Nutritional Deficiency

A significant percentage of the population suffers with nutrient deficiencies for many different reasons.  Depleted soils, processed foods, and the average American diet are all highly to blame.  However, nutrient levels in the body are controlled by much more than simply what a person eats.  Different factors affect the fate of the nutrients you consume.  How your body processes nutrition is as important as what enters your mouth.  Improper digestive and gastrointestinal balance and function can sabotage the efforts of even a conscientious eater.  Nutrient deficiency can lead to chronic disease and conversely chronic illness can lead to nutrient deficiency.  For individuals who are ill, or for healthy people acting proactively, deficiencies should always be considered.  There are tests that can determine if a person suffers with inadequate vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fats and other fundamental necessities for optimal health.

Symptoms of Deficient Vitamins

Vitamin A

  • Eye symptoms
    • Reduced night vision
    • Night blindness
    • Dry eyes
    • Eye inflammation
    • Corneal inflammation
  • Rough skin
  • Dry skin
  • Vulnerability to respiratory infection
  • Vulnerability to urinary infection
  • Growth retardation in children

Vitamin B6

  • Pellagra-like symptoms  
    • Abdominal cramping
    • Confused or delusional thinking
    • Depression
    • Diarrhea
    • Difficulty with memory, thinking, talking, comprehension, writing or reading
    • Headache
    • Loss of appetite
    • Malaise or lethargy
    • Mucus membrane inflammation
    • Nausea with or without vomiting
    • Skin lesions that are scaly and sore
    • Weakness (loss of strength)
  • Anemia
  • Impaired antibody production
  • Lowered immunity
  • Convulsions in children
  • Growth retardation in children
  • Infant seizures
  • Skin inflammation
  • Red scaly skin
  • Hand numbness
  • Foot numbness
  • Hand tingling
  • Foot tingling
  • Sore tongue
  • Red tongue
  • Cracks in corners of mouth
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Retarded infant growth
  • Fatigue
  • Eczema

Methyl B12

  • Forgetfulness and foggy thinking
  • Confusion
  • Dementia, psychosis, depression, paranoia
  • Lack of coordination and balance, clumsiness
  • Tremors
  • Tingling in the extremities
  • Muscle weakness and/or pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Incontinence
  • Heart palpitations
  • Loss of vision
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal problems

B12 deficiency has a strong effect on the nervous system and can mimic several different diseases that are considered “incurable”. Some diseases include:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Guillian-Barre Syndrome
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (“Lou Gehrig’s disease”)

Vitamin C

Symptoms of mild deficiency:

  • Weakness
  • Weariness
  • Swollen gums
  • Nosebleeds
  • Constipation

Severe deficiency can lead to scurvy

Vitamin D

  • Soft bone disorders: rickets in children, osteomalacia in adults, and osteoporosis in seniors. This can lead to crippling deformations, easier bone fractures, and diminished bone density.

Other deficiency symptoms may include:

  • Bone pain
  • Delayed tooth formation
  • Dental deformities
  • Muscle cramps
  • Poor growth in children
  • Spine and other bone deformities
  • Stooped posture and a loss of height
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Tuberculosis
  • Depression, including seasonal affective disorder
  • Type I diabetes
  • Periodontal disease
  • Low blood calcium levels
  • Chronic bone, muscle, or joint pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bowed limbs
  • Knock-kneed appearance

Symptoms of Deficient Minerals


  • Acne
  • Apathy
  • Brittle nails
  • Delayed sexual maturity
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Eczema
  • Fatigue
  • Growth impairment
  • Hair loss
  • Immune impairment
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Deficient stomach acid
  • Memory impairment
  • Night blindness
  • Paranoia
  • White spots on nails
  • Wound healing impairment


  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Heart attack
  • Hyperactivity
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Muscular irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness


  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Swings
  • Increased susceptibility to excitotoxins


  • Eye pain
  • Brittle nails
  • Cramps
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart palpitations
  • Peridontal disease & tooth decay


An antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation reactions can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death. 

Some important antioxidants include glutathione, vitamin C, and vitamin E as well as enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase and various peroxidases. Low levels of antioxidants, or inhibition of the antioxidant enzymes, cause oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells.

Oxidative stress appears to contribute to the development of many human diseases, and has been linked in particular to stroke, cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, the pathologies caused by diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegeneration in motor neuron diseases.

A low calorie diet extends median and maximum lifespan in many animals. This effect may involve a reduction in oxidative stress.

