Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin Deficiency

You might find it hard to believe but most people are short of certain types of vitamins. And the majority isn't aware of it. Although underestimated, this is a serious thing, because it can lead to tiredness, poor concentration, insomnia and listlessness. Just to mention a few symptoms.  Symptoms that can change into serious illness in case of prolonged vitamin deficiency and eventually vitamin deficiency can lead to death.

Do I have Vitamin Deficiency ?

Well, there is a big change you have it. Just have a look at the statistics in the picture on the right. You see the percentage of American not meeting the RDA(Recommended Daily Allowance). Not good news since all these goodies make many processes in our body possible. Without the our body can't function properly.

Let's have a look at the "naughtiest kid in the classroom": Vitamin E. 86% of the American don't take in enough vitamin E. So, we talk about ~281,220,000 American! 

Percentage of US Population NOT meeting the RDA

Source: US Department of Agriculture (2009) 

Let's first see what Vitamin E does: 

  1. it helps us to fight cell-damaging free radicals
  2. it boosts our immune system
  3. it makes interaction between cells possible
  4. it carries out many important functions in our body

This means, among other things, that 281,220,000 Americans have reduced resistance to disease. And we are still only talking about vitamin E.

Vitamin A deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin a in fish

Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry skin, dry eyes, dull hair and bad gums and reduced resistance. During pregnancy, too much vitamin A can cause damage to the baby. When purchasing supplements, take notice that you don't exceed the daily intake limits.

Vitamin B1 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin b1 in bread

A deficiency of vitamin B1 can result in problems of the nervous system, like amnesia, depression or problems with concentration. Also abnormalities of the cardiovascular system are signs of vitamin B1 deficiency, as can be reduced appetite, reduced reflexes, unhealthy weight loss or muscle weakness.

Vitamin B3 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

eating fruit will prevent vitamin deficiency

Since we usually eat enough proteins vitamin B3 deficiency doesn't happen very often. If you're still short of it, you may suffer from tiredness, rash or skin inflammation. In very rare but still serious cases, disturbances in consciousness or even dementia can occur.

Vitamin B5 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin b5 in meat

Vitamin B5 deficiency won't occur very often in western countries since it shows up in cases of severe malnutrition.

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin B6 in potatoes

Vitamin B6 can cause various complaints:

  • confusion,
  • depression,
  • disorders of the nervous system,
  • fatigue,
  • inflammation of the skin or tongue.

When babies have vitamin B6 deficiency they may vomit, have convulsions and lose weight.

Vitamin B8 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin b8 in milk and eggs

Vitamin B8 deficiency is fairly rare. People who still have a deficiency complain about skin disorders, anemia, less appetite for food, depression, inflammation of the tongue, fatigue and muscle pain.

Vitamin B11 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin B11 in liver

Abnormalities at birth (spina bifida or miscarriage), anemia and fatigue are known symptoms of vitamin B11 deficiency. It can also cause a disturbed metabolism because your intestines are less able to absorb food. Changes in bone marrow and blood cells can also be a consequence, although this is less common.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin b12 in eggs

Vitamin B12 deficiency is common among vegetarians and vegans. The symptoms usually occur after some time because the body usually builds up a supply of this vitamin. Symptoms are anemia, fatigue, lack of appetite and self-sufficiency. There may also be damage to the nervous system. Memory problems occur in the elderly.

Vitamin C deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin c in oranges

Vitamin C deficiency can lead to the following complaints:
This can lead to insomnia, bleeding gums, reduced resistance and wound healing, poor skin, rheumatic complaints and fatigue. Long term deficiency can lead to scurvy. Nowadays this is almost no longer the case in Western societies but used to be a dreaded disease. Especially among sailors who were at sea for months without fresh fruit and vegetables.

Vitamin D deficiency

Symptoms and effects

salmon full of vitamin d

Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children. In the elderly, the risk of osteoporosis increases. With severe vitamin D deficiency, muscle cramps or weakness may occur.


Read more about vitamin D deficiency symptoms

Vitamin E deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin E in nuts

A vitamin E deficiency only occurs when there is a food intake disorder. In such a case complaints such as anaemia and even brain damage can occur. In preterm births, when the digestive tract is not yet fully developed, deficiency occurs because the food intake is not yet well underway. In addition to anaemia, the risk of oedema and an increased number of platelets increases.

Vitamin K deficiency

Symptoms and effects

vitamin K in spinach

Vitamin K deficiency causes reduced bone strength and delayed blood clotting in adults. Babies can get internal bleeding because of the deficiency.

Nowadays RDI - Reference Daily Intake