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Nutritional Deficiency:
Symptoms & Recommendations for 24 Common
Nutritional Deficiencies

© 2017 Health Realizations, Inc. Update

This article may very well be the "most important article you read this year"... for your better health. You may even want to print out relevant sections and or simply pass it along in its entirety to friends and loved-ones. It covers a lot of health related information we hope you find helpful.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion compiled their Healthy Eating Index, they found only a slight reason to smile. Ten percent of the population had a good diet.

This was based on 10 aspects including how many servings of fruits, vegetables and meat were being consumed, along with how much sodium and cholesterol, and variety were in a person's diet.

Most Americans' diets (74 percent) need improvement, according to the USDA.

The rest of their findings left something to be desired:

  • 16 percent of the population had a "poor" diet

  • The rest of the population (74 percent) had a diet that "needed improvement"

As the USDA pointed out, poor or inadequate diets are linked to four of the top 10 causes of death -- heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. And as it turns out, most of us have less-than-ideal diets that essentially leave our bodies starving for more nutrients.

Along with poor diets, studies have found that key nutrients in foods have greatly declined from 1909, likely because the soil is not as nutrient-dense as it once was and processing of foods degrades nutrients that do exist. So not only are we eating fewer healthy foods, but those we do eat contain fewer nutrients than they once did.

As a result, many Americans -- even those who think they are eating relatively healthy -- may be suffering from a nutritional deficiency. Some of the more common ones in the United States include:

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • B vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Vitamins E and C
  • Iodine
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin D
  • Fiber
  • Folic Acid
  • Essential Fatty Acids
  • Chromium
  • Copper

If you are experiencing any unusual health symptoms, a nutrient deficiency could be to blame. Below is a list of common and not-so-common nutrients, along with deficiency symptoms and foods you should eat if you think you need more of those nutrients. Also included are four little known misconceptions regarding copper, magnesium, iodine and chromium.


  • Deficiency: Uncommon

  • Symptoms: Dermatitis, eye inflammation, hair loss, loss of muscle control, insomnia, muscle weakness

  • Recommended Foods: Swiss chard, cauliflower, liver, salmon, carrots, bananas, cereals, yeast


  • Deficiency: Average diet contains 40 to 50% of RDA

  • Symptoms: Brittle nails, cramps, delusions, depression, insomnia, irritability, osteoporosis, palpitations, peridontal disease, rickets, tooth decay

  • Recommended Foods: Spinach, turnip greens, mustard greens, collard greens, yogurt, milk, mozzarella cheese

  • Supplementation: Take Calcium (except do NOT take "Calcium Carbonate" which is like swallowing rocks that can cause gut blockage and potentially more harm than good in your digestive track). Calcium provides a marker for white blood cells to identify bacteria or bad cells which is helpful to reduce most fevers. When Calcium is deficient, especially when a high fever is present, the white blood cells are challenged when unable to find the calcium markers to rid the body of the bad cells. Call the Doctor's office if fever persists.


  • Deficiency: 90% of diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Anxiety, fatigue, glucose intolerance, adult-onset diabetes

  • Supplementation Benefits: May help prevent heart attacks, improve cholesterol and much more

  • Recommended Foods: Romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes, brewer's yeast, oysters, liver, whole grains, bran cereals, potatoes

Chromium is an essential mineral that we all need -- in trace amounts -- to help maintain normal blood sugar, insulin and cholesterol levels. However, many Americans may be deficient in this nutrient, primarily because modern food processing strips away much of the chromium that naturally occurs in commonly eaten foods.

The nation's obsession with highly processed junk food may be contributing to a chromium deficiency in many Americans.

  • Chromium Can Prevent Heart Attacks

    Among the research revealing the importance of getting enough chromium is a study by Johns Hopkins University researchers, published in an issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

    Based on a study of chromium levels of 684 men who had previously had a myocardial infarction, it was found that low levels of chromium were linked to an increased risk of heart attack. Specifically:

    • The men in the study had, on average, 15 percent lower chromium levels than men in a control group who had never had a heart attack.

