These Are the Most Common Vitamin DeficienciesThese Are the Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies

These Are the Most Common Vitamin Deficiencies

How we look and feel is closely connected to the food we eat. And failing to nourish the body with various nutrients and vitamins can lead to issues such as muscle weakness, impaired bone health and troublesome brain development.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet consists mainly of processed foods, and up to 10% of the population is struggling with a nutrient deficiency. Read on if you're looking to improve your immune system and keep your body functioning at peak level. Plus, find out what dietary supplements can help keep your hair and skin glowing.

What Is a Vitamin Deficiency?

Life is busy, and an occasional unhealthy meal isn't going to impact healthy blood pressure. Still, if you're constantly eating meals that lack vitamins and are packed full of salt and sugar, you might experience muscle cramps, high blood pressure and impaired immune function.

"Vitamin deficiency can cause many symptoms, including fatigue, muscle weakness, dry hair and skin, brittle nails and mouth sores,'" said registered nurse and medical consultant Joanna Briggs. "Deficiency can also lead to changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea and constipation to irregularities in heart rhythm." Resolving a deficiency is essential for muscle and nerve function because, if left untreated, it can lead to diseases.

Rates of nutrient deficiencies in the U.S. vary based on socioeconomic status, gender and race, but it's believed that 31% of Americans have a least one deficiency. Health concerns such as kidney disease and celiac disease can also hinder the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. In addition, certain medications, including antibiotics, proton pump inhibitors and some Parkinson's disease medications, can inhibit vitamin absorption.

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Common Vitamin Deficiencies

Concerned about your diet? Here are some vitamin deficiencies to watch out for:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is fat-soluble and functions like a steroid hormone throughout the body. Vitamin D is produced when the cholesterol in the skin experiences sun exposure. Almost every cell in the body has a receptor for vitamin D. If you live somewhere that doesn't get a lot of sunlight, you are likely to be deficient unless you take a daily supplement. "Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem caused by not enough dietary intake or not enough sunlight exposure on your skin," reiterated Briggs. "Your geographical location can contribute to how much sunlight you receive and, thus, your vitamin D levels."


Someone with a vitamin D deficiency could experience mood shifts, fatigue, bone pain and muscle aches. Children might also suffer from soft bones. But symptoms can be subtle and can develop over decades or even years.

Vitamin D comes in two primary dietary forms:

  • Vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol
  • Vitamin D2, known as ergocalciferol

    Resolve the Issue

    Getting enough vitamin D from your diet alone can be tricky, and if you live further from the equator, you may get even less vitamin D. Taking a daily supplement can help. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist for further suggestions.

    Also: Can a Vitamin D Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?


    An iron deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency across the globe and is believed to affect over 25% of people worldwide. Iron is an essential mineral and a significant component of red blood cells. It binds hemoglobin and makes sure your cells get oxygen. Menstruating women can also suffer deficiencies because of monthly blood loss, plus iron is an essential component of thyroid hormones.

    Symptoms Someone with an iron deficiency could become anemic when the number of red blood cells and the blood's ability to carry oxygen decreases. Symptoms include tiredness, an impaired immune system and reduced brain function.

    Resolve the Issue 

    Those on a vegan diet can pump up their diet with iron by eating:

    • Beans
    • Seeds (pumpkin, sesame and squash seeds)
    • Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, fresh kale)
    • Fortified cereals

      Related: Can Anemia or Iron Deficiency Cause Hair Loss?


      Every cell in your body needs calcium. It is essential for bone maintenance; without it, your muscles, heart and nerves wouldn't be able to function. Unfortunately, many people of all ages struggle with calcium deficiency in the U.S., and many aren't getting the recommended dose. Even with supplementation, most people still don't get enough calcium.


      Someone with a severe calcium deficiency may struggle with osteoporosis later in life. Children may also live with soft bones.

      Resolve the Issue

      Someone with a vegan diet should eat plenty of spinach, broccoli, bok choy, and other leafy green vegetables to up their calcium intake. If you struggle to eat calcium-rich foods, take a daily supplement.

      Vitamin B-12

      Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble vitamin essential for healthy red blood cells. Vitamin B-12 is also necessary for brain and nerve function. The body cannot produce the vitamin on its own, so you must receive it from food or supplements.


      When the body lacks vitamin B-12, you could suffer from a blood disorder called megaloblastic anemia, which enlarges the red blood cells. Other symptoms include impaired brain function and riskier homocysteine levels — which could lead to several diseases.

      Resolve the Issue

      Many animal products contain vitamin B-12, but studies suggest that vegans and vegetarians are more at risk for a vitamin B-12 deficiency, so supplementation or eating fortified foods is essential.

      GRO Biotin Gummies feature a combination of biotin and folic acid, as well as vitamins B-5, 6 and 12 to support the body's production of keratin and collagen. Vitamins A, C and E combat free radicals, and zinc brings balance to your scalp. If you struggle with your hair, these tasty, daily gummies will help maintain your scalp's health and keep your hair looking glossy and volumized.

      Also: Are Gummy Vitamins Really Effective? Yes — Here's Why


      Folate or vitamin B-9 is essential for creating red blood cells, fetal development and brain development. A folate deficiency is common in pregnant women and can lead to developmental delays in children.



      Someone with a folate deficiency might have mouth sores, fatigue, gray hair or a swollen tongue. If folic acid anemia occurs, you might also struggle with:

      • Dizziness
      • Feeling cold
      • Headaches
      • Irritability
      • Weight loss
      • Loss of appetite
      • Pale skin
      • Concentration difficulties

        Resolve the Issue

        Malnutrition is a leading cause of folic acid deficiency anemia, so pump your diet full of fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits to combat any issues.

        Vitamin A

        Vitamin A helps you maintain healthy skin, teeth and bones. It can keep your eyesight healthy too. However, more than 75% of people in the western world get enough vitamin A, so it's not always a concern.


        A vitamin A deficiency can cause temporary and permanent eye damage. It can also suppress the immune system, which can be dangerous for children and pregnant women.

        Resolve the Issue

        Eating plenty of sweet potatoes, carrots and dark green, leafy vegetables will keep the body functioning as it should.


        Magnesium is a key mineral, and it's essential for teeth and bone structure. A low magnesium intake is linked to several conditions, and someone with a magnesium deficiency might struggle with type 2 diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.


        Someone struggling with a deficiency could experience muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, migraines and fatigue.

        Resolve the Issue

        Eat magnesium-rich foods such as:

        • Whole grains
        • Nuts
        • Dark chocolate
        • Leafy green vegetables

          Vitamin C

          A vitamin C deficiency is relatively rare but can still impact more than 1 in 20 people. Vitamin C is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in helping the body produce collagen.


          If someone struggles with "chicken skin" or keratosis pilaris, they might experience little bumps on the upper arms, buttocks and thighs. It is often caused by a buildup of the keratin protein and can happen with vitamin C levels are low.

          Resolve the Issue 

          Raw vegetables and fruits, such as acerola cherry, guava, blackcurrants, broccoli and parsley, will help your body function healthily.

          Food for Thought

          Maintain glowing skin, a well-functioning body and glossy hair with a diet rich in vitamins and minerals. The key is to opt for whole foods over processed foods. If you suspect you're suffering from a vitamin deficiency, visit your primary doctor for a blood test and explain your symptoms. For an extra boost to a well-balanced diet, incorporate all-natural, super-tasty vegan gummies or other hair-healthy supplements to help you live your best life yet!

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          Photo credit: Lum3n/Pexels

          Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.