Vitamins are essential nutrients that help to keep your body functioning properly. You don’t need large amounts of them, but you can run into problems without them.
There are 13 essential vitamins:
● Vitamin A (retinol)
● Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
● Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
● Vitamin B3 (niacin)
● Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
● Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
● Vitamin B7 (biotin)
● Vitamin B9 (folic acid)
● Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
● Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
● Vitamin D (calciferol)
● Vitamin E (tocopherol)
● Vitamin K (phytonadione)
All of these vitamins have important roles to play in your body, and a deficiency in any of them can lead to serious health problems.
If you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, you generally don’t need to worry about a vitamin deficiency, and vitamin supplements are probably not necessary.
The only sure way to know if you are deficient in any of these vitamins is to get tested by your doctor. However, some common signs and symptoms can indicate that you may be lacking in one or more of them.
Here are six of the most common signs of vitamin deficiency:
Fatigue and Low Energy Levels
Fatigue is more than just feeling tired after a long day. An extreme and persistent lack of energy can affect your ability to perform even basic tasks.
There are many potential causes of fatigue, but vitamin deficiency is one of the more common and easily fixable ones. Vitamins (especially the B vitamins) are needed to break down food into energy and fuel your body, so without enough of them, you can experience extreme tiredness and low energy levels.
Your immune system requires a healthy supply of certain vitamins in order to function properly.
A vitamin deficiency can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to infections such as colds, flu, and other illnesses. You may be more likely to catch illnesses and also take longer than usual to recover.
Vitamin deficiencies can also manifest in the form of skin problems such as rashes, dryness, and discoloration.
Vitamins A and C, for example, are especially important for keeping your skin healthy and vibrant, so not having enough can cause dryness, roughness, and other skin issues. If you’re experiencing persistent skin issues, then it may be worth getting tested for vitamin deficiencies.
Brain Fog and Memory Issues
Vitamins are also essential for cognitive function so a deficiency can cause brain fog, memory problems, and other issues with thinking and concentration. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 are particularly important for cognitive function and memory, so it may be worth getting tested if you’re having difficulty remembering things or concentrating.
Unexplained Mood Changes
Vitamins play an important role in your mental health, and a deficiency can cause mood swings, irritability, depression, and other emotional issues.
For example, vitamin D is sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in response to sunlight and helps to regulate your mood and make you feel more positive. Seasonal affective disorder—a seasonal depression, typically in winter—is closely associated with inadequate vitamin D due to less exposure to sunlight.
Your hair requires a steady supply of vitamins to stay shiny, strong, and healthy. A vitamin deficiency can cause your hair to thin, weaken, and fall out. This is particularly true for vitamins A, B7, and C, essential for a healthy scalp and hair growth.
If you are concerned that you may be deficient in any of these vitamins, then it is important to get tested. A simple blood test can tell you if you are deficient, and your doctor can advise on the best course of action to take. Early intervention is key, as more serious health complications can occur if a vitamin deficiency is not addressed.