Shocker List; Continued 2


75 to 85% of diets deficient: average diet contains 50 to 60% of RDA. Symptoms of deficiency include anxiety, confusion, heart attack, depression, hyperactivity, insomnia, nervousness, menstrual migraines, muscular irritability, restlessness, weakness. *Pain and stress can deplete your magnesium levels, so living with chronic pain increases your body’s need for magnesium. Consumption of alcohol increases the body’s need for magnesium. Eating large amounts of fats decrease magnesium absorption.

Found in most foods but richest sources in: dairy products, fish, meat, seafood. Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, cantaloupe, dulse, figs, garlic, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, kelp, lemons, lima beans, nuts, peaches, salmon, sesame seeds, soybeans, tofu, watercress, wheat, and whole grains.

Para amino benzoic acid

Deficiency of PABA may lead to depression, fatigue, gastrointestinal disorders, graying of the hair, irritability, nervousness, and patchy areas of white skin. *Sulfa drugs might cause a deficiency of PABA.

Found in: kidney, liver, molasses, mushrooms, spinach, and whole grains.


Commonly deficient in elderly. Extremely important to prevent stroke, and together with magnesium, helps prevent kidney stones. Deficiency symptoms include abnormally dry skin, acne, cognitive impairment, constipation, depression, diarrhea, edema, excessive water consumption, fatigue, fluctuations in heartbeat, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol levels, insomnia, low blood pressure, mental apathy, muscle weakness, nervousness, poor reflexes, salt retention. A high intake of caffeine or tobacco inhibits the absorption of potassium. Stress increases the body’s potassium requirements.

Found in: dairy foods, fish, fruit, legumes, meat, poultry, vegetables, whole grains. High amounts in apricot, avocado, banana, lima bean, blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, brown rice, dates, dulse, figs, dried fruit, garlic, nuts, potatoes, raisins, spinach, wheat bran, yams, and yogurt.


Deficiency symptoms include: anemia, fatigue, growth impairment, high cholesterol levels, increased incidence of cancer, pancreatic insufficiency (inability to secrete adequate amounts of digestive enzymes), immune impairment, liver impairment, male sterility, myalgia. Selenium is important to take as a supplement if one is suffering from thyroiditis, symptoms of which include tense depression, trouble swallowing pills, sleep disturbances, mood issues.

Found in: meat and grains, depending on the selenium content in the soil. American and New Zealand farm lands are low in selenium, resulting in selenium deficient produce. Richest sources in: brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, brown rice, chicken, dairy products, dulse, garlic, kelp, liver, molasses, onions, salmon, seafood, tuna, vegetables, wheat germ, and whole grains.

Vitamin C

An antioxidant required for at least 300 metabolic functions in the body. 20% to 50% of diets deficient. Symptoms of deficiency include: bleeding gums, catching colds and bronchial infections often, depression, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, loose teeth, malaise, tiredness. *A high intake of caffeine inhibits the absorption of vitamin C. Smoking causes serious depletion of vitamin C from the body. Other things that may reduce the amount of vitamin C in the body: analgesics, antidepressants, anticoagulants, oral contraceptives, and steroids.

Found in: berries, citrus fruits, green vegetables. Also in avocado, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, dulse, mangos, onions, papaya, green pea, sweet pepper, persimmon, radishes, rose hips.

Vitamin D

Common deficiency in the elderly. Those with lowest levels of vitamin D are eleven times more likely to be depressed than those with normal levels. This deficiency is associated with over 30 diseases; that’s how important vitamin D is to your health24. Deficiency symptoms include: burning sensation in mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, myopia, nervousness, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, scalp, sweating.

Found in: fish liver oils, fatty saltwater fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and halibut, dairy products, eggs, butter, dandelion greens, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, vegetable oils. Your body can make vitamin D from exposure to 15 minutes of sunlight without sunscreen, three times a week.

24. Wilkins Consuelo H., Sheline Yvette I, et. al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with low mood and worse cognitive performance in older adults.” The American journal of geriatric psychiatry. 2006, vol. 14, no12, pp. 1032-1040.

Vitamin E, the tocopherols

Signs of deficiency can include infertility, menstrual problems, neuromuscular impairment, shortened red blood cell lifespan, miscarriage, and uterine degeneration. “Major depression is associated with defective antioxidant defenses. Vitamin E is the major fat soluble antioxidant in the body. Major depression is accompanied by significantly lower serum vitamin E concentrations, suggesting lower antioxidant defenses against lipid peroxidation.25

Found in: cold pressed vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

25. Maes, Michael, De Vos, Nathalie, et al. “Lower serum vitamin E concentrations in major depression: Another marker of lowered antioxidant defenses in that illness.” Journal of Affective Disorders Volume 58, Issue 3, June 2000, Pages 241-246.


68% of diets deficient. Deficient in most alcoholics. Symptoms of deficiency include acne, amnesia, apathy, brittle nails, delayed sexual maturity, depression, diarrhea, eczema, fatigue, growth impairment, hair loss, high cholesterol levels, immune impairment, impotence, irritability, lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of sense of taste, low stomach acid, male infertility, memory impairment, night blindness, paranoia, white spots on nails, wound healing impairment. Zinc is important to take as a supplement if one is suffering from thyroiditis, symptoms of which include tense depression, trouble swallowing pills, sleep disturbances, mood issues. *A high intake of caffeine inhibits the absorption of zinc.

Found in: brewer’s yeast, dulse, egg yolks, fish, kelp, lamb, legumes, lima beans, liver, meats, mushrooms, oysters, pecans, poultry, pumpkin seeds, sardines, seafood, soy lecithin, soybeans, sunflower seeds, whole grains.


Facts for this list of nutrients were taken from these sources:

Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing (New York: Avery Publishing, 2000).
Ross, Julia. The Mood Cure (New York: Penguin Books, 2002).
Somer, Elizabeth, Food and Mood: The Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999)
1st Holistic Nutrition Infocenter. “Nutritional Deficiency and Its Symptoms.”
Holistic Online. “Depression, Nutrition and Diet.”