Important Signs You May Not Be Getting Enough Nutrients

Many nutrients found in certain foods are necessary to help keep your body healthy. This is why a properly balanced diet is so important to keep many functions of your body healthy such as your energy, your immune system, digestive health, and more (via MedicalNewsToday). Lacking these nutrients can negatively impact your body, so it is important to know when you might not be getting enough nutrients.

"Nutrient deficiencies alter bodily functions and processes at the most basic cellular level," exercise and nutrition sciences lecturer at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, Tricia L. Psota, Ph.D., R.D.N., tells Everyday Health. "These processes include water balance, enzyme function, nerve signaling, digestion, and metabolism. Resolving these deficiencies is important for optimal growth, development, and function." Additionally, nutrient deficiencies can show up in the body in a variety of ways, and they can also lead to diseases. Your body can let you know what it needs in a variety of ways, and it is important to pay attention to it.

Frequently getting sick

If you are finding yourself getting sick often, this could be an indication that you may be lacking important nutrients to help support your immune system. Registered dietitian and author of "From Burnout to Balance" Patricia Bannan says this could indicate that your body needs more of vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as the mineral selenium. Additionally, if any wounds are healing at a slower rate, this could also be because of vitamin C and zinc deficiency as well, per Active Health.

Fatigue and brain fog

Feeling more tired than usual may be an indicator of a deficiency of vitamin B12, which is not only a contributor to your energy, but to blood formation and brain function as well. The absorption of this vitamin decreases with age, according to Healthline. As a result, 20% of older adults often have this deficiency. "It can take a long time to become deficient in B12 — as long as three years to deplete the liver of this important vitamin," internal medicine specialist Patricia Graham, M.D., tells Rush. "But over time, not having enough B12 can seriously damage vital functions and it must be addressed." With fatigue, you may also be experiencing a lack of magnesium, iron, and vitamin D.

Mood changes

Mood changes can be another sign of nutrient deficiency. Depression, anxiety, or other types of mood changes may be a sign of lacking B vitamins. This includes vitamin B6, B12, and folate, according to the Mayo Clinic. A lack of folate, also known as folic acid, can lead to feeling weak, forgetful, and apathetic, meaning you lack energy and enthusiasm, per WebMD. This is because folic acid is responsible for the cells and chemicals in your body that help regulate your mood and sleep patterns. According to Amen Clinics, omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin D, and probiotic deficiencies could also contribute to mood changes.

Gut health irregularities

Because vitamins and minerals are absorbed in the intestinal tract, gut health is at the core of many functions of your body. Imbalances within the gut microbiome can cause less of these important nutrients to be absorbed (per Viome). Harvard Health Publishing additionally notes that there are several conditions that can get in the way of normal digestion and absorption of nutrients, which in turn can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Among these are celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, and ulcerative colitis. People who have had weight-loss surgery may also experience problems. Deficiencies in vitamin B12, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin D, magnesium, carotenoids, thiamin, copper, selenium, and more may occur in individuals who can't properly absorb nutrients from their food, says an article published in StatPearls. The specific deficiencies and symptoms will depend on the cause of the malabsorption.

Muscle and bone weakness

Calcium is perhaps one of the most important nutrients necessary for a healthy body. According to Healthline, it is important for just about every cell in your body. Additionally, it also affects your bone and teeth health, as well as blood circulation, muscle contraction, nerve functions, and heart rhythms. A lack of calcium can show up as cramps, spasms, muscle aches, or thigh pain when walking. Abnormal heart rhythms and a tingling, numb sensation in the fingers are other indicators of a calcium deficiency, per Everyday Health.

Hair loss

On average, it is normal to lose anywhere from 50 to 100 hair strands a day. If you begin to see more hair loss than usual in abnormal clumps, this could be a sign that you may be experiencing an iron deficiency. Low iron levels not only result in hair loss but can affect your thyroid or energy levels, per Rush. It also plays an important role in hemoglobin by carrying oxygen to all parts of your body, so an iron deficiency can also cause anemia or fatigue. Aside from abnormal hair loss, you may also experience dizziness and headaches, and you may feel cold often.

If you begin to notice any signs of nutrient deficiencies in your body, check in with your doctor who can help guide you in the right direction for the proper ways to implement more of these nutrients in your body. Many times, this can be through supplements or through what many medical professionals recommend: a healthy balanced diet (via