Everybody knows vitamins and minerals are important in maintaining good health. But what many people may not know is that when we don’t have enough of these essential nutrients, we can wind up experiencing a lot of symptoms — symptoms that can be confusing and difficult to diagnose on our own. Micronutrients play such important roles in so many processes in our bodies, and the symptoms we experience can range from subtle to severe. Often, it’s easy to mistake the symptoms of nutritional deficiencies for something else, like poor sleep or aging.
At Balance Hormone Center, we help patients understand their nutritional deficiencies with comprehensive testing and evaluations aimed at helping every person get the levels of nutrients they need for optimal health. This list is a very brief review of some of the more common symptoms you might experience as a result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency. See if any of them sound familiar to you.
Muscle cramps or twitches
We all know calcium is important for healthy bones and teeth, but did you know this mineral also plays a big part in normal nerve and muscle functions? Low levels of calcium can cause muscle weakness, involuntary twitching (especially in your face and around your mouth), and even heart palpitations or abnormal heart rhythms. And of course, low levels of calcium can also increase your risk for fractures.
Fatigue and weakness
Fatigue or a general feeling of being “worn down” is a common symptom associated with many types of nutritional deficiencies, including deficiencies of vitamin D, iron and magnesium. Like calcium, vitamin D is also important for healthy bones and muscles. The symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be quite vague, showing up as muscle aches or general fatigue. Low levels of iron are another common cause of fatigue, and when levels are very low, you can develop a condition called anemia, which occurs when your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the rest of your body. Pale skin is another sign of anemia and iron deficiency. Magnesium deficiency can cause fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, nausea, abnormal heart rhythms and even seizures.
Numbness or tingling
Potassium is an important mineral that helps your nerves, heart and muscles work the way they’re supposed to. When your potassium levels are low, you can develop numbness or pins-and-needles sensations, and you might also experience muscle weakness, constipation and heart rhythm abnormalities. Low levels of potassium are more common among people who take diuretics and in people who are very physically active or perspire a lot.
Problems focusing or thinking clearly
Like fatigue, “brain fog” is another relatively common symptom of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The most common culprit in focusing and cognitive problems is vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 helps your body produce chemicals called neurotransmitters that serve as messengers between your nerves. When your levels of B12 are low, your levels of these chemicals can also decline, and that means cognitive functions can be impaired. In addition to these symptoms, a vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause problems like fatigue, difficulty coordinating walking and other movements, mood changes and paranoia, and even hallucinations if levels are very low. Vitamin B12 is not found in plant food sources, so vegans tend to be at a significantly increased risk for this deficiency.
Is a nutritional deficiency causing your symptoms?
Nutritional deficiencies can be caused by different issues, including poor diet, underlying diseases or gland dysfunction or medications that interfere with your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. The good news is that nutritional deficiencies typically are easily treatable with supplements, IV therapy and nutritional counseling. If you’re having unexplained and abnormal symptoms, the first step toward feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with the specialized wellness team at Balance Hormone Center. If a nutritional deficiency is identified, we can provide you with the treatment you need to rebalance your levels of vitamins and minerals so you can enjoy optimal health and wellness. To get started, book an appointment online today.