Nutritional Deficiency Symptoms

deficiency symptomsEye, hair, nail, mouth and skin symptoms are among the early outward warning signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The following compilations may help in diagnosing and treating these deficiencies. However, increased metabolic requirements for indicated deficiencies may persist for a long time after the outward symptoms have disappeared. Many listed symptoms may also be caused or aggravated by allergies and problems with the blood sugar and fat metabolism.

The right-hand column gives the primary deficiencies first, additional treatment or cause is given in parentheses. For each condition only the more prominent nutrients are mentioned. However, all the typical nutrients should be supplied in increased amounts in the treatment of all conditions. Compiled by Walter Last

Eye Deficiency Symptoms

SymptomDeficiency / treatment / cause
Bitot's spots - foamy patches on conjunctivavitamin A
Bloodshot eyesboric acid for fungus infection, blue light
Blurred visionvitamins B2, B6, pantothenic acid
Bulging eyesvitamin E, nicotinamide, iodine
Cataracts (lens becomes opaque)vitamins B2, C, E, antioxidants (avoid lactose)
Color-blindnessvitamin A
Conjunctivitisvitamins A, B2, C (B6, zinc)
Cross-eyesvitamins E, C, B1, (allergy testing)
Dark spots in front of the eyesvitamins B6, C, zinc (liver problems)
Dim vision (amblyopia)vitamins B1, B2, C, B12 (allergy testing)
Dry, hard eyeballs (xerophthalmia)vitamin A
Farsightedness (hyperopia)magnesium, potassium, MSM
Glaucomamagnesium, vitamin C (B2, B1,salt)
Haemorrhaging in the back of the eye (retinitis)vitamin B6, zinc, bioflavonoid (also magnesium, vitamins C, B2, B12, E, pantothenate)
Infected, ulcerating eyes (keratomalacia)vitamin A (vitamins C, B2, B6, zinc, blue light, boric acid)
Itching, burning, watery, sandy eyesvitamin B2
Macular degenerationvitamins A, B2, B6, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, bioflavonoid, esp. lutein & zeaxanthin, ginkgo biloba, bilberry, eyebright, MSM, EFA
Near-sightedness (myopia)chromium, vitamins C, E, D, calcium (proteins, avoid sugars)
Night blindness (nyctalopia)vitamins A, (B2, B6, zinc)
Red blood vessels in the scleravitamin B2
Retinal detachmentzinc, vitamins B6, B2, C, E, A
Sensitive eyes, fear of strong light (photophobia)vitamins B2, A
Tics of eyelidsmagnesium, vitamins B2, B6, zinc

Skin Deficiency Symptoms

SymptomDeficiency / Treatment / Cause
Acnevitamins A, E, B2, B6, C, niacin, biotin, zinc, EFA*, lecithin, MSM, retinoic acid topically (minimize sweet food & fats)
Addison's disease - adrenal exhaustion: increased tanning, especially on skin-folds, scars, elbows, knees; black frecklesall B vitamins, especially pantothenic acid; vitamin C; all minerals, digestive enzymes, allergy testing, avoid sweet food
Arterial spiders (fine branching arteries on face, neck, chest)antioxidants, bioflavonoid, glucosamine, cartilage, calcium
Bedsoresvitamins C, E
Blistersvitamin E
Brown discoloration around small jointsvitamin B12
Brown skin spotsantioxidants (weak liver)
Dry skinvitamins A, C, EFA
Eczema, skin ulcersvitamin C, B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, EFA, allergy test, cleanse
Eczema, infantileEPA, zinc, vitamin B6
Edema (Oedema)vitamin B6, zinc (also vitamin C, magnesium, avoid salt)
Fingers white, numb, stiff, swellings (Raynaud's disease)vitamins B6, B1, antioxidants, niacin, magnesium/calcium, EFA
Fungus infections (e.g. athlete's foot, ringworm)B vitamins, (external tea tree oil, intestinal sanitation)
Gangrenevitamins C, E, B1 , magnesium chloride, (urine packs)
Greasy dermatitis around eyes, nosevitamin B6, zinc
Greasy skin eruptions (seborrhoea)vitamin B2
Horny red skin on pressure areas (e.g. knees, elbows)zinc (vitamin B6)
Hot flushesvitamin E, boron, magnesium, calcium (Wild Yam cream)
Ichthyosis (fish-like scales)vitamin A, retinoic acid topically, MSM
Infant dermatitis with inflamed pustules around body openingsvitamin B6, zinc
Infections of the skin (boils, cold sores, impetigo, and so on)vitamins C, A, B6, zinc, magnesium chloride (hot Epsom-salt packs, tea tree oil or propolis rubs)
Itchingvitamins B, C, EFA, alkalizer, bicarbonate rubs, (allergy tests)
Jaundicevitamins C, E, A, B12, B6, lecithin, magnesium, zinc (blue light therapy, treat gall bladder & liver)
Keratosis, horny, goose-pimple-like skinvitamin A internally & externally
Lemon-yellow skinvitamin B12
Oily skin, white-headsvitamin B2
Over-sensitivity to sunlightvitamin B6, zinc, PABA, beta-carotene, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, alkalizers
Pale skinbiotin, folic acid, vitamin B6, iron (anemia)
Prickly-heat rashvitamin C
Psoriasisas for acne; blue light, sunlight; avoid gluten
Purplish or blue-black skin areasvitamin C, B2, bioflavonoids
Rashallergy test, alkalizers, vitamin C, calcium
Red-brown, often symmetrical discoloration of skin exposed to the sun, later ulcerationniacin or nicotinamide (folic acid)
Red-brown or dark-red spotsmanganese
Rosacea (redness of part of face)vitamin B2
Scaly dermatitisbiotin
Scaly eczema around nose, ears, scrotum, vulvavitamin B2
Scar tissuevitamin E, MSM externally & internally, camphorated oil rub
Scleroderma (hardening and swelling of skin)vitamin E, C, A, PABA, MSM, magnesium chloride (zapper, pulser and parasite therapy, tea tree oil packs)
Sensitivity to insect bitesvitamin C, B1, calcium, alkalizers, bicarbonate rub/bath
Shinglesvitamins B12, C, A, B, E, zinc, lysine, zinc oxide lotion, zapper
Skin cancervitamins A, B6, PABA, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, carotenes, chlorophyll, propolis, zinc (blue light, escharotics)
Skin-folds red, infectedniacin
Stretch-marksvitamins E, B6, zinc
Subcutaneous bleeding (red or purplish spots under the skin, bruises easily)vitamin C, bioflavonoids and rutin, grape seed extract, glucosamine, alkalizer
Swellings (for example, face)zinc, magnesium, vitamins B6, B12
Vaginal itchingvitamins B2, E, C (avoid synthetic underwear, treat Candida)
Warts, molesvitamins C, A, E
Weals on the skin (urticaria)vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin C, (alkalizer, allergy test)
White skin patches (vitiligo) PABA, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, zinc
Wrinkles or aging skinvitamins C, E, A, EFA, bioflavonoids (too much sun)

