This vitamin helps maintain a healthy immune system, preserve normal nerve function and prevent certain types of anemia. A classic physical sign is a rash and other skin problems, which usually is seen as dandruff and red skin around oily parts of the body such as the face, chest, and back. Depression, confusion and even seizures can be present if the deficiency is too bad. To help prevent a B6 deficiency, eat foods such as fortifies cereals and grains, beans, poultry, fish, dark leafy green vegetables, oranges and cantaloupe.
The most common sign of a deficiency is fatigue. Other symptoms include dizziness, headache, chilly extremities, paleness in the skin and under the eyelids, and weakness. An unusual craving for non-food items such as ice is a telltake sign. Early detection helps promote healthy growth and development. The best sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, and seafood. Good plant-based sources include lentils, beans, spinach or iron-fortified cereals. Bonus points for eating a Vitamin C-rich food at the same time, since vitamin C increases absorption of iron from plant foods!
The “sunshine vitamin” includes perks such as better bone health and boosted immunity. A deficiency may look like bone pain, muscle weakness or increased infection. Fortified dairy products, fortified orange juice, salmon and tuna are rich in this nutrient. Don’t forget that spending some time in the sun during the warmer months (without getting burned) helps your skin naturally make vitamin D.
Vitamin C deficiency is not a thing of the past. People who don’t get enough fruits and vegetables are at risk of inadequate intake. If you notice bleeding gums, easy bruising and wounds that seem to heal slowly, you could have an insufficient vitamin C intake. In addition to oranges, pineapple, lemons and limes, other good sources of this vitamin include bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes, kiwi and strawberries.
If you have any symptoms or concerns, consult your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist.