Check out this list of deficiency symptoms to see if you are lacking in some nutrients.


By Walter Last

Eye, hair, nail, mouth and skin symptoms are among the early outward warning signs of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The following compilations may help in diagnosing and treating these deficiencies. However, increased metabolic requirements for indicated deficiencies may persist for a long time after the outward symptoms have disappeared. Many listed symptoms may also be caused or aggravated by allergies and problems with the blood sugar and fat metabolism.

The right-hand column gives the primary deficiencies first, additional treatment or cause is given in parentheses. For each condition only the more prominent nutrients are mentioned. However, all the typical nutrients should be supplied in increased amounts in the treatment of all conditions.

Eye-deficiency Symptoms


Deficiency / treatment / cause

Bitot's spots - foamy patches on conjunctiva

vitamin A

Bloodshot eyes

boric acid for fungus infection, blue light

Blurred vision

vitamins B2, B6, pantothenic acid

Bulging eyes

vitamin E, nicotinamide, iodine

Cataracts (lens becomes opaque)

vitamins B2, C, E, antioxidants (avoid lactose)


vitamin A


vitamins A, B2, C (B6, zinc)


vitamins E, C, B1, (allergy testing)

Dark spots in front of the eyes

vitamins B6, C, zinc (liver problems)

Dim vision (amblyopia)

vitamins B1, B2, C, B12 (allergy testing)

Dry, hard eyeballs (xerophthalmia)

vitamin A

Farsightedness (hyperopia)

magnesium, potassium, MSM


magnesium, vitamin C (B2, B1,salt)

Hemorrhaging in the back of the eye (retinitis)

vitamin B6, zinc, bioflavonoids (also magnesium, vitamins C, B2, B12, E, pantothenate)

Infected, ulcerating eyes (keratomalacia)

vitamin A (vitamins C, B2, B6, zinc, blue light, boric acid)

Itching, burning, watery, sandy eyes

vitamin B2

Macular degeneration

vitamins A, B2, B6, magnesium, zinc, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, esp. lutein & zeaxanthin, ginkgo biloba, bilberry, eyebright, MSM, EFA

Near-sightedness (myopia)

chromium, vitamins C, E, D, calcium (proteins, avoid sugars)

Night blindness (nyctalopia)

vitamins A, (B2, B6, zinc)

Red blood vessels in the sclera

vitamin B2

Retinal detachment

zinc, vitamins B6, B2, C, E, A

Sensitive eyes, fear of strong light (photophobia)

vitamins B2, A

Tics of eyelids

magnesium, vitamins B2, B6, zinc

Skin-deficiency Symptoms


Deficiency / Treatment / Cause


vitamins A, E, B2, B6, C, niacin, biotin, zinc, EFA*, lecithin, MSM, retinoic acid topically (minimize sweet food & fats)

Addison's disease - adrenal exhaustion: increased tanning, especially on skin-folds, scars, elbows, knees; black freckles

all B vitamins, especially pantothenic acid; vitamin C; all minerals, digestive enzymes, allergy testing, avoid sweet food

Arterial spiders (fine branching arteries on face, neck, chest)

antioxidants, bioflavonoids, glucosamine, cartilage, calcium


vitamins C, E


vitamin E

Brown discoloration around small joints

vitamin B12

Brown skin spots

antioxidants (weak liver)

Dry skin

vitamins A, C, EFA

Eczema, skin ulcers

vitamin C, B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, EFA, allergy test, cleanse

Eczema, infantile

EPA, zinc, vitamin B6


vitamin B6, zinc (also vitamin C, magnesium, avoid salt)

Fingers white, numb, stiff, swellings (Raynaud's disease)

vitamins B6, B1, antioxidants, niacin, magnesium/calcium, EFA

Fungus infections (e.g. athlete's foot, ringworm)

B vitamins, (external tea tree oil, intestinal sanitation)


vitamins C, E, B1 , magnesium chloride, (urine packs)

Greasy dermatitis around eyes, nose

vitamin B6, zinc

Greasy skin eruptions (seborrhea)

vitamin B2

Horny red skin on pressure areas (e.g. knees, elbows)

zinc (vitamin B6)

Hot flushes

vitamin E, boron, magnesium, calcium (Wild Yam cream)

Ichthyosis (fish-like scales)

vitamin A, retinoic acid topically, MSM

Infant dermatitis with inflamed pustules around body openings

vitamin B6, zinc

Infections of the skin (boils, cold sores, impetigo, and so on)

vitamins C, A, B6, zinc, magnesium chloride (hot Epsom-salt packs, tea tree oil or propolis rubs)


vitamins B, C, EFA, alkalizer, bicarbonate rubs, (allergy tests)


vitamins C, E, A, B12, B6, lecithin, magnesium, zinc (blue light therapy, treat gall bladder & liver)

Keratosis, horny, goose-pimple-like skin

vitamin A internally & externally

Lemon-yellow skin

vitamin B12

Oily skin, white-heads

vitamin B2

Over-sensitivity to sunlight

vitamin B6, zinc, PABA, beta-carotene, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, alkalizers

