Vitamins are organic compounds found in food and the environment that provide nutrients to humans and other living organisms. The nutrients found in various vitamins are necessary for living a healthy life and for survival. Most of our vitamins can be supplied by the food we consume and from the sunlight, but if a diet does not include specific vitamins or the body struggles to absorb these nutrients, then vitamin deficiencies can develop¹.
What is a Vitamin Deficiency?
Vitamin deficiencies are when your body isn’t receiving the number of vitamins and nutrients needed to function properly and can affect both your mental and physical well-being. Although symptoms of a vitamin deficiency can take a while to develop, these symptoms can affect the quality of your day-to-day life and how you feel². Severe vitamin deficiencies can eventually lead to life-altering complications and diseases if left untreated, as well as a weakened immune system. This can lead to becoming more susceptible to viruses and diseases.
Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiencies
A vitamin deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms, affecting a person’s physical health and even mental health. It can take several months for vitamin deficiency symptoms to develop, and many symptoms may overlap but they may also not all be present as well².
How vitamin deficiencies can affect physical health
Many of the symptoms of vitamin deficiencies manifest as physical symptoms and can include fatigue, anemia, muscle weakness, exhaustion, a lack of energy, headaches, body aches, and brain fog. Vitamin deficiencies can also include dry skin, hair, and eyes, weak and discolored nails, acne, changes in eyesight, hair loss, and more³.
How vitamin deficiencies can affect mental health
Vitamin deficiency symptoms can appear as mental health symptoms as well, including depression, anxiety, and increased irritability. The most common manifestation of mental health symptoms caused by vitamin deficiencies is seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that is impacted by the weather and season and typically occurs during the winter months. This disorder can be caused by several reasons, one of which is a vitamin deficiency. For a vitamin deficiency to cause seasonal affective disorder, a person would have to be lacking vitamin D. Aside from lacking specifically vitamin D, the symptoms itself can also indirectly cause mental health symptoms.
Common Vitamin Deficiencies and Symptoms
There is potential to have low levels of any type of vitamin, but some vitamin deficiencies are more common than others. This includes vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid, magnesium, and zinc³.
Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A supports healthy eyes and vision, skin, and the immune system. Adults typically need around 700-900 micrograms a day. Any less than that, a vitamin A deficiency may cause acne, chest and throat infections, dry eyes and skin, infertility, trouble seeing at night, and stunted growth³. Too much vitamin A isn’t safe for consumption, though it’s difficult to consume too much vitamin A unless you’re taking supplements. Vitamin A can be found in foods like “dark leafy greens, oranges, carrots, squashes, pumpkin, egg yolks, and fish oils³.”
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D supports the immune system and helps prevent infections and viruses³, and improves bone and muscle health². Adults are recommended to get 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D a day, meanwhile, children and teens are recommended to get about 400 IU a day. Vitamin D deficiencies are very common, with symptoms including depression, fatigue, illness, hair loss, muscle pain, and slow healing of open wounds. Although it’s a common vitamin deficiency, vitamin D is also easy to obtain. Vitamin D can be absorbed through spending time in the sun, as well as “fatty fish, egg yolks, and orange juice³.”
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Vitamin B12 supports the “nervous system, blood cell formation, brain function, and mood³.” Adults are recommended to receive about 2.4 micrograms daily. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, cognitive difficulties, fatigue, muscle weakness, swollen tongue, and tingling or numbness in your hands, feet, or legs. Vitamin B12 can be found in fish, meat, eggs, and dairy products, and is “also commonly added to foods like fortified breakfast cereals and bread³.” Vitamin B12 is easy to obtain through a balanced diet with meat and dairy, although vegetarians and vegans are prone to B12 deficiency because plant-based foods don’t contain much of the vitamin. People with digestive problems that disrupt nutrient absorption may also struggle with vitamin B12 deficiency³.
Folic Acid Deficiency
Not receiving enough folate, also known as vitamin B9, can cause a deficiency in folic acid. Adults are recommended to get about 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. Symptoms of a folic acid deficiency include fatigue, mouth sores, weakness, anemia, and even neurological issues. Folic acid can be found in “nuts, leafy green vegetables, enriched bread, and cereals and fruits³.”
Magnesium supports energy levels and also helps control blood sugar and blood pressure. This mineral also supports “healthy bones, heart, muscles, and nerves³.” Adults are recommended to get about 400-420 milligrams of magnesium a day. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, sleepiness, and weakness. Preventing and treating a magnesium deficiency is easy to accomplish “by incorporating peanut butter, spinach, bananas, milk, and salmon into your diet³.”
Zinc is a mineral that supports cell production, “immune function, wound healing, blood clotting, and thyroid function³.” Adults are recommended to get about 8-11 milligrams of zinc a day. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include a decreased sense of smell and taste, diarrhea, lack of alertness and appetite, open skin sores, unexplained weight loss, and wounds that can’t seem to heal properly. Zinc can be found in foods like “seeds, wild rice, and poultry³.”
About Wellness Infusions at Avesta
Although many vitamin deficiencies are easy to prevent and treat with a change in diet or by adding supplements into your daily routine, sometimes an extra boost is all you need. Avesta provides wellness infusions, which are vitamin IV infusions and shots, for a variety of vitamins and minerals that are common deficiencies to have. These wellness infusions provide you with a healthy dose of the vitamins you may lack, helping you feel better physically and mentally.
Avesta Ketamine and Wellness
At Avesta Ketamine and Wellness, we value your mental health and are committed to improving your well-being. If you are interested in learning more about vitamin deficiencies and wellness infusions, please schedule a consultation.
¹ Brazier, Y. (2020, December 16). Vitamins: What are they, and what do they do? Medical News Today. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/195878
² Peters, B. (2023, March 20). How vitamin deficiency develops and affects your health. Verywell Health. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://www.verywellhealth.com.
³ AdventHealth. (2022, March 28). How vitamin deficiencies can affect your health. AdventHealth. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.adventhealth.com/hospital/adventhealth-orlando/blog/how-vitamin-deficiencies-can-affect-your-health
Bjarnadottir, A. (2019, May 21). 7 nutrient deficiencies that are incredibly common. Healthline. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies
Salamon, M. (2022, June 1). The truth about nutrient deficiencies. Harvard Health. Retrieved March 23, 2023, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/the-truth-about-nutrient-deficiencies
Author Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, FAAN Dr. Eshkevari is the lead clinician at Avesta, and is a long time researcher and educator in physiology, biophysics, and anesthesiology. She is passionate about assisting patients with retractable, difficult to treat mood disorders, and relies on the latest research to bring evidence to Avesta’s practice to better understand and serve patients.