Different vitamins and minerals are crucial for body development and preventing disease, often referred to as micronutrients. They aren’t produced naturally in the body but we can consume only by our diet.A nutritional deficiency occurs when the body doesn’t absorb or get nutrients in necessary amounts. Deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems. These can include digestion problems, skin disorders, stunted or defective bone growth, and even dementia.
Types of nutritional deficiency
Iron deficiency is the most widespread nutritional deficiency worldwide. It can lead to anemia, a blood disorder that causes fatigue, weakness, and a variety of other symptoms.Iron is found in foods such as dark leafy greens, red meat, and egg yolks. It helps your body make red blood cells. As a result of iron deficiency body produces fewer red blood cells which are smaller and paler than healthy blood cells. They’re also less efficient at delivering oxygen to your tissues and organs.
Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A is a group of nutrients crucial for eye health, functioning and reproductive health in men and women. It also strengthens the immune system against infections.
Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Pregnant women deficient in vitamin A have higher maternal mortality rates as well. Beta-carotene, a nutrient that functions as an antioxidant and is found in red, orange, yellow, and dark green pigmented produce. Beta-carotene gets converted to vitamin A in the body when required.
The best source of vitamin A is breast milk for newborn babies. It is essential to eat plenty of foods high in vitamin A. These include:
Thiamine (vitamin B-1) deficiency
Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) is important of your nervous system. It also helps body turn carbohydrates through metabolism.Lack of thiamine results in weight loss and fatigue, cognitive symptoms such as confusion and short-term memory loss. Thiamine deficiency leads to nerve and muscle damage and also affects the heart.Thiamine deficiency is often seen in people who chronically abuse alcohol. Alcohol diminishes the body’s ability to absorb, store thiamine in the liver, and convert thiamine to a usable form. Thiamine deficiency is a common cause of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a form of dementia.Many breakfast cereals and grain products are fortified with thiamine. Eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, and pork are also good sources of the vitamin.
Niacin (vitamin B-3) deficiency
Niacin (vitamin B-3) is a mineral that helps the body convert food into energy. A severe deficiency of niacin results in condition called pellagra. Niacin is abundantly found in animal proteins and in peanuts.
Symptoms of pellagra include diarrhea, dementia, and skin disorders. You can usually treat it with a balanced diet and vitamin B-3 supplements.
Folate (vitamin B-9) deficiency
Vitamin B-9(folate), aids the body create red blood cells and produce DNA. It also helps brain development and nervous system functioning. Folic acid is the synthetic form found in supplements or fortified foods.Folate is especially important for fetal development. It plays a crucial role in the formation of a developing child’s brain and spinal cord. Folate deficiency can lead to severe birth defects, growth problems, or anemia.
You can find folate in foods, including:
Beans can provide folate in great amounts.
Vitamin D deficiency
A billion people worldwide are victims of vitamin D deficiency. People with darkly pigmented skin are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.It’s essential for healthy bones and helps the body maintain the right levels of calcium in order to regulate the development of teeth and bones. Lack of this nutrient can lead to stunted or poor bone growth. Osteoporosis, a condition due to deficiency of calcium and vitamin D, can lead to porous and fragile bones that break very easily.
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight. Vitamin D is only found naturally in a few foods. Foods with vitamin D include:
Ultraviolet light from the sun is a best source of vitamin D. Research suggests that 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure twice a week on the face, arms, neck, or back can provide you with enough vitamin D.
Although recommended for UV protection, sunscreen does hinder vitamin D absorption from sunlight through the skin. Spend a few minutes in the sun prior to sunscreen for optimal vitamin D absorption.
Calcium aids in development of strong bones and teeth. It also helps your heart, nerves, and muscles. Calcium deficiency often doesn’t show symptoms right away, but leads to serious health problems over time. If calcium consumption isn’t enough, your body may use the calcium from your bones instead, leading to bone loss.
Experts also believe that calcium deficiencies may be related to low bone mass and weakening of bones due to osteoporosis.
Calcium deficiency leads to convulsions and abnormal heart rhythm which can be life-threatening. Postmenopausal women experience greater bone loss due to changing hormones experiencing troubles absorbing calcium.The best sources of calcium are dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium-set tofu, and small fish with bones. Vegetables such as kale and broccoli also have calcium, and many cereals and grains are calcium-fortified.