Your body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, so the symptoms of beta-carotene deficiency as the same as those of vitamin A. One of the earliest symptoms is night blindness. After a while, low levels of beta-carotene cause more eye problems. Other signs of a mild to moderate deficiency include rough, dry skin, loss of appetite, hair that looks dull, brittle nails, joint pain, and being more likely to get an infection.
Not getting enough healthy fat can lead to low levels of some vitamins -- A, D, E, and K -- which need fat for your body to absorb them. Other symptoms include eczema, dry and brittle nails and hair, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. In children, not getting enough fat can cause slow growth. Over the long term, low levels of essential fatty acids are linked to a number of long-lasting (chronic) conditions.
Your body needs iron for red blood cells to carry oxygen to all your organs and tissues. Low levels of iron can cause anemia and a weakened immune system. Symptoms of anemia include being tired all the time, dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, and sometimes irregular heartbeat.
Vitamin A (Retinol)
One of the earliest symptoms of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. After a while, low levels of beta-carotene cause more eye problems. Other signs of a mild to moderate deficiency include rough, dry skin, loss of appetite, hair that looks dull, brittle nails, joint pain, and being more likely to get an infection.
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)
Low levels of folic acid have been linked to anemia, heart disease, birth defects, and colon cancer. Symptoms may include fatigue, mouth sores, swollen tongue, and poor growth.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Noticeable symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency can take years to show up. Irritability, weakness, numbness, anemia, loss of appetite, headache, personality changes, and confusion are some of the signs and symptoms associated with very low levels of vitamin B12. Low levels of this vitamin may also be associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, heart disease, brain problems, and birth defects.
Vitamin D works with calcium to keep bones strong. Over a long period of time, levels of vitamin D can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults, conditions where the bones get soft and thin. It can also raise the risk of osteoporosis and it may increase the risk of some cancers.
It's rare to be deficient in vitamin E. Symptoms include muscle weakness and vision problems. Over the long term, low levels of vitamin E may raise the risk of cancer and heart disease. Low levels may also weaken the immune system.
The major symptom of vitamin K deficiency is that your blood doesn't clot as it should. You might notice that you bruise easily or have nosebleeds or bleeding gums. Women may have heavy periods. Internal bleeding, which can be life-threatening, may also be caused by lack of vitamin K.
The information presented here covers some of the nutrients that may be lowered when you take certain medications. The signs and symptoms listed can be caused by other conditions. So if you have these signs and symptoms, it doesn't always mean you have low levels of these nutrients. Many things affect the level of nutrients, including your medical history, diet, and lifestyle, as well as how long you have been taking the medication. Please talk with your health care provider. He or she can best address your health care needs and see if you are at risk for low levels of any nutrients.
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