Vitamin deficiency


An adequate supply of vitamins and a good state of health are closely related. The human body is incapable of producing vitamins itself, except for one thing - that one Vitamin D. If the body is supplied with a sufficient amount of the carbon-containing compounds every day, the numerous functional areas in which vitamins are involved will run smoothly.

Overall are 13 vitamins known that in a fat-soluble and one water-soluble group be divided. Each one plays an important role. So, for example Vitamin K for a functioning blood clotting, Vitamin A participates in the maturation of red blood cells and sensory perceptions such as sight and hearing vitamin C is an important reaction partner in chemical reactions in the body.

Insufficient supply of the essential vitamins causes a deficiency. Is there a specific vitamin in a significantly reduced form, one speaks of Hypovitaminosis. The vitamin is close to undetectable, it is a Avitaminosis.

Deficiencies occur above all one-sided diet over a longer period of time. Vitamins are not only found in vegetable, but also in animal products such as eggs, fish and liver. A varied diet is an important cornerstone for adequate intake.

The Symptoms are vitamin deficient frequently unspecific and especially difficult to spot in their early stages. One speaks of the latent deficiency of a vitamin. If this manifests itself, life-threatening situations can arise. First, neurological abnormalities become noticeable. Which includes fatigue, Difficulty concentrating, Mood swings and Dejection. Individual symptoms can only be assigned to a specific vitamin when they manifest.


The symptoms of a vitamin deficiency in the early stages are mostly unspecific and cannot be clearly assigned. Those affected often suffer from symptoms such as increased tiredness, mood swings, concentration problems, depressive moods and difficulty reproducing recently heard content.

Read more on the topic: What role do vitamins play in depression?

In the advanced stage, typical symptoms can be assigned to a specific vitamin.

Deficiency symptoms of ...

  • Vitamin A (retinol): visual disturbances, flaky, dry skin.
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): skeletal muscle atrophy, cardiac dysfunction and water retention (edema) - is also known as BeriBeri's disease and occurs mainly in countries that mainly consume polished rice that does not contain thiamine.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): conjunctivitis, growth disorders and inflammatory tears in the corners of the mouth (angular rhinitis).
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin) causes three typical "D symptoms": dementia, diarrhea and dermatitis. The clinical picture is called pellagra.
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): sleep disturbances, depressive mood, microcytic, hypochromic anemia, oily facial skin and pathological changes in the lip and tongue.
  • Vitamin B7 (vitamin H / biotin): inflammatory skin changes and hair loss.
  • Vitamin B9 (folic acid deficiency): relatively common, especially in alcoholics, smokers and pregnant women, leads to inflamed mucous membranes in the mouth and intestines.
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin): mainly has a damaging effect on the nervous system and causes anemia, pronounced fatigue and limited cognitive performance.
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid): a manifest vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy and typically leads to tooth loss, susceptibility to infection and physical weakness and an increased tendency to bleed.
  • Vitamin D (cholecalciferol): increased excitability of nerves and disorders of bone metabolism. In children this leads to the clinical picture of rickets, in adults for Osteomalacia (Softening of the bones).
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol): very rare, as humans can store sufficient quantities. In the case of a vitamin deficiency, there is no protection against oxidative stress and hemolytic anemia can occur.

Read more on the topic: Burning in the legs

Vitamin B2 deficiency - cracks at the corner of the mouth

In connection with a beginning Vitamin B2 deficiency (Riboflavin) develop inflammatory Tears in the corners of the mouth. The so-called Angular rhinitis heal poorly and cause pain when opening the mouth. They usually appear together with other symptoms. Which includes inflamed oral mucous membranes, Conjunctivitis and Stunted growth in children. In some cases an intermittent one will occur eczema laterally the nostrils observed. In the advanced stage there is a risk of Lens opacity and one anemia. In addition, the function of other vitamins is endangered.

Vitamin B2 should be taken daily at a dosage of 1.5 mg. It comes in animal products such as meat, liver, fish and dairy products in its easily absorbable form. In Grain and certain Vegetables (Peas, broccoli, yellow peppers) it is also included.

The following groups are particularly affected by a deficiency: women, vegans, diabetics as well as smokers and alcoholics. Also chronic malnutrition causes one Vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin B7 Deficiency - Hair Loss

Hair loss is a characteristic symptom of Vitamin B7- Deficiency (also vitamin H or biotin). Vitamin B7 plays an essential role in numerous metabolic processes. As a cofactor in chemical reactions, it serves to transfer carbon groups. A defect primarily leads to one disturbed protein, fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

The symptoms are mainly reflected in Skin and hair contrary. Affected people suffer from hair loss, brittle nails, conjunctivitis and dermatitis. Other deficiency symptoms include exceptional ones fatigue, depressive mood, Muscle aches and Cholesterol levels above the normal range.

