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What happens when you have a lack of vitamins?

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Lack of vitamins can lead to symptoms and signs of vitamin deficiency and anemia; these include fatigue, shortness of breath, pale or yellowish skin and dizziness, notes Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include irregular heartbeat, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, muscle weakness and weight loss. Mental confusion, forgetfulness, unsteady movements and personality changes are also symptomatic of a vitamin deficiency.

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The symptoms of vitamin deficiency develop gradually in time and may take years to surface. When the body doesn't have a sufficient supply of vitamins, it cannot efficiently produce the red blood cells that are needed to transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body, states Mayo Clinic.

Generally, the cause of vitamin deficiency is nutritional, with the diet missing the right components to get the vitamins the body needs. However, megaloblastic anemia can also cause vitamin deficiency. Folate deficiency anemia is one such anemia that centers on a lack of vitamin B9 that is found in leafy greens and fruits. When people don't eat enough of these foods or if they have a disease that keeps the body from absorbing folate, vitamin deficiency can occur. Vitamin B12 and vitamin C anemias also cause deficiency symptoms.

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