Our bodies need an adequate amount of nutrition to stay healthy and function optimally. You get this nutrition from macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, while micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids also play an important role in maintaining good health. These micronutrients are not produced naturally by the body, so you must get them through your diet.
When the body does not get enough nutrition or is unable to absorb the required amount of nutrients properly, it results in a condition known as a nutritional deficiency. This can lead to various health problems and diseases, such as digestive diseases, skin diseases, improper bone development, and dementia.
What is the most common nutritional deficiency?
There are many types of nutritional deficiencies, but some common ones include:
- Iron deficiency
- Calcium deficiency
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Folate deficiency
- Vitamin B-12 deficiency
- Iodine deficiency
- Thiamine deficiency
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Magnesium deficiency
- Niacin deficiency
Signs of nutritional deficiency
The signs and symptoms of nutritional deficiencies may vary depending on the specific nutrient deficiency. They are reflected in daily activities and can include:
- Muscle cramps
- Hair loss
- Yellowing of the skin
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
- Mouth ulcers
- Numbness in fingers
- Mental illness
- Fragility of bones
- Loss of vision or night blindness
- Twitch or spasm
Some people may experience only a few of these symptoms, while others may experience all of them. In such cases, the problem of nutritional deficiency may not be diagnosed at all. All of these symptoms can be a sign of a serious nutritional deficiency.
Nutritional Deficiency Causes:
Nutritional deficiencies can be caused by:
- Poor diet
- Poor absorption of nutrients by the body
- Colon cancer
- Crohn’s disease
- An imbalance between the microorganisms in the intestine (gut)
- Stomach infection
- Inflammation in the digestive tract
- Side effects of a drug
Additionally, during pregnancy, there can be an iron deficiency due to the body diverting iron towards the growing fetus. Bariatric surgery to reduce the size of the stomach has also been found to lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Nutritional Deficiency Treatment
The method of treatment for a nutritional deficiency depends on the type of deficiency diagnosed. The following steps are typically taken for treatment:
- Administration of nutritional supplements orally or intravenously
- Prescription of medication to treat the deficiency and find the underlying cause
- Consuming food fortified with the lacking nutrient
A diet plan designed to meet the individual’s needs and the intake of nutritional supplements can help overcome deficiencies and improve health.