Pale skin

biotin, folic acid, vitamin B6, , iron (anemia)

Prickly-heat rash

vitamin C


as for acne; blue light, sunlight; avoid gluten

Purplish or blue-black skin areas

vitamin C, B2, bioflavonoids


allergy test, alkalizers, vitamin C, calcium

Red-brown, often symmetrical discoloration of skin exposed to the sun, later ulceration

niacin or nicotinamide (folic acid)

Red-brown or dark-red spots


Rosacea (redness of part of face)

vitamin B2

Scaly dermatitis


Scaly eczema around nose, ears, scrotum, vulva

vitamin B2

Scar tissue

vitamin E, MSM externally & internally, camphorated oil rub

Scleroderma (hardening and swelling of skin)

vitamin E, C, A, PABA, MSM, magnesium chloride (zapper, pulser and parasite therapy, tea tree oil packs)

Sensitivity to insect bites

vitamin C, B1, calcium, alkalizers, bicarbonate rub/bath


vitamins B12, C, A, B, E, zinc, lysine, zinc oxide lotion, zapper

Skin cancer

vitamins A, B6, PABA, antioxidants, bioflavonoids, carotenes, chlorophyll, propolis, zinc (blue light, escharotics)

Skin-folds red, infected



vitamins E, B6, zinc

Subcutaneous bleeding (red or purplish spots under the skin, bruises easily)

vitamin C, bioflavonoids and rutin, grape seed extract, glucosamine, alkalizer

Swellings (for example, face)

zinc, magnesium, vitamins B6, B12

Vaginal itching

vitamins B2, E, C (avoid synthetic underwear, treat Candida)

Warts, moles

vitamins C, A, E

Weals on the skin (urticaria)

vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin C, (alkalizer, allergy test)

White skin patches (vitiligo)

PABA, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, zinc

Wrinkles or aging skin

vitamins C, E, A, EFA, bioflavonoids (too much sun)

* Most skin conditions benefit from external as well as internal application of the indicated nutrients. Retinioc acid is the acid form of vitamin A. EFA means essential fatty acids, mainly linoleic and linolenic acid; recommended are ground-linseed, linseed oil, fish oils and Evening-primrose oil.

Hair and Nail Deficiency Symptoms


Deficiency treatment cause

Coarse, brittle hair



vitamins B2, B6, zinc, magnesium, biotin

Dry hair

vitamin A, zinc

Graying hair

folic acid, pantothenic acid, PABA, biotin, minerals (weak adrenals, avoid sweet food)


vitamin C, folic acid, proteins

Hair loss

copper/lead contamination: use zinc, vitamin B6, sulfur (MSM), selenium, biotin

Nails opaque, white spots/bands

zinc, vitamin B6

Oily hair

vitamin B2

Peeling nails

vitamins A, C, calcium

Ridges on nails, longitudinal

vitamin A, protein, calcium (anemia, poor circulation, thyroid/parathyroid glands)

Ridges on nails, transverse

fever, infection, inflammation, menstrual problems, period of protein deficiency

Scaling of cuticle or lips


With graying hair or hair loss improve the circulation to the scalp, e.g. daily inversion such as headstand, shoulder-stand, hanging upside down or using a slant-board. Also vigorously rubbing nourishing or slightly irritating solutions into the scalp, e.g. fresh grass or vegetable juice, MSM with copper salicylate, ginger juice.

Tongue and Mouth Deficiency Symptoms

Mouth problems are often due to amalgam fillings, allergies or Candida infestation (thrush).


Deficiency treatment cause

Beefy, enlarged tongue

pantothenic acid

Burning, sore tongue

vitamins B2, B6, B12, niacin

Cracked lips & corners of the mouth (cheilosis)

vitamins B2, B6, folic acid

Distended, purplish-blue veins under the tongue

vitamin B2 (circulation poor, congested)

Edema or tooth-marks on tongue


Furrowed tongue

vitamin B1, pantothenic acid

Gums receding, bleeding (gingivitis)

vitamin C, bioflavonoids, calcium, alkalizers

Halitosis (bad breath)

vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, propolis, chlorophyll (cleansing, intestinal sanitation)

Mouth ulcers, canker

folic acid, vitamin B6, zinc (alkalize, allergy test)

Papillae prominent or erased


Purplish or magenta tongue or lips, also veins under the tongue

vitamin B2

Tongue red at tip or edges; severe deficiency: whole tongue scarlet red, sore

niacin (vitamin B6)

Tongue shiny, smooth, beefy; early sign: strawberry-red tip/sides

vitamin B12, folic acid

Tongue too small or too large

niacin, pantothenic acid

White-coated tongue

intestinal putrefaction, cleansing

White patches on tongue

vitamin B2 and other B vitamins (allergy)

Yellowish-brown-coated tongue

liver or gall bladder problems