5 signs of nutrient deficiency you can identify in the mirror
A long, hard look at yourself in the mirror may be good for your health.
Staring closely at yourself in the mirror may seem vain, but it could be good for your health. It is believed that physical signs and symptoms reflect our state of wellbeing and too often we do not realise that these signs go much deeper than just our appearance. As a chiropractor who works with a naturopath (Dr. Oleg Frank in Newark, NJ), one of the most valuable tools I use in clinical practice is looking at and observing my clients to identify any physical signs that may offer insight into what is happening inside their bodies.
Often, I see individuals trying to treat these visible problems externally with a variety of beauty products but the problems re-occur and most of the time this is because they’re actually caused by a lack of nutrients inside the body. Here are five signs you can identify from the comfort of your own home that may indicate a nutrient deficiency.
Sign: lifeless, thin hair Potential causes: Thinning hair can be a sign of biotin (vitamin B7) deficiency as it is needed for healthy strong hair growth. Thinning hair on the head or eyebrows can also be a sign of an underactive thyroid gland, as the hormones it produces are also required for healthy hair growth. Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, iron, selenium and zinc are all also major nutritional elements in the normal hair follicle cycle. A good multi-vitamin will support the growth and health of the hair from the inside. For dietary biotin turn to almonds, raspberries and mushrooms.
Sign: cracked lips Potential causes: First, check on your hydration levels. Cracked lips may be an indicator that you need more water. Dry, sore cracks at the side of the mouth, however, are sometimes caused by a vitamin B deficiency. It could also be a sign of high blood glucose levels as this encourages the growth of candida, a yeast-like infection that attacks the thin dermis at the corners of the mouth. You can try regulating your blood sugar levels by having small regular meals as well as increase foods such as eggs, clams, salmon, tahini and broccoli. Reduce your sugar, wheat and gluten intake.
Sign: a twitching eye Potential cause: Also known as myokymia, eye twitching is caused by random muscle contractions and may be triggered by a lack of magnesium. For dietary magnesium, turn to almonds, molasses, brewers yeast and cashews. And read our story on the magic of magnesium.
Sign: a spotty complexion Potential causes: The complexion is a good barometer of our digestive health, and problems such as irritable bowel syndrome can be reflected in the state of your skin. Irritable bowel syndrome irritates the lining of the gut, causing diarrhea or constipation, and pain. In fact there is plenty of research on the gut-skin axis. If you suspect a link, keep a food and drink diary for a few weeks to see whether any particular food irritates your digestive system and skin. Hormonal problems can also cause acne in women, which can be identified in a blood test. Taking a probiotic supplement that contains lactobacillus acidophilus may help alleviate your digestive problems and give you a clearer skin.
Sign: red or white bumps on the arms, cheeks, bottom and/or thighs Potential causes: These small bumps, sometimes resembling pimples, are often a sign of essential fatty acid (EFA), vitamin D or vitamin A deficiency. Oily foods are a great source of EFAs, such as nuts, seeds and sardines. For vitamin D deficiency, you can supplement with a daily 1000IU dose of vitamin D or 10 minutes of sun exposure.
Sign: puffy eyes Potential cause: Often puffy eyes and bloated legs are a symptom of a lack of iodine in the body and are usually accompanied by brittle nails, weight gain and dry skin. For dietary iodine, turn to seaweed, sea salt and sea vegetables.
Above all, consuming a wide variety of nutritional antioxidants sourced from fruits and vegetables encompassing all the colours of the rainbow can help prevent nutritional deficiencies. Consider eating a superfood every day and have a salad as one of your meals. Be sure to choose organic produce where you can to consume foods with the highest nutritional density.