Even when we eat right, try to stay healthy, and make sure to get enough sleep, good health can sometimes be hard to measure.
How do you know when you're running low on vitamins and nutrients, short of a blood test?
Your body holds the clues: when you're low on certain vitamins and minerals, it will show: in your skin, in your hair, in your overall mood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 10 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of one have a vitamin B6 deficiency, while 8 percent of the population has a vitamin D deficiency. And while you may think that vitamin C deficiency is just an old problem sailors used to have, about 6 percent of the U.S. population older than 6 is lacking in this vitamin — which comes out to more than 1 in 20 people.
If you're concerned about any of your symptoms, schedule an appointment with your doctor. In the meantime, here are just a few ways to look for signs you may be running low on key vitamins:
Hair and Scalp Issues
Going grey early? If you don't have a family history and are in your 20s or younger, you may be going grey because of a copper deficiency. On the other hand, if you notice your hair is brittle, it may be a sign of anemia caused by a lack of iron. Brittle hair could also be due to low levels of B vitamins like biotin or folate, also known as folic acid. Finally, if it's your scalp that's the issue — because of flakiness and itchiness, perhaps — you may be missing certain key vitamins like vitamins A and C, or fatty acids. Those can help with the production of hydrating oils in your scalp.
Mouth Sores If you have mouth sores, it could be one sign you have low levels of B12 in your system.
Feelings of Fatigue Fatigue can be caused by a variety of things, including low levels of potassium. That, in turn, could be caused by chronic diseases like kidney disease, or by things like vomiting, diarrhea, or even antibiotics. Fatigue can also be caused by a vitamin D deficiency. Finally, if your fatigue is accompanied by loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, and weakness, it could be due to a magnesium deficiency.
Red Bumps on Your Skin If you find you have little red bumps on the back of your arms, it may be a condition called keratosis pilaris. That could indicate that you're missing out on key nutrients like vitamin A and zinc.