    • Those with the highest chromium levels were 35 percent less likely to have a heart attack than those with the lowest levels.

  • Beneficial for Reducing Cholesterol Levels

    A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that chromium significantly lowers cholesterol levels. Among 300 patients, those receiving chromium had cholesterol reductions of 20 points, on average.

    Several other clinical studies also suggest that chromium is useful for lowering bad LDL cholesterol while raising the good (HDL) kind.

  • Control Diabetes and High Blood Pressure

    Chromium is the active component of glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which, primarily, increases the action of insulin. When blood glucose levels begin to rise after a meal, insulin is secreted by the pancreas. The insulin lowers glucose levels in your blood by increasing the rate at which glucose enters your cells.

    In order for this to happen, insulin must attach to receptors on the surface of the cells, and GTF is thought to initiate this process.

Why Many Americans May be Deficient

Although you can get all the chromium you need from a healthy diet, many Americans eat a diet that focuses on processed junk foods or other highly refined foods. If this applies to you, you may not be receiving enough chromium.

Food that is highly processed does not retain its naturally occurring chromium. It is therefore essential to eat fresh, chromium-rich foods (see below). Chromium deficiency can lead to:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Elevated blood levels of insulin (hyperinsulinemia)
  • Elevated blood levels of glucose
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Syndrome X (a collection of symptoms including hyperinsulinemia, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and low HDL cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease)

A salad with romaine lettuce, raw onion and tomato is packed with chromium.

Are You Getting Enough?

Although there is no official recommended daily allowance for chromium, the National Institutes of Health say normal daily recommended intakes are generally as follows:

  • Birth to 3 years of age: 10 to 80 micrograms (mcg) a day.
  • 4 to 6 years of age: 30 to 120 mcg a day.
  • 7 to 10 years of age: 50 to 200 mcg a day.
  • Adolescents and adults: 50 to 200 mcg a day.

However, certain conditions can increase the excretion of chromium from your body, which increase the amount of chromium your body needs to take in. These include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Physical injury or trauma
  • Mental stress

If you'd like to be sure you are getting enough chromium in your daily diet, you shoul[d strive to include some of the following foods, which are all good sources:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Onions (raw)
  • Tomatoes (raw)
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Oysters
  • Liver
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Bran cereals
  • Potatoes


  • Deficiency: 75% of diets deficient; average diet contains 50% of RDA

  • Anemia, arterial damage, depression, ADD and ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder (especially in young people), diarrhea, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, hyperthyroidism, weakness

  • Deficiency or Toxicity Tests: Blood, urine, feces and hair testing

  • Recommended Foods "if deficient" (but be certain of deficiency vs. toxicity especially in children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD): crimini mushrooms, turnip greens, blackstrap molasses, raw cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, asparagus, dark chocolates (while reducing Zinc type foods such as meats)

  • If copper toxicity is found (high levels of copper): Zinc is primary agent for depletion of copper and is important in the effort to eliminate copper toxic levels to gain balance. In addition to Zinc supplementation, Zinc is found in meats while it is also important to reduce consumption of foods listed above that contain copper.

  • Healthy dietary monitored copper balance is the key

Copper is so important to your daily functions that in a research paper the World Health Organization (WHO) stated:

“Copper is an essential nutrient. The USA and Canada recently established a recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults of 900 µg/day. Values for children are 340 µg/day for the first 3 years, 440 µg/day for ages 4 through 8, 700 µg/day for ages 9 through 13 and 890 µg/day for ages 14 through 18."

“Copper is required for the proper functioning of many important enzyme systems. Copper-containing enzymes include ceruloplasmin, SOD, cytochrome-c oxidase, tyrosinase, monoamine oxidase, lysyl oxidase and phenylalanine hydroxylase (Linder & Hazegh-Azam)."

