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Vitamins: 10 Warning Signs You Aren't Getting Enough

In the American fast food culture, it's easy to eat way less nutrients than the body needs to function efficiently. People have become so accustomed to junk food that the average American has to supplement his diet or risk a deficiency. Even that proves difficult for some.

It's easy to assume that to live a healthy lifestyle, you have to cough up tons of cash for expensive nutrition products, but many vitamins are present in abundance in natural sources. What is more, natural sources of the highest quality can be delivered right at your doorstep by companies like Blue Apron without breaking the bank. For the few vitamins that aren't that common in food, there are many companies producing high quality supplements that do not cost an arm and leg.

It's true that vitamins do not supply the energy that carbohydrates, protein, or fat do but they are nonetheless just as important as those other groups. A baby who doesn't get enough Vitamin B9 (folate) in the womb, for example, may develop a weakened central nervous system.

The effects of a vitamin deficiency in adults, although reversible, are almost as bad. It is, therefore, our utmost duty to ensure that our body gets all the nutrients it needs to prevent premature aging, nervous breakdowns and to simply live a healthy and stress free life. Here we examine the most common warning signs of a vitamin deficiency that people always wave it away as nothing.

Proper nutrition is essential for good health sometimes taking additional vitamins is necessary

  1. Fatigue

    One of the tell-tale signs of vitamin deficiency, and probably the one that is most ignored or simply written off as something less disturbing like a bad day at work, for example. Fatigue is usually caused by a lack of one or more vitamins including vitamins C, D, and many B vitamins. Some natural fatigue fighting vitamin sources include marmite, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, soy beans, trout, guavas, black eyed peas, spinach, lentils, asparagus, other leafy greens, and sunlight. These sources contain vitamins C, D, B1, B3, B5, and B9 among others.

  2. Low Mood

    The number one cause of low mood is a lack of Vitamin B1. This B vitamin, also known as Thiamine, is tasked with providing steady energy and boosting nerve and muscle function. Along with low mood, a thiamine deficiency may also cause fatigue and lack of coordination. To improve your mood, you can find thiamine in abundance in marmite, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, and soy beans.

  3. Dry or Cracked Lips

    A lack of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) which helps maintain energy supply to muscles and assists in the production of red blood cells is usually exposed by dry or cracked lips. The average adult needs between 1,100 to 1300mcg of Vitamin B2 per day and 75g of liver provides almost twice the daily requirement.

  4. Sensitivity to Light

    Other effects of vitamin B2 deficiency may include sensitivity to light and can be easily corrected eating liver, salmon, eggs, mushrooms or/and almonds.

  5. Sore Throat

    Another common sign of vitamin B2 deficiency, sore throats are commonly attributed to strep-B instead of a vitamin deficiency. Most people who have a B2 deficiency experience chronic diarrhea, have malabsorption syndromes, or liver conditions.

  6. Indigestion

    The main culprit behind cases of indigestion is most times a lack of vitamin B3 (Niacin) and vitamin B9 (folate). Niacin functions to reduce levels of bad cholesterol in the blood stream; folate helps with the formation of red blood cells. The daily recommendation for Niacin is easily found in 100g of peanuts that contain 13,000mcg of Vitamin B3 while leafy greens generally contain folate in abundance. Eat mushrooms, yellow fin tuna, sunflower seeds and green peas to stock up on B3 and black-eyed peas, spinach, and lentils for a good dose of B9.

  7. Insomnia

    This one is a surprise for many but insomnia is sometimes caused by a Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) deficiency. The job of this vitamin is to oxidize fatty acids and carbohydrates, among others. Sunflower seeds contain a lot of vitamins and B5 is no exception -- 100g contain 7,060mcg. Other natural sources are trout, eggs, mushrooms, and avocado.

  8. Hair Loss

    Vitamin C and B7 are a must for healthy hair and skin. These vitamins metabolize lipids and improve blood circulation giving you a healthy scalp and in effect, healthy hair. To avoid dry splitting hair that easily falls out, stock up on eggs, salmon, strawberries, sweet potato, broccoli, guavas, bell peppers, kale, and kiwifruit.

  9. Hallucination

    The vitamin B7 (Biotin) isn't just great for healthy hair and skin, a severe lack of it may lead to hallucinations. For clearer perception, an adult human requires 30-50 mcg per day, which is easily gotten by consuming 2 large eggs a day.

  10. Bone and Back Pain

    In children, a lack of Vitamin D often means that calcium cannot be properly absorbed and that in effect means rickets. In adults, however, a lack of vitamin D may lead to a bone degradation condition known as osteoporosis; it may also increase the incidence of bone fractures. Sunlight is the number one source but 100g salmon per day is just as effective. Others include eggs, breakfast cereal, and tofu.

So, the next time you experience any of these common signs, do not wave it away as a simple "day-to-day inconvenience" to be banished with a sleeping tab or a pain reliever. It just might be a call to re-evaluate your vitamin intake.

Reference: A Healthy Look into the World of Vitamins

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Natural sources of essential vitamins

In this modern day hectic lifestyle it's too easy miss out on the vital nutrients the body needs to function efficiently. Most Americans have become so accustomed to junk food that they actually need to supplement their diet with additional vitamins to maintain good health.

Essential nutrients such as vitamins C, D, and many B vitamins are actually antioxidants with powerful health benefits.

Infographic supplied by Tarun Reddy