Fatigue has a way of completely disrupting our lives, making us feel weak and diminishing our desires to participate in daily activities. For some people, it is easy to mistake fatigue for depression. Often times, fatigue is a symptom of a larger problem – it could be something more minor such as a cold or flu bug, or something more severe such as heart disease, lung disease, or liver disease. (1)
Another reason that you may be experiencing fatigue is due to vitamin or mineral deficiency. If left unchecked, vitamin or mineral deficiency can lead to long-term health consequences. If we treat fatigue as an early warning sign and seek to address the underlying problem, we could save ourselves from severe health problems down the road. (2)
Fatigue is often a warning sign of a larger problem; if left untreated, it could result in long-term health consequences!
If you are struggling with fatigue, testing for vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, iron, copper, CoQ10, zinc, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B12 and folic acid is a good place to start. If found, these deficiencies can be corrected through diet or supplements.(1,2)
If left untreated, these vitamin deficiencies could cause permanent damage. For example, vitamin B12 deficiency can cause damage to the brain and spinal cord. Iron or copper deficiency can cause anemia. (2)
If vitamin or mineral deficiencies are left untreated, it could lead to organ damage
A case report from Harvard General Hospital reported: “Over the course of two months, a 62-year-old man developed numbness and a ‘pins and needles’ sensation in his hands, had trouble walking, experienced severe joint pain, began turning yellow, and became progressively short of breath. The cause was lack of vitamin B12 in his bloodstream.” (3)
It may be hard to believe, but this scenario could have gotten worse if left untreated. He could have experienced severe depression, paranoia, delusions, memory loss, incontinence, and loss of taste and smell. (3)
If you are a strict vegetarian or vegan, the chances of you having some of these deficiencies are high. Vitamin B12 is found in meat, eggs, poultry, and dairy products. Another risk factor for vitamin B12 deficiency is related to weight-loss surgeries. If you have had any form of bariatric surgery, you could be low in vitamin B12 because the operation interferes with your body’s ability to extract this vitamin from food. (3)
If you have had bariatric surgery, are vegetarian or vegan, eat high amounts of processed foods or haphazardly skip meals, you could be at higher risk for vitamin deficiencies!
If you have been haphazardly cutting calories in the form of skipping meals, it is possible that you could be deficient in a number of vitamins and minerals. Eating whole foods frequently throughout the day is the best way to combat deficiencies. If omitting certain food groups, it is essential to seek out a way to replace those vitamins, whether through alternative foods or by supplementing. (2)