nutrients include organic free-range poultry and eggs, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, oysters, and clams, Swiss chard, and tahini.
Because iron absorption is enhanced by vitamin C, be sure your diet also includes plenty of vitamin C-rich veggies like broccoli, red bell peppers, kale, and cauliflower.
- Hair Loss and a Red, Scaly Rash
This can be a sign of biotin (vitamin B7) deficiency. Your body needs biotin for metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids, but it’s most well-known for its role in strengthening your hair and nails. Egg yolks from organic, free-range eggs are one of the best sources of biotin.
The best way to consume eggs, provided they come from a high-quality source, is to not cook them at all, which is why my advanced nutrition plan recommends eating your eggs raw. Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, avocados, mushrooms, cauliflower, nuts, raspberries, and bananas also contain biotin.
- Red or White Acne-Like Bumps on Your Cheeks, Arms, and Thighs
This can be a sign of deficiency in essential fatty acids like omega-3s, as well as vitamin A or vitamin D deficiency. Increase your intake of omega-3 fats by eating more sardines and anchovies (or wild-caught Alaskan salmon) or taking a krill oil supplement.
You can find vitamin A in foods like leafy green vegetables, carrots, sweet potatoes, and red bell peppers, while vitamin D is best obtained through safe sun exposure or use of a high-quality tanning bed.
- Tingling, Prickling, and Numbness in Your Hands and Feet
This can be a sign of B-vitamin deficiency (particularly folate, B6, and B12). The symptom is related to the deficiency’s effect on the peripheral nerves and may be combined with anxiety, depression, anemia, fatigue, and hormone imbalances.
Some good sources of B vitamins include spinach, asparagus, beets, organic free-range eggs and poultry, and grass-fed beef.
- Muscle Cramps (in Your Toes, Calves, Backs of Legs, and Arches of Feet)
Muscle cramps may be a sign of deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, especially if it happens frequently. Fix this by eating more almonds, hazelnuts, squash, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, and dandelion), broccoli, Bok choy, and apples.