Body Signs, Nutrition

The Body Signs Series #5 – Dark Circles 

We often think that dark circles are due to lack of sleep, but that is not the only cause. 

They could be due to genetically inherited thin, pale skin under the eyes which makes dark circles a lot more prominent.

Dark circles could also point towards hormone fluctuations (our skin becomes paler during menstruation and pregnancy), dehydration or immune conditions such as eczema and allergies (both food and seasonal).

In fact, dark circles are also known as allergic shiners because allergies can cause blood vessels to become congested and blood to pool under the eyes. Dairy intolerance, in particular, has been associated with dark circles under the eyes, along with other common allergens such as nuts, shellfish, soy, yeast, pollen, mold and dust mites.

And of course, dark circles could also be signs of the following #nutrient needs:

👉Iron deficiency can lead to pale skin and makes the area around the eyes look darker. It can also affect sleep quality, which in turn can exacerbate dark circles

✅Other signs of insufficient iron levels include fatigue, rapid heart rate, palpitations, cold intolerance, impaired immune function, spoon-shaped nails, cracks on the corners of the mouth, sore tongue and feeling out of breath with minimal physical exertion.

👉Vitamin B12, just like iron above, can lead to paleness and is also needed for red blood cell formation and, along with other B vitamins, energy production.

✅Other signs of B12 deficiency include tingling in hands & feet, memory challenges, mood changes, sore tongue, constipation, fatigue, muscle weakness, appetite loss and more.

👉Vitamin K is needed for healthy blood circulation and can strengthen veins & capillaries (and weak capillaries can result in blood pooling in the delicate area under the eyes).

✅Other signs of vitamin K deficiency include easy bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, heavy menstrual bleeding and more.

✳️ The above are only some of the functions & deficiency signs of these nutrients. Our physiology is quite complex and many nutrients interact in multiple ways, so we should not view them in isolation.

✳️✳️ As always, it is recommended to check your #nutrient levels and speak with your healthcare provider before coming to conclusions and starting any supplementation.

Your body is talking, are you listening?


  1. Liebmann-Smith, J., Nardi Egan, J. Body Signs. New York, NY: Bantam Dell; 2008.
  2. Higdon J. Iron. Linus Pauling Institute. Published 2001, updated 2016. Accessed May 8, 2022.
  3. Higdon J. Vitamin K. Linus Pauling Institute. Published 2000, updated 2014. Accessed May 8, 2022.
  4. Matozzo M. Vitamin Deficiencies That Could Make Dark Circles So Much Worse. SheFinds. Published 2022. Accessed May 8, 2022.
  5. Higdon J. Vitamin B12. Linus Pauling Institute. Published 2000, updated 2014. Accessed May 8, 2022.

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