In simpler terms, copper is described by doctors such as Dr. Lawrence Wilson – nutritional consultant and former medical writer and researcher for the U.S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health – as having:

"... a number of important functions in the human body...1. Bones and connective tissue. Copper is required to fix calcium in the bones and to build and repair all connective tissue...2. Energy production in the cells. Copper is needed in the final steps of the Krebs energy cycle called the electron transport system. This is where most of our cellular energy is produced...3. Immune Response. Copper must remain in balance with zinc. When imbalances occur, one is more prone to all infections, in particular fungal and yeast infections that are so common today.”

If your child is showing symptoms of ADHD, make an appointment today and ask about whether mineral imbalances, including copper and zinc, could be involved.

But that's not all; Dr. Wilson adds that copper is also important for:

"4. The glandular system, particularly the thyroid and adrenal glands...In part this is due to its nature and how easily it is influenced by the sympathetic nervous system...5. Reproductive system. Copper is closely related to estrogen metabolism, and is required for women's fertility and to maintain pregnancy... 6. Nervous system. Copper stimulates production of the neurotransmitters epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. It is also required for monoamine oxidase, an enzyme related to serotonin production. As a result, copper is involved deeply with all aspects of the central nervous system."

Of the problems associated with too much or too little copper in your system (otherwise known as copper toxicity and deficiency) are:

"...most psychological, emotional and often neurological conditions. These include memory loss, especially in young people, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and others..."

Is Your Child Exhibiting Symptoms of ADD or ADHD?

The Canadian Mental Health Organization highlights the fact that diagnosing ADD and ADHD is extremely difficult. In particular they state:

"Children with these disorders are inattentive, overly impulsive and, in the case of ADHD, hyperactive."

In some cases astonishing results have been seen in just months including reductions in ADHD symptoms! Ask at your next appointment if mineral status testing, including copper and zinc, could be beneficial?

Again, it is important to emphasize that an accurate diagnosis cannot simply be determined on your own. You must seek the meticulous and detailed experience of a medical professional, especially one with experience in treating these particular disorders.

That said, ADHD and ADD are common issues among children, and contributing factors may have to do with their zinc and copper intake and balances.

Ask during your next appointment for a monitored diet, as doctor assisted testing and observation is important in addition to carefully monitored emotional and environmental circumstances, which may be the answer to helping your child live a healthy and balanced life.

Essential fatty acids

  • Deficiency: Very common

  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, dry skin and hair, hair loss, immune impairment, infertility, poor wound healing, premenstrual syndrome, acne, eczema, gall stones, liver degeneration

  • Recommended Foods: Wild-caught salmon (avoid farm-raised salmon because of pollutants), flax seeds, walnuts

Folic acid

  • Deficiency: Average diet contains 60% of RDA; deficient in 100% of elderly in one study; deficient in 48% of adolescent girls; requirement doubles in pregnancy

  • Symptoms: Anemia, apathy, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, neural tube defects in fetus, paranoia, shortness of breath, weakness

  • Recommended Foods: Romaine lettuce, spinach, asparagus, turnip greens, mustard greens, parsley, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, lentils


  • Deficiency: Often mistakenly believed to be an uncommon deficiency based on the belief that there is enough supplementation of iodine with iodized salt

  • Symptoms: Weight gain, breast cancer, cretinism, fatigue, hypothyroidism, hear palpitations, heat intolerance, nervousness, insomnia, breathlessness, increased bowel movements, light/absent menstrual periods

  • Recommended Foods: Sewweed, Sea vegetables, yogurt, cow's milk, eggs, strawberries, mozzarella cheese

Thyroid hormone is needed to help the cells of organs and tissues work at night. Thyroid hormone helps your body use energy, stay warm, and allows your heart, brain and other organs to work at peak performance.

Thyroid hormone also regulates the formation of other hormones and governs sexual function. If your levels of thyroid hormone drop below normal, your heart, liver, kidneys and endocrine system are each affected.

A shortage of iodine causes devastating changes to your thyroid gland and leads to malfunctions of metabolism and immune response. Many other parts of your body contain large stores of iodine, including the breasts. Next to your thyroid gland, breasts are the body's second largest storage site for iodine. That is simply because iodine is needed for proper breast development, function and maintenance of the breasts’ shape and structure. Without iodine, your body simply could not function.

