2020-03-17 16:30:43 -0600

Symptoms and Side Effects of Mineral Deficiency

healthy superfoods boost immune system with minerals|symptoms and side effects of mineral deficiency

When you’re lacking a certain nutrient or mineral in your diet, it can result in a mineral deficiency. A mineral deficiency can lead to many health problems and eventually severe consequences. According to the CDC, at least half of children worldwide suffer from one or more micronutrient deficiencies with more than two billion people affected globally.

Mineral deficiencies like zinc, iron, and calcium are some of the most common types. By knowing how to spot the symptoms and side effects of different mineral deficiencies, you can proactively keep an eye on your diet and up your intake of certain foods or supplements if needed.

20 Mineral Deficiencies and Side Effects of:

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Phosphorus
  • Sulfur
  • Selenium
  • Chlorine
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Chromium
  • Germanium
  • Vanadium
  • Molybdenum
  • Lithium
  • Silicon
  • Iodine

Vitamins, Minerals and the Body

superfood good health wooden spoons nuts and seeds vitamins and minerals and the body

Our bodies are designed to work with the natural elements found in our food. Plants create vitamins and pull minerals from the soil to serve specific functions, like protection from disease or energy production. We then repurpose these nutrients after we consume them.

Minerals are an interesting case. They are inorganic elements found in the earth’s crust, but these often must be combined with organic molecules to become usable by the human body. Many are toxic in the forms found in soil but absolutely essential in the forms created for us by nature in order for us to survive.

Our modern diet includes many minerals, but many are lacking as processing, high heat, and oxidation destroy what our bodies need. On top of this, modern agricultural practices strip the soil of minerals through overuse and pesticides that kill beneficial microbes.

Related:  Vitamins & Minerals: Do You Get Enough?

We enrich foods, but many of these enriched foods contain synthetic forms, not the organic compounds our bodies recognize from food. The best way to get the minerals we need is to turn back to the plant foods that have been nurtured by rich soil.

Symptoms and Side Effects of 20 Mineral Deficiencies

healthy foods containing magnesium|symptoms and isde effects of mineral deficiencies

Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It promotes the absorption and metabolizing of other minerals, including sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. This means magnesium is crucial for proper hydration, acid-alkaline balance, and muscle contractions, including the heart.

Related: The Benefits of Magnesium; Why 80% of Americans Are Deficient

Magnesium is involved in the creation of enzymes that control the metabolism of carbohydrates and amino acids. It is also important for bone growth and even helps in the absorption of vitamin C and the B complex vitamins.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Excitability or irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Calcification of tissues
Foods high in magnesium:

Spinach, Seeds (like pumpkin and squash), Lima Beans, Brown Rice, Almonds and Dark Chocolate.

Calcium

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, most of which is found within the bones and teeth. Calcium does much more than ensure strong bones and healthy teeth. It also regulates heartbeat, controls the acid-alkaline balance of blood, is a part of blood clotting, aids the function of neurotransmitters, helps build muscle, and plays a role in the creation of some hormones.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle or bone pain, especially in back and neck
  • Brittle nails
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Kidney stones
  • Cramps
  • Spasms
  • Nervousness
  • Tooth decay
  • Osteoporosis
Foods high in calcium:

Seeds like chia, poppy and sesame. Almond, leafy greens, rhubarb and soybeans or tofu.

Iron

Iron is vital to the movement of oxygen throughout the body via the bloodstream. Iron forms the very important, oxygen-carrying part of the protein hemoglobin, but is also a key element of other proteins, mainly enzymes, that aid in digestion and help along with other bodily functions. Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in the world.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Anemia
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Foggy memory
  • Lowered immune function
  • Sore tongue
  • Ice eating
Foods that are iron-rich:

Leafy greens, split-peas, raisins, dried apricots, beans and lentils.

healthy foods containing potassium

Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral, found in every cell of the body. As an electrolyte, potassium is vital to water balance, proper hydration, and controlled blood pressure. Potassium is also involved in muscle and nerve function, plays a role in metabolism, and helps transfer oxygen to the brain.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Muscle weakness
  • Spasms and cramps
  • Muscle aches and stiffness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Abdominal pain and bloating
  • Numbness or paralysis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Fatigue
Foods high in potassium:

Bananas, papaya, mangoes, russet potato and sweet potato, mushrooms, avocado.

