What is Nutritional Deficiency?
As we all know, the human body requires certain elements to function properly. The body doesn’t produce these nutrients naturally but we can get them from animal-based or plant-based products. Nutritional deficiency refers to a situation whereby the body cannot absorb these elements or does not get the necessary amount. This situation can lead to several health problems. These include stunted growth, digestion problems, skin disorders, and could be even worse, dementia. The amount of nutrients needed by the body depends on age. Even at that, some nutritional deficiencies render the body unable to absorb other essential elements even though you’re consuming them.
Keep reading to know more about some deficiencies, their causes, and how to avoid them.
This is one of the most widespread nutritional deficiencies across the planet. Lack of iron in the body leads to anemia. Anemia is a blood deficiency that causes fatigue and makes the body weak, along with other symptoms. Iron is from foods like leafy greens, red meat, and egg yolk. Iron is needed by the body to produce red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen through the blood. An individual with this nutritional deficiency will lack red blood cells, and without enough red blood cells, oxygen will be lagging in some parts of the body. Anemia is one of the most prevailing nutritional deficiencies on this planet. According to The World Health Organization, 30% of the world’s population suffers from anemia, making it a worldwide nutritional deficiency.
Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A refers to a group of nutrients that are very crucial for eye and reproductive health in all genders. It also helps build the immune system making it more resistant to diseases. Lack of vitamin A in children is one of the leading causes of preventable blindness. Pregnant women suffering from this deficiency are likely to have a higher maternal mortality rate. This shows how important vitamin A is to the human body. Certain nutrients can be converted into vitamin A such as beta carotene. There are other vitamin A sources, including milk, eggs, broccoli, kale, spinach , carrot, sweet potatoes , pumpkins , papaya, apricots , tomatoes, and peaches . For babies, breast milk contains all the nutrients needed.
Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine) deficiency
This is another common deficiency. Vitamin B-1 is an important part of the nervous system. It assists the body to turn carbohydrates into energy. Lack of this vitamin can cause; fatigue, weight loss, short-term memory loss, and confusion. Vitamin B-1 deficiency can also cause a nervous and muscular breakdown, which can affect the heart. Studies show that most people with this nutritional deficiency are alcoholics. Alcohol reduces the ability of the body to absorb thiamine. Thiamine deficiency is one of the causes of dementia. Sources of thiamine include; eggs, fortified cereals, nuts, legumes, and wheat germ.
Niacin (Vitamin B-3) deficiency
Niacin also helps the body convert food into energy. The deficiency of niacin is called pellagra. Niacin is mostly present in animal protein but also in peanuts making its deficiency less common than others. Symptoms of niacin deficiency include; diarrhea, dementia, and skin disorders. It can be treated with vitamin B-3 supplements and a balanced diet.
Folate (Vitamin B-9) deficiency
Folate helps the body create or produce red blood cells, and DNA. It also helps in brain development and nervous functioning and it’s essential for fetal development. It plays a vital role in the brain development of the baby. Folate deficiency can cause severe birth defects, anemia, and growth problems. Folate can be found in citrus fruits , beans, lentils, asparagus, leafy greens, meat, whole grains , etc.
Vitamin D deficiency
Researchers say about 1 billion of the world’s population do not get enough vitamin D. People with darker skin also risk vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. It helps disburse calcium through the body, making sure there’s enough everywhere. Vitamin D deficiency can cause poor bone development and growth. Vitamin D can be gotten from egg yolks, fish liver oils, fatty fish, liver, and mushrooms . Many dairy products and plant milks are fortified with vitamin D. The best vitamin D source is the sun.
Calcium is very important in making healthy teeth and bones. It also helps the heart, muscles, and nerves to function correctly. Symptoms of calcium deficiency are not as profound as others but can lead to severe health issues if it isn’t kept at bay. Whenyou don’t consume enough calcium, the body “borrows” calcium from the bones. If this continues, the bones become weaker and might eventually break. Lack of calcium in the body can also cause abnormal heart rhythms and convulsions. The best calcium sources include; milk, yogurt, cheese, small fish with bones, and calcium set tofu. Some vegetables like kale and broccoli also contain calcium.
The leading cause of any nutritional deficiency revolves around the lack of a balanced diet. There are several other symptoms you might notice if you’re deficient in any nutrient. Such symptoms include; pale skin, weakness, fatigue, unusual food craving, constipation, breathing issues, lightheadedness, sleepiness, depression, tingling and numbness of bone joints, low concentration, etc. Once you notice any of these symptoms, quickly meet with your doctor or physician.