Boils are a common skin infection that usually begins as a red, tender bump on the skin, which eventually develops into a pus-filled sore.
Boils are usually caused by a bacterial infection, often with Staphylococcus aureus, but did you know that boils can also be a sign of nutrient deficiencies?
When a person gets boils, it may be an indication that their body is lacking certain nutrients or vitamins. For example, people who have a weakened immune system or are malnourished may be more susceptible to developing boils.
Additionally, individuals who have diabetes or are overweight may also be at a higher risk of developing boils due to their compromised immune systems.
Today, we will explore what your body is lacking when you get boils and how to prevent them in detail.
Short answer: Why am I getting boils on my body
Your body may lack a strong immune system (vitamins D, A, E, and C), and zinc. But this is not the only answer to this question because boils are a result of multiple reasons other than what your body lacks.
Boils most times although painful, naturally, go away without any form of treatment. But when it doesn’t go away, antibiotics are used to heal it or warm water compress.
What is a boil?
Boils are painful, pus-filled bumps that can develop on any part of the body. They are caused by a bacterial infection in a hair follicle or oil gland.
Boils often start as a red, tender bump and then fill with pus as white blood cells rush in to fight the infection.
The lump will then become more prominent, harder, and more painful until it finally ruptures and drains. Boils can be quite large and may take up to several weeks to heal.
Boils can occur anywhere on the body, but they tend to appear on the face, neck, armpits, buttocks, and thighs.
What causes boils?
- Infection: Boils are usually caused by a bacterial infection. The bacteria responsible for causing boils is Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria usually lives on the skin and enters the body through cuts or hair follicles. Once inside the body, the bacteria can cause an infection that leads to the development of boils.
- Immune System Disorders: People with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to developing boils. This is because their bodies are unable to fight off infections effectively. Immune system disorders such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and cancer can increase the risk of developing boils.
- Poor Nutrition: Poor nutrition can also contribute to the development of boils. People who do not consume enough vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc, may be more likely to develop boils. These nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, which can help prevent infections.
Other factors that can increase your risk of developing a boil include friction or pressure on the skin, tight clothing, poor nutrition, and diabetes.
Symptoms of boils
Symptoms of boils can vary depending on the severity of the infection. Here is a list of common symptoms associated with boils:
- Redness and Swelling: The affected area of the skin becomes red, swollen, and tender.
- Pain and Discomfort: Boils are often painful and can cause discomfort, especially when touched or pressed.
- Raised, Hard Lump: Boils typically start as a small, firm lump beneath the skin. Over time, the lump may become larger and more prominent.
- Formation of Pus: As the boil progresses, it may develop a white or yellow center filled with pus. This is a sign that the body is fighting the infection.
- Fever: In some cases, particularly when the infection is severe or widespread, individuals may experience a low-grade fever.
- Formation of a Head: As the boil matures, it may develop a visible “head” or a central point where the pus is close to the surface. This is often a sign that the boil is ready to drain.
- Drainage: Eventually, the boil may rupture and release the accumulated pus. This can provide relief from pain and pressure.
Symptoms Indicating Your Body Lacks Essential Nutrients
When your body lacks essential nutrients, it can lead to various health problems, including skin conditions like boils. Here are some common symptoms that may indicate a deficiency in essential nutrients.
- Persistent Fatigue: If you are constantly feeling tired, even after getting enough sleep, it may be a sign that your body is lacking in essential nutrients. Iron deficiency, for example, can cause fatigue, as iron is necessary for the production of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the body’s cells. Other nutrient deficiencies that can cause fatigue include vitamin B12, magnesium, and potassium.
- Brittle Hair and Nails: Brittle hair and nails can be a sign that your body is lacking in essential nutrients such as biotin, vitamin D, and zinc. Biotin is necessary for healthy hair and nails, while vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is essential for strong bones and nails. Zinc, on the other hand, is necessary for the production of collagen, which is important for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
- Poor Concentration: If you are having difficulty concentrating or remembering things, it may be a sign that your body is lacking in essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and iron. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain health and can improve mood and memory, while vitamin B12 is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters that are important for cognitive function. Iron is also necessary for cognitive function, as it helps carry oxygen to the brain.
Essential Nutrients and Their Role
- Vitamins: Vitamins play a crucial role in the body’s immune system, which helps fight off infections such as boils. Vitamin C, in particular, helps to strengthen the immune system and promotes the healing of wounds. Vitamin A is also important as it helps to maintain healthy skin, which is the first line of defense against infections.
- Minerals: Minerals are essential for the proper functioning of the body, and some are particularly important for maintaining healthy skin. Zinc, for example, is essential for wound healing, and a deficiency in zinc can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections. Iron is also important for maintaining healthy skin, as it is involved in the production of collagen, which gives skin its strength and elasticity.
- Proteins: Proteins are the building blocks of the body and are essential for the growth and repair of tissues. They are also important for maintaining a healthy immune system, as they are involved in the production of antibodies, which help to fight off infections.
- Fats: Fats are important for maintaining healthy skin, as they help to keep the skin moisturized and supple. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, are important for reducing inflammation in the body, which can help prevent the formation of boils.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for the body, and they are particularly important for maintaining a healthy immune system. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are an important source of fiber, which helps to keep the digestive system healthy and can help prevent infections.
Preventing Boils Through Nutrition
1. Balanced diet
A balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health and preventing boils. A healthy diet should include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
These foods provide the body with essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help boost the immune system and prevent infections.
