The most surefire way to know when you're suffering from a deficiency in one nutrient or the other is to take a blood test, where most of the information you're looking for will be clearly laid out for you in simple statistics. But sometimes, it's easier to just take a good look in the mirror. Your body is capable of telling you much more about what it needs than you'd think.
WellnessFX lists 7 important minerals to keep track of: Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, and Selenium. But vitamins are just as crucial, and some of the common symptoms below will help make that very clear. Here are some signals you should absolutely pay attention to.
Have you ever felt your hands grow cold even though you were indoors and not exposed to low temperatures in any way? Mayo Clinic lists cold hands (and feet) as a telltale symptom of anemia, a condition which occurs from a lack of red blood cells and can also cause fatigue, headaches and lightheadedness, among other things. The best thing to do in order to restore your red blood cell level is to consume a higher quantity of iron. Red meat is naturally the go-to, but there are many supplements out there.
Dry, cracked corners of lips
Clinical nutritionist Elizabeth Lipski tells Care2 that cracks and sores on the corners of the mouth, which are called "cheilitis," are generally caused by a vitamin B deficiency. A healthier, less processed diet is a good way to restore your body's B-vitamin count.
Smooth, glassy tongue
An unusually smooth tongue can be caused by dentures, Stanford Medicine says, but a more biological cause for the phenomena generally has to do with vitamin B12 deficiencies, like cheilitis. Iron and folic acid deficiencies can also lead to a beefed-up, sore, smooth-feeling tongue.
Premature Grey Hair
WebMD defines "premature" grey hair as hair that turns before age 30 – though for African-Americans, the site says, the age threshold is closer to 40. Though the problem may be caused by an abnormality with the pituitary gland or thyroid, it is more likely to stem from – surprise – a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Brittle nails are terrible. They catch on everything and they make it impossible to have a polished look because of how frequently they fall apart. New Health Guide attributes the issue to numerous possibilities, including but not limited to dehydration, a keratin deficiency, and – this one is often overlooked – an overuse of nail polish. Nails need to breathe, too, and constantly keeping them lacquered up can literally asphyxiate them.
White spots on nails
The name for this symptom, leukonychia, sounds very intimidating, but it's most often caused by an injury to the base of the nail, near the cuticle – nothing to be alarmed about. New Health Guide does, however, mention that zinc, protein and calcium deficiencies can be another possible cause for leukonychia.
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