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Brittle hair and 4 other signs of a possible vitamin deficiency

Brittle hair can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. (Getty Images)
Brittle hair can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. (Getty Images)

Vitamin deficiencies are common in the UK, particularly among British women and younger adults – but how do you know if you have one?

One key sign that you may be deficient in vitamin A, for example, is that you often have blurry vision or struggle to see in low lights.

"It’s important to recognise any signs of vitamin deficiency within our bodies, so we take the necessary steps to increase the levels of essential minerals," Samantha Greener, wellness expert at Simply Supplements, says.

"You should ensure to eat a varied and balanced diet to get all of the goodness inside your body, and taking supplements is another alternative to ensuring you have the right amount of vitamins and minerals.

"It’s also recommended that if anyone is worried or concerned about any symptoms they may have, then they should always check with a medical professional to make sure there isn’t anything more serious."

Below, Greener explains the key vitamin deficiency symptoms to look out for.

Blurry vision: Vitamin A

A lack of vitamin A, which is found in foods like carrots, spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, and red peppers, can sometimes lead to blurred vision.

"Vitamin A is important to keep the body’s immune system healthy and working as a good defence against illness," Greener says.

"The vitamin is also essential for overall eye health, so vision loss, blurriness or difficulty seeing in low lights could be a sign of vitamin A deficiency."

Bone and muscle pain: Vitamin D

The most common source of vitamin D is sunlight, as it’s synthesised through our skin. However, as the UK gets minimal sunlight during the winter months, it is estimated that 20% of Brits have a vitamin D deficiency, while 60% have insufficient levels.

"Because vitamin D is linked to calcium absorption, the feeling of weakened and painful bones may be an indication of low levels of the essential vitamin," Greener explains. "Muscle aches can also be a sign of vitamin D deficiency as it has an important role in ensuring our muscles work efficiently."

ale student with neck pain while sitting on desk preparing examns
Muscle pain could indicate a vitamin D deficiency. (Getty Images)

Brittle, dry hair: Zinc

"Zinc deficiency could result in brittle and dry hair, as well as thinning hair, because the follicles on our scalps become weaker with the lack of this mineral," Greener says. "Zinc can be found in meats, fish and dairy products so a varied and balanced diet is essential."

Brain fog: Vitamin B

Brain fog could have a number of causes like long COVID, menopause and even a vitamin B deficiency. Some food sources of vitamin B include peas, oranges, bananas, meat, eggs and leafy greens.

"Deficiency in vitamin B could result in brain fog and acute memory loss," Greener says. "The vitamin is found in proteins and leafy greens, and supports the overall health of our brains. Cognitive functions are supported by vitamin B, so any deficiencies could affect our mental abilities."

Worried man sitting on couch at home
Brain fog? You may have a vitamin B deficiency. (Getty Images)

Weak teeth and gum infections: Vitamin C

"Vitamin C plays an important role in our oral hygiene, especially when it comes to helping prevent gum disease," Greener explains.

"A lack of vitamin C from sources such as citrus fruits, peppers and broccoli could lead to an increased risk of gum infections and weaker teeth."

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