Having a vitamin deficiency can really make you feel run down — or even cause more serious health issues. From being tired all the time to experiencing sight issues, not getting enough nutrients is never good for your body. Luckily, you’ll most often be able to tell when you’re not getting enough of one vitamin or another because your body will pretty much start crying out for help. Here’s what you need to know about some of the more common deficiencies and how you can counteract them ASAP.
If You Have a Vitamin A Deficiency
Thankfully, having a vitamin A deficiency is pretty rare, but you’ll likely notice some vision problems if you’re missing this key nutrient. In particular, you may experience what’s called night blindness, or not being able to see very well at night or in low light. The cure for this is fairly straightforward, diet-wise. Start consuming more leafy greens, yellow- and orange-colored veggies and dairy to up your vitamin A intake.
If You Have a Vitamin C Deficiency
Vitamin C boosts your immune system and makes you feel energized. So if you’re feeling lethargic, you’re getting sick often and you experience other deficiency symptoms like bleeding gums, dry skin and bruising easily, then you need more of this nutrient in your diet. Since our bodies don’t actually make vitamin C, it’s important to make sure you’re eating enough foods that contain this antioxidant. Chowing down on fresh fruits and vegetables every day is typically enough to prevent a deficiency.
If You Have a Vitamin D Deficiency
Many of us get our vitamin D from the sun and this nutrient is essential for having strong bones, since it works with calcium to maintain skeletal health. But if you don’t get outside much or you live in a place that’s not sunny most of the time, you may need to add some vitamin D-rich foods in your diet, especially if you’re feeling sluggish or have frequent muscle aches — two key signs of a deficiency. Eating dairy and fish like tuna and salmon can up your vitamin D quotient.
If You Have a Vitamin K Deficiency
Although having a vitamin K deficiency is rare, it can be serious. Vitamins K-1 and K-2 help blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding. (Which, clearly, is necessary for maintaining good health, especially in the case of an accident.) If you find that you bruise easily or notice small blood clots under your fingernails, you may have a deficiency. Eat green, leafy veggies, fermented dairy products (like yogurt and kefir) and prunes to help right the situation quickly.
Getting Enough Nutrients
In the end, maintaining a balanced diet should be enough to stave off vitamin deficiencies. But certain medical conditions and other aspects of life outside of your control can tip the scales in the wrong direction for you, nutritionally-speaking. While you don’t need to go crazy making sure you meet your quota of fruits and vegetables each day, remember that grabbing an orange on your way out the door to work or having a smoothie on your lunch break can go a long way in keeping you healthy. Nurture your body with good food as much as you can and you’ll be in the clear.
Natasha Burton has written for Women’s Health, Livestrong, MSN.com, Cosmopolitan.com and WomansDay.com, among other print and online publications. She’s also the author of five books, including 101 Quizzes for Couples and The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.