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What are your symptoms saying?
The human body is the pinnacle of creation, perfect in design and function with infinitely
complicated yet efficient mechanisms of assimilation, cleansing, repair mechanisms, thought
processes etc - the list of the wondrous abilities of the body are literally endless.
These amazing bodies are extremely efficient in indicating to us by means of physical
manifestations, nutrient deficiency states, underlying disease conditions and early warning signs
of possible future illness. Exploring some of the ways the body is able to communicate can often
be extremely helpful in diagnosing a potential underlying health problem.
Widely recognized symptoms of nutrient deficiency, excess and toxicity in each major body
system manifest in different ways, however it‟s extremely important to recognize that:
1. Dietary deficiencies rarely occur in isolation; if you're deficient in one nutrient, you're likely
to be deficient in others as well, for example, a diet low in protein is also often low in iron,
zinc, thiamin and vitamin B6.
2. A definitive diagnosis is very rarely made based on observation of a single symptom.
Many different nutrient deficiencies cause similar symptoms. For instance, deficiencies of
B1, B6 and potassium are all associated with mental confusion, as is lead toxicity; but
these are not the only causes of mental confusion. Lack of sleep, drug use, brain injury,
and organic brain disease would all need to be ruled out before you could point to a
deficiency or excess of any one nutrient. It is very important to keep these points in mind
when reviewing the following symptoms and if you are in any way concerned, to visit your
health-care provider as this article is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice.
The Head
Right from the very top of our heads to the tips of our toes – our bodies “speak” to us. We can
address these for the most part completely naturally, and avoid others entirely by taking care to
prevent deficiencies occurring in the first place.
Dandruff is often due to yeast overgrowth and/or a deficiency in essential fatty acids, Vitamin B6
and/or selenium. You could follow this regimen daily to alleviate the problem:
3g omega-3 fish oil
200mcg Selenium
600mcg Biotin
Include an anti-fungal such as grapefruit seed extract or olive leaf if yeast overgrowth is present,
and eliminate or seriously limit the amount of sugary foods you eat. A good, strong probiotic
would also be advisable.
Hair loss: Ruling out chemotherapy, stress, hormonal factors and male-pattern baldness –
unexplained hair loss is frequently a protein deficiency where increasing animal protein usually
makes a difference in quality and quantity within a few months. A low fat diet can also lead to
significant hair-thinning – another reason to reassess the fat-crazed world we live in where fat has
become the enemy. Healthy fats are so essential to good health, and your hair is a reflection
very often of the status of these healthy fats in your body.
The Face
Veins on cheeks may indicate digestive enzyme insufficiency or low stomach acid. Try a
hydrochloric acid supplement (betaine HCL) before the largest meal of the day and a digestive
enzyme half way through your meal. (Please do not take HCL if you have an ulcer).
The Eyes
Pale inside lower eyelid instead of pinky-red, may mean you are anaemic. Always have a blood
test to confirm this – and if you are deficient, consider a natural iron supplement, B Complex and
a B12 injection or tablets. Nettle tea is also a great natural iron booster.
Dark circles under the eyes usually indicate food allergies, an iron deficiency and/or possible
weak kidneys. Find out which foods you are intolerant to and rotate your foods by not eating the
same few favourite foods day in and day out. Foods which help kidney function include fish,
legumes, quinoa, barley, walnuts, onions, garlic, fennel, chlorella, parsley and beetroot. The
most common foods causing intolerances include dairy products, wheat, gluten, sugar and eggs.
Dry eyes can sometimes be a symptom of severe fatigue. The eyelid glands secrete special oils,
water and something called mucin, each time we blink. Staring at a computer or monitor for
extended periods of time can actually slow down your „blink rate‟, leading to visual fatigue, and
often dry eyes. Another common reason for this condition, especially in older people, is a simple
GLA, EPA and DHA deficiency. Taking a gram of borage oil daily with a good quality fish oil (3g
or so) daily usually sorts this out within a few days. As the body ages, so liquid secretions dry up.
Low-fat diets don‟t do much to help the body here, and eating healthy fats, in sensible amounts, is
a wonderful way not only to address dry eyes, but keep the entire body healthy.
