Vitamin Deficiencies that Cause Fatigue

A healthy, balanced diet is essential so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs to perform its many functions properly. A deficiency of some vitamins can lead to fatigue.
Vitamin Deficiencies that Cause Fatigue

Last update: 18 August, 2020

Fatigue is a recurring feeling of tiredness with no apparent cause, which can be worsened by mental activity. It can make just getting out of bed and starting your daily routine almost impossible.

Lifestyle habits are important, but also take a closer look at what you’re eating. If you’re missing certain nutrients, your body will have a hard time giving you the energy you need to face the day.

What is fatigue and what causes it?

We’ve all felt, at some point, that we just want to stay in bed all day long and not do anything. But once you get a good night’s sleep, you’re usually back to normal and can easily go about your regular activities.

The problems come when that weakness or lack of energy lasts for weeks or gets worse. Fatigue isn’t something that you should ignore.

According to a study from the Mayo Clinic, in addition to the normal stress and activity of our modern lifestyle, there are other causes of fatigue:

  • Consumption of alcohol or drugs.
  • Excess or lack of physical activity.
  • Jet lag.
  • Not sleeping well.
  • Antihistamine or cough medications.
  • Unhealthy eating.
Some vitamin deficiencies can cause fatigue, but there are other causes.
In most cases, fatigue comes from poor sleep or nutrient deficiencies. However, it can also be a warning sign for other diseases.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a disorder that causes extreme fatigue that a doctor can’t attribute to a specific reason and doesn’t improve with rest.

Another study from the Mayo Clinic suggests that most common signs and symptoms of this condition include the following:

  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of memory or concentration.
  • Sore throat.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck or armpits.
  • Joint or muscle pain.
  • Headache.
  • Unrefreshing sleep.
  • Extreme exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours after physical or mental exercise.

It’s worth mentioning that if these symptoms are recurrent or become very problematic, it’s necessary to consult your doctor since they can also be a warning sign of more serious health problems.

Can vitamin deficiencies cause fatigue?

We mentioned some daily habits that could be causing physical and mental exhaustion, but what you eat can also play a significant role in how you feel. Or to put it another way, what you don’t eat, because it’s vitamin deficiencies that cause fatigue–you might not be eating a balanced diet.

In fact, a study from the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that a poor diet could prevent the body from getting the nutrients it needs. This can lead to health problems, including chronic fatigue. Next, we’ll look at what happens when you lack certain nutrients.

Vitamin C

People use this vitamin to prevent and reduce symptoms of the flu or common cold. In fact, many people believe that eating food daily that contains vitamin C can help prevent these health conditions.

A study published in the Nutrition Journal mentions that the consumption of vitamin C could be directly related to reducing fatigue. Apparently, this is because it acts as an antioxidant.

Vitamin C may help reduce fatigue.
A vitamin C deficiency could be behind the constant feeling of fatigue.

Foods that provide vitamin C, according to a publication from the National Institute of Health, are the following:

  • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, tangerines, grapefruits.
  • Red and green peppers.
  • Kiwi.
  • Other fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, cantaloupe, broccoli, and tomatoes.

Vitamin D

Apparently, vitamin D deficiency is not only related to the weakening of muscles and bones, but also to sleep and fatigue.

In fact, a study in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences suggests that there could be a link between patients who have fatigue and those with vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, it suggests that an optimal dose of this vitamin is associated with a significant improvement in the symptoms.

Iron

According to the World Health Organization, a deficiency in this mineral is one of the biggest worldwide nutritional problems. This occurs not only in developing countries, but also in industrialized ones.

Also, according to a National Health Service publication, these are the most common symptoms or signs of iron deficiency:

  • Tiredness and lack of energy.
  • Short of breath.
  • More noticeable heartbeat.
  • Pallor.

In addition, the study points out that to increase the levels of this mineral in your body, you can consume the following foods:

  • Green leafy vegetables.
  • Iron-fortified cereals and bread.
  • Meat.
  • Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils).
Foods that contain iron.
Lack of iron can explain a feeling of prolonged fatigue that many people suffer from.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a nutrient that works continuously in our bodies since it is in charge of converting food into energy and regulating other functions of the body.

According to Naoki Umeda, an integrated medicine specialist, in a publication by The Cleveland Clinic, the most common symptoms of magnesium deficiency are:

  • Fatigue.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Nausea.

A WebMD post notes that you can find magnesium in the following foods:

  • Spinach.
  • Edamame.
  • Tamarind.
  • Potatoes with skin.
  • Quinoa.
  • Beans.
  • Tofu.
  • Almonds.

So when should you go to the doctor?

Although we list above certain symptoms and causes of fatigue, it’s important to pay attention to warning signs and possible complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, some things to look out for are:

  • Depression.
  • Social Isolation.
  • Restricting your lifestyle.
  • Increased absences from work.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s necessary to consult with a doctor to find an appropriate treatment.

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