If you’ve been plagued by dry, itchy skin, muscles that continually cramp, or even stretch marks that won’t fade, it may be time to take a look at your diet. Topical creams and healing tonics can only do so much for our ailing bodies, especially when the problem lies on the inside.
Below are 12 different indicators that you may need to up your intake of certain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for optimal health. See if any of these small changes could help you heal your symptoms!
- Hair loss or brittle strands – B vitamin, especially biotin (B7) deficiency. Biotin plays an essential role in strengthening your hair follicles and supporting thick, healthy hair growth.
- Stretch marks – zinc deficiency. In order for the skin to stretch and heal properly, it requires adequate levels of zinc. It is estimated that over 80% of pregnant women don’t consume enough zinc to fulfill this requirement.
- Bumpy skin – omega-3s, vitamin A & vitamin D deficiencies. This can be a sign of deficiency in essential fatty acids like omega-3s, especially when the bumps are located on the upper arms. Omega-3s are responsible for the health of skin cell membranes, while vitamin A fights off damage-causing free radicals and vitamin D supports the processes of skin cell proliferation and differentiation.
- Dry or acne-prone skin – vitamin C, B vitamin & omega-3 fatty acid deficiency. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system to fight nasty microbes and boosts healthy collagen production in the skin. It also stimulates the growth of ligaments and tissues, which help heal blemishes left behind by acne. Meanwhile, B vitamins have been shown to improve moisture retention in the skin and omega-3s help protect the outer barrier of skin cells.
- Greasy skin – vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A is thought to neutralize oil levels in the skin by inhibiting androgens, which play a central role in oil production.
- Sun damage, wrinkles – vitamin E, vitamin C & selenium deficiencies. Did you know that sun exposure can reduce vitamin C levels by about 30%, while air pollution can reduce body levels by a whopping 55%? Those are some vicious everyday assaults on your skin! Vitamins E & C and the mineral selenium protect skin and cellular membranes and also prevent damage to enzymes associated with them.
- Soft or brittle nails – magnesium & vitamin K2 deficiencies. Vitamin K2 plays an essential role in bone mineralization and shortening the lifespan of osteoclasts, cells that break down bone. Magnesium is also involved in making sure calcium is absorbed in the places your body needs it most, including your nails.
- White spots or ridges on nails – mineral, possibly zinc, deficiency While leading nutritionists are divided on whether or not zinc is to blame for these unsightly markings, you can experiment with adding more essential minerals to your diet to see if any one, or a combination of a few, helps reduce the appearance of white spots.
- Tingling, prickling, or numbness in extremities – potassium & B vitamin deficiencies. Potassium plays an important role in facilitating the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body. In order for the brain to receive signals, potassium must be present to flow out of the nerve cell so as to not interrupt communications. These sensations can also be a sign of B-vitamin deficiency (particularly folate, B6, and B12) because of these vitamins’ effects on peripheral nerves.
- Muscle cramps – magnesium, calcium & potassium deficiencies. Muscle cramps may be a sign of deficiencies in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, all of which contribute to healthy muscle relaxation and contraction. Stress, intense workouts, and diuretics can all contribute to mineral loss and muscle cramping.
- Swollen joints – vitamin C deficiency. Vitamin C contains potent antioxidants that help reduce swelling by fighting joint irritation at the source and by supporting production of healthy collagen, which helps cushion joints.
- Poor circulation, cold hands – magnesium, iron & B vitamin deficiencies. Magnesium has been shown to help enhance circulation in people with chronically cold hands and feet. Iron supports the production of blood components that deliver oxygen to various parts of the body, while B vitamins are involved in red blood cell production.