Although the human body can be hard to decipher sometimes, certain signs come out crystal clear. In the case of these 5 symptoms, the message is very hard to miss. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor or nutritionist and consider taking supplements if needed.
1. Headaches and/or Muscle Cramps: Magnesium Deficiency
Roughly 75% of the North American population is deficient in magnesium, which is a key nutrient that powers your nervous system.
Too little potassium, calcium or magnesium in your diet can contribute to leg cramps. Diuretics — medications often prescribed for high blood pressure — may also deplete these minerals (1).
Several studies suggest that magnesium may reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people with low levels of the mineral. In one study, people who took magnesium reduced the frequency of attacks by 41.6%, compared to 15.8% in those who took a placebo. (source)
2. Acne: Zinc
One reason why some skin care specialists suggest using zinc oxide for acne is because several skincare research studies point to a potential correlation between low levels of zinc in the body and the development of breakouts (2).
This is because zinc has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects and decreases the body’s production of sebum (3).
In a study by Dermatologic Therapy, almost 79% (38/48) of the patients had 80–100% improvement in their acne after taking zinc supplements (4).
3. Dry/Brittle Hair & Nails: Biotin Deficiency
It’s actually very rare to have a biotin deficiency. Symptoms include hair loss, dry scaly skin, cracking in the corners of the mouth (called cheilitis), swollen and painful tongue that is magenta in color (glossitis), dry eyes, loss of appetite, fatigue, insomnia and depression (5).
Deficiency is often caused by anti-seizure medication, long-term use of antibiotics and digestive conditions, like Crohn’s disease, which make it hard to absorb nutrients.
4. Thinning Hair: Iron Deficiency
Iron, oddly enough, plays a role in hair thinning and hair loss. Getting proper amounts of this nutrient can actually encourage hair growth and thickening (6).
5. White Bumps: Essential Fatty Acids
Bumps on the back of the arms are often caused by keratosis pilaris (7). The condition results from the buildup of keratin — a hard protein that protects skin from harmful substances and infection.
The keratin forms a scaly plug that blocks the opening of the hair follicle. Usually many plugs form, causing patches of rough, bumpy skin (8).
Omega-3s are known to be anti-inflammatory and therefore decrease the inflammation associated with keratosis pilaris. Dermatologists often recommend getting more omega-3s in your diet to reverse the condition.