The Mouth
Cracks in the corners are a sign of vitamin B2 deficiency. Take a vitamin B Complex
supplement that contains B2 (riboflavin) of about 50mg daily and eat plenty of dark green leafy
vegetables, almonds, parsley and wheat germ.
A puffy lower lip - unless you have been injected with collagen to give your lips a fuller
appearance, a puffy lower lip indicates digestive stagnation or constipation. Digestive enzymes
make a difference, drink warm herbal teas and eat hearty vegetable soups.
Bleeding gums are a sign of vitamin C deficiency. 2g a day of Vitamin C will quickly take care of
this providing there is no underlying gum disease.
The Tongue
There are many other „tongue‟ symptoms, but these are probably the most common ones. Bear
in mind the tongue should be smooth, supple and slightly moist with a pale red colour and an
extremely thin, hardly noticeable, white film on the surface.
Midline crack which doesn‟t reach the tip: weak stomach acid and poor digestion. This would
indicate general nutrient depletion and may be remedied by taking a digestive enzyme with meals
to aid digestion.
Teeth marks round the sides of the tongue are also a sign of nutritional deficiency. This also
indicates impaired digestion and a possible spleen deficiency, often manifested in gas and
bloating. Foods to nourish the spleen include oats, mung beans, parsley, chicken, fish, pumpkin
and carrots.
A sore tongue is a sure sign of nutrient deficiency: often iron, vitamin B6 or B3, B12 – or all of
these. It is a good idea to get your iron levels tested (blood test), and to take a strong B Complex
with perhaps a vitamin B12 injection for added effect.
A burning tongue indicates a lack of gastric juices in the stomach, and often stomach trouble of
some sort or another is also present with this symptom. Drinking a cup of dandelion tea twice
daily can help to alleviate this, but in addition try a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar before each
meal and Betaine Hydrochloride/HCL (hydrochloric acid) tablets to help to adjust the gastric
juices in the stomach. (Don‟t take HCL if you have an ulcer). If the burning is due to a localized
candida albicans infection in the mouth, opening a high-quality probiotic capsule into the mouth
and gargling with it for a few minutes quickly eradicates the problem.
Swollen tongue and/or thick white coating are indicators that there is too much mucus in the
body. They also indicate a lack of beneficial bacteria and also possibly an elevation of yeasts. Try
cutting down on dairy products, use a powerful probiotic supplement with several strains and take
a Pau d‟Arco supplement or tea.
A red tip of the tongue could indicate emotional stress or strain. You may have an excess of
stress hormones flowing through your system due to prolonged stress - the herb Rhodiola is an
excellent supplement to take in this case.
Horizontal cracks, small cracks or grooves are sometimes referred to as a “geographic
tongue”. This is a sign of malabsorption of nutrients, particularly B vitamins, and is usually
accompanied by lethargy. Cracks like this take a long time to develop, so a good vitamin B
Complex (50mg of each B twice a day) is recommended together with a digestive enzyme
supplement with meals. Slippery elm or peppermint tea will help calm the stomach, while nettle
tea will further help fortify the body with B vitamins.
A thick yellow coating on the tongue indicates excess mucous in the digestive tract and a
deficiency of healthy bacteria. If the coating is primarily at the back of the tongue, your colon
needs attention – your bowels are probably not working as well as they should be. Stress is often
to blame.
Apparently a good way to tell whether a person has just had a stroke is to get them to stick their
tongue out. If it‟s crooked and leans awkwardly to one side, it could be an indication that they
have had, or are having, a stroke.
Arms & Legs
Tender spots where the shoulder meets the arm could be an indication of vitamin B12
deficiency, often seen in vegetarians who don‟t eat meat. Try B12 sublingual lozenges
(1000mcg daily).
Small pimply bumps on the arm are frequently a long-standing essential fatty acid
deficiency, remedied by taking 3g fish oil daily. B Complex also helps this condition, and
digestive enzymes help with nutrient absorption in such long-standing deficiency states.
