071: Why You Probably Have Nutrient Deficiencies (If You Have Skin Rashes)

As you probably know by now, your skin is VERY nutrient hungry. Deficiencies can be a root cause helping to drive dysfunction in your skin as well as skin rash flares.

It usually comes as a shock when clients who eat a really fabulous whole foods based diet discover that they are nutrient depleted.

There are a number of reasons why and I figured that I’d take a moment to answer one of the most common questions I’m asked by nearly every single client — “how could this have happened if I’ve been doing everything right?”

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In this episode:

  • How you can end up with nutrient deficiencies even when you’re doing everything right with your diet
  • What percentage of skin rash clients have nutrient deficiencies
  • 4 reasons why you can end up with nutrient deficiencies
  • Simple steps to take to figure out if you have deficiencies


It's not uncommon for labs to appear within the normal range or for your doctor to not test thoroughly enough. But what might shock you the most is that 100% of my clients all have nutrient deficiencies. Obviously the deficiencies vary from person to person, but what is similar is this sense of shock especially when they’ve been eating so well for a long period of time. They thought they were doing everything right only to discover that the nutrition wasn’t getting absorbed.

Despite what most of us think, your body does not make every nutrient that it needs to thrive. Most nutrients critical to life and your body’s biochemistry (especially what supports healthy skin) must be taken in from food unless you’re supplementing. Poor food quality obviously has a negative impact on your nutrient levels because there are certain levels of specific nutrients that your body requires daily. That’s why periods of low nutrient intake deplete the stores and put you at a deficit.

Woman holding tray of healthy fruit

Why You Probably Have Nutrient Deficiencies (If You Have Skin Rashes) (FULL TRANSCRIPT)

Welcome to Episode #71 of the Healthy Skin Show!

In today's episode, let’s talk about nutrient deficiencies!.

It’s pretty common to feel stumped over how you ended up with deficiencies if you eat a really clean, healthy diet. You cook most of your food at home and yet somehow you discover that your body is low in the nutrients that it needs in order to rebuild healthy skin.

The reason that I'm answering this question is because it's one that is repeatedly asked of me over and over again in my clinical practice.

Clients will say, “But I don't get it. I eat all organic, we cook everything at home, and yet how could this have happened? How is it that I could be so low in all of these nutrients?

There's a number of reasons why you can end up with deficiencies.

So how exactly did you end up with the deficiencies in the first place?

And why weren't they picked up sooner?

One of the reasons that nutrient deficiencies aren't often picked up is because your doctor has limited time with you for an office visit. They don't have time to go through the litany of symptoms that you have. Oftentimes, symptoms can be blown off or you’re told that it's all in your head.

It's not uncommon for labs to appear within the normal range or for your doctor to not test thoroughly enough.  The truth is, they may not understand what all the nutrient markers actually indicate and then how to take meaningful action on them.

But what might shock you the most is that 100% of my clients all have nutrient deficiencies.

They may not have the exact same nutrient deficiencies because obviously that is individual. But every single one has nutrient depletions that comes as a complete surprise. And at times relief that finally someone looked deeper into what the heck was going wrong.

Stressed out woman laying on desk

How Do You Develop Nutrient Deficiencies?

Now back to that question about how exactly could you develop nutrient deficiencies…

If you've been eating really well and doing everything right, there are four reasons how this can happen.

The first reason is that you can have an increased level of stress in your system.

Literally any type of stress counts here (and it obviously is compounded). Having skin rashes is incredibly stressful. Living through stressful periods doesn’t help and not having enough nutrients in your system for your body to perform basic functions is also very stressful.

Plus drugs and medications (like birth control pills) can also deplete nutrients. This creates an increased need for those particular nutrients. If you don't get them through diet, you're slowly whittling away at your body’s stores.

Second, you can go through periods where you have a decrease or low intake of specific nutrients.

It's important to remember that your body does not make every nutrient that it needs to thrive.

I'm going to say that again because it is a very important point.

Your body does not make every nutrient that it needs in order to thrive. 

Most of it must be taken in from food.

There are certain levels of specific nutrients that your body requires daily. That’s why periods of low nutrient intake deplete the stores and “dry the wells.”

The third reason why has to do with taking the wrong form of a particular nutrient.

One example of this would be magnesium. If you were to suffer from diarrhea or loose stools and take magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide, those two forms would actually increase the softness of your stool. They can cause even more diarrhea that would potentially increase your nutrient losses.

Superfoods and supplements

Biggest Reason Driving Skin Nutrient Deficiencies

Lastly, nutrient deficiencies can result from failing to properly digesting and absorbing nutrients from your food (and even your supplements).

Your skin is incredibly nutrient hungry, but it's not just the skin itself.

All the other systems lying underneath of your skin require nutrients as well. So if nutrient depletions impact them, they will also impact your skin.

That's why you must make sure that you know which nutrients you need to supplement or increase through diet.

