It is a myth that nutrient deficiencies are a thing of the past, experienced only by sailors on long sea voyages or travelers. However, some of the essential nutrients your body requires to function optimally can be deficient even nowadays.
Nutrition deficiencies are caused by the body's inability to absorb or receive nutrients in the required amount. Nutritional deficiencies can be the primary cause of a variety of health problems.
The symptoms can range from digestion problems to skin disorders to impaired bone growth and even dementia. An insufficient amount of nutrients in the diet or an inability of the body to store some nutrients are common causes of nutritional deficiencies.
Nutrient deficits affect how the body works and how processes are carried out at the very cellular level. Water balance, enzyme function, digestion, and metabolism are some of these processes. Growth, development, and functioning are all hindered by these inadequacies.
An iron deficiency or other micronutrient shortage can be caused by a variety of diseases and disorders, such as colon cancer, an unbalanced gut flora, and gastrointestinal problems like celiac disease and Crohn's disease.
Depending on the type of nutrients the body lacks, common symptoms of nutritional deficiencies can vary. Pale skin, exhaustion, weakness, breathing difficulties, protein energy malnutrition which causes swelling of the face and leg, constipation, strange food cravings, tingling and numbness in the joints, etc are some frequent symptoms of nutritional deficiencies.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies
In addition to maintaining strong bones, calcium also controls the functioning of muscles and nerves.
A severe calcium deficiency can manifest itself as numbness, tingling, or irregular heartbeats.
This vitamin is also crucial for bone health and may prevent some cancers.
Deficits in vitamin D can have vague symptoms, including fatigue, bone pain, mood changes, and muscle aches.
In addition to supplying nutrients to cells and removing waste, potassium helps to maintain the function of your heart, your nerves, and your muscles. A chronic condition such as kidney disease, diarrhea, or vomiting could cause you to become deficient in potassium in the short term. You could also become deficient in potassium because of antibiotics, excessive sweating, excessive alcohol consumption, or diarrhea or vomiting.
Constipation, tingling, numbness, and a rapid heartbeat are some symptoms of this deficiency.
The production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, depends on iron.
A deficiency in red blood cells can result from low iron levels, leading to anemia. Iron deficiency is more likely to occur in menstruating women, children, and pregnant women, as well as those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. As a result of anemia, you can experience symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, a fast heartbeat, pale skin, headaches, cold hands and feet, sore or swollen tongues, brittle nails, and a strange craving for dirt.
Magnesium has a positive effect on energy production and bone health
An inadequate amount of magnesium can cause fatigue, numbness, tingling, seizures, irregular heartbeats, personality changes, and headaches.
Prenatal vitamins usually contain a substantial dose of folate, or folic acid, because it's particularly helpful for women in their childbearing years. Consumption of folate can also reduce the risk of birth defects.
Fatigue, an irritated mood, diarrhea, slow growth, and a tender tongue are all signs of folate deficiency.
DNA creation and red blood cells are highly boosted by vitamin B12. Because plants cannot produce vitamin B12, vegetarians and vegans may be particularly at risk for a vitamin B12 shortage.
Anemia, exhaustion, weakness, a swollen, inflamed tongue, numbness in the legs, hands, or feet, issues walking and balancing, and memory loss are all signs of severe B12 deficiency.
Consult a nutritional expert
Getting your blood tested should be the first step in case of any nutritional deficiencies. Visiting a nutritionist with a string of follow-ups can surprisingly be beneficial if the severity of the deficiency is high. The majority of the nutrients should be obtained from food, but multivitamin supplements may occasionally be necessary, according to dietary recommendations. Taking a second supplement, such as calcium and vitamin D combined, may be necessary to aid the body in absorbing minerals. The amount and frequency of supplements will vary depending on how severe the insufficiency is. The physician or nutritionist will make this decision.
Incorporate the lacking nutrients into your diet
Once you've determined where you're lacking in certain nutrients, you can increase your intake by choosing specific foods. Here are some popular foods that are rich in each of these nutrients:
Vitamin D: Salmon, sardines, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
Calcium: Dairy products, green vegetables like spinach kale, etc, and fortified food
Vitamin B12: Milk, Eggs, Meat, and shellfish
Magnesium: Almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, black beans
Folate: beans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole grains, eggs, and dark leafy greens
Potassium: bananas, milk, lentils, and kidney beans
Adding Multivitamins as Supplements
In some situations, increasing specific nutrient levels in your body may not be possible with just a diet rich in these nutrients. When this is the case, you should consider consuming daily supplements. There are ample multivitamins for men and women in the market. However, one must consult a nutritional expert as they recommend multivitamin supplements and their dosages only after monitoring our nutrient levels. The correct dosage and correct multivitamin supplement play a crucial role when it comes to cases of nutritional deficiency.