Taking a multivitamin can help boost your micronutrient levels, but ongoing research shows that most adults and children in the US have an inadequate intake of many essential vitamins and minerals. For example, at least 95% have insufficient vitamin D, 84% lack adequate vitamin E, and 46% have subpar levels of vitamin C.
Scientists believe these deficiencies result from a combination of factors, including less-nutrient-dense soil, diets based on processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables, and underlying health issues.
While our busy lives can make it easy to overlook these deficiencies, not providing your body with enough of the vitamins and minerals it needs can lead to significant health consequences, including an underperforming immune system, lower energy, mental health issues, and poor physical health.
As part of our comprehensive primary care services at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, our team of practitioners can assess your nutritional picture, including details about your micronutrient levels, based on lab tests and any symptoms you’re experiencing. We then provide you with personalized recommendations for boosting your health.
If you’re concerned about whether you have adequate levels of key vitamins and minerals, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our primary care providers. In the meantime, here’s a look at five signs of common micronutrient deficiencies.
1. Ongoing fatigue or low energy
One of the most common signs of being nutrient deficient is ongoing fatigue or low energy. This symptom is associated with many deficiencies, including iron, vitamins B12 and D, folate, and magnesium, to name a few.
This symptom develops because these key nutrients play an important role in the way your body produces and burns energy and the way your cells function. When you don’t take in enough of these micronutrients, your body can’t generate energy as efficiently.
This causes you to feel lethargic or exhausted, since expending smaller amounts of energy requires more effort. Because different deficiencies can cause the same symptoms, be sure to talk with your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider about lab work to identify your specific levels of key vitamins and minerals.
2. Getting sick frequently
If you’ve been suffering from frequent infections, experiencing slow wound healing, or suffering from an ongoing feeling of being “under the weather,” a vitamin or mineral deficiency could be the cause.
Some vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, D, and E, and zinc and selenium, are essential in keeping your immune system functioning well. When you don’t have the right levels of these nutrients,your immune function weakens, increasing your chances of getting colds and viruses and delaying your recovery after injury or illness.
3. Hair loss and brittle nails
If you notice that you’re losing more hair than normal or that your nails have become brittle, weak, or are breaking more than usual, it could point to a deficiency in key vitamins or minerals like B vitamins, biotin, zinc, or iron.
Keep in mind that hair loss is extremely common, with at least half of US adults having some hair loss by age 50. However, since many nutrients are essential for keeping your hair and nails healthy and an insufficient intake can lead to hair loss and weakened nail structures, talk to your provider if you notice these symptoms, as they can point to an underlying deficiency.
4. Mood swings and mental fog
Your brain is part of your body, so it’s no surprise that vitamin and mineral deficiencies influence your mental health. This is because the nutrients that your body needs help regulate and synthesize your neurotransmitters, which play a key role in your emotions and brain functions, like information transmission.
Recent studies show that when people don’t have the right levels of key nutrients, such as vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin B-12, they experience mood swings, cognitive difficulties like mental “fog,” and an increased risk for mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
5. Muscle cramps or weakness
The right levels of minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, are necessary in order for your muscles to contract and relax the right way. When you have insufficient levels, you experience muscle weakness and spasms or cramping, especially during exercise or physical activity, more often.
When imbalances in these micronutrients occur, it’s generally due to factors such as:
- Inadequate dietary intake or excessive calcium intake, which inhibits magnesium
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Excessive exercise
- Certain medications (e.g., cortisone, blood pressure medication, diuretics, birth control pills, insulin, antibiotics)
If you recognize any of the above signs or want to talk to a medical provider about your own nutrient levels, don’t wait to schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Wasatch Peak Family Practice today.