Common Nutrient Deficiencies and How to Address Them

Common Nutrient Deficiencies and How to Address Them

As life moves forward, the risk of nutritional deficiency increases significantly. Being aware of symptoms and effective ways to combat deficiencies can make an enormous difference to overall health and wellness.

Micronutrient deficiency, commonly referred to as “hidden hunger”, has the potential to adversely impact many aspects of health and development, including impaired growth in children, mental retardation and other related conditions.

Potassium Deficiency

Potassium is an essential mineral, necessary to regulate muscle contractions, maintain nerve health and balance fluid levels in the body. Unfortunately, however, most Western diets fail to provide enough potassium.

Potassium deficiency can lead to symptoms including fatigue, frequent urination and digestive issues. It may also increase blood pressure levels which can put someone at increased risk of heart disease.

Iron Deficiency

Iron is an essential nutrient needed to produce red blood cells, so its absence from our diets can result in iron deficiency anemia – which may manifest with general fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and pale skin.

Iron can be found both in plant and animal foods, with plant sources often being poorly absorbed into the body. Vegetarians, vegans and menstruating women may be at a greater risk for iron deficiency than others.

Vitamin B1 Deficiency

Lacking sufficient vitamin B1 (thiamine) can lead to serious health complications. Thiamine is essential in turning carbohydrates into energy for use by your brain, nerves, heart, and stomach; without enough of it you could face neurological, cardiac and stomach dysfunction as well.

Beriberi (thiamine deficiency) is relatively uncommon in the US due to food fortification with this vitamin; however, certain medical conditions can make it hard for our bodies to absorb this essential mineral, particularly those who abuse alcohol.

Vitamin B2 Deficiency

Riboflavin, or B2, is one of eight essential vitamins needed for maintaining good health. It helps break down food components, absorb other nutrients and preserve tissue health.

Vitamin B2 deficiency is not too uncommon and can easily be avoided by regularly eating riboflavin-rich foods and taking B complex vitamins, if necessary.

Vitamin B3 Deficiency

Vitamin B3, or Niacin, is required by every cell in your body and plays an integral part in turning food into energy, improving circulation, suppressing inflammation and producing hormones related to sexual and stress activity.

Niacin deficiency can be extremely dangerous if left untreated. Symptoms include fatigue, mouth and skin sores, poor circulation and cracked, scaly skin.

Vitamin B5 Deficiency

Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic Acid, is one of the eight water-soluble B vitamins. It helps your body convert food (carbohydrates) into energy while using fats and proteins efficiently for healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver function.

Neurotransmitter release plays an essential part of brain communication with other parts of the body.

Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency occurs when people don’t absorb enough vitamin B6 from the foods they eat, often due to kidney disease, malabsorption syndromes or other medical issues that prevent your small intestine from properly digesting nutrition from food sources.

Vitamin D is vital to maintaining a healthy immune system, nerves, bones and arteries as well as cognitive growth and protein metabolism.

Vitamin B7 Deficiency

Vitamin B7 (biotin) is an essential water-soluble vitamin that plays an integral role in several essential metabolic processes, including energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism and glycogen synthesis.

Biotin deficiency is typically uncommon; bacteria in the gut produce it and small amounts can be obtained through various foods; then our bodies efficiently recycles it back into our systems. However, prolonged anti-seizure medications, long-term oral antibiotic use, intestinal malabsorption or intravenous feeding may lead to lower biotin levels than usual.

Vitamin B8 Deficiency

Vitamin B8 is best known for aiding in the production of insulin. It plays an integral part in brain health by helping regulate mood-controlling hormones.

Lack of Vitamin B3 can result in numerous health issues, from mental conditions like depression and anxiety to skin issues like dermatitis and psoriasis.

Vitamin B9 Deficiency

Vitamin B9 (folate) is an essential nutrient that plays an essential role in DNA and RNA synthesis, protein metabolism and controlling levels of homocysteine amino acid in our bodies. Furthermore, its role is essential during periods of rapid growth such as pregnancy and fetal development.

Folate is found naturally in many foods and can also be supplemented with folic acid to increase folate levels if they are low. Folic acid supplements may also help those who lack sufficient folate levels.

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