How Do You Know If You’re Lacking In Vitamins? Read This!

Did you know Female scientists played an integral role in discovering essential vitamins?

Vitamin E was discovered by Katherine Bishop in 1922, and vitamin A by Marguerite Davis and her partner in 1913. Lucy Wills was the sole scientist who discovered folic acid. 

We certainly owe them big time since vitamins and minerals play an essential role in the healthy functioning of our bodies. We need them for a better quality of life and to prevent diseases. However, some seniors do not take vitamin deficiencies very seriously, unaware that the lack of necessary vitamins and minerals can severely damage the body. In today’s Living Maples Mag, we will talk about signs of vitamin deficiency in seniors.

Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are on top of the list of why seniors visit the doctor’s office regularly. Some seniors experience cramps and pains in their muscles due to a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or arthritis. But if you have cramps in the back of your legs, toes, or soles for no apparent reason, you may be deficient in calcium, potassium, or magnesium. People who exercise a lot are more likely to get these cramps. You need to eat more fruits such as cherries, apples, grapes, bananas, and green leafy vegetables to deal with this problem.

Read More: The Best Vitamins for the Elderly During Winter

Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms Chart

Vitamins Deficiency
Vitamin A (Retinol) Loss of vision (Blindness)
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Weak muscles and severe weight loss (Beriberi)
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Poor diet and mouth sores
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Diarrhea and dermatitis
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) Ischemic attacks and MS
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Anemia
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) Immature bone marrow
Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin) Abnormal absorption of food in small intestine
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) Bleeding gums and swollen joints
Vitamin D (Calciferol) Weakening of bones
Vitamin E (Tocopherols) Faster depletion of red blood cells
Vitamin K (Phylloquinone) Slow clotting of blood

Cracks in the Corners of the Lips

Ageing causes cracks around the lips of some seniors. Most seniors think it is due to dry skin and try to apply various creams and ointments to solve the problem, but they don’t see any results. These cracks that mostly appear around the corners of your lips are due to a lack of vitamin B. Some of these cracks may also be due to a lack of iron and zinc.

This problem is more common among vegetarians as well as those who do not follow proper nutrition. You increase your fish and poultry intake to alleviate this problem, and vegetarians can add more legumes, peanuts, and tomatoes to their diet to compensate for their vitamin B deficiency.

Excessive Fatigue

a tired senior woman sitting on sofa with closed eyes

It is common among seniors to experience sleep disorders. Most people consider it a common issue of aging; however, not paying attention to lack of sleep can lead to severe problems. If you get enough sleep at night but feel very tired during the day, you may be deficient in riboflavin or vitamin B2. Hence, you need to increase your dairy products, eggs, or lean meats such as turkey.

Read More: Elderly Sleep Disorders: Symptoms and Tips to Control

Small Red Pimples on the Back, Thighs, and Arms

If certain parts of your body, such as your thighs, arms, cheeks, and back, develop small red pimples, your body may be deficient in vitamins A, D, and fatty acids. To deal with these annoying pimples, prioritize eating healthy foods such as vegetables. Leafy vegetables and orange and yellow vegetables contain significant amounts of vitamin A. salmon is also a healthy source of essential fatty acids. We also recommend eating mushrooms, sardines, and tomatoes and walking in the sun for 15 minutes every day to absorb the required amount of vitamin D for your body.

Depression & Vitamin Deficiency

a depressed senior woman

Depression can have many causes. One of these factors is vitamin D deficiency. A study shows that seniors who take vitamin D supplements during the winter are better and less prone to depression. It does not matter what season you are in; be sure to consider absorbing more vitamin D. In winter, this problem is more common due to lack of sunlight. Therefore, it is better to take supplements in consultation with your doctor.

Severe Hair Loss & Vitamin Deficiency

Severe hair loss in seniors may be due to a lack of biotin, which belongs to the vitamin B family. This type of deficiency is common among seniors who consume raw eggs excessively. Raw eggs contain a protein called avidin, which prevents biotin absorption. So the solution to the problem is simple: Do not eat raw eggs. You can also eat more vegetables such as kale or mushrooms and prioritize salmon and fruits such as bananas and raspberries in your diet.

Night Vision Disorders

a senior woman wearing glasses due to vision disorders

You probably have a vitamin A deficiency if you have trouble seeing at night and in the dark. We all know that carrots are good for eyesight. This popular vegetable is rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A and plays an essential role in strengthening eyesight.

Headache and Dizziness

Headaches and dizziness may be due to a lack of niacin or vitamin B3 absorption. Pellagra, which presents with diarrhea, dermatitis, and dementia, is also caused by a severe vitamin B3 deficiency. Fortunately, this disease is rarely seen in communities where foods are fortified with this vitamin. Beef, liver, chicken, and fish are among the best sources of vitamin B3.

Skin Dryness & Vitamin Deficiency

Many seniors complain of dry skin. There are many reasons for dry skin. Skin type is indeed a genetic issue in the first place, but you should know that a lack of vitamins A and B can also cause dry skin. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the consumption of leafy vegetables, nuts, grains, and fatty fish, especially salmon.

