Is Your Body Giving You Clues About Vitamin & Nutrient Deficiency?
Any good medical provider will tell you to stay in tune with your body. If you notice something unusual, don’t ignore it. Some medical conditions that can be quite serious can manifest initially in subtle ways. The sooner you address whatever is going on, the more easily the problem can be remedied. Sometimes problems can be corrected through simple changes to diet or a dietary supplement. Here are few common things to look out for.
Do Your Joints Feel Stiff?
Everyone know that with age we see an increase in aches & pains. But did you know that a possible cause of joint stiffness could be low Vitamin D. Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, helps our body absorb calcium, the main building block of bone. If you don’t get enough Vitamin D, you can have bone density loss & soreness. How do we get more Vitamin D? There are very few foods that are rich in Vitamin D. Salmon and egg yolks are two examples – and milk is fortified with Vitamin D. It is difficulty to get adequate amounts of Vitamin D through diet alone. The easiest way to boost Vitamin D level is by spending time in the sun. Vitamin D produced in the skin through sunlight may last at least twice as long in the body compared to ingesting it in food or supplements. Unfortunately, sun exposure can increase your risk for skin cancer. Using sunscreen can limit the amount of Vitamin D you produce. It is not recommended that you forgo sunscreen to increase production of Vitamin D. Be cautious about your Vitamin D intake through supplements — too much vitamin D can lead to toxicity. Check with your doctor before staring any Vitamin D. If using supplementation, check levels a minimum of every 4-6 months.
Are Your Nails Peeling?
Brittle nails are typically due to external factors — like picking at polish, frequent use of hand sanitizer or wearing acrylic nails. But if you don’t do any of those things or if both your toenails & fingernails are prone to breakage, you might have a low iron level. Iron deficiency results in limited oxygen to organs, muscles & tissue. One potential side effect of reduced oxygen flow is peeling and brittle nails. This dilemma can easily be fixed by incorporating plenty of high-iron foods into your diet. The most obvious source is red meat, but if you follow a plant-based diet, leafy greens, baked potatoes with the skin on and broccoli are also great sources. For pescatarians try: shrimp, scallops, clams & sardines. Adding Vitamin C to your meal can boost the absorption of iron. Also, cooking with cast iron can increase iron content in food being cooked in it. Once you start these dietary changes, you should starting your nails change in a few weeks. If you don’t, then check with a doctor to test iron levels. In cases of severe deficiency, you may need an iron supplement. If you get prescribed an iron supplement, drink it with orange juice for optimal absorption.
Are Your Eyes Twitching?
The term for this is myopenia. There are a variety of causes including fatigue, stress, consuming too much caffeine and alcohol. But your lids might also spasm if you are low on magnesium. If low magnesium is the cause, it is relatively easy to increase your intake. Nuts and seeds — particularly pumpkin seeds — are high in magnesium. Also, look for breakfast cereal fortified with magnesium, and stick to either whole grains or white rice and bread that says “enriched” on the package.
Have You Been Feeling Out of it Lately?
Even though you are getting plenty of rest and aren’t fighting a cold, you feel like you are dragging. Your muscles are weak and you have to force yourself out of bed in the morning. You have trouble staying on task and have been in a blah mood.Feeling depleted like this might be evidence of a Vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is key in production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your system. Also, B vitamins are integral in neuronal function and deficiency of B vitamins can lead to depression. If this sounds like you, infuse your diet with B12 power foods like whole grains, liver and seafood such as salmon, tuna, clams and trout. B12 deficiency is common in vegans and vegetarians, since it comes mostly from animal protein. If you don’t eat meat, ask your doctor to test your levels.
Do You Bruise Easily?
Have you bumped into your desk only to find a black-and-blue on your thigh the next morning. Or maybe you get nosebleeds for no apparent reason. Or maybe your periods have been heavier than usual. Or your gums have been bleeding when you floss. If these things are happening, insufficient vitamin K could be the cause. Vitamin K is a coagulator that helps blood clot properly. If levels are low, it can lead to excessive bleeding and bruising. Vitamin K is found in fermented foods like sauerkraut and aged cheese, as well as greens. If eating more of those foods doesn’t do the trick, try a high-quality vitamin K2 supplement that’s natural.
Is Your Skin Super Dry?
Scales and flakes are common side effects of arid fall and winter air, but they can also be a clue that you are low on fatty acids. Omega-3s play a key role in moisture retention. Fatty acid consumption results in greater UV protection, fewer wrinkles, plumper skin and a more even complexion. If you are low in omegas, whip up a breakfast rich in omega-3s by adding walnuts, chia seeds & flax into your cereal or oatmeal. Eat avocado toast or a can of sardines for lunch. Choose salmon instead of chicken.