Iodine and Your Diet - Are You Getting Enough?

Seaweed is one of the richest dietary sources of iodine. However, because seaweed bioaccumulates toxins from the waters in which it's grown, look for varieties that come from non-polluted areas.

One of the most common misconceptions that many people have been sold is that table salt provides you with all of the iodine that your body needs to remain healthy. This could not be further from the truth. With only 10 percent of iodized salt being bioavailable, it is hardly enough to supply your body with the necessary amounts of iodine.

Despite all the data showing the importance of iodine in the body, many people are still unaware of the need to maintain their iodine levels.

Resent research shows that iodine levels in humans over the last 30 years have plummeted by an average of 50 percent. This decline is thought to be one of the most logical reasons for the increased number of many serious chronic health problems, including possiblybreast cancer.

One researcher who has studied this issue in depth is David Brownstein, MD, author of Iodine: “Why You Need It. Why You Can’t Live Without It.” Dr Brownstein tested over 4,000 people, checking their iodine levels. He found that 96 percent of the people studied had below normal levels of iodine. What was even worse, most of them had levels that were so low, they were below any detectable limits. It is for this reason that eating a diet rich in iodine is so important for your overall health. Some suggestions for eating a well-balanced diet while boosting iodine include:

  • Seafood - it is recommended to eat two to three meals of seafood per week in order to get the beneficial fish oils. Eating fish just two times a week will also provide most adults with enough iodine to meet their average iodine requirement. Make sure to choose only wild-caught seafood from non-polluted areas.

  • Diary Products – milk and cheese are great sources of iodine, with one cup of milk having around 55/mcg.

  • Organic Yogurt – a natural probiotic, yogurt is a great food full of iodine and is easy to add to your diet. Look for natural varieties that do not contain excess sugar or artificial flavors.

  • Seaweed (kelp) and eggs – provide additional dietary sources of iodine.

  • Some vegetables – may contain iodine, but only if they are grown in iodine-rich soils.

Iodine Deficiency, Hypothyroidism and Breast Cancer

Recent research shows that prolonged deficiencies of iodine can cause or exacerbate breast cancer. Animal studies were conducted over 40 years ago that show breast tissue of animals with iodine deficiency developed cancer when the deficiency was not corrected. The same study showed that the risk of breast cancer was directly related to the length of time the iodine deficiency was present.

Iodine deficiency is also known to cause a condition known as fibrocystic breast disease. It is a pre-cancerous condition of the breast tissue, which makes the breast very painful and fibrous. Due to the fibrous and dense nature of breast tissue in a fibrocystic state, it is very hard for doctors to detect the presence of breast cancer. Several studies have shown that supplementation with iodine significantly decreased breast pain, tenderness and nodules of women with fibrocystic breast disease. This makes it easier to evaluate breast tissue properly when testing for the presence of cancer. Other studies have shown that women with breast cancer tend to develop an enlarged thyroid more often than women who do not develop breast cancer. It is especially true among women who have swelling of the thyroid gland, known as goiter.

Given the fact that both the breasts and the thyroid glands must compete for iodine in the body when a deficiency is present, it makes sense that these conditions would develop in the absence of proper iodine levels.

Additional studies show that women with breast cancer are more likely to develop hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, than are women who are healthy. The researchers believe an association between hypothyroidism and breast cancer may be due to the biologic effect that the thyroid hormones have on the cells of breast tissue. It is believed that iodine deficiency leads to excess estrogen, which then leads to breast cancer or fibrocystic breast disease. The ovaries normally concentrate iodine, but when iodine is deficient in the body, the ovaries simply produce more estrogen. This makes the breasts increase in sensitivity to the estrogens, which makes the risk of fibrocystic breasts and breast cancer much higher.

Iodine is thought to suppress the growth of tumors, induce the death of tumor cells and regulate the genes that influence hormone metabolism, the life cycle of cells, growth and differentiation.

Hypothyroidism and Iodine Supplements

It is always very important to realize that if you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and are taking iodine supplements, your doctor needs to monitor your situation closely. As the iodine supplements begin to increase the efficiency of your thyroid function, you may require adjustments in the dosage amount of your thyroid medication.

