Nutrient deficiencies are all too common, yet many people don’t think twice about them. Turns out that things can get pretty rough if you don’t get your daily doses of a wide variety of nutrients. As college students in America, we tend to become deficient in some areas more than others.

#SpoonTip: Only a doctor should diagnose you with a specific nutrient deficiency.

Vitamin B12

egg, egg yolk, sweet, butter, bread, toast, cake, dairy product
Megan Prendergast

Vitamin B12 is found solely in animal products, so vegans and some vegetarians who don't supplement this vitamin are definitely at risk. You can find yourself tired and lightheaded with a speedy heart rate, among other problems. Eating a variety of animal products or supplementing (with advice from a doctor) if you're vegetarian or vegan is the way to go. 


cheese, cheddar, bun, bacon, hamburger, ketchup, tomato, beef, onion
Stephen Griggs

This is the most common mineral deficiency worldwide. Most of the time iron deficiency is common in girls, due to the monthly loss of blood (and therefore iron). The symptoms of the deficiency are constantly being tired, restless leg syndrome, and brittle nails. The ability to work is diminished and it's super hard to focus and be motivated.

Iron is especially high in meats, specifically red meats, like beef. Although if you're not a huge meat person, there is also iron in a wide variety of plant sources, like beans and dark green leafy veggies. There are also some iron-fortified foods as well, which are foods that did not originally contain iron, but were modified to do so to allow for the daily requirement.


macaroni, sauce, cheese, pasta, spaghetti, penne
Amanda Shulman

This is one deficiency that may not be evident right away, but is imperative to be on top of for the future. Osteoporosis is a problem that affects many when they are older, especially women, so it's super important to be getting enough calcium in your diet while you're still young. 

Obviously you can get calcium in dairy products (just another reason to eat cheese, tbh) but if you're not too keen on dairy, you can also get your daily dose of calcium from different dark green leafy veggies and certain foods fortified with calcium, like certain orange juices.


coffee, cereal
Amanda Gajdosik

Being deficient in zinc can result in loss of appetite and a faulty immune system. Vegetarians, vegans, and alcoholics are more at risk for this, since they don't eat meat or the alcohol impedes the ability of the intestines to absorb the zinc. You can get your daily dose of zinc from foods like meat (especially liver), tempeh, and lentils.

While not all of the nutrient deficiencies a person could have are included in this list, it's a good starter on some of the most common deficiencies. Just make sure to eat an array of foods to get the most vitamins and minerals into your daily diet. While vitamin supplements are beneficial, there are other ways to get everything you need in a day without supplementing.