Nausea, Constipation, and Bloating

Vitamin B12 deficiency is difficult to detect because the body stores large amounts of this vitamin. Nausea, constipation, and bloating are some of the symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. This vitamin is found in the liver, offal, turkey, and tuna.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed and have wound healing problems, you are suffering from vitamin C deficiency. Citrus and other fruits and vegetables such as red peppers, papayas, and kiwis are the primary vitamin C sources.

Final Words

As we age, our need for vitamins and minerals increases. An insufficient supply of these materials can have many consequences for us. Therefore, it is necessary to pay special attention to the consumption of vitamins and nutrients in old age. It is best to get these substances through a proper diet for the body, but in some cases, the elderly may have food allergies and therefore cannot consume certain foods. In this case, they can take multivitamin supplements in consultation with their doctors.

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1 year ago

My mother is 68, and her last checkup test was last week. Everything was quite normal, except she has a high risk of anemia. The doctor gave her iron supplements to take every day, but they cause stomach discomfort. What can I do? Should we try another supplement? Can I give her multivitamin pills too? 

1 year ago

I have all the symptoms mentioned here except for Nausea and vision disorder. I think it’s finally time to accept losing against my own body and start taking multivitamins. I just wished there were other alternatives. I hate taking pills so much!

Reply to  Carlos
9 months ago

Hi, Carlos. It’s totally understandable why you don’t like taking pills. However, it’s good to keep in mind that vitamin pills, unlike other pills, are not filled with stuff that have serious side effects. While it’s true that taking too many vitamin pills is harmful to your body, it doesn’t have anything to do with you taking them naturally or in the form of a pill. Many people take vitamin pills regardless of their age. Even I, who am in my 20s, take vitamin D and vitamin C pills regularly. So there’s no need to feel bad about taking your vitamin supplement.

1 year ago

I experienced cracks around my lips a couple of years ago when I was 40, and my doctor recognized the vitamin B deficiency. She recommended Drink Beer! This worked, and I’ve never had cracks around my lips. 

1 year ago

I experienced vitamin deficiency, and this is a bad situation. Because vitamins are like jet fuel, you need them for better lifetimes! as my doctors said, elders should eat fruits each day and take vitamin pills to reinforce their body power. Especially vitamin D is so important for us because it helps us to build bones. So guys, don’t forget vitamins in your life.

10 months ago

I believe if you keep a regular diet, you will have enough vitamins in your diet. I am amazed by how many people are obsessed with vitamins. Please consult a professional before changing your diet, at least. Some might say body Aches are a symptom of vitamin deficiency, mainly Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12 and calcium deficiency, but there are many causes of body aches. While body Aches can be caused by vitamin deficiency, this would be way down on the list. One needs to get themselves checked to come up with a proper diagnosis before prompt treatment.

Reply to  Lily
9 months ago

I share the same idea, Lily. Older adults face different nutrition needs. I am 75 years old, and I usually eat as much as I want, but my wife eats less due to decreased appetite; My son is so happy that I can get my vitamins from the foods I eat daily. Because if your nutrition intake decreases, it can lead to vitamin and minerals deficiency, and vitamin deficiency can lead to chronic diseases. Some medications can also decrease the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ted
9 months ago

Oh, thanks! Now I know why I have lost my hair! I was wondering why I’m losing my hair without any reason. To be honest, It’s been years since I dyed my hair. So, I couldn’t find an answer. You’re right! I may have a Vitamin B deficiency, and I think it’s time to see my doctor.

9 months ago

I work in clinical psychology, and I think it’s relatively general information that vitamin D pills can help reduce depression symptoms. Vitamin D is often prescribed in combination with antidepressants.

9 months ago

I suffered depression for many years and did all sorts of meditations and therapy. But nothing helped. After a long time of changing therapists, finally, I met one who said check your vitamins. Thanks to him, I feel better now.

Reply to  Mateo
9 months ago

Many don’t like taking supplements, but sometimes they are lifesavers. As said above, the deficiency of minerals and vitamins can cause severe harm to your body. On top of that, unfortunately, you can’t make up for it by eating food cos the body is not as strong as in the past in absorbing necessary substances.

7 months ago

Great article! I usually am on top of my health and Vitamin intake, but I checked again for all these signs!
I take homemade nutritious foods along with a few eggs per day. Dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa is also helpful. You can add pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
In my personal experience, dietary supplements of a multivitamin, vitamin b12, magnesium, vitamin d3, and fish oil would all help a lot.
Also, make sure to stay free of constipation.

6 months ago

I’ve suffered from excessive fatigue for a couple of months. I’ve just needed to sleep for hours and still feel tired. My Mom told me to do a blood test to see whether the problem was related to my thyroid or not, but it wasn’t! I thought maybe I was going through depression without being aware of that. So I made an appointment with a professional therapist. Thank god she told me that it could be a simple vitamin D deficiency. After another test, it got clear that the amount of my vitamin D was dangerously low.

Last edited 6 months ago by Grace