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  • Writer's pictureDr. Teresa Rispoli

5 Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies

5 Body Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies if left undetected for long periods of time can lead to health complications and often show on the body in any number of unusual signs. Different areas of your body can present with signs signaling to you that something is physiologically wrong. That is why being in tune with your body and aware of these unusual signs can help you pinpoint any number of nutritional deficiencies which will eventually affect your health in a negative way. Nutritional deficiencies affect a person’s entire life. Not only do nutritional deficiencies lead to a decline in physical health but many problems influence an individual’s ability to maintain quality work and social life.

The key to optimal health is insuring your body has the necessary nutrients to support its many daily functions. Therefore, it is important to understand the role that certain vitamins, minerals, essential oils, and amino acids play in helping your body properly eliminate toxins, promote healthy digestion, cardiovascular function, metabolism and total body strength. Signs can be both external and internal and can be caused by the over consumption of one vitamin or mineral which can leave your body out of balance and deficient in another mineral.

Buy learning the below key signs of nutritional deficiencies you will be able to notice if something is wrong. These small signs today are fixable and can prevent you from long term health problems.

MicroNutrient Testing Not Guessing I don't suggest you take individual supplements. So many people are taking far too many nutritional supplements that could be causing imbalances in their body. I highly suggest you test for micronutrient deficiencies if you have any of the above signs.

SpectraCell Micronutrient Testing

The SpectraCell Micronutrient test can help with the identification and mitigation of nutritional risk factors that contribute to many degenerative disease conditions. It is helpful for people with a family history of chronic disease and certain high risk groups that are more susceptible to vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant deficiencies.

This test is also beneficial for proactive people who want to prevent health issues with early detection of nutritional deficiencies as well as those with no apparent specific disease who need insight into generalized complaints and treatment options. This test also cuts down the need for so many nutritional supplements. Always test don't guess!

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I can provide you with this test among others as your intake evaluation might uncover. Click Here to Book Your Nutritional Consultation Now


Sign #1: Hair Loss

Hair loss may impact one’s desire to feel comfortable in public settings and may be the first indicator that there is a hormonal imbalance or other physiological concern stemming from inadequate nutrient intake.

Related Nutritional Deficiencies

When biotin levels are depleted, a deficiency can result in alopecia or the loss of hair follicles in spots or patches on the head and body. Biotin deficiency is also associated with the appearance of an inflammatory skin condition characterized by a scaly, red rash around the body’s orifices. Biotin deficiency has been shown to be a key player in individuals with chronic liver diseases and is a sign that should not go untreated especially during infancy and early childhood. (6, 7)

I can test you for a biotin deficiency through an organic acid test.

When working with clients I often see low biotin levels using a home urine test called the organic acid test.  When biotin levels are low, I almost always see other B vitamins low such as B2, B6, folate and often B12.  I use a methylated B vitamin supplement that has the preactivated forms of all the B vitamins to help improve the utilization rate of the nutrients.

Causes of Biotin Deficiency and Foods High In Biotin Individuals who take anticonvulsant drugs and antibiotics are susceptible to biotin deficiency. Avoiding antibiotic treatment when possible is an essential strategy to maintaining biotin levels and supporting one’s health. (7)

Individuals with intestinal malabsorption complications such as Leaky Gut Syndrome or another inflammatory gut disorders should consider treatment to repair the intestinal lining and improve the ability of cells to receive biotin and other nutrients.

Eat foods rich in biotin such as almonds, sweet potatoes, raspberries, nuts, mushrooms, avocados, cauliflower and wild caught salmon.


Sign #2: Itchy Red Rashes, Acne & Blemishes

Several skin problems are associated with nutritional deficiencies. Skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, severe acne and even skin pigmentation disorders may have you trying to alleviate the problem with skin moisturizers and anti-inflammatory drugs.

However, understanding the cause will help you find a cure. Learning if your skin blemishes are caused by a lack of adequate nutrients in your diet may be the first step to fixing to your problem.  The most common nutritional deficiencies with these conditions include fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.  Also, omega 3 fatty acids and gamma linoleic acid (GLA) are key for healthy skin.

