What are Deficiency Diseases?
Everyone needs to be aware that the human system requires many essential vitamins and minerals to function their best every day.
Problems occur only when such vitamins and minerals are not consumed or absorbed in sufficient quantities. The shortage paves the way for deficiency diseases to occur.
Micronutrients & Micronutrients Deficiency
The trace vitamins and minerals from foods nourish every part of the system, and hence they are called ‘Micronutrients’.
On the one hand, an insufficient amount of Micronutrients in the short run leads to nutritional deficiencies, and such continuing deficiencies snowball into deficiency diseases.
The human body cannot produce Micronutrients, and the dependency falls on a nutritional diet and perhaps on some pills if the situation arises.
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What are the symptoms of Deficiency Diseases?
Many symptoms occur to indicate a person is suffering from deficiency diseases. Here are the most common nutrient deficiencies and nutritional deficiency diseases with their general symptoms.
Found below is information related to the symptoms arising out of deficiency diseases:
1. Magnesium Deficiency Signs
- Fatigue and lack of stamina
- High Blood pressure
- Irregular Heartbeat
- Breathing issues
- Muscle Cramps
Top magnesium rich foods are Legumes, Leafy greens, Seeds like Flax, Pumpkin and Chia seeds, Nuts like Almonds and Cashews, Paneer, Whole grains, Fruits like Avocados and Bananas.
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2. Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
- Obesity or overweight
- Feeling older given age
- Prone to infection
- Back pain including bones
- Mood swings and depression
- Slow recovery from wounds.
- Hair loss due to stress
- Constant pain in the muscle area.
Best vitamin D sources are Salmon fish, Milk, Tofu, Curd, Eggs, Whole grains and Oranges.
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3. Vitamin B12 Deficiency Signs
- Jaundiced skin or eyes
- Consistently tired
- Paresthesia (a feeling of pins and needles pricking)
- A loss of balance while moving
- Mouth Ulcers and Glossitis
- Dizziness accompanied by breathlessness.
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
Best vitamin B12 sources are foods such as Whole grains, Paneer, Milk, Eggs and Yoghurt.
4. Zinc Deficiency Signs
- Appetite loss
- Immunity weak
- Loss of Hair
- Delay in wounds healing
- Dramatic weight loss
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5. Symptoms of Calcium Deficiency
- Mood swings
- Brittle nails
- Lack of concentration
- Poor memory
- Skin is drier
- Coarse hair
- Muscle cramps
- Vitamin D Deficiency
- Acute bone pain
- Lethargy and lack of strength
Major Calcium foods are Tofu, Yoghurt, Milk, Parmesan, Spinach, Beans, Soya Chunks and Okra.
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6. Vitamin C Deficiency Symptoms
- Lack of stamina
- Slow wound healing
- Unexplained Weight loss
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7. Vitamin A Deficiency Symptoms
- Dry and scaly skin
- Dry eyes
- Cornea is hazy
- Inflamed and reddened eyes
- Evening blindness
Top vitamin A rich foods are Carrots, Tuna fish, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Spinach, Cantaloupe, Lettuce, Red bell peppers and Broccoli.
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8. Symptoms of Iodine Deficiency
- Swollen look
- Lack of strength
- Moisture less skin
- Muscle pain
- Thinning hair lacking nourishment
- Failing memory
- Weight increase
- Susceptibility to cold
- Unscheduled monthly periods
- Increased LDL
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What are the major causes of Deficiency Diseases?
1. Vitamin Deficiency Anaemia
The body requires a sufficient amount of vitamins to produce healthy red blood cells.
Emphasis is laid on healthy red blood cells as they are the transporters of oxygen throughout the body.
A particular set of vitamins is essential to creating these red blood cells, and the lack of it leads to a problem called ‘ vitamin deficiency anaemia.’
The various causes of why vitamin deficiency anaemias arise are:
(i) Folate Deficiency Anaemia
Popularly known as B-9, it can be sourced from green leafy vegetables and fruits.
Folate shortage occurs when your diet lacks in these foods, or you consume it but unable to absorb it. Such lack of absorption is caused by:
• Celiac disease that pertains to the small intestine
• A surgery made on the small intestine, and a part of it was removed.
• Alcohol habits
• Drugging and its side effects.
On the other hand, people with dialysis issues, and women who have conceived or breastfeeding require more folate. If the increase in supply is not assured, the deficiency is the result.
Foods high in folate are Green peas, Lentils, Asparagus, Spinach, Broccoli, Avocado, Mango, Lettuce, Sweet corns and Oranges.
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(ii) Vitamin B-12 Deficiency Anaemia
Vitamin B12 keeps the nerve and blood cells healthy, and the lack of it can be attributed to two reasons.
The diet may lack in it or otherwise due to the absence of a substance called Intrinsic factor.
Intrinsic factor issues arise when the immune system triggers off an unwarranted attack on the stomach, which releases this substance. The anaemia which occurs, as a result, is called ‘ pernicious anaemia.’
The lack of intrinsic factor leads to non-absorption of B12 and is rendered useless.
(iii) Vitamin C Deficiency Anaemia
A lack of vitamin C in your diet leads to deficiency diseases. The other reason would be the lack of ability to absorb it. Certain illnesses, like cancer or kidney diseases, including smoking cigarettes, can affect such non-absorption.
