Tune into your bodies’ warning signals

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The human body is amazing, and it knows exactly what it needs to function at its optimum. Due to our current Urban-esque lifestyles we are often unable to keep up with the supply of demand for all our nutrients. When our nutritional status drops, signs and symptoms begin to appear.     You can treat these as lovely little clues our bodies are sending us before the situation becomes too dire.

I’ve outlined below the most common signs and symptoms people tend to experience, which specific vitamins and minerals they relate to, as well as food sources of these nutrients.

I am a huge advocate for food as medicine, however if you are severely lacking in certain nutrients there may not be enough in your food to correct the deficiency. Especially conventional, non-organic, food. If this is the case supplementation may be necessary. At least until your levels come back up.

Bear in mind some of these symptoms could have other, more serious causes so always best to check in with your health care professional.


Muscle cramps:

I’m putting this first because it is so, so common. This sign almost always indicates a magnesium deficiency. Apparently over one third of Australians are not getting their recommended daily dose of magnesium.

While muscle cramps may be the sign that you notice, the most common associated symptoms could also include: Agitation and anxiety, restless leg syndrome, irritability, insomnia, and/or muscle spasm and weakness.

Food sources of magnesium: dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, whole grains, avocados, yogurt, bananas, dried fruit, dark chocolate (in the pure form of cacao, not coco).


Cracks at the corners of your mouth:

This often indicates that your body may be lacking some B Vitamins. This is the most common deficiency to affect the mouth and teeth. You may also experience a burning sensation especially on your tongue.

In the rest of your body you are likely to feel tiredness and fatigue, perhaps anxiety and even apathy.

Where to get your B’s: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, chicken, seafood, eggs, wholegrains, lentils, nuts, legumes, bananas, avocados.

These cracks could also indicate an iron deficiency, so if matched with any of the following investigate further to make sure you are not anaemic:

Extreme fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, cold hands and feet, brittle nails, unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances particularly ice, chalk and dirt, poor appetite and/or restless leg syndrome.

Food sources of iron: clams, liver, sunflower seeds, nuts, beef, lamb, beans, whole grains, dark leafy greens (spinach), dark chocolate, and tofu.



There are many, many possible reasons for why your hair may be thinning. Stress often being the number one cause, both emotional stress and physical stress. It could also be due to hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune conditions and/or a lack of protein.

Nutrient wise it is commonly due to a lack of iron and/or b vitamins, particularly Biotin (B7).

Food sources: See above for B Complex, and iron.

Biotin is especially concentrated in dairy products, meat, liver, poultry and oily fish such as salmon and tuna.

… on the flip side hair loss could also be due to an excess of Vitamin A, so you may want to look into how much daily Vitamin A you are getting…



The ridges can either appear as vertical ridges spanning the length of your nail, or horizontal ridges covering the width.

Vertical ridges tend to indicate that there is a weakness in the connective tissue strength of the body. This is associated with low silica, iron and B vitamin levels.

Horizontal ridging is also associated with nutrient deficiencies, but typically as a result of temporary period where the nutrient supply to the nail was disrupted. Often occurring during periods of high emotional or physical stress.

Food sources of silica: Horsetail, oats, barley, alfalfa, millet, chickweed, potatoes and kelp.

Food sources of iron: clams, liver, sunflower seeds, nuts, beef, lamb, beans, whole grains, dark leafy greens (spinach), dark chocolate, and tofu.

Food sources of B’s: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, chicken, seafood, eggs, wholegrains, lentils, nuts, legumes, bananas, avocados.



Another sign of a possible vitamin B deficiency. How important are these guys?! To narrow it down, it could particularly be due a lack of folate (B9), B6 and/or B12. This deficiency has an effect on the peripheral (outer) nerves which can manifest not just in this physical way, but you may also experience anxiety and/or depression. Other physical symptoms could be: fatigue, anemia, and hormonal imbalances.

Remember you can get your B’s from these foods: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, chicken, seafood, eggs, wholegrains, lentils, nuts, legumes, bananas, avocados.

B9 (folate) concentrated foods: Liver, lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, kidney beans.

B6: Silverbeet, eggplant, sunflower seeds, pistachio nuts, kangaroo, chicken, turkey and mutton.

B12: Liver, sardines, mussels, oysters, eggs, scallops, mushrooms, spirulina, cheese, veal, lamb, turkey.



If you recognised any of these signs and symptoms in your own body and would like to get on track to resolve them, you can book in for an appointment with me HERE.

In addition to bodily signs I use a number of other screening tools that can help to identify common nutritional deficiencies including blood work (via your GP) and hair tissue mineral analysis.

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Kirsten Swales

Director and Naturopath at Urban Remedies
Kirsten is a qualified Naturopath, Nutritionist, Medical Herbalist and Yoga Instructor passionate about health. Kirsten loves to help people from all over the world so she is now operating as an Online Naturopath and consultant. It makes her incredibly happy to share her knowledge and help her clients to do all the nourishing things necessary for themselves. Kirsten's areas of expertise include all things Digestive System, such as SIBO, (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), IBS, Bloating, Food Intolerances, Crohns, Celiacs, Candida and Parasites. Bookings can be scheduled through her website (including a complimentary 30 minute Discovery Call).

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