Food alone may not provide sufficient micronutrients for preventing deficiency.
This study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition analyzed 70 athlete diets. Every single diet was deficient in at least three nutrients. Some diets were missing up to fifteen nutrients! Another study they performed showed that people following one of four popular diet plans (including Atkins, South Beach, and the DASH diet) were also very likely to be micronutrient deficient, particularly in six key micronutrients:
- Vitamin B7
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
The United States Department of Agriculture says the majority of Americans are deficient in many of the same nutrients and are not meeting the required daily amount of things like vitamin E, folate, calcium and magnesium.
So how do you know if you're defiecient? First of all, if you're not eating A LOT of fruits and vegetables, especially greens, then you are probably deficient in many of these areas. There are also many different symptoms that could tell you you are dificient in some critical nutrient.
7 Common Signs of Nutrient Deficiency
1. Poor Night Vision
Vitamin A, known as retinol, is essential for promoting good vision and overall eye helth. It also helps to maintain healthy skin and soft tissues throughout the body.
2. Cracks at the Corners of the Mouth
This is more likely to occur for those following vegan and vegetarian diets because it's harder to get sufficient zinc, iron and B12.
3. Sores or Discoloration of the Mouth and Tongue
Water-soluble B-vitamins are essential for the health of the mouth and tongue. Unfortunately, the body doesn't store them, so wehave to constantly replenish them to maintain health.
4. Weak, Spotted or Ridged Nails
These are common signs of a deficiency in zinc, an important trace mineral needed for the proper function of the immune system. Zinc also serves an important role in cell division and growth.
5. Poor Blood Clotting
Essential for normal blood clotting, vitamin K also plays a vital role in bone mineralization and cell growth. Lack of vitamin K can result in bruising, frequent nosebleeds and brittle bones.
6. Weak Muscles and Bones
In advanced cases it's called rickets (for children) or osteomalacia (for adults), but it boils down to a defiency in vitamin D, an essential nutrient for growth, health and maintenance of the structural system.
7. Frequent Cramps in the lower legs or 'Restless Leg'
Magnesium, calcium and potassium support proper muscle development and growth. Lack of these important nutrients can cause persistent discomfort in the feet, calves and back of the leg.
***If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make sure to talk to a doctor for medical advice and advice on supplementation.