Most people wouldn’t realize this, but if I don’t consume a healthy diet and have a lot of stress, I develop a lot of skin blemishes.  To remedy this, I load up on foods rich in vitamin A and E such as grass-fed butter and vegetables and I supplement with a high quality omega 3 supplement with added GLA each day.  Now, I have outstanding skin and I plan to keep it that way for life!

Related Nutritional Deficiencies

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes that vitamin A deficiency is a public health concern affecting more than half of the globe and vitamin D is virtually an epidemic considering 90% of the population is deficient in this critical nutrient (13, 14).

Most people are also deficient in the long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA as well and this can result in more inflammation in the skin especially the back of the arms, and inflamed sebum glands can cause the development of acne.

Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A, also referred to as retinol in skin care products, is critical to be maintained at normal levels. Vitamin A is necessary for a healthy immune response in the skin and can inhibit inflammatory skin reactions like persistent acne.

Perhaps more severe than acne, vitamin A supports the integrity of cells that make up epithelial tissue and a lack of vitamin A in diet can cause dry, scaly skin that stimulates premature aging. (19)

Vitamin D Deficiency

The Vitamin D Council summarizes the latest news and research on vitamin D and estimates that individuals who experience skin issues like eczema are commonly found to be deficient in this nutrient (15). Furthermore, studies show that individuals with the lowest levels of vitamin D exhibit more severe eczema symptoms than those with higher concentrations (16).

Eczema involves inflammation of the skin and can appear anywhere on the body. A rash can be characterized by dry and flaky skin but can also be more severe causing extreme redness that is itchy and looks infected. Similar to eczema, psoriasis causes skin irritation and redness that is commonly treated with synthetic vitamin D3 ointments (17). Remedy

Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, organic eggs from pastured chickens, dark green vegetables, carotenoid containing produce like carrots and sweet potato as well as milk from 100% grass-fed cows.  One of my favorite sources of vitamin A is grass-fed butter or ghee.  I recommend use these generously each day.

Although the sun is the primary origin of vitamin D synthesis for your skin, grass-fed butter is also high in vitamin D. You may consider supplementing your diet with cod liver oil as this provides a healthy balance between vitamin A and D. (18)  Be sure to to keep all sugar out of your diet and look out for other triggers like dairy proteins and gluten.

I would also recommend adding in probiotics to support gut health and applying coconut oil and gentle essential oils like lavender to your face to help improve the skin’s microbiome and reduce inflammation on the surface of the skin.  You can also find non-toxic facial cleansers with agents like activated charcoal that can be very helpful.

A great source of the long-chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA is through a purified fish oil. 


Sign #3: Abnormal Sensations in Hands or Feet

Have you ever experienced a tingling or numbness in hands or feet? How about the sensation of pins and needles in your feet? These minor and seemingly insignificant symptoms can be a sign of a serious health problem. Symptoms may be slow to develop but become more severe and lead to serious health consequences over time.

Related Nutritional Deficiencies

Vitamin B12 & Folate (Vitamin B9):   Since the intrinsic relationship between vitamin B12 deficiency and disease was first recognized in 1849, researchers have fought to understand the many metabolic roles this vital nutrient plays in maintaining health. Vitamin B12 is involved in a key reaction that regulates nerve function, supports DNA synthesis and helps regulate specific amino acid levels like homocysteine from becoming toxic. (21, 24)

Folate is another B vitamin involved in similar neurological pathways. A deficiency in vitamin B12 and folate are associated with inflammatory conditions throughout the body. However, severe problems that can arise from a vitamin B deficiency like Crohn’s Disease may be masked by less problematic symptoms early on. One of these early body signs is neurological damage manifested as numbness or tingling in areas of the body such as hands and feet. (21)

Vitamin B6:  Although vitamin B6 is present in many food sources and many people in developed countries have healthy levels, there are risk factors that can increase vitamin B6 deficiency. For instance, vitamin B6 deficiency is more common in the elderly, women and smokers.

Even in a margin of the population, vitamin B6 deficiency is still a concern as it assists in many metabolic functions including neurotransmitter function and the metabolism of carbs, fatty acids, amino acids and organic acids. (22, 23)

Vitamin B6 is also involved in nerve conduction and impulse due to its many interactions with other nutrients (23). A lack of vitamin B6 can trigger nerve damage if gone untreated over a lengthy duration.

