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Feeling fatigued? Your body may lack in essential vitamins

Passionate about social causes and women’s rights issues, Debayani Bose enjoys writing and volunteers with various non-profits working on environment and women’s rights issues.  A deeply spiritual person (not religious) during her free time, she likes to run, read books from her favorite author (Paulo Coelho being one), and practice spirituality as a way of life.

The human body is a superb machine. When things go wrong it doesn’t shut off without a warning. Instead, it sends us signals. We need to understand these signals. Vitamins and Minerals are essential as they play hundreds of roles in the body. 


Nutritional deficiencies are especially common in women. Common nutritional deficiency symptoms in women include hair loss, brittle nails, dry skin, acne, low energy, low moods, and fatigue. Pregnant women are more susceptible to Vitamin deficiency. For women to be productive members of society, a nutrition-rich balanced diet is of crucial importance. 


Women are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies than men in developing countries such as India where there is an unequal distribution of food, poverty and a lack of education.

Essential Vitamins for effective body functioning include the following:

The most essential vitamins that are imperative for the body to function properly include the following:


  • Vitamin A: Essential for good vision, skin, and skeletal tissue
  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Helps the body metabolize fats and produce energy
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): It’s an antioxidant and protects the body’s cells against free radicals
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin): Lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): Essential for hormone production, immune system health, and producing energy
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Helps produce myelin, a protective layer around cells
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin): Necessary for the metabolism as well as healthy skin, hair, nails, and cells
  • Vitamin B9 (folate): Necessary for the proper functioning of the nervous system

Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency:

Some of the symptoms of Vitamin deficiency include the following: 


  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Pale skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Numbness or cold feeling in hands and feet

Types of nutrient deficiencies:

Vitamin B12 deficiency: Vitamin B-12 deficiency is especially common in older women, although women of any age can experience it. The symptoms include a swollen tongue, difficulty in thinking, fatigue, muscle weakness, and numbness in hands, feet, and legs.

 Fish for Vitamin D: Vitamin D is one of the nutrients that most people in India, and in fact, people all over the world are deficient in. The nutrient plays a very important role in bone health and development, and also in boosting immunity.

Leafy vegetables for Iron: The iron deficiency burden in India, especially among pregnant women, is huge. Leafy vegetables such as spinach are super-rich in iron and should be made a part of everyone’s diet.

Dairy products for Vitamin A: As a nutrient Vitamin-A is extremely important for eyesight. Dairy products such as milk, curd, paneer, etc are rich sources of the nutrient and should be made a regular part of everyone’s diet, especially kids. 

Seafood for Iodine deficiency: Iodine deficiencies are very common in Indians, and can lead to complications such as thyroid imbalances. Including seafood such as fish and shrimp in the diet can help combat the deficiency.


Foods rich in Folate include the following:

  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Enriched grain products, such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice
  • Fruits and fruit juices


Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include the following:


  • Eggs
  • Fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals
  • Milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • Meat and shellfish


Foods rich in Vitamin C include the following:


  • Broccoli
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Strawberries
  • Green peppers
  • Tomatoes

Adults generally need daily dietary amounts of the following vitamins:


  • Vitamin B-12 – 2.4 micrograms (mcg)
  • Folate or folic acid– 400 mcg
  • Vitamin C– 75 to 90 milligrams


Pregnant and lactating women may require more of each vitamin.


The health of a woman as well as their reproductive outcomes is particularly affected by Vitamin deficiencies. 


Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

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