Sodium

Sodium works with potassium to regulate water balance and equalize the acid-alkaline properties of blood. It is also found in every cell of the body. Sodium is prevalent in our modern diets and usually over-consumed as we lean on more processed foods that use forms of sodium as preservatives and flavoring.

Too much sodium leads to high blood pressure and other concerns, but there are circumstances where someone can become deficient. An extended low sodium diet, the use of diuretics, or excessive sweating can result in a deficiency.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Gas
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Disorientation
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Seizures

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and, like potassium and sodium, is found in every cell. Phosphorus must be balanced with calcium for either one to be fully effective. Phosphorus plays a role in almost every chemical reaction within the body, including metabolism, energy production, muscle contractions, cellular division, and the use of B vitamins.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Weak bones or teeth
  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Less appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Numbness
  • Anemia
Foods high in phosphorus include:

Rice bran, nuts and seeds, wheat germ, oat bran, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower and dried fruit.

Sulfur

Sulfur is found in every living cell, though at much lower concentrations than the previous minerals. This doesn’t make sulfur any less important though, as it is a major component of many proteins. It is a part of enzymes, connective tissue, joints, skin, hair, nails, and more. Sulfur also plays a part in regulating insulin, carbohydrate metabolism, and cellular respiration.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Acne, eczema, or itchy skin or scalp
  • Brittle hair or nails
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Depression
  • Convulsions
  • Memory loss
  • Slow healing
  • Sore throat
  • Hay fever
  • Lowered immune function
Foods high in sulphur:

Edamame, peas, spinach, broccoli, mustard greens, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, cabbage, kale, avocado, kiwi and bananas.

Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that acts as an antioxidant, protecting the body from damaging free radicals. Selenium helps in the prevention of premature aging, cancer, arteriosclerosis, cirrhosis, arthritis, and stroke. It preserves the elasticity of tissues that can be lost as we age. Deficiency is rare.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Lowered thyroid function
  • Mental impairment
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Age spots
  • Cataracts
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Lowered immune function
Foods high in Selenium:

Brazil nuts, tofu, whole wheat pasta and shiitake mushrooms

Chlorine

The mineral chlorine must not be confused with the toxic yellow gas used to treat water. Chlorine in the form of chloride, found in salt, is an essential electrolyte. Chlorine works with potassium and sodium to control pressure and water balance in the blood.

It also helps regulate the pH, acid-alkaline properties within the body. Chlorine is also used by the body to create the stomach acid necessary for digestion. Heavy sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting can lead to deficiencies.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Muscle weakness and cramping
  • Fatigue or apathy
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
healthy foods containing zinc, nuts and seeds mineral defeciency

Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral found in the body in fairly large amounts. Zinc protects the immune system, fights disease, protects eyesight, and plays a part in male sex drive.

Related:  Zinc Deficiency Risks and Causes]

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Loss of appetite
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Anorexia
  • Body odors
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Eczema
  • Brittle nails or white spots
  • Impaired healing
  • Memory loss or cognitive impairment
  • Diarrhea
Food high in Zinc:

Legumes, nuts and seeds seeds, whole grains and dark chocolate.

Manganese

Manganese is a part of many enzymes and it stimulates or activates many other enzymes. It also acts as an antioxidant to protect against cellular aging. It plays a role in many of the chemical processes within the body, helping with amino acid and protein digestion.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Hearing loss or tinnitus
  • Infertility
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Dizziness
Foods high in manganese:

Dried apricots, pineapple, spinach, wheat germ, chickpeas and quinoa.

Copper

Copper is a vital antioxidant, protecting fatty acids like those found in cell membranes. Copper is important in maintaining hair color, in growth and development, in assisting the formation of red blood cells, and in the use of iron.

