These Bodily Signs Can Warn You About Nutritional Deficiencies

by Angel Chang
Angel is a writer on the Original Content team at LittleThings. Check out her articles about crucial tips on female and doggie health. She loves to take long walks, volunteer with kids, try new food, browse through burger recipes, and code in her spare time. Feel free to let her know what you'd like to see her write up next.

Most of us think that we lead pretty healthy lives. Sure, we cut corners here and there, but generally, we’re aware of the basics: limit junk food, drink water, move around, get good sleep.

And, thanks to all the research available to us — like how to spot the signs and symptoms of a thyroid issue — we know how to identify the bigger health issues in life.

But what about those everyday symptoms we tend to ignore? If we want to live the healthiest lives we can, we’ve got to take a closer look at our bodies — specifically, our nutritional needs.

In our exclusive investigation below, we explore some of the most common issues and what they mean.

Most often, it turns out, there’s a vital nutritional deficiency that has caused the problem.

Even though some of these symptoms are rather extreme, there are definitely ways to combat them. The directions shown below are mostly recommended by experts, but if your problem areas persist, it’s best to have a doctor take a look.

Read on to find out what source of nutrition you may be lacking, and what to do about it. Please let us know what you think in the comments below!

Cold Hands

body symptoms point to nutritional deficiency
LittleThings/Heeral Chhibber

Most people blame having cold hands on a variety of things, including a weak immune system, bad blood circulation, and simply cold weather.

However, research has shown that cold hands could often point to an iodine deficiency. Iodine is an element that’s found most prevalently in Earth’s seas, and is vital to human health.

Our thyroid glands use iodine to make thyroid hormones. If there is a severe deficiency, the thyroid gland will swell up and cause a lot of pain. During the past few years, National Health Nutritional Examination surveys have indicated that iodine levels have declined by a staggering 50 percent.

Normal, healthy diets are no longer considered adequate to combat serious iodine deficiencies. Unfortunately, more and more people are depending on thyroid medicine.

Many nutritionists do recommend that sufferers increase their intake of sea vegetables, like seaweed. Cod, shrimp, tuna, and baked potatoes also have a higher iodine content.

Dry, Scaly Skin

body symptoms point to nutritional deficiency
LittleThings/Heeral Chhibber

Most often, we think dry, scaly, and flaky skin is caused by changes in the weather. And no doubt, cold weather can cause harsh changes in the way skin feels.

But did you know that a severe lack of vitamin A, or retinol, can lead to unhealthy symptoms in skin? Vitamin A strongly promotes skin cell turnover and helps to regulate several growth factors. Since the 1980s, retinol has also been commonly used to treat severe forms of acne and psoriasis, as it works in halting sebaceous gland activity.

Many medical professionals and dermatologists have dispelled the connection between skin health and nutrition — but just like internal organs of the body, outer skin can be deeply affected by nutritional intake.

Try eating foods that are high in vitamin A, such as red meat or seafood, cod liver oil, and cream and butter from pastured cows.

Soft, Brittle Nails

body symptoms point to nutritional deficiency
LittleThings/Heeral Chhibber

I’ve long believed that, to relieve problems related to our bones or fingernails, we simply had to dial up our intake of calcium.

However, it turns out that a magnesium deficiency can lead to all sorts of problems — including poor nail growth, high blood pressure, anxiety, and muscle pain, and weakness.

Hypoparathyroidism is a condition that can cause brittle nails, dry hair, cataracts, and tingling limbs. While this condition is commonly caused by injury to the parathyroid glands, it can also be caused by low levels of magnesium in the blood.

To intake higher levels of magnesium, try eating dark leafy greens, whole grains, fish, and dried fruit.

White Spots On Nails

body symptoms point to nutritional deficiency
LittleThings/Heeral Chhibber

Don’t worry if you’ve got little, white spots showing up sporadically on your nails. Most people get them at one point or another in their lives.

However, these little spots could indicate a zinc deficiency. Though there are differing views on this (some still maintain that it’s a calcium deficiency, and others a protein deficiency), it wouldn’t hurt to up the intake on zinc-rich foods, like seafood, spinach, cashew nuts, beans, and mushrooms.

Ever notice redness around your nose and mouth? Click “Page 2” to see what that might mean…it’s unbelievable!