A graying part
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock Possible deficiency: Copper
If your part is looking unexpectedly silver lately, check your copper intake. “Copper plays a role in melanin production, which is what gives hair its color,” says Olivia Wagner, MS, RDN, LDN, of Aligned Modern Health, a group of functional wellness centers in Chicago. Consider getting your copper levels tested if your hair is going gray quickly or surprisingly early (like in your 20s without a family history). Canned clams, oysters, and mushrooms are all go-to sources. These are the vitamins you need to take at every age.
Cracks and sores in your mouth
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock Possible deficiency: B12
If your body needs more B12, you may notice that you’re getting ulcer-like lesions in your mouth or cracks on the sides. “I see people come in with this who have a B12 deficiency,” says Wagner. To correct that, she’ll look into a possible supplement, as well as advise adding more B12 sources into the diet. Get more poultry, (lean) red meat, and eggs. If you’re vegetarian, it’s a bit more of a challenge, but it’s doable with fortified foods, like non-dairy milk, cereal, and nutritional yeast. Here are more nutrients you could be missing if you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Bumps on the backs of arms
Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com, shutterstock Possible deficiency: Zinc and vitamin A
If your arms aren’t super smooth but you don’t know why—and treating the bumps, a condition called keratosis pilaris, isn’t working well—something could be missing from your diet. “Many patients have these little red bumps that don’t itch. I always look at their zinc and vitamin A levels,” says Small. That’s because both nutrients are vital for maintaining skin health, and play key roles in wound repair. To get enough, you can find zinc in poultry, hummus, and pumpkin seeds. Get vitamin A from sweet potatoes and cantaloupe. These are the best vitamins for your skin.