Am I deficient in something?

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Uller
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Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254689 Uller
Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:00 pm

I suspect I may have a deficiency in my diet, but I'm not sure what. I became vegetarian about 6 months and, although I'm trying to do it properly, maybe I'm missing something.

Over the last couple of weeks, my skin has become very dry and rough on my thighs & arms. My nails are breaking more than usual and I'm suddenly looking a lot older than I used to! I've had skin problems in the past and my nails go through phases of breaking more easily (normally very strong) but I am more aware now that my diet is probably causing it.

Any suggestions?
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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254690 Green Aura
Wed Feb 22, 2012 11:29 pm

I suppose one thing might be calcium, are you drinking milk and eating cheese?

The other thing is what cooking fat/oil are you using. There is one school of thought that says avoid oils like sunflower and only use olive oil and butter, if you're still eating dairy. If you're restricting your diet I don't think low fat as well is a good idea.

Other than that make sure you're eating as broad a diet as you can - lots of colours.

The other thing to remember is that it's winter and cold winds, central heating etc can be very drying to your skin. So using extra moisturiser might help.
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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254692 Paul_C
Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:59 am

my sister was vegan for a while. she got like that. basicaly her GP gave her the choice. eat meat or die. she simply could not get the protein from other sources because of her diet.

if you are vegan would you consider a less strict diest or looking at a wayof increasing protien

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254695 contadina
Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:45 am

I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years and very occasionally I get two separate cravings, for avocado and walnuts. My guess is that it's a craving for the oil in both of those, which I lack in my diet every now and then.

Dry skin and brittle nails are a symptom of not getting enough Omega 3, so add flaxseed to your diet (I think that's when I crave walnuts) and get hold of some echium seed oil. I eat a lot of purslane when it's growing too as it has more Omega 3 than any other plant.

As GA says make sure you are eating sufficient dairy products and remember to eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables too as they are very calcium-rich.
Last edited by contadina on Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254701 JuzaMum
Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:18 am

Paul_C wrote:my sister was vegan for a while. she got like that. basicaly her GP gave her the choice. eat meat or die. she simply could not get the protein from other sources because of her diet.


Grrr, statements like that make me mad :angryfire:
I have a vegetarian diet, am dairy intolerent and I don't like eggs (yuk slimy) so an almost vegan diet. I am healthy (OK a little overweight) and have healthy children. During pregnancy my midwife said my iron levels were very good and better than many meat eaters. My calcium levels have been tested - again good. Absorbtion of calcium from dairy can be very poor. I do take a supplement when pregnant or breastfeeding as I feel that is a big demand on my body.

Many people would benefit from a little dietary help in the form of vitamins/supplements meateaters and veggies alike.

I would agree with Contadina except about the dairy and would suggest trying a vegan multivit.

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254708 flower_hercules
Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:21 am

I can't recomment taking a Multi B vit enough: I struggled on a vegie diet for 14 years, going back to meat eating for about a year twice; similar skin problems and lethargy. Docs always said I would be low in iron/calcium or protein, but when I did a nutritional analysis while studying as a fitness instructor, I realised all my levels in those were good. The one thing lacking - B vits.

I can understand that many people don't like or approve of suppliments, but a vegie/vegan diet, although not un-natural, isn't the easiest way to otain all the nutrients we need.

B vitamins (12 and 6) come from yeast. In livestock the yeast is prodced by fermeting vegetation in the gut, and stored in the muscle. So meat has the highest concentraion of B vits. We don't ferment food in the same way and so can't produce B vits ourselves.

We can get B vits from yeast based products such as marmite, and in fortified cereals, but we would have to eat rather a lot, so a B vitamin is always a good back up. (and folic acid, preferably straight from lots of leafy greens, to help absorb it).

Generally speaking, a healthy western diet has plenty, if not too much protien, and a balanced vegie diet will provide ample iron and calcium. Its the B vits we aren't getting. I hope you like marmite!

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254715 Uller
Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:37 pm

Thanks for the suggestions.

Yes, still eating milk & cheese. Probably not enough leafy greens, so I'll up that. I've been adding flaxseeds to my breakfast for the last 6 months, but only recently discovered that they should be ground to get maximum omega benefits, so switched to ground a couple of weeks ago. Only use olive oil & butter. Love avocado, so will eat more of that too. Also love marmite - just need to think of ways of getting more of it into my diet, rather than it just being on toast! I would normally be eating fortified bran flakes for breakfast but am in Portugal at the moment and can only find one brand occasionally, so am probably missing out there. However, I did find nutritional yeast yesterday so will be adding that to increase B vitamins.

I completely disagree with 'eat meat or die' - that just shows a lack of education on the GP's part. If Carl Lewis can have the most successful year of his athletics career after becoming vegan, I am fairly confident that it is possible to have a healthy vegetarian diet. I've had occasional problems with my skin and nails all life and for 39 years I ate meat! I used to put it down to stress - it is only now that I am paying more attention to my diet as I am learning about the healthy way to be vegetarian (i.e. replace the meat with alternative sources of protein, rather than just cutting it out) that I've realised that it is more likely to be what I eat!

I'll look into a supplement, although not until I get back to the UK in a few months where I can understand what is written on the label (travelling around Europe at the moment). Until then, I'll add in all the things that have been suggested and see how I go.

One last question - how long would it take to see a change in skin & nail condition? i.e. if I'm seeing poor condition now, does that mean that the deficiency started 1, 2, 3 months ago? And, once I get the balance right, how long until I see an improvement?

