Nutrients are an essential source for the functioning of the human body. They enable the growth, repair, or proper working of your body. The sources of nutrients help to build your body and maintain your health. The deficiency of these nutrients can produce different types of problems in your body and affect your health which may lead to diseases. Therefore, a proper diet is important. These deficiencies are caused due to the improper intake of these nutrients and unhealthy ways of eating. Every nutrient consumption needs to be taken according to the deficiency of these nutrients.
All about malnutrition
The condition in which we consume little or too much amount of nutrients in our diet is known as malnutrition.
Malnutrition can be classified based on consumption and it is of two types:
- Undernutrition: this is the type of malnutrition that results due to not getting enough protein, calories, or micronutrients. There are several causes of undernutrition such as loss in weight, loss of fat and muscle mass, fatigue, etc.
- Overnutrition: this type of malnutrition is caused by the overconsumption of various nutrients such as protein, calories, or fats. Obesity and being overweight are the main signs of overnutrition.
Malnutrition can be caused due to several problems that we are facing such as environmental, economic, and medical conditions.
The following are the common causes of malnutrition:
- Lack of access to sufficient and affordable food
- Insecurity of food
- Digestive problems
- Excessive alcohol problems
- Mental health disorders
- Inability to obtain and prepare food
How deficiency of nutrients disturbs your health?
Most of the time, “deficiency” occurs when we are unable to consume something that needs to be taken in the right amount. Nutrient deficiency affects the health of your body in different ways. Moreover, these nutrients play an important and controllable role in your daily balanced diet.
There are numerous deficiencies of nutrients that lead to health conditions. Several deficiencies are found due to the lack of nutrients we take.
Some of the nutrient deficiencies found are:
1. Deficiency of Iron
Iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies all over the world. Iron is an essential nutrient that helps in balancing your body and helps to transport oxygen to your cells.
There are two types of iron that need to be taken into your diet.
- Heme iron: this type of iron includes red meat, organ meat, shellfish, and canned sardines.
- Non-heme iron: this type of iron includes beans, seeds, and dark, leafy greens.
Anemia is one of the common consequences caused by the deficiency of iron.
Symptoms of iron deficiency include – tiredness, weakness, weak immune system, impaired functioning of the brain, etc.
2. Deficiency of Iodine
Iodine is a nutrient that helps in functioning and producing thyroid hormones. And these thyroid hormones help to control and manage several processes, such as growth, repairing of damaged cells, and bone maintenance.
Iodine deficiency can be seen by the occurrence of the enlargement of the thyroid gland, which is known as goiter. And cause an increase in heart rate, breathing problems, and weight gain.
Symptoms of iodine deficiency include swelling in the neck, pregnancy-related issues, weight gain, and learning difficulties.
3. Deficiency of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a vitamin that functions like a steroid hormone. Vitamin D deficiency is not that obvious and cannot be easily seen. It can cause a reduction in the immune system, increasing the risk of cancer.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include muscle weakness, bone loss, an increased risk of fractures, etc.
4. Deficiency of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin known as cobalamin. This nutrient is essential for the formation of blood as well as brain and nerve function.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue; numbness in hands, legs, and feet; trouble in balancing and walking. Memory can also be caused by it. The most common symptoms include blood disorders, impaired brain function, etc.
5. Deficiency of Calcium
Calcium is essential as it helps in the functioning of your heart, muscles, and nerves.
Mineralization of teeth and bones can be done with the help of calcium.
The common symptom of calcium deficiency is osteoporosis which causes bones to become weak and brittle.
Symptoms of lack of nutrient consumption
Your body does not have the capability to take the nutrients in the proper amount because we all crave junk foods. Lack of nutrients gives us different signs through which we can identify the cause of it.
There are different signals through which you can identify the lacking. And these are as follows:
- Hair loss – is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world. It is common to lose about 100 strands of hair a day. But if the loss of hair is shown on your pillow or in the shower it makes sense because of a lack of nutrients. Most probably the low iron level in your body. So, you should eat more iron-rich foods, such as spinach, beans, lean beef, etc.
- Unexplained fatigue – Most of the time we feel sleepy, stressed, and sick. This shows the deficiency of vitamin D in your body. And vitamin D is not found in foods, therefore you should take it from the sun. But if there is not enough exposure to the sun, then add vitamin D to your diet. Vitamin D can be found in tuna, salmon, fortified foods like milk, and cereals.
- Burning Mouth Syndrome – This can be seen when you feel burning in your gums, lips, the inside of your cheek, and the roof of your mouth. This is because of the shortage of Vitamin B. You should add beans, bananas, and spinach to fulfill its deficiency of it.
- Dry skin – this is because of the low intake of vitamin A, we all suffer from dry, scaly skin, including your lips. You should add leafy green vegetables, orange vegetables, and orange fruits.
- Cracks at the corners of your mouth – This condition is known as angular cheilitis. In this, you find dry or irritated skin at one or both corners of your mouth which cause pain and bleeding sores. This is because of the deficiency of vitamin B or iron. Add eggs, milk, lean meat, and green vegetables like asparagus and broccoli to your diet.
- Wounds or bruises are slow to heal – this is because of the low intake of vitamin C in your diet. If we notice that your healing power is getting low this sign shows a deficiency of vitamin C. Focus on fruits and vegetables especially bell peppers, citrus fruits, etc.
How to treat nutritional deficiencies?
Nutritional deficiencies can be treated with the help of eating that nutrient in whole food or you can consult with your doctor or nutritionist for proper diagnosis and prescriptions.
These might include the consumption of multivitamins. Multivitamins are supplements and they contain a variety of vitamins in them. Multivitamins can be prescribed by the doctor in order to treat nutrient deficiency. People also take multivitamins without doctors’ or nutritionist prescription but it is advisable to consult with a medical expert first.
There are certain conditions that need to be put into consideration while going for multivitamins.
These aspects can be:
- Age – age is a very vital aspect of consuming multivitamins. As a part of growing, it may be difficult to chew food and have proper nutrients thus doctors might prescribe multivitamins for the same.
- Pregnancy – during pregnancy, the requirement of nutrients can be insufficient therefore, in order to avoid such conditions doctors might prescribe multivitamins.
- Digestive challenges – if you have digestive problems and your body does not properly absorb the nutrients then your doctor might suggest or prescribe multivitamins
- Certain medications – there are certain medications that require a number of nutrients and in order to meet the requirement, a doctor might prescribe multivitamins.
Apart from these, there are other conditions as well in which you can consume multivitamins.
One needs to consult with their doctor and then take multivitamins accordingly.
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