8 Signs You Should Start Taking Supplements
Experts agree the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs is by eating a balanced diet. Unfortunately, many of us aren't getting all of our daily vitamins through diet alone, which can leave us in a deficit that impacts our health and wellness. Taking supplements is a great way to help your body get the nutrients it needs without spending too much time focusing on your diet.
Of course, figuring out which nutrients you're deficient in can be difficult if you're not paying attention to the foods you eat. Additionally, many people don't know that they're not getting enough vitamins until they start to notice signs. So here are the signs you should start taking supplements.
1. Weak Nails and Hair
If you're noticing your hair and nails have become dull or weak, you might just think you need to spend a little more time on self-care. However, no amount of conditioner can help your hair if it's weak and brittle due to a nutritional deficiency.
For example, if you find your hair is breaking off at the strand, or you're losing hair, you might be deficient in biotin, most commonly found in whole grains, eggs, dairy, and proteins. Biotin is also essential for healthy nails, so if your nails and hair are more brittle than before, you might need a biotin vitamin supplement to help you get your luster and shine back.
2. Unexplained Bruises
If you're noticing more bruises on your body than before, it might not be because you've become clumsy. Instead, bruising easily is a sign of a vitamin C deficiency. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits, such as oranges, along with other fruits, including strawberries. Vitamin C is not a natural compound produced by your body, so if you're not getting vitamin C in your diet, you are deficient in this powerful antioxidant.
Vitamin C can help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals in the environment, such as air pollution and UV light from the sun. It's also crucial for the immune system, allowing your body to be able to fight off the common cold. If you're low in vitamin C, you might notice unexplained bruises because the blood vessels near your skin's surface can easily break.
3. Change in Bathroom Habits
Being nutrient deficient could cause changes in your bathroom habits, leaving you running for the toilet at unexpected times. In addition, if you're feeling gastrointestinal distress, such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting, you might be deficient in niacin, most commonly found in meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and green vegetables.
Niacin is responsible for many bodily functions, including lowering cholesterol and reducing artery hardening while producing some hormones that remove chemicals in the liver. Niacin deficiency is called pellagra and comes with consequences other than gastrointestinal issues, such as skin rashes and even confusion.
If you're pregnant, you're likely not getting enough nutrients through your diet. One of the main vitamins pregnant women should take is folate, found in green vegetables like spinach. While most people get enough folate from their regular diet, pregnant women should take folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects. If you're pregnant, it's a good idea to ask your MD how much folic acid you should take daily.
5. Poor Sleep Quality
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night or unable to fall asleep, you might be low in magnesium or a host of other nutrients. Magnesium deficiency comes with a variety of symptoms, such as constipation, muscle cramping, and even lack of sleep. Foods rich in magnesium include whole grains and leafy vegetables.
Everyone feels fatigued sometimes. However, if you feel more tired than usual or you can’t seem to prevent the fatigue even though you're getting enough quality sleep every night, you might be calcium deficient. Calcium is most commonly found in dairy products such as milk and yogurt. If you're not getting enough calcium, your bones aren't getting the nutrients they need to stay strong. Additionally, you'll start to experience low energy.
Low energy can also be a sign that you're not getting enough iron. Iron deficiency can make you feel weak and tired. You may even be more prone to sickness without taking the proper amount of iron. Foods rich in iron include red meat, chicken, seafood, dark leafy greens, and beans.
7. Brain Fog
Brain fog is fairly common. Sometimes fatigue comes with brain fog, but other times you can experience brain fog while still feeling energetic. Brain fog can hit at any point in your day and can be incredibly frustrating because it makes it difficult to focus. If you feel brain fog often, you might be low in vitamin B12. B12 is essential for brain function, and without enough of this vital nutrient, you can start experiencing that foggy feeling that can last all day.
Vitamin B12 can be found in protein and supplements, and it's one of the many nutrients your body doesn't make on its own. Vitamin B12 deficiency can be caused by an unbalanced diet, medication, and even excessive alcohol use.
8. Recurring Illness
If you seem to be sick more often than not, it could be a sign your immune system isn't functioning properly because it doesn't have essential nutrients. Vitamins B, C, and D are all crucial for healthy immune function, so if you can't seem to shake the common cold or you keep getting sick after recovering from illness, it could be a sign your body isn't able to fight off infection.
When to Start Taking Supplements
If you experience any of these symptoms, it might be due to a nutritional deficiency. However, it's always best to talk to your doctor, who can help you figure out why you're experiencing these problems. While some of these signs could mean you're deficient in one or more nutrients, they could also be symptoms of health conditions.
One way to determine if you're nutrient deficient is to try to improve your diet and take supplements for the vitamins you're not getting through food. Many people don't get enough vitamins from their diet, but supplements can help you improve your health and wellness to help you feel your best.
Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, making art, and her pup Ruby.