Thanks again for your suggestions.
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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254884 flower_hercules
Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:37 pm

Uller wrote: I've been adding flaxseeds to my breakfast for the last 6 months, but only recently discovered that they should be ground to get maximum omega benefits, so switched to ground a couple of weeks ago. Also love marmite - just need to think of ways of getting more of it into my diet, rather than it just being on toast!

One last question - how long would it take to see a change in skin & nail condition? i.e. if I'm seeing poor condition now, does that mean that the deficiency started 1, 2, 3 months ago? And, once I get the balance right, how long until I see an improvement?

Thanks again for your suggestions.


The flax really works! possibly better than suppliment pills- I can miss the pills but I notice a difference if I miss the flax (and wheatgerm powder too BTW).

My BF puts marmite on toast topped with cheese or beans; can't say I like it though.

Yes the deficency would have started some months ago. Nails are something like 6 months of old growth (I may be wrong there, but I'ms ure thats what I read). So nails will take that time to improve, but your skin could take as little as a week. I went vegan, and started taking multi B vitamins and within a fortnight people were commenting on how great my skin was.

Good luck with it!

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #254901 fifi folle
Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:41 pm

random though, if you've had these problems before changing your diet maybe ask your doctor to check your thyroid? I have no medical qualifications, this is just a thought.

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #255080 the.fee.fairy
Sun Feb 26, 2012 10:07 am

As much as it goes against all healthy living advice, try getting more oil in your diet.

When I'm in the UK my nails break and my skin gets dry, but here in China my nails grow strong and long and my skin revitalises and i firmly put it down to the amount of oil in the diet. There's a lot more oil used here (usually veg oil of some kind...I can't read the label).

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #255082 wigan pixie
Sun Feb 26, 2012 11:06 am

I've been a veggie since being very young, because I just didn't like the taste/texture of meat or fish. I also occasionally suffer from eczema and when my eczema flares up, it's usually because I'm being a bit lazy with my diet. Do your nails have white spots and are you feeling more anxious too? If so, I would look at your zinc and/or magnesium levels. Either one or the other is usually the culprit with me. When I notice my skin/hair/nails/anxiety/concentration are not quite right, I usually take a Spirulina + zinc supplement for a few days and everything goes back to normal. I would take it every day if I could afford it, as the one I take isn't cheap. I was recommended to try it by my doctor when I refused HRT and couldn't believe how well it worked for my menopausal symptoms and the effect it had on all manner of other little things. Just give it a try for a month and see how you get on.
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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #264091 sda
Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:56 pm

It IS possible that now your diet has changed, there might be an excess of something that is causing the problem. From recent personal experience, I would seriously suggest you go for a blood test to find out if there is too little or too much of a mineral or vitamin in your diet and resolve the problem (or rule that type of problem out) once and for all. Whichever it is, it could end up doing some damage (which may well be reversible) if left too long whilst you try out this and that.

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #264102 demi
Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:02 pm

sda wrote:It IS possible that now your diet has changed, there might be an excess of something that is causing the problem. From recent personal experience, I would seriously suggest you go for a blood test to find out if there is too little or too much of a mineral or vitamin in your diet and resolve the problem (or rule that type of problem out) once and for all. Whichever it is, it could end up doing some damage (which may well be reversible) if left too long whilst you try out this and that.



The thing about vitamins though is if you dont use them, you loose them, and your body just pees them out. The majority of the vitamins you ingest though vitamin pills just pass straight through you and you pee them out. Which is why its a waste of money, much better getting all your nutirtion from real food in your diet, instead of manufactured pills created to make a quick buck. The vitamin pill supplement industry is a multi-million industry, praying on peoples' health worries.

Making sure you are consuming enough foods from all the food groups; dairy and eggs which cantain those all important B vitamins , freah fruits and veg for the vitamins, beans and pulses along with eggs for protein, and healthy fats.
Fats in your diet definetly improve your hair and nail quality. We gave oil to the dog mixed in with her food, recomended by the vet, because she had dry skin and frizzy hair, now shes all smooth and shiney and much healthier looking.
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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #264106 chickenchargrill
Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:35 pm

Do you cook things like veggie bolognaise or stews? When I was veggie I always added a teaspoon of yeast extract in with the cooking when I could. Obviously be careful with anything else you might add that has salt in.

If the nail bed looks whiter than normal, it's possibly lack of iron.

Do you get any spots/rash on your arms/legs around the top as well as the dry skin, kind of like goosebumps? If you do, it may be that you have a mild form of keratosis pilaris so look at your vitamin a and omega 3 intake. If I want to get rid of mine, I have to take so many omega 3 tablets - not fish oil though as it would bump vitamin A up to a dangerous level if I took enough to get all the Omega-3 I needed.

The symptoms you've described will hopefully be down to a few deficiencies you can sort yourself, but keep an eye on it as those can be a symptom of thyroid problems and other things.

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Re: Am I deficient in something?

Post: #264110 fifi folle
Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:18 pm

chickenchargrill wrote:Do you get any spots/rash on your arms/legs around the top as well as the dry skin, kind of like goosebumps? If you do, it may be that you have a mild form of keratosis pilaris so look at your vitamin a and omega 3 intake. If I want to get rid of mine, I have to take so many omega 3 tablets - not fish oil though as it would bump vitamin A up to a dangerous level if I took enough to get all the Omega-3 I needed.

I've not heard of a link between keratosis pilaris and vit a/omega 3, I'd been putting mine down to hormones. It developed in my teens, calmed down for years then it came back with a vengence when pregnant with my son, stayed during BFing and am now pregnant again. My arms look awful! Sunshine used to help but we've not had much of that here this year!!!


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