The lack of certain vitamins can cause various medical conditions, even if other aspects of the diet are adequate. Such as:
- Vitamin C deficiency/ascorbic acid deficiency: Scurvy and weak immune system.
- Vitamin D deficiency: Rickets or weakened bones.
- Vitamin A deficiency: Night blindness.
- Deficiency in thiamine, vitamin B1: Beriberi and its symptoms are lethargy, fatigue and complications affecting the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, musculo skeletal system, gastrointestinal system and nervous system.
- Deficiency in niacin, vitamin B3: Pellagra and its symptoms are weakness, skin inflammation, depression, memory loss.
- Vitamin B 12 Deficiency: Anemia.
- Riboflavin deficiency : Its symptoms are growth retardation, congenital heart defects, chapped and fissured lips,
Mineral deficiencies: Certain minerals are also required in the diet for sound health.
- Iodine deficiency: It can cause Goiter. Its symptoms are swelling of the thyroid gland in the neck and it also effects body metabolism.
- Iron deficiency: It can lead to a blood condition called as anemia.
- Calcium deficiency: It can lead to arthritis, high blood pressure, weak teeth and osteoporosis.
- Magnesium deficiency: It can lead to hypertension and cardio vascular disorders.
Extreme nutrient deprivation or underfeeding over a long period of time is called as Malnutrition.
Reasons for malnutrition
Malnutrition can also occur due to an inability of the body to absorb nutrients from the food ingested, over an extended period of time. Body’s inability to absorb nutrients is sometimes seen after surgery or trauma. For example a person who has had part of his/her small intestine removed (for medical reasons often being cancer), will have a difficulty in the absorption of certain nutrients like Vitamin A, calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin D, Selenium, Thiamin, Iron and so on. These people have to rely on supplementation to obtain their daily dose of the above mentioned vitamins and minerals.
Under nutrition shows up as protein or energy deficiency, vitamin or nutrient deficiencies. Malnutrition that occurs due to under nutrition is a common feature in developing countries where famines and starvation is a common occurrence.
Lack of mega nutrients and malnutrition
Malnutrition that occurs due to lack of mega nutrients is divided in to the following classes:
- Marasmus: It is seen in severe cases of starvation. It usually results in low immunity levels, weight loss and general weakness.
- Kwashiorkor: Typical disorder of protein deficiency. The subject usually has a protruding belly.
- Malnutrition related Diabetes mellitus: Diabetes in such individuals usually occurs due to protein or energy deficiency.
Lack of micro nutrients and malnutrition
Malnutrition that occurs due to lack of Micro nutrients is divided in to the following classes:
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