Understanding and addressing common nutrient deficiencies

written by Savvy

10 min read

In our fast-paced modern world, ensuring we get all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from our diet alone can be challenging. Despite our best efforts, factors such as processed foods and lifestyle demands can lead to deficiencies that impact our health. But recognizing the signs and symptoms of these deficiencies and knowing how to address them can make a significant difference in our overall well-being.

How common are nutrient deficiencies? 

Nutrient deficiencies are more prevalent than many realize. According to the CDC, nearly 10 percent of people in the US have some form of nutrient or vitamin deficiency. Factors such as the standard American diet, high in processed foods and low in fruits and vegetables, contribute to this prevalence. Over time, this can lead to a range of health issues, from fatigue to more serious conditions like kidney disease [1]

Identifying nutrient deficiencies 

Recognizing the signs of a deficiency is crucial. Symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and brittle hair and nails are common across many deficiencies and should not be dismissed as normal. Consulting with a physician and undergoing lab work can provide insights into specific deficiencies and guide personalized nutrition plans. 

Common nutrient deficiencies 

Vitamin D deficiency:

Vitamin D is essential for various bodily functions, yet many individuals are deficient. Low immunity, hormonal imbalance, and bone density issues are common symptoms. Factors such as limited sun exposure and dietary inadequacy contribute to this deficiency [2].

Magnesium deficiency:

Magnesium plays a vital role in numerous bodily processes, but deficiencies are widespread. Symptoms include migraines, restless leg syndrome, and worsened PMS symptoms. Soil depletion and dietary factors contribute to magnesium deficiency [3].

Iodine deficiency:

Iodine, crucial for thyroid function, is often overlooked. Swelling in the neck, sudden weight gain, and irregular periods are signs of deficiency. Dietary sources like seaweed can help address this deficiency [4].

Vitamin B12 deficiency:

Vital for DNA synthesis and brain function, vitamin B12 deficiencies are common. Symptoms include pale skin, constipation, and numbness or tingling. Factors such as low stomach acidity and certain medications contribute to this deficiency [5].

Iron deficiency:

Iron is essential for red blood cell production, yet many fail to meet recommended levels. Fatigue, dizziness, and sensitivity to temperature are common symptoms. Factors such as dietary choices and menstrual blood loss contribute to iron deficiency [6].

Calcium deficiency:

Crucial for bone health, calcium deficiencies are prevalent, especially among older adults. Symptoms include muscle cramping and dental problems. Factors such as other deficiencies and hormonal disorders contribute to calcium deficiency [7].

Protein deficiency:

Essential for muscle repair, immune function, and hormone production. Symptoms include muscle wasting, fatigue, and slow wound healing. Address by consuming protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and legumes, or with supplementation if needed [8].

Addressing nutrient deficiencies

Incorporating nutrient-rich foods into the diet and, if necessary, supplementing with targeted vitamins and minerals can help address deficiencies. Regular testing and personalized nutrition plans are essential for optimizing nutrient levels and promoting overall health. 




Healthy fats






Nutrient deficiencies are more common than many realize, but understanding their signs and addressing them appropriately can significantly impact overall health. By prioritizing a balanced diet, regular testing, and personalized supplementation, individuals can optimize their nutrient levels and support their well-being. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making significant dietary or supplementation changes. 


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (n.d.). Micronutrient Malnutrition. Retrieved from

Holick, M. F. (2007). Vitamin D deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(3), 266-281. 

O'Leary, F., & Samman, S. (2010). Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients, 2(3), 299-316. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2020). Magnesium Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Retrieved from

World Health Organization (WHO). (n.d.). Iodine Deficiency Disorders. Retrieved from 

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). (2021). Iron-Deficiency Anemia. Retrieved from

National Osteoporosis Foundation. (n.d.). Calcium/Vitamin D. Retrieved from

Devries, M. C., & Phillips, S. M. (2015). Supplemental protein in support of muscle mass and health: advantage whey. Journal of food science, 80(S1), A8-A15.