General Question

ava's avatar

Do cravings mean your body is in need of a particular vitamin or mineral?

Asked by ava (977points) July 15th, 2008

I have a major sweet tooth, and a friend of mine said that it means I might have a deficiency… Does anyone have any advice?

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26 Answers

cheebdragon's avatar

it could, or it could mean your pregnant…

jlm11f's avatar

it means you are a sugar addict. like me

According to this site, craving icecream has to do with a calcium deficiency. According to a lot more reliable site, sugar and chocolate cravings have to do with magnesium deficiency. They think that these cravings disappear as soon as magnesium levels are back to normal. Sooo maybe try some Mg supplements and report back to us?

marinelife's avatar

Also, if you indulge that craving a lot, you may well have systemic yeast or candidaiasis. This flora, which eats sugar, can overgrow your intestinal tract and crowd out the other beneficial flora. Your cravings are actually demands by the yeast to be fed. Gross, huh?

“Candidiasis, or yeast syndrome, is an infection caused by an overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract of the usually benign yeast (or fungus) Candida albicans.i,ii Normally, Candida albicans lives harmoniously in the inner warm creases and crevices of the digestive tract and vaginal tract in women.iii The immune system usually keeps Candida proliferation under control, but when the immune response is weakened, Candida growth can proceed unhindered. Candida is an “opportunistic organism,” meaning, when given the opportunity, will attempt to colonize all bodily tissues. In small amounts, this fungus is harmless, but an overgrowth can be destructive and cause numerous health problems. In fact, candida can produce over 140 different symptoms.
Candida thrives on sugar (including natural forms from fruit), carbohydrates, yeast, processed and refined foods.”

Since it is a condition that has a number of other unpleasant side effects too, you should see if you have any of the symptoms.

shilolo's avatar

Sorry to rain on the parade, but most healthy people eating a normal diet will not have vitamin or mineral deficiencies. That is why taking a multivitamin, or all sorts of supplements is a such a sham. There is a documented symptom known as pica, which is the desire to eat inedible foods (like clay or dirt) that is strongly associated with iron deficiency. However, other deficiencies like magnesium (as noted above) are rare in otherwise normal people (they tend to be seen in people eating unusual diets and alcoholics).

jlacombe's avatar

What is the vitamins in potato chips ? i always need them.

syz's avatar

I don’t tend to think of a“a major sweet tooth” as a craving, per se. And as Shililo says, the modern diet suffers from an excess of nutrients (and calories), if anything.

My only personal exception is when I start to crave meat – as a vegetarian, I consider that a sign that I need to increase my protein intake. Whether that’s an actual indicator or just an affectation on my part, I don’t know.

shilolo's avatar

@Syz. Your meat craving may also be an indication of iron deficiency as well. The human digestive tract has evolved to take up iron in the form of heme (an iron molecule covalently linked to porphyrin) much better than free iron alone. Heme is found primarily in blood (hemoglobin) and meat (myoglobin).
As an aside, I don’t want people to get the wrong idea. There are cases of mineral and vitamin deficiencies, and some are associated with certain behaviors, but having a sweet tooth is not one of them.

jlm11f's avatar

I think of my sweet tooth as a blessing, not a curse

scamp's avatar

@Marina You may also be interested to know that podiatrists inject candida into plantar warts to kill the virus.

shilolo's avatar

Wow, Scamp, interesting point! I had never heard of that, but a little research proved that your point is valid (with one minor caveat). Doctors don’t inject living Candida per se, but rather, candida antigens. While the precise mechanism of action is unclear, it likely works because a potent cell mediated immune response occurs at the site, and HPV antigens thus become ancillary targets. Interestingly, there is recent precedent for this in the use of (viable) Bacillus Calmette-GuĂ©rin [BCG] immunotherapy in the treatment of bladder cancer. Interestingly, immunotherapy for cancer dates back more than 100 years, when a doctor at (what is now) Sloan-Kettering injected sarcomas with bacteria and watched the tumors recede. An excellent book on the history of immunology and stories like this is A Commotion in the Blood. I highly recommend it.

jlm11f's avatar

haaaaaaaaaaaaaa. why don’t i go buy that book right now. sorry, couldn’t resist!

scamp's avatar

Thanks shi. I answered pretty quickly because I am swamped at work. Another interesting thing would be the panacos procedure, where the doctor makes an incision, removes a wart and places it into the incison and sutures it back up. The body attacks the wart, seeing it as a foriegn body, and therefore kills the virus. This is done for people with several pesky warts that can’t be eradicated with other methods.

marinelife's avatar

Someone should have put a gag warning on this thread when it went wart-ward.

@shi I have been speculating for while now that we are just on the edge of what we may learn about the causes of cancers and tumors and that many more types of them will be found to be viral in cause. Do you think that is possible?

@scamp You win the oddest and most interesting fact award for today!

shilolo's avatar

@Marina, There are actually quite a few viral causes of cancer:
1. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) -> Cervical cancer
2. Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) -> Hepatocellular carcinoma (Liver cancer)
3. Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) -> Hepatocellular carcinoma (Liver cancer)
4. Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) -> Burkitt’s Lymphoma, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
5. Human Herpes Virus 8 (HHV-8) -> Kaposi’s Sarcoma
6. Human Herpes Virus 6 (HHV-6) -> Body cavity lymphoma, Castleman’s disease
7. Human T-lymphotrophic Virus 1 (HTLV-1) -> T cell leukemia and T cell lymphoma
8. Human T-lymphotrophic Virus 2 (HTLV-2) -> Hairy cell leukemia

There have also been some recent suggestions that prostate cancer is linked to a DNA virus, BK virus, but the data is too preliminary to be definitive.

marinelife's avatar

@shilolo yes, that was my point. So many already. Perhaps they all are, and we do not yet have proof.

scamp's avatar

Sorry Marina, I didn’t think a few details on treatment of warts would be any more gross or off topic than discussing the inner warm creases and crevices of the digestive tract and vaginal tract in women.

shilolo's avatar

I don’t think all cancers are viral in origin. In fact, the cancers I listed (except perhaps for hepatocellular carcinoma) are rare. There is plenty of data linking DNA mutations or recombination events that lead to cellular transformation. For example, retinoblastoma, a childhood cancer of the eye is due to mutations in both copies of the tumor suppressor Rb1. Likewise, colon cancer is thought to be due to a whole series of stepwise mutations. Also, there is no doubt that environmental toxins (such as cigarette smoke) contribute to mutagenesis, so as much as viral causes of cancer are interesting (and potentially prevented as in the HPV vaccine), I think that more likely than not we develop cancer because our bodies outlive their reproductive usefulness and break down.

Oh, and sorry everyone for the threadjack.

marinelife's avatar

@scamp I was kidding. You have a point there.

scamp's avatar

It’s ok. No harm no foul. I still love you!!

dtoxdoc's avatar

It depends on what the craving is…sugar cravings are caused many times by a deficiency in cells and the body searches for a fast and quick source of energy that is found in sweet foods. If you eat more protein throughout the day then the sugar cravings will stop.

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Response moderated
syz's avatar

Your answer was moderated (as will the nest one, I am sure) because it is spam. Read the guidelines.

Rockefeller's avatar

how is it spam? She asked about deficiencies.

Rockefeller's avatar

And if it has to do with the link, there are like three posters who put about three links in theirs. If that is considered spam, why isn’t theirs taken down?

And would it please you if I just took out the link and the one the asked the question can just try to find it themselves if they wanted to look at it?

shilolo's avatar

[Fluther moderator] None of the links above were for a company. All are educational in origin. Leave the company name out and it won’t be spam.

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