Your doctor should monitor your medication dosage and thyroid function as he/she works for normal thyroid function so that risk for experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:

  • Palpitations
  • Heat Intolerance
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Breathlessness
  • Increased Bowel Movements
  • Light/Absent Menstrual Periods
  • Fatigue
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Trembling Hands
  • Weight Loss
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Warm, Moist Skin
  • Hair Loss

If you notice any of these symptoms while taking iodine supplements, make a Doctor's appointment right away to talk about adjusting your dosage.


  • Deficiency: Most common mineral deficiency

  • Symptoms: Anemia, brittle nails, confusion, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inflamed tongue, mouth lesions

  • Recommended Foods: Chard, spinach, turmeric, thyme, shitake mushrooms, green beans


  • Deficiency: 75 to 85% of diets deficient: average diet contains 50 to 60% of RDA

  • Symptoms: Anxiety, confusion, heart attack, hyperactivity, insomnia, nervousness, muscular irritability, restlessness, weakness

  • Recommended Foods: Swiss chard, spinach, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, black beans, navy beans

Magnesium rarely edges out other more talked about nutrients like vitamin E or calcium to make front-page news -- but it should. Magnesium plays a vital role in several hundred of your body's functions, including normal heart function, but the majority of Americans are not getting enough in their daily diets.

An estimated 68 percent of Americans don't get enough magnesium from their diets.

As many as 68 percent of Americans do not consume the daily recommended amount of magnesium, according to a government study. 19 percent do not consume even half of the amount they need.

Even the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) points out that, "For many people, dietary intake may not be high enough to promote an optimal magnesium status, which may be protective against disorders such as cardiovascular disease and immune dysfunction."

Magnesium's Role in Your Body

According to ODS, "Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body." It helps to:

  • Maintain normal muscle and nerve function

  • Keep heart rhythm steady

  • Support a healthy immune system

  • Keep bones strong

  • Regulate blood sugar levels

  • Promote normal blood pressure

  • Maintain energy metabolism and protein synthesis

"There is an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes," says ODS, and it is this increasing knowledge that magnesium is a major player in heart health that has peaked many scientists' interest. Highlights of studies on the topic include:

  • The American Heart Journal reported that patients with good magnesium levels who had undergone surgery to replace damaged coronary arteries were less likely to die or have a heart attack in the following year than those with poor magnesium levels.

  • A strong link was found between optimum levels of magnesium and a lowered risk of coronary heart disease, as reported in the American Journal of Cardiology.

  • In a study of cardiac bypass surgery patients by Duke University Medical Center researchers, those with low magnesium levels were twice as likely to experience a heart attack or die from all causes as those with normal levels.

  • A long-term study of men by researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that those with the lowest magnesium intake were twice as likely to have had coronary heart disease problems than those with the highest intake.

  • Evidence suggests that low magnesium levels increases the risk of abnormal heart rhythms, which may increase the risk of complications after a heart attack, according to ODS.

  • Heart disease patients who received a magnesium supplement twice a day for six months had a 14 percent improvement in exercise duration and were less likely to experience exercise-related chest pain than those who received a placebo.

"A growing body of evidence," explains Jerry L. Nadler, MD, division chief of endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Virginia, "suggests that magnesium plays a pivotal role in reducing cardiovascular risk and may be involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes itself."

Recommended dietary allowances for magnesium are as follows:

While whole grain is an excellent source of magnesium, refined grains (like this white bread) contain little of the nutrient.

  • Boys and girls aged 1-3: 80 mg/day

  • Boys and girls aged 4-8: 130 mg/day

  • Boys and girls aged 9-13: 240 mg/day

  • Boys aged 14-18: 410 mg/day

  • Girls aged 14-18: 360 mg/day

  • Men aged 19-30: 400 mg/day

  • Women aged 19-30: 310 mg/day

  • Men 31 and over: 420 mg/day

  • Women 31 and over: 320 mg/day

Signs of Deficiency

What we often call "clues"!