The daily amount of biotin required is 60 micrograms. The vitamin is found in numerous foods, albeit in a quantity of a few micrograms. A particularly large amount of biotin comes in in descending order Dry yeast, Beef liver, egg yolk and Soy products in front. Vitamin B7 is also found in oatmeal, bananas, walnuts, milk, fish, spinach and mushrooms. Excessive consumption of raw eggs and the use of antibiotics in combination with artificial nutrition are risk factors for hypovitaminosis.

Vitamin B12

The Vitamin B12 does not denote a single vitamin, but contains a group of chemically related cobalamin compounds together. The daily needs of the human body must go through a Supply of the vitamin be covered from the outside. Certain bacteria in the intestinal flora are capable of producing vitamin B12, but can only produce it in limited quantities. Cobalamins are stored in various organs in the body. Before that, it binds to a specific protein that is formed by the liver for transport and storage.

In the human body, cobalamins act as cofactors. As Part of enzymes take part in numerous Metabolic reactions part. Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in Blood formation, of the Function of nerve cells and the Regeneration of mucous membranes. in the Protein metabolism and at the formation of Neurotransmitters the vitamin takes on other tasks. A particularly important reaction depending on vitamin B12 is the conversion of homocysteine ​​to methionine. In this way, the amino acid methionine is regenerated and provides a sufficient level Production of nucleic acids for sure. These are contained in DNA and partly in RNA.

Symptoms of a vitamin B12 deficiency occur as pernicious anemia, a specific form of anemia, and Central nervous system disorders in appearance. The so-called funicular myelosis is associated with motor and sensitive restrictions. A manifest deficiency causes persistent fatigue, Burning tongue, reduced mental performance and constipation.

Of the daily need in vitamin B12 is only about 3 micrograms. Cobalamins are in animal foods contain. Particularly high concentrations occur in offal. The vitamin is also found in fish, meat and, in small quantities, in dairy products and eggs.

Special risk groups A vitamin B12 deficiency includes vegans and vegetarians as well as the elderly, pregnant and breastfeeding women, alcoholics and smokers. A known side effect of certain medications (including omeprazole and metformin) is the reduced absorption of vitamin B12. Vegetarians will therefore often stop taking Vitamin B 12 supplements recommended.

Related to fatigue

Increased fatigue is a unspecific symptomthat may be related to a vitamin deficiency. Numerous causes like a Deficiency of other nutrients, Infectious diseases, mental illness and Carcinomas also cause fatigue and should not be lost sight of.

In the winter months, many people, especially in the northern hemisphere, suffer from pronounced fatigue and listlessness. One also speaks of "Winter depression“.

Vitamin D is consumed depending on the diet, but can also be absorbed by the body itself under the influence of UV light getting produced. Vitamin D3 and then its active form calcitriol are produced from provitamin D3. It plays one essential role in bone and muscle metabolism as well as the Function of the immune and nervous systems. If an undersupply of vitamin D is proven, the deficiency should be remedied by oral administration of vitamin preparations.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) as well Vitamin B7 deficiency (Biotin) can lead to drowsiness. In addition to impaired cognitive performance and constipation, a vitamin B12 deficiency also causes persistent fatigue. A manifest Vitamin C- Deficiency is rare these days, it can lead to tooth loss, a tendency to bleeding, susceptibility to infection and physical weakness, but also to fatigue.

Brittle fingernails

Brittle fingernails can be associated with a vitamin deficiency. In particular, a lack of B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin A leads to brittle and thin fingernails. Vitamin B7 (biotin), folic acid and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) cause deficiency symptoms in the nails. Other causes are chemical influences, certain drugs used in cancer therapy, calcium deficiency, skin, thyroid and joint diseases.

More on the topic at: Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin B7 is significantly involved in hair and skin formation and represents an essential cofactor for numerous chemical reactions in the human body. If the body does not consume enough biotin, deficiency symptoms occur. In addition to brittle nails, typical symptoms include hair loss, conjunctivitis and inflammatory skin changes.

A balanced diet usually corrects a vitamin deficiency. When avoiding animal products, special attention should be paid to vitamin B12.

Test procedure to determine vitamin deficiency

There are several Test procedure, to one Vitamin deficiency to come on track. However, the diagnostic tools are often controversial and imprecise. The best result is provided by the specific determination of special laboratory parameters in the blood. If there is a medical indication for the test, the health insurance company will cover the costs. Otherwise you have to wear them yourself. The costs, for example the vitamin D value, amount to around 30 euros.

An indirect marker for vitamin B12 deficiency is the homocysteine ​​level in the blood. The amount of the vitamin can also be measured directly in the blood plasma. A possible folic acid deficiency is determined by the folic acid contained in the red blood cells. Vitamin C and D and vitamin E in the form of alpha-tocopherol can also be measured in the blood plasma.