I routinely test for B6, folate and B12 status as well as other key B vitamins through an Organic Acid test mentioned above. Remedy For B12 Deficiency

Foods containing a complex of B vitamins are primarily of animal origin such as meat, eggs, dairy and poultry. This is why vegans and vegetarians are at an increased risk of vitamin B deficiency (20). Although vitamin B12 is bound in protein in animal products, vitamin B6 can be obtained from meat as well as green leafy vegetables.

Some individuals have genetic issues such as pyroluria that cause them to need much higher B6 levels.  Other people have a dysbiotic gut and the bacteria are unable to produce adequate B6 levels.  This is where fermented foods can be especially helpful sources of highly absorbable B6. Some individuals will need a methylated B12 that bypasses the digestive tract and gets right into the bloodstream.


Sign #4: Cramps in Legs

Frequent muscle cramping in the calves, arches of the feet and a stabbing sensation in your toes may be a sign that you are deficient in one of the critical nutrients that work in balance to control other ions.

You may just be working up a sweat more often than before which increases your loss of electrolytes. However, whether your cramps occur over short or long term periods this symptom should be treated accordingly. Related Nutritional Deficiencies

Magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutrients we are deficient in. It is also one of the most critical minerals in supporting healthy nerve function in the body aiding in muscle relaxation and contraction, and acting as an electrolyte in bodily fluids amongst other life-giving functions. Depleted magnesium levels can lead to the imbalance in calcium ion channels throughout the body which manifest as a number of health symptoms. (8)

Along with magnesium, a potassium deficiency can cause cramping in leg muscles. Potassium is also involved in maintaining the integrity of cellular fluid and works closely with other minerals like calcium to support nerve function and smooth muscle tone (10).

Inadequate calcium absorption or deficiency may also be to blame for those tight muscles. Calcium is involved in muscle contractions and assists in generating nerve impulses. Vitamin D is critical to regulate and increase the absorption of calcium and may be an underlying cause or another underlying issue of your calcium deficiency. However, because the three nutrients play a role in preventing muscle cramping, any one deficiency in magnesium, potassium or calcium should not be ruled out. (12)


Excellent sources of magnesium in foods are found in avocados, pumpkin seeds and unsweetened cacao while Brazil nuts and almonds contain high amounts of both magnesium and potassium (9, 11). Both calcium and magnesium can be received in combination with a healthy ratio of vitamin D3 to regulate calcium absorption in fermented foods like kefir, yogurt and milk from 100% grass-fed animals.  Coconut water and coconut water kefir are great sources of potassium.

The most effective combination I have found includes doing 3 Epsom salt baths each week, 3 days of sunbathing at least 30 minutes with 40% or more of the body getting high quality sun exposure (or taking 10,000 IU of vitamin D3/K2 daily), using fermented foods and drinks like coconut water kefir and an avocado daily.  In addition, I recommend using generous amounts of pink Himalayan salts on food and hydrating well throughout the day.  Consume some dark green leafy veggies each day for calcium and anti-oxidants.

Many essential oils have natural antispasmodic qualities, which help inhibit problems associated with spasms, cramps and muscle pulls.  Some good ones include lavender, chamomile, rosemary or cypress.  You can massage these onto your legs, diffuse them in your home and put them into your Epsom salt bath.


Sign #5: What Your Nails Say About Your Health Did you know your nails can reveal clues to your overall health? A touch of white here, a rosy tinge there, or some rippling or bumps may be a sign of disease in the body. Problems in the liver, lungs, and heart can show up in your nails. Keep reading to learn what secrets your nails might reveal. Everything from aging to poor nutrition can make your nails dry, thin, and easy to break. There are also some treatments and medical conditions that can make them brittle. But you don't have to put up with the problem. The right care can make all the difference in keeping your nails healthy and strong.

Get Help From A Trained Professional If you are concerned about signs that are appearing on your body, whether it be hair, skin or nails, it can be daunting to figure out what is going on by yourself. That is where I come in. I have 27 years in the field of nutrition. A a Board Certified Functional Nutritionist, with a doctorate in Nutrition I am extremely knowledgeable and I can get to the root of your concerns quickly.


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Dr. Teresa Rispoli,
PhD., ND, LAc.

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