One of the biggest mistakes is to focus on only “healing leaky gut”.

I’ve heard people repeatedly say, “Once I fix my leaky gut, that will solve all my skin rashes.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's not true. 

Fixing leaky gut will not eliminate pathogens or other hidden infections.

It won’t correct toxic exposures in your environment.

Nor will it refill those nutrient wells.

To do so means taking in an increased amount of the deficient nutrients. Not consuming just enough for what your body needs on a daily basis, but additional to replenish the stores.

Doses are typically higher and referred to as therapeutic levels. Unfortunately for those who want to do it only through food, the fastest way to replenishment is through supplementation.

That way, you're not just constantly teetering on the edge of deficiency.

Lost woman looking at map

Next Steps To Deal With Nutrient Deficiencies Impacting Your Skin

You’re probably wondering what to do from here.

It’s safe to assume at this point that there’s a pretty good chance that some critical nutrients may be depleted. This is even more likely if you've been dealing with chronic skin rash issues for a long time.

The first step is to get the right testing done.

Chris Masterjohn, PhD recently discussed the importance of vitamin A and Zinc on the Healthy Skin Show. He also talked about some ways to get tested for nutrients that you may find helpful.

Even though a lot of people think conventional labs are pointless after so many disappointments with their doctor, I don’t agree.

As a clinical nutritionist, conventional labs can be helpful and provide a certain level of insight that you can’t get from other testing. Here’s a list of what I typically ask for.

I like to pair them with functional lab testing (HERE’S MY eGUIDE) so that we can cast a wider net in order to identify root causes, evaluate biochemical pathways, looks for dysbiosis or hidden pathogens and much more.

My go-to functional lab for nutrient status (and thus identifying depletions) is a urine organic acid panel. When paired with specific conventional labs (like serum folate and serum vitamin B12), it can really give us incredible insight into deficiencies your doctor will likely miss.

Detective identifying things with magnifying glass

Using Symptoms To Identify Potential Nutrient Deficiencies

Symptoms are also an amazing tool to determine nutrient deficiencies. Too often we see them as annoyances, but symptoms can help you figure out what’s potentially going wrong! They are essentially clues or signs that your body uses to communicate with you.

I’ve talked about this concept before HERE so check that out if you want a better understanding of what to identify.

To highlight this further, here are a few examples of symptoms that correlate with specific nutrients. When you experience these symptoms, it helps me figure out what testing to request.

Low levels of vitamin B12 can show up as numbness and tingling in the extremities.

Vitamin A deficiency can show up as difficulty seeing at night or chicken skin that we've discussed also known as Keratosis Pilaris. It can also show up as dry skin and thyroid problems.

Magnesium deficiency can show up as restless leg syndrome or muscle twitching (even an eye twitch that’s not triggered by an eye infection).

While knowing this information is helpful, the overarching theme here is that you must optimize the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Digestion requires that you properly chew your food.

Digestion also requires appropriate amounts of stomach acid, enzymes and bile to be present in order to break down our macro macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat).

And after all of that digestion is finished, you must be able to absorb nutrients.

Absorption can be impaired for a number of reasons that include excessive inflammation throughout your GI tract. Inflammation can be triggered by a number of things including dysbiosis or hidden infections.

Appropriate gut motility is also important. If food moves too quickly or too slowly through your GI tract, your ability to absorb nutrients can be compromised.

If you walk away from this article only capable of remembering ONE THING, let it be this…

You are not what you eat — you are what you absorb. 

Otherwise you're making very expensive poop and feeding gut bugs that you probably don't want to feed.

As I said, 100% of my clients have nutrient depletions of some sort.

That's why it is imperative that you find out what your deficiencies are because nutrient deficiencies are one of the 16 root causes that drive chronic skin rashes.

It's my hope that this episode will inspire in you the desire to look deeper. To pull out your old labs and if you haven't had anything done in the last six months to a year, go to your doctors and get some new labs run.

Leave your questions and comments below so that I can share with you any other resources that I may have to help you along your journey.

If you haven't done so yet, head on over to your podcast platform of choice and hit the subscribe button! Then rate and review the Healthy Skin Show so you can share what you love about the show with someone else looking for some support and inspiration.

The golden rule here is to share… sharing is caring.

Make sure to share this with someone who is looking for answers. Someone who may be fed up with the standard approach of “Here's a steroid cream. Try this moisturizer.” People who are looking for alternatives may discover the inspiration and answers that they've been searching for.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful rest of your day and I look forward to seeing you in the next episode!

It's not uncommon for labs to appear within the normal range or for your doctor to not test thoroughly enough. But what might shock you the most is that 100% of my clients all have nutrient deficiencies.

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CNS is an integrative Clinical Nutritionist and the founder of Skinterrupt. She works with women who are fed up with chronic gut and skin rash issues discover the root causes and create a plan to get them back to a fuller, richer life.

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