Americans may have less-than-optimal magnesium levels and not experience signs of deficiency. For instance, while the recommended daily amount of magnesium for adult men is 420 mg/day, most eat only 327 mg/day. Early signs of actual deficiency include:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Fatigue and weakness

More severe magnesium deficiency can result in:

  • Numbness and tingling

  • Muscles contractions and cramps

  • Seizures

  • Personality changes

  • Abnormal heart rhythms

  • Coronary spasms

Severe magnesium deficiency can lead to low levels of calcium and potassium in the blood.

How to Get More Magnesium in Your Diet

Eating a variety of magnesium-rich foods is the best way to get more of this essential nutrient. Remember that it's possible to have sub-optimal magnesium levels and not experience any actual symptoms.

"A diet rich in magnesium would benefit everyone, especially people with risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as obesity, hypertension, elevated blood lipid levels, or a family history of diabetes," said Monika Waelti, PhD, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.

Some of the best food sources of magnesium include:

  • Whole Grains (only unrefined versions, as refined grains are typically low in magnesium)

  • Avocados

  • Squash

  • Almonds

  • Leafy Greens

  • Some Beans and Peas

"Hard" drinking water is also a good source of the nutrient. "Hard" water typically has a higher concentration of magnesium salts than "soft" water.

"Increasing dietary intake of magnesium can often restore mildly depleted magnesium levels," ODS reported. So go ahead and indulge in some magnesium-rich favorites like guacamole with some whole-grain crackers, baked acorn squash, fruit salad and mixed greens. You'll be well on your way to a healthy magnesium level and, as more and more research is pointing out, a healthy heart to go along with it.

Eating more fruits and veggies will help ensure that your body is getting all of the many nutrients it needs.


  • Deficiency: Unknown, may be common in women

  • Symptoms: Atherosclerosis, dizziness, elevated cholesterol, glucose intolerance, hearing loss, loss of muscle control, ringing in ears

  • Recommended Foods: Mustard greens, kale, chard, raspberries, pineapple, romaine lettuce, collard greens, maple syrup

Niacin (B3)

  • Deficiency: Commonly deficient in elderly

  • Symptoms: Bad breath, canker sores, confusion, depression, dermatitis, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, memory impairment, muscle weakness, nausea, skin eruptions, inflammation

  • Recommended Foods: Crimini mushrooms, tuna (be cautious of mercury and other pollutants that can be found in fish), wild-caught salmon, chicken breast, asparagus

Pantothenic acid (B5)

  • Deficiency: Average elderly diet contains 60% of RDA

  • Symptoms: Abdominal pains, burning feet, depression, eczema, fatigue, hair loss, immune impairment, insomnia, irritability, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, nausea, poor coordination

  • Recommended Foods: Calf's liver, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, turnip greens, sunflower seeds


  • Deficiency: Commonly deficient in elderly

  • Symptoms: Acne, constipation, depression, edema, excessive water consumption, fatigue, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, mental impairment, muscle weakness, nervousness, poor reflexes

  • Recommended Foods: Chard, button mushrooms, spinach, avocado, papaya, lima beans, lentil beans

Pyridoxine (B6)

  • Deficiency: 71% of male and 90% of female diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Acne, anemia, arthritis, eye inflammation, depression, dizziness, facial oiliness, fatigue, impaired wound healing, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of hair, mouth lesions, nausea

  • Recommended Foods: Bell peppers, turnip greens, spinach, tuna, banana, chicken breast, turkey breast


  • Deficiency: Deficient in 30% of elderly Britons

  • Symptoms: Blurred vision, cataracts, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, inflamed eyes, mouth lesions, nervousness, neurological symptoms (numbness, loss of sensation, "electric shock" sensations), seizures, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, weakness

  • Recommended Foods: Mushrooms, calf's liver, spinach, spelt


  • Deficiency: Average diet contains 50% of RDA

  • Symptoms: Growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, increased incidence of cancer, pancreatic insufficiency (inability to secrete adequate amounts of digestive enzymes), immune impairment, liver impairment, male sterility

