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Types of Nutritional Deficiencies

Types of Nutritional Deficiencies

by: Dr. Neha Pathania
Senior Dietitian

Nutritional deficiencies are also called malnutrition. It sets in when the body doesn’t absorb or get food from the nutrients. Malnutrition can lead to various nutritional deficiencies like digestive problems, anemia, skin problems, eyesight issues, bone-related issues like osteoporosis, dementia, stunted growth among children etc.

Types of Nutritional Deficiencies:

The most common nutritional deficiencies are:

Iron deficiency: The most widespread nutritional deficiency worldwide is iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a blood disorder that causes fatigue, weakness, and a variety of other symptoms. Iron helps your body make red blood cells. When iron levels get too low, your body can’t effectively carry oxygen. The resulting anemia can cause fatigue. You might also notice pale skin and dull, thin, sparse hair.

Vitamin D deficiency: Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. It helps the body maintain the right levels of calcium in order to regulate the development of teeth and bones. A lack of this nutrient can lead to stunted or poor bone growth as this vitamin is also critical for bone health. Osteoporosis, caused by a lack of calcium and vitamin D, can lead to porous and fragile bones that break very easily. Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency can be vague like fatigue and muscle aches or weakness.

Potassium deficiency: Potassium helps the kidneys, heart, and other organs work properly. You could become low in potassium in the short term because of diarrhea or vomiting, excessive sweating, or antibiotics, or because of chronic conditions such as eating disorders and kidney disease.

Calcium deficiency: Calcium helps your body develop strong bones and teeth. It also helps your heart, nerves, and muscles work the way they should. A calcium deficiency often doesn’t show symptoms right away, but it can lead to serious health problems over time. If you aren’t consuming enough calcium, your body may use the calcium from your bones instead, leading to bone loss. Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones and controlling muscle and nerve function. Signs of severely low calcium include fatigue, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, and a poor appetite.

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