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2. Iodine Deficiency
Lack of mineral Iodine in our diets is the leading cause of Iodine deficiency disease.
This leads to hypothyroidism, and women are more susceptible to it than men. Heredity and a history of having had thyroid are also reasons why iodine cannot be absorbed quickly.
Best iodine foods are Himalayan pink salt, Sea Cod, Tuna fish, Baked potato with peels, Milk, Leafy greens and Eggs.
3. Vitamin A Deficiency
There are two significant reasons why this deficiency disease occurs:
• Food intake lacks Vitamin A
• When rice is considered a staple food and is unaware that rice does not have beta-carotene in it.
4. B-Complex Vitamin Deficiency
Many B vitamins combine to form B-complex. When one of the vitamins goes lacking in this combination, the deficiency disease occurs. The B vitamins are:
(i) Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
Vitamin B1 (thiamin), the shortage of which leads to Beriberi. A multitude number of problems can arise due to this, including cardiac issues.
(ii) Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vitamin B2 deficiency leads to lips reddening and cracking, mouth inflammation and ulcers, sore throat, and even iron deficiency anaemia.
(iii) Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B3 (niacin) when insufficient leads to Pellagra which is the root cause of dementia and diarrhoea etc.
(iv) Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
It is rare that someone gets Vitamin B5 deficiency but if it happens, the symptoms may include depression, insomnia, fatigue, mood irritability, vomiting and stomach pains.
(v) Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 deficiency symptoms are majorly cracked lip corners and skin rashes, tiredness and mood changes leading to depression, nerve pain and seizures that may lead to peripheral neuropathy.
(vi) Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Vitamin B7 (Biotin) when short contributes to hair-thinning, causes rashes in the eye, mouth and nose region including other skin infections.
(vii) Vitamin B9 (Folate)
Folate, a B-complex that may cause severe issues owing to its deficiency. Symptoms include fatigue, attention difficulties, and breathlessness. It may also contribute to gastrointestinal problems.
(viii) Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
Vitamin B12 deficiency disease causes fatigue, appetite loss, loss in weight, and indigestion, and nerve problems. Other signs can include anxiety and sadness.
Best vitamin B rich foods for non-vegetarians are Meat such as Chicken and Red meat, Eggs, Liver and Kidney, Fish such as Salmon, Tuna, and Mackerel, Shellfish such as Oysters and Clams whereas vitamin B foods for vegetarians are Milk, Cheese, Dark green vegetables such as Spinach and Kale.
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5. Vitamin C Deficiency
Less or no consumption of Vit. C causes scurvy. Also, patients undergoing Kidney dialysis are in danger as the medication phase lacks vitamin C leading to deficiency diseases.
Top tier Vitamin C rich foods are Guava, Kiwifruit, Oranges, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Spinach, Bell peppers and Papaya.
6. Vitamin D Deficiency
Many causes cause the deficit, which may also be risk factors. This involves insufficient access to sunshine, or inflammatory intestinal ailment, and other disorders that trigger nutrient anaemia.
Vegetarians face significant risk since known sources of vitamin D rich foods are shrimp, milk, and poultry.
7. Calcium Deficiency
Hypocalcemia, which is caused by a deficiency in calcium, is due to many factors. These are:
• Lack or inadequate calcium in the diet.
• Nil or insufficient exposure to sunlight
• Severe kidney issues
• Liver Cirrhosis
• Non-absorption of calcium
• Lactose intolerance
• Less Vitamin D
8. Magnesium Deficiency
The primary source of magnesium is insufficiency in the diet. Another trigger may be malabsorption, too. Magnesium deficiency can also induce excess alcohol consumption and chronic diarrhoea.
Those at elevated risk for this disorder are drug users, persons with diabetes or stomach disorders, and older people.
9. Zinc Deficiency
Alcohol abuse is one of the main factors of a shortage of zinc. Specific factors include progressive renal failure, asthma, diseases of the liver or pancreas, and cancer of the sickle cells.
Higher-risk groups include those addicted to tobacco, vegetarians, persons with stomach issues, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.
You may find zinc in foods such are Oysters, Beef, Chicken, Lentils, Hemp seeds, Yoghurt and Oatmeals to avoid the mineral deficiency.
What diseases are caused by a lack of fats?
The lack of fat intake leads to neurological and psychological problems. As a result, anxiety issues, mood swings, unusually low, depression, and irritability, happen. Apart from a weak performance by the nerves, serotonin dysfunction is also a reason.
2. Heart issues
Omega-3 fatty acids at reduced levels can be the primary reason for heart-related problems.
3. Chronic inflammation
Lack of fat and fatty acids may contribute to
• Crohn’s disease
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Multiple sclerosis
• Ulcerative colitis
• Systemic Lupus erythematosus
Prostrate and Colon Cancer are bound to occur when omega-three levels go down.
5. Vitamin deficiency
Fats are necessary for the absorption of essential vitamins in the body. The body can not readily replace fat-soluble nutrients A, D, E, and K, and they are contained in adipose tissue. Deficiency diseases induced by inadequate nutrients soluble in fat are rare. Inadequacies can cause bones and skin abnormalities due to a poor healthy diet.
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The Bottom Line
From the above, it is clear that a well-balanced diet would be the first and most important step to avoid or cure deficiency diseases.