You can prevent a nutrient deficiency in various ways. Existing deficiencies can be recognized by various symptoms.
Nutrients are primarily divided into two categories. Your body needs large amounts of macronutrients. These include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Here your body has a lower need.
If the body lacks certain minerals or vitamins that it needs to maintain important functions, a nutrient deficiency can arise.
nutrients that the body needs
carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They are broken down into glucose, which is used by cells to produce energy. There are simple carbohydrates like sugar and complex carbohydrates like starches and fiber.
Protein are important building blocks for the growth and repair of body cells. They are made up of amino acids, some of which are essential. This means your body cannot make them on its own and they must be obtained from food.
Slices serve as a concentrated source of energy and are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).
Vitamins are organic compounds that your body needs to perform various functions. There are 13 essential vitamins, which can be divided into two categories: fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble (B vitamins and vitamin C).
At minerals are inorganic elements that play a role in many bodily processes, including maintaining a normal heartbeat, regulating blood pressure, strengthening bones and supporting the immune system. There are many important minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
Causes of deficiency symptoms
The human body is able to produce some nutrients, such as vitamin D and vitamin K2, but most must be obtained from food.
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has analyzed survey data (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003-2006) and summarized a detailed paper on micronutrient deficiencies in the US population, which can also be applied to other countries.
Nutrient deficiencies occur primarily for these reasons:
- Unhealthy diet: An unbalanced diet that does not provide enough of the nutrients your body needs is one of the most common causes of deficiency. This can be particularly problematic for people who eat mostly processed foods, as these are often deficient in important nutrients.
- Diseases: Certain diseases can prevent the body from absorbing nutrients properly. Bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
- lifestyle: Lifestyle also has an impact on possible deficiency symptoms. For example, excessive alcohol consumption can prevent the body from absorbing enough nutrients. If you do a lot of sport, your need for certain nutrients may be higher and therefore not covered by food. A meat-free diet is also included.
Identify the most common types of nutrient deficiencies
A lack of nutrients in your body can cause a variety of symptoms and affect your overall health. It is therefore important to recognize the signs of a nutrient deficiency in order to be able to take appropriate measures quickly. Symptoms of deficiency can range from physical changes to mental state changes and depend on the specific nutrient you are lacking.
- Eisen is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia. Symptoms include tiredness, weakness and a pale complexion. A swollen or slippery tongue and brittle or deformed nails are also signs of iron deficiency.
Vitamin deficiencies can cause various symptoms. Vitamin B12 is important, for example, for the functioning of the nervous system and for the production of red blood cells. It is mainly found in animal products. If the vitamin is missing, the consequences are fatigue, weakness, memory problems or even depression. Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet and impaired balance are also signs.
- Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium in the body and plays an important role in maintaining bone health. Vitamin D can be produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but many people, especially in countries with less sunlight, are deficient. Too little vitamin D can lead to bone pain and muscle weakness and increase the risk of fractures.
- calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body and is essential for strong bones and teeth and for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves. A lack of calcium leads to weak bones, muscle spasms and, in severe cases, osteoporosis.
- Magnesium is involved in hundreds of reactions in the body, including protein formation, muscle and nerve function, and blood sugar control. A lack of magnesium is shown by muscle cramps, cardiac arrhythmias, fatigue or even depression.
Diagnosis and treatment of nutrient deficiencies
Diagnosing a nutrient deficiency usually requires a doctor’s evaluation, as many of the symptoms can also be indicative of other conditions. Your doctor will run a series of tests to determine if you have a nutrient deficiency. These include blood tests, urine tests, or stool tests.
Subsequent treatment depends on the type of defect. In many cases, just changing your diet helps to correct the deficiency. Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to take supplements. If there is a vitamin D deficiency
a daylight lamp is a useful and simple therapy.
Prevention of deficiency symptoms
A balanced diet is the key to good health and vitality. This allows you to absorb the necessary amount of essential vitamins and minerals from food.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables: These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and choose a variety of colors to get a wide spectrum of nutrients.
- Watch out for protein sources: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and nuts are excellent sources of protein. Proteins are not only important for muscle growth, they also provide important vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, iron and zinc.
- Add whole grains: Whole grains are high in fiber, B vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and zinc. They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.
- Watch out for fats: While you should limit saturated fats, unsaturated fats are important for health and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. You can find these in avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish and olive oil.
- Dietary supplements: In some cases it can be useful to use supplements to prevent deficiency, especially if you cannot eat certain foods or have certain dietary needs. For example, vegetarians and vegans could benefit from a B12 supplement. However, taking any dietary supplement should always be discussed with a doctor or nutritionist, as excessive consumption of certain vitamins and minerals can also be harmful to your health.
- Regular health checks: Some deficiencies can occur without specific symptoms, so regular health checks are helpful to identify and treat possible deficiency symptoms at an early stage.
We would like to point out that the information provided here in no way replaces medical diagnosis and treatment.