Eye Deficiency Symptoms:

Symptom Possible Deficiency
Bitot’s spots – foamy patches on conjunctiva vitamin A
Bloodshot eyes fungus infection
Blurred vision vitamins B2, B6, pantothenic acid
Bulging eyes vitamin E, nicotinamide, iodine
Cataracts (lens becomes opaque) vitamins B2, C, E, antioxidants (avoid lactose)
Color-blindness vitamin A
Conjunctivitis vitamins A, B2, C (B6, zinc)
Cross-eyes vitamins E, C, B1, possible allergies
Dark spots in front of the eyes vitamins B6, C, zinc, liver problems
Dim vision (amblyopia) vitamins B1, B2, C, B12 , possible allergies
Dry, hard eyeballs (xerophthalmia) vitamin A
Farsightedness (hyperopia) magnesium, potassium, MSM
Glaucoma magnesium, vitamin C (B2, B1,salt)
Hemorrhaging in the back of the eye (retinitis) vitamin B6, zinc (also magnesium, vitamins C, B2, B12, E, proteins, pantothenate)
Infected, ulcerating eyes (keratomalacia) vitamin A (vitamins C, B2, B6, zinc, boric acid)
Itching, burning, watery, sandy eyes vitamin B2
Macular degeneration vitamins A, B2, B6, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, esp. lutein & zeaxanthin, ginkgo biloba, bilberry, eyebright, MSM, EFA
Near-sightedness (myopia) chromium, vitamins C, E, D, calcium (proteins, avoid sugars)
Night blindness (nyctalopia) vitamins A, (B2, B6, zinc)
Red blood vessels in the sclera vitamin B2
Retinal detachment zinc, vitamins B6, B2, C, E, A
Sensitive eyes, fear of strong light (photophobia) vitamins B2, A
Tics of eyelids magnesium, vitamins B2, B6, zinc

Skin-deficiency Symptoms

Symptom Deficiency / Treatment / Cause
Acne vitamins A, E, B2, B6, C, niacin, biotin, zinc, EFA*, lecithin, MSM, retinoic acid topically (minimize sweet food & fats)
Addison’s disease – adrenal exhaustion: increased tanning, especially on skin-folds, scars, elbows, knees; black freckles all B vitamins, especially pantothenic acid; vitamin C; all minerals, digestive enzymes, allergy testing, avoid sweet food
Arterial spiders (fine branching arteries on face, neck, chest) antioxidants, bioflavonoids, glucosamine, cartilage, calcium
Bedsores vitamins C, E
Blisters vitamin E
Brown discoloration around small joints vitamin B12
Brown skin spots antioxidants (weak liver)
Dry skin vitamins A, C, EFA
Eczema, skin ulcers vitamin C, B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, EFA, allergy test, cleanse
Eczema, infantile EPA, zinc, vitamin B6
Edema vitamin B6, zinc (also vitamin C, magnesium, avoid salt)
Fingers white, numb, stiff, swellings (Raynaud’s disease) vitamins B6, B1, antioxidants, niacin, magnesium/calcium, EFA
Fungus infections (e.g. athlete’s foot, ringworm) B vitamins, (external tea tree oil, intestinal sanitation)
Gangrene vitamins C, E, B1 , magnesium chloride, (urine packs)
Greasy dermatitis around eyes, nose vitamin B6, zinc
Greasy skin eruptions (seborrhea) vitamin B2
Horny red skin on pressure areas (e.g. knees, elbows) zinc (vitamin B6)
Hot flushes vitamin E, boron, magnesium, calcium (Wild Yam cream)
Ichthyosis (fish-like scales) vitamin A, retinoic acid topically, MSM
Infant dermatitis with inflamed pustules around body openings vitamin B6, zinc
Infections of the skin (boils, cold sores, impetigo, and so on) vitamins C, A, B6, zinc, magnesium chloride (hot Epsom-salt packs, tea tree oil or propolis rubs)
Itching vitamins B, C, EFA, alkalizer, bicarbonate rubs, (allergy tests)
Jaundice vitamins C, E, A, B12, B6, lecithin, magnesium, zinc (blue light therapy, treat gall bladder & liver)
Keratosis, horny, goose-pimple-like skin vitamin A internally & externally
Lemon-yellow skin vitamin B12
Oily skin, whiteheads vitamin B2
Oversensitivity to sunlight vitamin B6, zinc, PABA, beta-carotene, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, alkalizers
Pale skin biotin, folic acid, vitamin B6, , iron (anemia)
Prickly-heat rash vitamin C
Psoriasis as for acne; blue light, sunlight; avoid gluten
Purplish or blue-black skin areas vitamin C, B2, bioflavonoids
Rash allergy test, alkalizers, vitamin C, calcium
Red-brown, often symmetrical discoloration of skin exposed to the sun, later ulceration niacin or nicotinamide (folic acid)
Red-brown or dark-red spots manganese
Rosacea (redness of part of face) vitamin B2
Scaly dermatitis biotin
Scaly eczema around nose, ears, scrotum, vulva vitamin B2
Scar tissue vitamin E, MSM externally & internally, camphorated oil rub
Scleroderma (hardening and swelling of skin) vitamin E, C, A, PABA, MSM, magnesium chloride (zapper, pulser and parasite therapy, tea tree oil packs)
Sensitivity to insect bites vitamin C, B1, calcium, alkalizers, bicarbonate rub/bath
Shingles vitamins B12, C, A, B, E, zinc, lysine, zinc oxide lotion, zapper
Skin cancer vitamins A, B6, PABA, antioxidants,bioflavonoids, carotenes, chlorophyll, propolis, zinc (blue light, escharotics)
Skin-folds red, infected niacin
Stretch-marks vitamins E, B6, zinc
Subcutaneous bleeding (red or purplish spots under the skin, bruises easily) vitamin C, bioflavonoids and rutin, grape seed extract, glucosamine, alkalizer
Swellings (for example, face) zinc, magnesium, vitamins B6, B12
Vaginal itching vitamins B2, E, C (avoid synthetic underwear, treat Candida)
Warts, moles vitamins C, A, E
Weals on the skin (urticaria) vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin C, (alkalizer, allergy test)
White skin patches (vitiligo) PABA, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, zinc
Wrinkles or aging skin vitamins C, E, A, EFA, bioflavonoids (too much sun)