Red spots on the front of the thigh could be a possible vitamin A deficiency, but also appear
to be linked to an omega-3 deficiency, where fish oil is helpful. Taking cod liver oil provides
the DHA and EPA from fish oil, plus some added Vitamin A.
Painful knee or knees may be an indication that you could have widespread vitamin and
mineral deficiencies, provided this is not an injury. Try taking 400mcg selenium and 400iu of
vitamin E for three months and a good all-round multivitamin.
Sore lower leg bone when pressed is an indicator of vitamin and mineral deficiency. A
healthy diet needs to be embarked upon, with a basic supplement regimen of vitamin C, fish oil
and a good multivitamin.
Leg cramps may mean your magnesium levels are low and often a supplement of 400-600mg
will address this problem very swiftly together with green leafy vegetables which are naturally
high in magnesium.
Varicose veins could be an indication of nutritional deficiencies and/or congestion in the liver.
Try vitamin E (400iu daily), bioflavonoids (500mg daily) and magnesium (600mg daily). Spider
veins seem to respond really well to proanthocyanidins, MSM and Ester C supplementation.
Fingernails can be a fascinating gauge of overall health. For instance, spoon-shaped nails may
be inherited or they could indicate thyroid insufficiency or iron deficiency anemia. Nails that have
no 'moon," or white crescent at the base, and are thin and brittle might indicate an under-active
thyroid. Naturally it‟s impossible to „diagnose‟ a problem by looking at nails alone, however nails
may give us early warning signs and checking these out with your healthcare provider may be a
good idea if you are worried about any of the following symptoms:
Brittleness – may indicate impaired circulation; possible deficiency of vitamins A, C, or B6,
niacin, calcium, or iron; thyroid insufficiency
Pitting – eczema and psoriasis sufferers often have this problem
Ridges – if not heredity, this occurs as we age, but could also be an early sign of weak kidneys
or lowered thyroid activity
Nail lifts off nail bed – may be due to fungus, iron deficiency or psoriasis
Spoon-shaped – thyroid insufficiency or iron-deficiency anaemia
Some skin symptoms are difficult to diagnose even by specialists, but the following few examples
may help to demystify some of the more common skin complaints:
Dry, blackened skin (pellagra) – this is due to a niacin (Vitamin B3) deficiency. A good B
Complex twice a day usually addresses this condition. It may take time though, and if more B3 is
needed, it‟s a good idea to have your liver enzymes tested and looked at by a health professional
from time to time to avoid overdoing it.
Dry, scaly skin – indicates deficiencies in essential fatty acids (omega-3 mainly), vitamin E or
biotin. Generally with the low-fat fad, people are eating too much of the damaged fats, and too
few of the good fats, as fat is perceived to be „bad‟. Nothing could be further from the truth, and
in this case including avocados, raw nuts, seeds and fish in the diet in generous proportions will
soon show on the skin. By eating “diet” food, you may be taking in enormous amounts of
damaged fats and chemicals which actually rob the body of the important nutrients responsible
for a smooth skin. Of course it goes without saying adequate water intake is pivotal to smooth
skin tone.
Greasy, scaly skin – is due to riboflavin (Vitamin B2) deficiency. This is often observed in
teenagers – they have both scaly and greasy skin at the same time. Taking a good B Complex
high in the Bs can often make a difference.
Dry – stands up when pinched – this is a sign of a severely dehydrated body, and more water
will eventually sort this condition out. Cross-linking (wrinkles) and premature ageing are also an
indication of too few antioxidants. Water and antioxidants are a powerful recipe for healthy skin.
Skin rash – may be a B6 deficiency, though there are many reasons for rashes.
Delayed wound healing – deficiencies of vitamins A, C and zinc.
In the end what you put into your mouth becomes who you are – flesh, bone, skin and hair.
Perfect health forever is out of our reach, but an improved level of health is attainable by virtually
everyone by eating a sensible whole food diet, avoiding toxins, eliminating refined and processed
food, getting enough water and sleep, and finding peace in your life. Take care of your body and
it will take care of you, displaying the outward signs of inner health for all to see - healthy hair,
smooth skin and clear, bright eyes.