Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms: "Doc Talks" with Dr. Daniel NuzumReading Time: 4 minutes
Dr. Daniel Nuzum: There are three vitamins that people are very, very commonly deficient in, okay?
First and foremost is vitamin D; vitamin D, and in particular, vitamin D3.
Your classic symptoms almost always have to do with bones and joints, poor calcium metabolism, and everything like that. But what we’re finding is when people are marginally deficient in vitamin D3, we have things like thyroid issues, we have other hormone disruptions where poor either hormone production or poor hormone metabolism.
And so, when the hormone’s produced, the body actually has to metabolize, it has to utilize it, right? So, if someone is deficient in vitamin D, what we’re finding when they’re just—they’re not completely deficient to the point that it’s causing problems with their bones, they’re just mildly or moderately deficient in vitamin D, what we’re finding is that they—it’s causing hormone issues. In particular, the utilization of our hormones, or the metabolization of our hormones.
So, the hormones are still being produced, but they’re not being used well.
Then next, we have vitamin C, of all things. Isn’t that interesting? Vitamin C is one that is very commonly deficient.
One of the things I look for personally is, I ask patients, I say, “When you brush your teeth, do your gums bleed?” If they answer “Yes,” then we know they’re vitamin C deficient.
Now we have our third major, and very consistent vitamin deficiency is B12; vitamin B12. And vitamin B12, when people are deficient in vitamin B12, they tend to be pale. Their skin usually is very pale; they have low energy, fatigue is almost always an issue.
It’s the vitamin B12 that helps the iron in our blood carry oxygen. And so if we’re missing the vitamin B12 in the blood, then we don’t carry the oxygen, and we don’t deposit oxygen very well from our red blood cells.
So, those are three major vitamin deficiencies.
Here’s another thing that we need to talk about, though, is vitamins aren’t the only nutrients, right? We also have minerals, and they work together. So, let’s talk a little bit about mineral deficiencies.
One of the most common mineral deficiencies is iodine. So, what does iodine do? Iodine works in the thyroid. It works in every cell in enabling all of our cells to metabolize thyroid hormones and things like that. So, it has a big function in our energy production.
And so if you’re deficient in iodine, fatigue is ultimately going to be one of the outcomes. So, a major symptom of iodine deficiency is fatigue. But you also have weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, cracking heels of your feet. Those are all symptoms of iodine deficiency.
Okay, so another mineral that we’re very commonly deficient in is magnesium. Interesting enough, magnesium’s utilized by 300 different enzyme systems in our body. Three hundred different enzyme systems. So, there are 300 different metabolic enzymes in our body that are dependent on magnesium being available for them to be produced.
So, magnesium’s the raw material for the body to make these enzymes. So if it doesn’t have this magnesium, it can’t make the enzymes, right?
And those enzymes are involved in muscular contractions, and that would be both your muscle here, the muscle in your calf, the muscle in your foot, the muscle in your chest [indicating heart], the muscles in your arteries. Whether or not the arteries are opening up and allowing blood flow to move well or not is very, very dependent on magnesium-based enzymes.
Another deficiency that we see is zinc. Zinc is something that we find people are deficient in. And when that’s the case, we find thyroid issues. Zinc helps the thyroid use iodine. We also find other, in particular, reproductive hormone issues. Ladies, we see problems in their cycles and things like that. In men, we see some fertility issues and things with zinc deficiency.
Zinc is very important in the production of reproductive hormones. So, like in men, it’s important for our testosterone production. In women, it’s progesterone and estrogen production. It’s a really important function of zinc in our system. So, if you’re having issues in those areas, we need to go back and see if you need some zinc, right?
Another common mineral deficiency is iron. Iron typically is deficient in people that don’t—they’re not getting red meat, which in many cases that is something that we’re avoiding red meat for different health reasons, right? Eating lots of red meat isn’t good for us. But red meat is one of the places that we get very readily available iron. We also get it from different vegetables, like broccoli and spinach.
But iron deficiency brings about fatigue. So, iron is extremely important for carrying oxygen in our blood, for our blood even being able to pick up oxygen in our lungs. Those are all iron-dependent functions. So, if we don’t have enough iron in our system, enough good iron in our system, we run into problems.
So, this is just a short list of the most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies that we see clinically.
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