Some specific nutrients that are important for preventing boils include:
- Vitamin A: This helps strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and prevent infections. Zinc: Helps boost the immune system and promotes wound healing.
- Vitamin C: Helps boost the immune system and promote collagen production, which is important for skin health.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Help reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin.
Staying hydrated is important for maintaining healthy skin and preventing boils.
Drinking plenty of water helps flush toxins out of the body and keeps the skin hydrated, which can help prevent dryness and cracking.
Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and more if you are physically active or live in a hot climate.
In some cases, it may be necessary to supplement the diet with additional nutrients to prevent boils. Some supplements that may be helpful include:
- Probiotics: Help promote a healthy gut microbiome, which can help boost the immune system and prevent infections.
- Vitamin D: Helps boost the immune system and promote healthy skin.
- Garlic: Has antimicrobial properties and may help prevent infections.
It is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your individual needs.
6 Things to Know about Recurrent Boils or Furunculosis & Treatment According to a Doctor
What is your body lacking when you get boils?
There are several possible reasons why a person may develop boils, but one possible underlying cause is a weakened immune system.
This can happen if the body is lacking in certain nutrients or if the immune system is compromised in some way.
Here they are:
- Lack of Vitamins
- Lack of Zinc
- Lack of Essential fatty acids
1. Lack of Vitamins A, C, E, and D
In an article published by the Linus Pauling Institute, vitamin D is identified as the most commonly-deficient vitamin today. Vitamin deficiencies can damage your immune system and cause infections, including boils.
A deficiency in certain vitamins, particularly vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for the body to fight off bacterial infections.
Vitamins are essential nutrients that the body needs in small amounts to function properly.
In particular, vitamin A plays a key role in the development and maintenance of the immune system, while vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help protect the body’s cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals.
A deficiency in any of these vitamins can impair the body’s ability to fight off infections and may lead to a weakened immune system.
2. Lack of Zinc
Is zinc good for boils? You may have asked. Boosting immunity is a key benefit of zinc, and treating boils with it is also crucial.
Zinc is an essential mineral that is required for various bodily functions such as growth and development, immune function, wound healing, and DNA synthesis.
When it comes to wound healing, zinc plays an important role in several stages of the healing process, including inflammation, re-epithelialization, and angiogenesis.
It helps form new tissue and blood vessels, and it also functions as an antioxidant, which protects cells from damage caused by free radicals.
A deficiency in zinc can increase the risk of infections, especially bacterial infections because it is required for the proper functioning of immune cells such as neutrophils and macrophages.
In essence, a lack of zinc can compromise the immune system, making it more difficult for the body to combat infections and recover from existing ones, like boils. Additionally, a shortage of specific minerals, like iron, may also play a role in the formation of boils.
Zinc also plays a role in regulating the inflammatory response, which is important for fighting infections and promoting healing.
Ensure that you are getting enough zinc in your diet through foods such as oysters, beef, lamb, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and cashews. In some cases, a zinc supplement may be recommended to address a deficiency.
3. Lack of Essential Fatty Acids
In addition to vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids are important for maintaining healthy skin. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are two types of essential fatty acids that can benefit your skin and reduce the risk of developing boils.
4. Lack of Hydration and Detoxification
Proper hydration and effective detoxification are essential for maintaining healthy skin. These factors help flush out toxins, support optimal skin function, and reduce the risk of developing infections such as boils.
5. Lifestyle Factors
In addition to a healthy diet, certain lifestyle factors can influence your susceptibility to boils. Managing stress, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise can all contribute to healthier skin and a stronger immune system.
How do I stop getting boils?
- Practice good personal hygiene
- Try as much as possible to be careful around a boil-infected person because you risk contracting it when there’s contact with them
- Boost your immune system by staying healthy at all times. Eating healthy food, taking a whole course of medications, and avoiding smoking and drinking.
- Consume food that is rich in vitamins A, C, and E because these vitamins strengthen the immune systems and are essential in the treatment of boils. e.g. Leafy greens and vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts and seeds, fish and seafood.
- Foods to avoid: Just as there are foods that promote skin health, certain foods should be limited or avoided to reduce the risk of boils and other skin infections. These foods can contribute to inflammation, compromised immune function, and poor skin health. e.g. Refined sugars and carbohydrates, processed foods, and trans fats.
Medical Treatments for Boils
Antibiotics are often prescribed to treat boils that are caused by bacterial infections. The type of antibiotic prescribed will depend on the severity of the infection and the type of bacteria causing the infection.
Antibiotics can be taken orally or applied topically to the skin.
2. Incision and Drainage
In some cases, the boil may need to be drained to help it heal. This is done by making a small incision in the boil and draining the pus. This procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic. After the boil has been drained, it is important to keep the area clean and covered to prevent further infection.
Making certain lifestyle changes can help prevent future boils from forming. These changes may include:
- Maintaining good hygiene
- Avoiding tight-fitting clothing
- Using an antibacterial soap
- Washing hands frequently
- Avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or razors
In addition, people who are prone to boils may be advised to take certain supplements or make dietary changes to improve their overall health and prevent future infections.
There are different reasons why you may be having boils over and over again. To be on the safe side, it is recommended that you see your healthcare provider for the best advice on what to do.
Taking care of your skin goes beyond external measures. It involves addressing internal factors such as nutrition, hydration, and overall lifestyle choices.
A diet rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin A and zinc, can help boost the immune system and prevent bacterial infections.
Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by Our Editorial Team