Top signs of Vitamin Deficiency

Top signs of Vitamin Deficiency
February 24 12:49 2022 by admin Print This Article

The food we consume is made up of macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals are absolutely vital for good health and together perform hundreds of functions in the body. They keep bones strong, teeth healthy, heal wounds, prevent birth defects, bolster the immune system, repair cellular damage and convert food into energy. Deficiency of these micronutrients can cause diseases such as scurvy, blindness and rickets. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on deficiency of vitamins, and top-most signs of vitamin deficiency.

1. Anemia

Anemia is the lack of healthy red blood cells or a lower count of red blood cells which impairs the absorption and transportation of oxygen to the cells of the body. A diet poor in vitamins such as B-12, C and Folate can cause anemia. Alternately, if the body has trouble in absorbing or processing these vitamins, anemia can occur. In addition to the pale coloration of nail beds, conjunctiva, tongue, cheek etc which are tell-tale signs of anemia, other symptoms are constant fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. The person may have irregular heartbeats, muscle weakness, unsteady movements, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet and weight loss. The person may be more forgetful, prone to confusion and show personality changes with time.

2. Brittle hair and nails

Biotin or Vitamin B7 is a vitamin that helps convert food into energy. It is present in several food sources, so a deficiency of Biotin is rare. However, when it happens, the person will suffer from brittle nails, thinning hair, split hairs, constant and intense fatigue, tingling in the hands and feet, muscle cramps and muscle pain. Even if the diet is not poor in Biotin, the bodies of some people may have trouble absorbing or processing Biotin. Some of the people who face this risk are those with digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, pregnant women, heavy smokers, heavy drinkers and those who use anti-seizure medication and anti-biotics for a long time.

3. Bleeding gums

Vitamin C plays an important role in healing wounds, improving immunity and preventing cell damage by acting as an anti-oxidant. A diet poor in Vitamin C can cause various symptoms one of which is bleeding gums. Vitamin C is present in citrus fruits, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, peppers and blackcurrants. People who do not consume enough fruits and vegetables and have a heavy, meat-based diet often end up with Vitamin C deficiency.

4. Mouth ulcers or canker sores

Mouth ulcers or canker sores are a painful condition characterized by lesions on the inside of the cheeks, lips, lower mouth and edges of the mouth. It makes eating, drinking, speaking and facial expressions painful or difficult. Mouth ulcers generally occurs due to deficiency of iron or the B Vitamins. When there are both iron and Vitamin B deficiency, the risk of mouth ulcers increases. Vitamin B is present in some vegetables, nuts and almost all sources of protein. So

Vitamin B deficiency can occur if one has poor diet choices, low appetite or skips meals often.

5. Dandruff and scaly patches

Seborrheic dermatitis is a condition characterized by scaly patches of itchy and flaky skin on the face, armpits, upper chest and groin. Dandruff is a similar condition that is restricted to the scalp. These conditions can occur as a result of deficiency of zinc and some of the B Vitamins. Low zinc levels in the blood combined with a diet poor in Vitamin B can trigger these conditions. Adolescents and infants below 3 months of age are at high risk of these.

6. Restless Leg Syndrome

Restless Leg Syndrome or Willis-Ekborn Disease is a neurological condition in which the person experiences unpleasant sensations in the legs which must be relieved by moving the legs constantly. A diet low in iron is known to be a trigger for the condition, but why some people develop this condition and others with similar deficiency do not develop it is not well understood. Since Vitamin C helps in absorption of iron, a diet low in Vitamin C can also act as a trigger.

7. Hair loss

There are innumerable reasons for balding or permanent hair-loss. But temporary hair-loss can be caused by a diet low in zinc, iron, essential fatty acids like linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid, Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B7. Since these nutrients are widely found in several foods, such a condition implies the person has poor diet choices, low appetite and skips meals often.

8. White growth on eyes and poor night vision

Xerophthalmia is a rare condition in which the person cannot see well in dim or low light. Also called night blindness, the condition is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin A which is absolutely essential for good eye-sight. When the condition is not treated quickly with a diet rich in Vitamin A, it can progress towards a condition where white, foamy, elevated spots called Bitot’s spots develop on the whites of the eyes.

9. Red and white patches on the skin

Kerotosis pilaris is a condition that is seen in children and very rare in adults. In this condition, the person has small, red or white bumps that look like goosebumps on the skin of the cheeks, thighs, arms and buttocks. Some children may show in-grown hair also called corkscrew. The condition is suspected to occur when the hair follicles produce too much keratin. In most cases, it’s genetically inherited but a deficiency of Vitamin A can also trigger the condition.

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If you are suffering from any of the signs of vitamin deficiency listed above, consult a reputed hospital. Specialists there shall conduct various tests on you to rule out any major conditions or underlying causes for them. After that, you would be directed to a nutritionist or dietician who will analyze your present diet thoroughly and recommend changes to resolve these symptoms. This would  go a long way in ensuring freedom from vitamin deficiency and long-term health or wellness.


Kauvery Hospital is globally known for its multidisciplinary services at all its Centers of Excellence, and for its comprehensive, Avant-Grade technology, especially in diagnostics and remedial care in heart diseases, transplantation, vascular and neurosciences medicine. Located in the heart of Trichy (Tennur, Royal Road and Alexandria Road (Cantonment), Chennai, Hosur, Salem and Bengaluru, the hospital also renders adult and pediatric trauma care.

Chennai – 044 4000 6000 • Trichy – Cantonment – 0431 4077777 • Trichy – Heartcity – 0431 4003500 • Trichy – Tennur – 0431 4022555 • Hosur – 04344 272727 • Salem – 0427 2677777 • Bengaluru – 080 6801 6801

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1 Comment

  1. Sakshi Jain
    February 27, 13:38 #1 Sakshi Jain

    Restless leg syndrome is a indication of vitamin deficiency? I thought it was normal till I read this article.

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