How A Deficiency Can Affect Your Body

common nutrient deficiencies

How A Deficiency Can Affect Your Body

There are many different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are needed every day in order to stay healthy. However, not everyone is able to get enough of each of these vitamins. Continue reading to learn more about some of the most common nutrient deficiencies.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Iron

Iron is an essential mineral that is used to do many things in the body. For example, it is used to make hemoglobin and myoglobin. Hemoglobin is a protein that transports oxygen throughout the blood vertebrates. Myoglobin is similar, however, it transports blood to the muscle cells. It is also used to make certain hormones. Iron deficiency is very common as it affects more than 25% of people across the world.

Symptoms include iron deficiency includes tiredness, weakened immune system, weakness, and impaired brain function.

There are two different types of iron that you can get from certain foods. These are heme iron and non-heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed better than non-heme but can only be found in animal foods like meats. On the other hand, non-heme iron is more common as it can be found in animal foods and plant foods but is not as easily absorbed.

Calcium

Calcium is another essential mineral that is needed to maintain strong bones and teeth along with aiding in cell function. A survey taken back in 2010 showed that 15% of teenage girls less than 10% of women, less than 22% of teenage boys and men in the United States met the daily recommended amount of calcium. This makes around This makes a lot of people at risk of developing a calcium deficiency.

The National Institutes of Health state that “Symptoms of serious calcium deficiency include numbness and tingling in the fingers, convulsions, and abnormal heart rhythms that can lead to death if not corrected.”

Some symptoms of mild calcium deficiency are muscle aches, cramps and spasms, and pain in the thighs and arms.

Fortunately, there are many foods that contain calcium so you can reach the daily recommended amount. You can find it in foods such as dairy products, vegetables like kale and broccoli and some cereals have calcium added to them.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the thirteen essential vitamins that are required each day. It is needed because it helps to keep the body’s blood and nerve cells healthy. Another thing that it does is help make DNA. Check out this article for more on The Benefits of Vitamin B12.

When you are deficient in this vitamin, you could experience things such as weakness, constipation, tiredness, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Vitamin B12 is found in many foods like beef liver, clams, and other meats, however, it is not found naturally in plant foods. This makes it hard for vegetarians and vegans to reach the daily recommended amount. In fact, as much as 80-90% of them could maybe be deficient. That is why it is recommended that they consume a B12 supplement.

Vitamin D

The next one of the more common nutrient deficiencies is vitamin D. Being another one of the thirteen essential vitamins, vitamin D is found in many foods and helps the body maintain strong bones. It does this by aiding in calcium absorption.

If you do not get enough of this vitamin, you are at risk of developing harmful diseases or serious medical conditions. These are rickets and osteomalacia. Children who are deficient are at risk of developing rickets, a disease that causes the bones to soften. On the other hand, adults are at risk of developing osteomalacia a disease where the bones become more susceptible to breaking.

You can get vitamin D from many sources such as the sun. When your skin is in direct contact (meaning no sunscreen or clothing covering your entire body) with the sun, your body is able to produce vitamin D. If you cannot do this due to various reasons, you can find it in foods such as fatty fish and even milk. Vegetarians and vegans are some people who could greatly benefit from a vitamin D supplement.

Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that aids in the production of thyroid hormones. These are what control the metabolism in the body. It is important for everyone to get enough, including pregnant women and newborn infants.

While it is not as common in the United States, iodine deficiency affects around 30% of people worldwide. Mild iodine deficiency could cause a lower than average IQ in children. However, the NIH says that a serious deficiency can cause permanent damage to the fetus in pregnant women by causing stunted growth.

Iodine deficiency can also cause the production of the thyroid hormone to slow and stop. You will know if you have a deficiency in this nutrient is you have swelling in the neck, fatigue, and even sudden weight gain.

The reason that iodine deficiency is not common in the United States is that most households have iodized salt. Other sources of iodine include fish and dairy products.

Vitamin A

The last one of the more common nutrient deficiencies is vitamin A. Vitamin A is needed for healthy vision, immune system, and reproduction. It also helps the organs in the body function properly.

If you happen to become deficient, you can expect to experience, eye damage such as xerophthalmia. This is an eye disease that causes your tear ducts and eyes. It can also lead to night blindness. Depending on how serious your deficiency is, this damage could be permanent.

Luckily vitamin A can be found in many foods such as beef liver, salmon, leafy green vegetables, fruits, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Conclusion

There are many common nutrient deficiencies in the world. In order to avoid them, you need to make sure that you are getting the recommended daily amount for each of them. This can be done by eating a well-balanced diet or through supplementation.

Sources:

https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/is-your-body-trying-to-tell-you-something-common-nutrient-inadequacies-and-deficiencies
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20181782/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23356638
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23472655

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