“Nutrient deficiencies alter bodily functions and processes at the most basic cellular level,” says Tricia L. Psota, Ph.D., RDN, president-elect of the DC Metro Area Dietetic Association via 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.”
In a survey of American adults, it was found that more than 40 percent were found not to get enough of vitamins A and E as well as minerals calcium and magnesium through their daily diets.
“Americans consume far too many empty calories -- foods high in sugar or fat and not much else,” says Kathy McManus, Ph.D., head of nutrition at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. “And we're still not getting people to eat enough nutrient-rich foods, like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and nuts.”
Here are eight vitamins and minerals and their deficiency signs. It is important to remember that these symptoms could be signs of other illnesses, so to ensure that you have the correct diagnosis, contact your health care provider.
1. Vitamin D produces hormones that help regulate the body’s calcium level. This vitamin is essential for good bone growth and maintenance. Signs of insufficient vitamin D levels are bowed legs, fragile bones that are easily broken, loss of height in adults and mood disorders like depression. Fatigue, muscle aches and weakness are also symptoms. Declining vision may be linked to low levels of vitamin D. It is also suspected that autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory infections and Crohn’s disease are related to insufficient amounts of vitamin D.