Hair & Nail Deficiency Symptons 

Symptom Deficiency treatment cause
Coarse, brittle hair zinc
Dandruff vitamins B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, biotin
Dry hair vitamin A, zinc
Graying hair folic acid, pantothenic acid, PABA, biotin, minerals (weak adrenals, avoid sweet food)
Hangnails vitamin C, folic acid, proteins
Hair loss copper/lead contamination: use zinc, vitamin B6, sulfur (MSM), selenium, biotin
Nails opaque, white spots/bands zinc, vitamin B6
Oily hair vitamin B2
Peeling nails vitamins A, C, calcium
Ridges on nails, longitudinal vitamin A, protein, (anemia, poor circulation, balance glands)
Ridges on nails, transverse fever, infection, menstrual problems, period of protein deficiency
Scaling of cuticle or lips biotin

Tongue & Mouth Deficiency Symptoms

Mouth problems are often due to amalgam fillings, allergies or Candida infestation (thrush).

Symptom Deficiency treatment cause
Beefy, enlarged tongue pantothenic acid
Burning, sore tongue vitamins B2, B6, B12, niacin
Cracked lips & corners of the mouth (cheilosis) vitamins B2, B6, folic acid
Distended, purplish-blue veins under the tongue vitamin B2 (circulation poor, congested)
Edema or tooth-marks on tongue niacin/nicotinamide
Furrowed tongue vitamin B1, pantothenic acid
Gums receding, bleeding (gingivitis) vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, alkalizers
Halitosis (bad breath) vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, propolis, chlorophyll (cleansing, intestinal sanitation)
Mouth ulcers, canker folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc (alkalize, allergy test)
Papillae prominent or erased niacin/nicotinamide
Purplish or magenta tongue or lips, also veins under the tongue vitamin B2
Tongue red at tip or edges; severe deficiency: whole tongue scarlet red, sore niacin (vitamin B6)
Tongue shiny, smooth, beefy; early sign: strawberry-red tip/sides vitamin B12, folic acid
Tongue too small or too large niacin, pantothenic acid
White-coated tongue intestinal putrefaction, cleansing
White patches on tongue vitamin B2 and other B vitamins (allergy)
Yellowish-brown-coated tongue liver or gall bladder problems


Scientific References for Nutritional Deficiency:

Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function                                                                                      

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 July; 9(7): 568–578.

Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners                                                                                                                          

The British Journal of Psychiatry (2002) 181: 22-28

Vitamin B12 levels are low in hospitalized psychiatric patients.                                                                   

Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2000;37(1):41-5.

What are the psychiatric manifestations of vitamin B12 deficiency?                                                              

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1988 Dec;36(12):1105-12.

Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment.                                                      

Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70. Epub 2006 Mar 20.

Is it time to trial vitamin D supplements for the prevention of schizophrenia? 

J Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Jun;55(6):252-4.

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for indicated prevention of psychotic disorders: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.                                                                                                                                            

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010 Feb;67(2):146-54.

Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) among psychiatric out-patients in Sweden: relations with season, age, ethnic origin and psychiatric diagnosis.                                                

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Jul;121(1-2):467-70. Epub 2010 Mar 7.