Search the whole site for articles and discussions

View a factfile for a specific condition or supplement

Keep up to date with Nutrition Expert

Could you be mineral deficient?

Published Date:

It’s easy to associate ‘mineral deficiency’ with having severe and easily recognisable symptoms when in fact everyday issues like headaches, low mood and even bad breath could be down to a shortage in minerals and or vitamins.

Healthspan’s head of nutrition Rob Hobson says: ‘Many of these symptoms are things people put up with every day, thinking they are just par for the course. But often, they could be a sign that you are suffering with a vitamin or mineral deficiency and simply eating foods which contain the item you are lacking could ease your symptoms.

For example, a headache could be an indicator that you need more magnesium, vitamin B12 and B6 – something you can get from eating pumpkin seeds, prunes, banana or fortified soy milk’.

Mineral and vitamin deficiency symptoms and their dietary saviors

Our experts have revealed seven of the most common symptoms that could point towards a vitamin or mineral deficiency and how you could utilise your diet to help prevent them.

You’re lips are cracked: This could be a sign of iron and or vitamin C deficiency and foods that could help are:

  • Red meat;

  • Red peppers;

  • Kale;

  • Tofu.


You’ve got a persistent case of dandruff: You may be lacking in biotin or vitamin B7 and or deficient in essential fatty acids. Try the following:

  • Fresh salmon;

  • Almonds;

  • Peanut butter;

  • Sunflower seeds.


Acne has been troubling you: Acne has been linked to those with a possible zinc deficiency so if you’re struggling to get rid, incorporate these foods into your diet:

  • Crab;

  • Spinach;

  • Cashew nuts;

  • Cocoa powder.


Your hair is thinning: Similarly to cracking lips this could be a mild form of iron and vitamin C deficiency. Give the following foods a go:

  • Lemons;

  • Kiwi fruit;

  • Strawberries;

  • Red kidney beans.


You’ve got increasingly bad breath: Poor oral health can actually be linked gut health as well as a possible iron deficiency. For this try:

  • Raisins;

  • Peas;

  • Fortified breakfast cereals;

  • Adzuki beans.


You’re experiencing low mood: There could be a link between a deficiency in vitamin D as well as in the B vitamins and magnesium with low mood. Try:

  • Quinoa;

  • Salmon;

  • Avocado;

  • French beans.


You suffer from regular headaches: Dietary factors could play a role in regular headaches along with a lack of magnesium as well as vitamin B12 and vitamin B6. The following foods may help:

  • Pumpkin seeds;

  • Prunes;

  • Banana;

  • Fortified soy milk.


Could you benefit from supplements?

Are you one of the 44% of Brits that are unaware of the different minerals and vitamins they should be taking for good health and normal bodily function?

Without knowing the role of vitamins and minerals within the body it’s difficult to predict which ones you’re getting enough of and consequently hard to work out which ones you might benefit from consuming more of.

If you do experience any of the symptoms above, taking the required vitamin or mineral in supplement form is an option and can be an easy way to ensure you are providing your body with the nutrition it needs to remain in good working order. 

For example, if you’re having trouble with tiredness or lethargy as a result of difficulty sleeping or experiencing mild anxiety, and find it difficult to reach the magnesium recommended daily allowance (RDA) through diet alone, magnesium supplements, bath flakes or even magnesium gel could help to ease your pain.

Magnesium is required by the body to convert the food you eat into energy, which is important for preventing tiredness and fatigue, and the sleep regulating hormone melatonin is disturbed when Magnesium is deficient.

This is just one example of the importance of minerals and vitamins for your health and emphasises how the latter play more of a role in your general wellbeing than you may realise.


Robert Hobson is a registered nutritionist and qualified trainer for the Royal Society of Public Health. With over 15 years food and nutrition experience he has a BSc in Human Nutrition and an MSc in Public Health Nutrition. He has also worked for the NHS promoting healthy eating and has specialised in helping government organisations meet nutritional standards and legislation.

 More from this expert.

Latest Articles

You may also be interested in:


The benefits of Omega 3

Nutritionist Henrietta Norton explains the many benefits...

Dr Hilary Jones

What is Alzheimers?

Dr Hilary Jones discusses Alzheimer's disease and how...

Dr Sarah Brewer

Arthritis and your nutrition

Dr Sarah Brewer explores how your nutrition can help...


Circulation, Heart Health and Nutrition

Discover how nutrition can help keeping your heart...

No statement or article should be understood as providing treatment advice. If you have a health problem consult your GP and check compatibility of new supplements with your GP or Pharmacist if you are taking any prescription medication.

Nutrition Expert sources the latest information and advice from a range of qualified doctors, nutritionists and coaches. We always endeavour to have the most up to date information possible and publish new content weekly. However with the constant research in this field sometimes some of our older articles can become out of date. If you see anything that you believe needs to be updated please let us know via our Contact Us page