Signs of Vitamin Deficiencies, Hormone Imbalances & Food Intolerances
When your body's homeostasis is disrupted, symptoms can make you feel out of sorts. Brain fog, fatigue, moodiness, low libido, dry skin, thinning hair are common signs. It's not just your quality of life that suffers. Your heart, bones, lungs, digestive system and immunity could be at risk.
It's not a game but it's definitely puzzling. Take steps to solve current or possible health issues with at-home lab tests.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, hormonal imbalances and food intolerances are prevalent and because symptoms are easy to confuse or are "silent," you could suffer needlessly or risk developing a more serious illness.
Even with a healthy diet and exercise program, you could have any number of conditions such as high cholesterol, thyroid dysfunction and nutritional deficiencies. Hormonal imbalance is especially common because the body naturally reduces production during the aging process.
High cholesterol can be hereditary or caused by insulin resistance, a precursor to type II diabetes. Insulin resistance is when your body does not use its own insulin efficiently to regulate the amount of sugar produced by the liver. The result is high blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance is linked to low testosterone in men. In women low estrogen may cause insulin resistance and lead to diabetes.
It's an understatement to call the body intricate. It's in a perpetual state of change. Incalcuable actions enable growth, reproduction, learning, mood stablity and defeat attacks on the immune system.
One of the best windows into your body is lab testing.
What Causes Vitamin & Mineral Deficiencies?
The easy answer is you are not consuming enough vitamin and mineral-rich food or your body is not able to make it from other sources. For example, the body makes Vitamin D from sunlight and obtains it from food sources. It's actually both a hormone and a vitamin.
Minerals and heavy metals such as iron, calcium, mercury, copper come from rocks and the soil and are delivered to your body via food. Vitamins are necessary for proper body function however not all minerals are. In fact, heavy metals are dangerous. It's also possible to have too much as a mineral or metal like iron or aluminum. Unliike iron, aluminum serves no purpose in the body and can be toxic. The body absorbs aluminum from the air, metal cans and fish.
Malnourishment is also caused by poor absorption due to underlying health issues that affect the blood or intestine and certain medications that bind to nutrients and prevent them from reaching your organs.
What Are Common Nutritional Deficiencies And Their Signs?
- Bruising easily - Vitamin K
- Fatigue: Any of the following: Low iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 or folic acid
- Asthma or worsening asthma: Vitamin D and/or Vitamin C
- Joint pain: Vitamin D, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
- Frequent inflammation: Vitamin C, D and A.
- High cholesterol: Alpha-linolenic acid, Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
- Low Testosterone in Men: Vitamin D1
- Thyroid dysfunction: Iodine2
What Are Symptoms Of Female Hormone Imbalance?
You may not have all of the symptoms and the severity will vary depending on which hormone is misaligned. With that stated, symptoms of unbalanced hormones (usually low hormones levels) in women are similar to those associated with menopause.
They include hot flashes, low libido, difficulty concentration, moodiness, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness and more.
Is Estrogen The Only Hormone That Becomes Unbalanced?
No, testosterone and progesterone are also susceptible. However, estrogen and progesterone are closely tied to the menstrual cycle and pregnancy so they may be the first ones to get out of sync. The body naturally produces less of these female sex hormones past childbearing years and leading up to and after menopause.
- Postmenopausal women 55+ can have 75% less estrogen than they did during their 30s and 40s.
- Progesterone, which can also drop by 75% during menopause, does more than protect the uterus. Balancing progesterone may prevent and improve cognitive impairment caused by low progesterone.4
- Testosterone begins declining up to 10 years before menopause, according to the North American Menopause Society.
How Does Testosterone Become Imbalanced in Women?
All sex hormones derive from androgens and then follow a series of changes to become the next link in the "chain." Testosterone is the direct precursor to estrogen. When the ovaries becomes less capable of transforming testosterone into estrogen, women's testosterone can become elevated.
- Symptoms of Low T in women include decreased libido, irritability and fatigue.
- Excessive testosterone or high levels of other androgens in woman can cause male pattern hair growth, irregular periods or no menstruation, deepening of voice and acne.
Do Men's Hormones Become Imbalanced?
Yes, men's hormone levels can be too high or too low. Not a widely known fact, doctors are discovering low testosterone in men is not just age-related. Men in their 20s can have Low T caused by low physical activity, high cholesterol and obesity, illicit drug use, and smoking/tobacco use.4
Men can also have too much estrogen. Symptoms include development of higher pitched voice, erectile dysfunction, loss of hair, growth of breasts, (gynecomastia), loss of muscle mass and weight gain.
What Are Signs of Low T In Men?
- Reduced interest in sex6
- Erectile dysfunction6
- Loss of body hair, facial hair6
- Decline in lean muscle6
- Decreased memory function6
What Are Male Symptoms Of High T?
- Low sperm count
- Male Pattern Baldness
- Hyper sex drive
- Risk-taking behavior
- Increased body hair
What Are Food Intolerances?
Food intolerances can be baffling but, fortunately, they tend to be more inconvenient and frustrating than harmful. Food sensitivity should not be confused with food allergies. Food allergies cause an immune response and can be potentially fatal. Immune responses include rashes, hives, difficulty breathing, swelling and loss of consciousness.
Are Food Sensitivities The Same As Allergies?
No, food intolerances and allergies are different. Food sensitivities are non-immunoglobulin E (non-IgE) reactions to certain ingredients. Immunoglobulin refers to white blood cells, a key component of the immune system.
Food sensitivities trigger reactions from other parts of the body other than the immune system. When the body has an allergic reaction the immune system is engaged and white blood cells and its allies jump into action.
Allergies can be dangerous while food intolerances are not known to cause serious health risks.
What Are The Most Common Food Sensitivities?
- Animal proteins: beef, chicken, salmon, duck, etc.
- Drinking alcohol
- Sweeteners and preservatives
How Do I Know If I Have A Food Sensitivity?
Symptoms of non-IgE mediated reactions include diarrhea, upset stomach, headaches, joint pain, and bloating. Reactions are delayed, not occurring until hours or even days after digesting the food. This is one of the things that makes them hard to pinpoint.
You may not connect your symptoms to the food you ate earlier that day or week. You're not alone if you find yourself reminiscing about the days when you had an iron stomach and could eat or drink anything with no regrets.
1 Kerner, Ian. Low testosterone, or 'male menopause,' no longer just for older men. CNN.com https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/19/health/male-menopause-sex-kerner/index.html [Last visited May 19,2020]
2 Chung HR. Iodine and thyroid function. Ann Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2014;19(1):8‐12. doi:10.6065/apem.2014.19.1.8
3 Borst SE, Mulligan T. Testosterone replacement therapy for older men. Clin Interv Aging. 2007;2(4):561‐566. doi:10.2147/cia.s1609
4 Fiore, Kristina Post-Menopause Brain Drain Tied to Progesterone - Estrogen levels after menopause may have no impact on cognitive function, but progesterone levels might, researchers found. MedPage Today. https://www.medpagetoday.com/endocrinology/generalendocrinology/43123 [Last Visited May 19,2020]
5 Cohen J, Nassau DE, Patel P, Ramasamy R. Low Testosterone in Adolescents & Young Adults. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2020;10:916. Published 2020 Jan 10. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00916
6 What is Low Testosterone? https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/low-testosterone [Last Visited May 19,2020]
*This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.