Nutrient Deficiencies generally occur when the body fails to absorb or gain the necessary amount of nutrients from food. Essential nutrients are remarkably necessary for the prevention of diseases and the proper growth of the body. Food plays a key role as it is solely responsible for providing the major nutrients. Thus it is very important to take a balanced diet. We have reached out to some of the best nutritionists in India and easily accessible online to suggest options for various food supplements that prove helpful for filling in Nutritional Deficiencies.
Check out some of the 7 incredibly common nutrient deficiencies and their relevant symptoms and sources discussed below:
1) Iron Deficiency
This is the most common deficiency amongst all. Iron helps transport oxygen to the cells of the body. Dietary iron is categorized as Heme and Non-heme Iron
a)Heme iron- found in animal food and absorbed quite easily.
b)Non-heme iron- found in animal as well as plant food but not absorbed as easily.
A major consequence of Iron deficiency is Anaemia which occurs when one has a decreased level of hemoglobin in RBCs as iron combines with hemoglobin and transports oxygen to the cells.
Symptoms of iron deficiency: lethargy, headache, dizziness, unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances (ice, dirt or starch), weak immunity & brain functioning.
Sources of Iron:
- Heme: Red meat, Organ meat, Shellfish (clams, mussels, and oysters) & Canned sardines.
- Non-Heme: Kidney beans, pumpkin & sesame seeds as well as dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, etc.
- Vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron thus grapefruit, kiwi, leafy greens, melons, oranges, peppers, strawberries, tangerines & tomatoes should be part of one’s diet.
Note: Anemia does not make a hazardous impact but it may be alarming if not treated & lead to heart problems and growth issues.
2) Iodine Deficiency
Iodine is a trace element that makes thyroid hormone & has a great impact on the thyroid functioning in our body. The thyroid gland controls all bodily functions as it checks our metabolic rate.
Symptoms of Iodine deficiency: Iodine deficiency causes serious issues such as mental growth. It also leads to weight gain, increased heart rate and shortness of breath.
Sources of Iodine:
- Fish (such as cod and tuna), seaweed, shrimp, and other seafood are usually iodine-rich.
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt plus cheese also products made from grains (bread as well as cereals) too are sources of iodine.
- Fruits and vegetables may contain iodine, depending on the soil where they grew or fertilizer that was made use of.
- Iodized salt, readily available and processed foods rarely contain iodine.
3) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone. Cholesterol present in the skin, when exposed to sunlight, produces vitamin D. This vitamin functions by absorbing Calcium from food to maintain strong bones.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency: A person deficient in vitamin D faces a high risk of rickets, fractures, as well as weak bones, osteoporosis & muscular strength. Vitamin D plays a vital role in reducing the increased risk of cancer.
Sources of Vitamin D: Egg yolks, cod liver oil & fatty fishes are good sources of Vitamin D but sitting in sunlight is the best & most inexpensive one.
4) Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is required by the cells to form blood. It also controls the brain & nerve functions. This vitamin is to be taken through food supplements as it is not produced in the body moreover it is poorly absorbed and easily excreted. Being aided by a protein known as an intrinsic factor the absorption of B12 becomes more complex.
Symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency: Blood disorders, weakened brain system, advanced homocysteine levels megaloblastic anemia are common symptoms.
Sources of Vitamin B12 : Eggs, meat, milk products & shellfish are some sources of VitaminB12.
5) Calcium Deficiency
A very important mineral that strengthens bones and teeth in our body is Calcium. It helps the functioning of the heart, muscles as well as the nerves. The calcium remains stored in bones and is released when required.
Symptoms of Calcium deficiency: Weak and brittle nails, muscle cramps, depression, nervousness or memory loss, easy fracturing of the bones, insensitivity, and tingling in the hands, feet, and face as well as hallucinations are some common symptoms. More severe Calcium deficiencies lead to Rickets & osteoporosis.
Sources of Calcium:
- Boned fish, dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of Calcium.
Calcium-rich foods in your diet are vital for the body no matter what your age or gender is. Limit those diet plans that deplete calcium, and get enough magnesium and vitamins D and K to help calcium do its job.
6) Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is a vital fat-soluble vitamin that supports structure and maintains healthy skin, teeth, bones, and cell membranes. Moreover, it produces eye pigments, which are crucial for vision. Vitamin A deficiency can occur from poor intake, fat malabsorption, or liver dysfunctions and is majorly responsible for night blindness.
Symptoms of Vitamin A deficiency: Eye problems, dry skin, delayed growth, throat & chest infections, infertility & trouble conceiving, poor wound healing & night blindness are signs of this deficiency.
Sources of Vitamin A:
Dietary vitamin A can be categorized as:
a) Preformed vitamin A found in animal products(meat, fish, poultry, plus dairy).
b) Pro-vitamin A found in plant-based foods(fruits and vegetables) The most prevalent form is Beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A.Dietary sources of beta carotene (pro-vitamin A) include carrots, sweet potatoes as well as dark green leafy vegetables.
7) Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium is an essential mineral in our body for normal bone structure. It controls the muscle functioning including the heart muscles and thus plays a vital role. This key mineral is involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions as well as controls blood pressure and the production of cholesterol.
Symptoms of Magnesium deficiency: Fatigue, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, abnormal heart rhythm, migraines, insulin resistance as well as high blood pressure are warning signs of this deficiency.
Sources of Magnesium: Dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains as well as whole wheat flour, cultured yogurt, tofu, avocados & dark chocolate are good sources of Magnesium.
A balanced diet and plenty of water are always suggested to stay fit and healthy. Besides diet, additional supplements can be taken to overcome deficiency caused by disease, drug use, reduced digestive function, or inadequate intake but the opinion of the best nutritionists should be taken before any follow-up.