Related:  The Essential Mineral Copper

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Hair loss, brittle hair, or gray/white hair
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • High cholesterol
  • Impaired thyroid function
  • Nervous ticks
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Varicose veins
Foods high in copper:

Shiitake mushrooms, tofu, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes, cashews and dark chocolate

dark chocolate for mineral deficiency

Nickel

Nickel is a trace mineral needed in only minute amounts. Nickel activates or inhibits certain enzymes and is involved in the production of a few hormones. Nickel may act as a stabilizer for DNA and RNA. Deficiencies are rare.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Delayed puberty
  • Skin problems
  • Slow growth
  • Lowered zinc absorption

Chromium

Chromium is an important mineral in the metabolism of carbohydrates, the activation of enzymes, and the synthesis of fatty acids. It also increases the effectiveness of insulin.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Nerve damage
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility

Foods high in chromium: Brewers yeast, grapes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, oats and green beans.

Germanium

Germanium regulates the uptake of oxygen into cells, acts as an antioxidant, enhances immune function, and initiates electrical activity. Small amounts of the trace element can be found in foods like garlic, aloe, and ginseng. It’s thought that organic germanium helps to protect healthy cells.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Low energy levels and fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Lowered immune function
  • Cancer

Vanadium

Vanadium prevents cholesterol from forming in the blood vessels of the brain, enhances insulin’s effectiveness, promotes healthy cellular division, decreases cholesterol production, and aids in heart contractions. The main food sources of vanadium are black pepper, mushrooms, dill seed , parsley, soy, corn, olives, and olive oil. Dill, radishes, snap beans, vegetable oils, and whole grains are also good sources of vanadium.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Kidney stones
  • Weight gain
  • Infertility
  • Hypoglycemia

Molybdenum

Molybdenum is an essential mineral, but its requirements are very small. Deficiencies are rare for this reason but can occur on occasion during specific medical treatments or with highly processed food diets. Molybdenum is needed for nitrogen metabolism, urine production, enzyme activation, and bone growth.

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Gout
  • Weight gain
  • Gum disease or gum and mouth problems
  • Anemia
  • Acne
  • Parasites
  • Allergies

Lithium

Lithium is important in combating depression. It is toxic in large doses, but essential in trace amounts. Lithium’s actions within the body are not entirely clear, but it is believed to stabilize serotonin, decrease inflammation, strengthen immune function, and increase white blood cell production.

Deficiency symptoms:
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Infertility
  • ADHD

Silicon

Silicon is used by the body to create strong bones and connective tissue, including hair, skin, nails, and joints. Silicon aids nerve function and the synthesis of vitamin B1. In the human body, you can find high concentrations of silicon in the connective tissue and major blood vessels.

Evidence suggests that silicon plays an essential role in the formation of collagen. Collagen is crucial for healthy skin, bones, hair, and nails. It’s thought that silicon helps in the formation of the collagen network, improving skin elasticity and strength.

Related:  Collagen for Anti-Aging & Beauty: Get Youthful Skin, a Glowing Face, Thick Hair, and Strong Nails 

Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Slow growth
  • Poor hair and nail quality
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arteriosclerosis
healthy food seaweed for iodine deficiency

Iodine

Iodine is a trace element that naturally occurs in some foods and available as a dietary supplement. Iodine is used in the creation of hormones by the thyroid gland. These types of hormones control the body’s metabolism as well as other important functions. A healthy body contains roughly 15-20 mg of iodine, with the majority stored in the thyroid.

Related:  Iodine: Essential Trace Element for the Mind and Body

Deficiency symptoms:

  • Goiter
  • Slow growth
  • Lowered IQ
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Dry and flaky skin
Foods high in Iodine are:

Seaweed, cranberries, strawberries and Himalyan salt

Your body needs specific minerals to function properly. When your body doesn’t obtain these minerals, it can result in a mineral deficiency. Mineral deficiencies happen slowly over time and can eventually lead to severe health problems.

Related:  Vitamins and Minerals: Why You Need Supplements 

While it’s possible to get all the minerals and nutrients you need from your diet, the standard American diet can be low in several very important minerals. Although it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals from whole food sources, supplementing can help you hit your recommended intake without having to worry about numbers. By following a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole foods, you give yourself the best opportunity to thrive and feel amazing.

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