Now more than ever, it is vital that we keep our bodies enriched with the vitamins and minerals they require to help with the normal functioning of our immune systems and keep our health in check.
This can feel especially important because lacking in a certain type of vitamin can wreak havoc on our energy levels, mood, our immunity, our physical strength and even our appearance.
And now an expert has revealed to the Daily Mail how to determine when your body is deprived and identify what it is what you’re deficient in.
Nutrition expert Jenny Tschiesche, in partnership with nutriburst, has provided the six warning signs that your body is deficient in vitamins and minerals.
Jenny revealed: ‘Spooned nails are soft and thin and shaped like a spoon in that they are curved upwards at the sides.
‘This can be seen in just one or two of your nails or at times, even all of them.’
She added: ‘Whilst there are many causes for this the most common is iron deficiency anaemia, which is when your level of red blood cells is lower than normal.
‘If this is the case, other symptoms you may experience are fatigue, pale skin, shortness of breath and general feelings of weakness.’
She advised: ‘If you have any concerns, see your doctor who will be able to determine if this is the case with a blood test and advise accordingly.’
Bleeding gums are a sign that you are low in vitamin C and vitamin K
The nutrition expert explained: ‘Experiencing shortages of vitamin C can cause your gums to bleed, as this vital nutrient helps tissue to grow and regenerate, and also supports with healing wounds.
‘Meanwhile, vitamin K helps coagulate blood, with low levels also linked to gum bleeding.
‘If you do not have enough vitamin C you may also feel week and slightly irritable, and over time with both deficiencies you may notice more bleeding.’
Jenny advised: ‘To boost your levels of vitamins C and K try adding dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale, to your diet but also enjoy citrus and kiwi fruit and broccoli on a regular basis.’
Bone tenderness is a sign that you are low in vitamin D
Jenny explained: ‘Osteomalacia is insufficient bone mineralisation and is often referred to as soft bones.
‘It causes bone tenderness and you are likely to experience pain even when you are not exercising.
‘This condition is linked to a severe vitamin D deficiency, which is actually a nutrient deficiency far more common than you might think.
‘In the UK it is estimated that 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 5 children are vitamin D deficient, however fortunately it is relatively easy to increase your levels of it.’
She revealed: ‘Some sources of vitamin D are sunlight, foods such as oily fish, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals, as well as supplements.’
Leg cramps are a sign that you are low in magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium
The nutrition expert revealed: ‘Magnesium, calcium and potassium support proper muscle development and growth, therefore a lack of these nutrients can lead to discomfort in the feet, calves and back of the legs.
‘Dehydration can also contribute to leg cramps so it important that you keep yourself well hydrated and restore your body with sufficient electrolytes, particularly sodium, after exercising or during hot weather.’
She continued: ‘For particularly active people, it may be worth taking a magnesium supplement.
‘This helps to ensure blood sugar can reach muscles after exercise and help to reduce muscle inflammation.’
Canker sores are a sign that you are low in B vitamins
Jenny revealed: ‘Canker sores are sores that are found in the corners of your mouth and are usually an indication that you are suffering from B vitamin deficiencies including Vitamin B3, folic acid (Vitamin B9) and vitamin B12.
‘Vitamin B3, otherwise known as niacin, plays a role in keeping your skin healthy, produces hormones, breaks down food and supports your nervous system; even a mild deficiency is linked to canker sores.
‘Both folic acid and vitamin B12 are also instrumental to blood cell production and a lack of them can increase your risk of getting canker sores.
‘B Vitamins are found in wholegrains, legumes such as chickpeas and lentils, dark green leafy vegetables and an array of different fruits.
Ensure these foods are included in your diet on a regular basis as they can help to address appearance of canker sores.’
Hypogeusia (loss of taste) is a sign that you are low in vitamin B12, zinc and folic acid
The nutritional expert revealed: ‘Vitamin B12 deficiency is also intricately linked to folic acid deficiency – so a deficiency of one is often linked to a deficiency of the other.
‘A deficiency of vitamin B12 may affect the nerves that carry taste sensations to the brain whilst folic acid deficiency is linked to the appearance of a smooth, red tongue and a loss of taste sensation.
‘Meanwhile, zinc supports several processes in the body and deficiency can cause changes in taste and appetite.
‘Those low in zinc may also suffer from low mood, white spots on fingernails and lowered immunity.
‘Vitamin B12 deficiency is common in those following a strict vegan diet as this vitamin is found in abundance in animal-derived protein sources.
‘However, seasoning vegan foods with nutritional yeast, which is a source of vitamin B12, as well as supplementing can make up for any shortfall.’