  • Recommended Foods: Button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, wild-caught salmon (again, be wary of pollutants like mercury and PCBs in seafood)


  • Deficiency: Commonly deficient in elderly

  • Symptoms: Confusion, constipation, digestive problems, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, nervousness, numbness of hands and feet, pain sensitivity, poor coordination, weakness

  • Recommended Foods: Asparagus, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, spinach, sunflower seeds, tuna, green peas, tomatoes, eggplant, Brussels sprouts

Vitamin A

  • Deficiency: 20% of diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Acne, dry hair, fatigue, growth impairment, insomnia, hyperkeratosis (thickening and roughness of skin), immune impairment, night blindness, weight loss

  • Recommended Foods: Milk, eggs, carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, collard greens, chard, red bell peppers

Vitamin B-12

  • Deficiency: Serum levels low in 25% of hospital patients

  • Symptoms: Anemia, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, intestinal disturbances, headaches, irritability, loss of vibration sensation, low stomach acid, mental disturbances, moodiness, mouth lesions, numbness, spinal cord degeneration

  • Recommended Foods: Snapper, venison, salmon, beef tenderloin, lamb, scallops

Vitamin C

  • Deficiency: 20 to 50% of diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Bleeding gums, depression, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, loose teeth, malaise, tiredness

  • Recommended Foods: Parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries, oranges, lemon juice, papaya, cauliflower, kale, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts

Vitamin D

  • Deficiency: 62% of elderly women's diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Burning sensation in mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, myopia, nervousness, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, scalp sweating

  • Recommended Foods: Shrimp, milk, cod liver oil, eggs (you can also get vitamin D from sensible sun exposure)

Vitamin E

  • Deficiency: 23% of male and 15% of female diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Gait disturbances, poor reflexes, loss of position sense, loss of vibration sense, shortened red blood cell life

  • Recommended Foods: Mustard greens, chard, sunflower seeds, turnip greens, almonds, spinach

Vitamin K

  • Deficiency: Deficiency in pregnant women and newborns common

  • Symptoms: Bleeding disorders

  • Recommended Foods: Spinach, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, carrots, green string beans, asparagus, red bell peppers, strawberries, eggs, tomatoes, green peas


  • Deficiency: 68% of diets deficient

  • Symptoms: Acne, amnesia, apathy, brittle nails, delayed sexual maturity, depression, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, immune impairment, impotence, irritability, lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste, low stomach acid, male infertility, memory impairment, night blindness, paranoia, white spots on nails, wound healing impairment

  • Recommended Foods: Calf's liver, mushrooms, spinach, beef tenderloin, pumpkin seeds, green peas


Nutritional Deficiency and Its Symptoms

USDA's Healthy Eating Index

The World's Healthiest Foods

Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium

The Magnesium-Diabetes Connection

UC Berkeley Wellness Guide to Dietary Supplements

Life Extension Magazine: How Many Americans are Magnesium Deficient?

Low Chromium Associated With Raised Heart Attack Risk

The World's Healthiest Foods: Chromium

Whole Health MD: Chromium

Medline Plus: Chromium Supplements

ACAM: American College for Advancement in Medicine. Dr. Julie Howard. 'Zinc and Copper levels are key factors in ADD and ADHD'.

The Center For Development ‘Copper Toxicity Syndrome’ Wilson, Lawrence MD., World Health Organization, “Copper in Drinking-water: Background document for development of WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality”

Integrative Health Review, The Link Between Iodine Deficiency and Breast Cancer

Global Healing Center -- The Health Benefits of Iodine for Thyroid Health

Dr. David Derry Answers Reader Questions Brought to you by Mary Shomon, Your Thyroid Guide. Discussion of Iodine as Breast Cancer Prevention

Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It (2nd Edition) by David Brownstein MD, Book.

Domest. Anim. Endocrinol. 20(I):97-103, Siiteri, P. Increased availability of serum estrogens in breast cancer, a new hypothesis. In Hormones and Breast Cancer. Banbury Report No. 8. Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories

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