* Most skin conditions benefit from external as well as internal application of the indicated nutrients. Retinioc acid is the acid form of vitamin A. EFA means essential fatty acids, mainly linoleic and linolenic acid; recommended are ground-linseed, linseed oil, fish oils and Evening-primrose oil.

Hair and Nail Deficiency Symptoms

SymptomDeficiency / treatment / cause
Coarse, brittle hairzinc
Dandruffvitamins B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, biotin
Dry hairvitamin A, zinc
Greying hairfolic acid, pantothenic acid, PABA, biotin, minerals (weak adrenals, avoid sweet food)
Hangnailsvitamin C, folic acid, proteins
Hair losscopper/lead contamination: use zinc, vitamin B6, sulfur (MSM), selenium, biotin
Nails opaque, white spots/bandszinc, vitamin B6
Oily hairvitamin B2
Peeling nailsvitamins A, C, calcium
Ridges on nails, longitudinalvitamin A, protein, calcium (anemia, poor circulation, thyroid/parathyroid glands)
Ridges on nails, transversefever, infection, inflammation, menstrual problems, period of protein deficiency
Scaling of cuticle or lipsbiotin

With greying hair or hair loss improve the circulation to the scalp, e.g. daily inversion such as headstand, shoulder-stand, hanging upside down or using a slant-board. Also vigorously rubbing nourishing or slightly irritating solutions into the scalp, e.g. fresh grass or vegetable juice, MSM with copper salicylate, ginger juice.

Tongue and Mouth Deficiency Symptoms

SymptomDeficiency / treatment / cause
Beefy, enlarged tonguepantothenic acid
Burning, sore tonguevitamins B2, B6, B12, niacin
Cracked lips & corners of the mouth (cheilosis)vitamins B2, B6, folic acid
Distended, purplish-blue veins under the tonguevitamin B2 (circulation poor, congested)
Edema or tooth-marks on tongueniacin/nicotinamide
Furrowed tonguevitamin B1, pantothenic acid
Gums receding, bleeding (gingivitis)vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, alkalizers
Halitosis (bad breath)vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, propolis, chlorophyll (cleansing, intestinal sanitation)
Mouth ulcers, cankerfolic acid, vitamin B6, zinc (alkalize, allergy test)
Papillae prominent or erasedniacin/nicotinamide
Purplish or magenta tongue or lips, also veins under the tonguevitamin B2
Tongue red at tip or edges; severe deficiency: whole tongue scarlet red, soreniacin (vitamin B6)
Tongue shiny, smooth, beefy; early sign: strawberry-red tip/sidesvitamin B12, folic acid
Tongue too small or too largeniacin, pantothenic acid
White-coated tongueintestinal putrefaction, cleansing
White patches on tonguevitamin B2 and other B vitamins (allergy)
Yellowish-brown-coated tongueliver or gall bladder problems

Mouth problems are often due to amalgam fillings, allergies or Candida infestation (thrush).