Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide and is one of the main factors contributing to the global burden of disease. Iron deficiency can also cause anemia, a blood condition that causes fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and a low level of immune support. The WHO estimates that iron deficiency and anemia affect 42% of children under five years of age and 40% of pregnant women worldwide. Adolescents, very young children, and people who follow plant-based diets are among those most likely to suffer from iron deficiency.
Many types of cereals and breads are also fortified with iron to promote a healthy diet rich in iron. Adults over 60 may have problems absorbing vitamin B-12, leading to a deficiency. Older people in nursing homes must have special diets to include the right amount of B-12 absorption. If the nursing home doesn't provide adequate medical care and nutrition to the elderly, consider moving to a different nursing home that makes your loved one's medical care a priority.
Vegans should consider taking a supplement or eating fortified foods to get the right amount of vitamin B-12 in their diet. Thiamine, or B-1, is essential for metabolism and energy intake and helps regulate the nervous system. Short-term thiamine deficiency can cause fatigue, confusion, and memory loss. Long-term thiamine deficiency can cause nerve damage, some types of dementia, or Alzheimer's disease.
Vitamin D deficiency is especially common as we age, as few foods are naturally rich in it. Getting enough sunlight for our skin to convert to vitamin D may be easier in the summer months, but we need to balance that benefit with concerns about skin cancer. Signs of deficiency include fatigue, bone pain, mood changes, muscle aches, and weakness. Foods high in vitamin D include cow's milk and fortified cereals, soy milk, mushrooms, canned tuna, shrimp, and salmon.
The recommended daily intake is 600 IU for adults up to 70 years of age and 800 IU for those over 71 years of age; a daily vitamin D supplement of 1000 IU provides extensive coverage. Red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body, depend on adequate iron stores. However, pregnancy or heavy menstrual periods can take their toll and potentially leave us without. The same is true of plant-based diets, which are increasingly popular, as animal products provide greater amounts of iron and our bodies more easily absorb iron from animal sources.
If you're low on iron, you may feel cold, tired, or short of breath. You may have headaches more often. Meat and seafood often offer plenty of iron, and plant-based sources include beans, lentils, grains, spinach, and fortified cereals. Women over 50 need 8 milligrams (mg) of iron a day; younger women, 18 mg a day.
In addition, our body stores small amounts of additional vitamins and minerals that would help us endure several weeks of poor diet, meaning that our levels would have to be extremely low before a problem appears. A vitamin D deficiency, for example, could only manifest itself in a broken bone. Now, however, a Harvard study suggests that vitamin D and fish oil supplements may offer adults over 50 protection against the development of autoimmune disorders. All of these conditions, which number more than 80, occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissues, or organs.
Your symptoms vary, but they can include pain, fatigue, skin problems, and other chronic problems. The randomized controlled trial, considered the research reference standard, included 25,871 racially diverse older adults over 50 years of age, who were divided into four groups. People in one group took 2000 IU of vitamin D3 per day; those in the other group took 1000 milligrams of fish oil (which contains marine-derived omega-3 fatty acids); those in a third group took both; and the rest took two placebos. No one knew what group they were in.
The dose of vitamin D used in the trial is more than double the recommended daily intake of 600 IU (or 800 IU for people aged 71 and over). During a five-year follow-up period, participants told researchers if they had been diagnosed with any autoimmune diseases, and the diagnoses were confirmed through medical records. Compared to placebo, vitamin D supplementation was associated with a 22% reduction in the risk of autoimmune disease overall. The improvement was greater (39%) after the first two years of treatment.
Fish oil alone showed less robust results, but it still showed fewer participants with confirmed autoimmune diagnoses compared to placebo. How could vitamin D and fish oil prevent autoimmune diseases? The researchers hoped that the duo could show preventive effects because of their ability to regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, which causes autoimmune disorders. The results have important implications for women, who are at least four times more likely than men to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. But it's too early to make a public health recommendation that everyone take vitamin D or fish oil supplements in the hope of preventing autoimmune diseases, said Dr.
More research should also focus on the effects of these supplements on people at higher risk and on younger adults, as autoimmune diseases often develop earlier in adulthood. If you have the above symptoms and have ruled out other health conditions, you may be suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Preventing and detecting the most common ones, such as calcium, essential fatty acids, folic acid, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, B12, C and D, can be achieved by monitoring and adjusting your diet, taking dietary supplements, and having a conversation with your healthcare provider if you suspect you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Many people are vitamin deficient but never realize it.
People who maintain a poor diet, eat poor quality food, or don't take supplements are at greater risk. In many cases, the symptoms cause the patient to undergo tests, revealing the deficiency. Once a nutritional deficiency is detected, it is treated by providing the necessary nutrients in the diet, either through food, supplements, or both. In some cases of severe deficiency, intravenous infusions may be necessary to replace what is missing, according to Dr.
In the US. UU. Folic acid, one of the many B vitamins, plays a role in keeping red blood cells healthy and is particularly important during pregnancy, as women with low folic acid stores are more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect (such as spina bifida). Outside of pregnancy, folic acid helps prevent anemia and heart disease.
Those who don't consume enough fruits and vegetables (or who overcook their vegetables) are at the highest risk of developing folate deficiency. People who consume large amounts of alcohol or who take certain medications (such as phenytoin, methotrexate, sulfasalazine, triamterene, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, and barbiturates) are at greater risk of developing folic acid deficiency. Symptoms may be similar to those caused by iron deficiency, such as fatigue, lethargy, hair loss, and shortness of breath. Iron-deficiency anemia can cause general fatigue, headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, pale skin, and chest pain.
In pregnant women, iron levels should be monitored routinely, as pregnant women are at greater risk of developing this condition. Magnesium is an essential mineral that affects hundreds of metabolic reactions in the body, including the regulation of muscle and nerve function. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythms, unexplained numbness or tingling, and high blood pressure. Vitamin A is essential for replacing skin cells and for maintaining optimal vision and a healthy immune system.
For this reason, people with vitamin A deficiency are at greater risk of contracting a serious infection. Because children are prone to infections, it's critical that children under 5 get enough vitamin A in their diets or through supplements. In adults, one of the main warning signs of vitamin A deficiency is night blindness. Vitamin B12, one of eight types of B vitamins, helps form red blood cells, improves neurological function and provides the building blocks of DNA.
Those most at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency include vegans, people with intestinal problems that limit the absorption of the vitamin, older adults, and those who take long-term heartburn medications. The symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are similar to those of anemia, and include weakness, pale skin, shortness of breath, and mood swings. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, helping to prevent damage caused by free radicals. Vitamin C also helps in the formation of hormones and amino acids; it also helps in the absorption of iron.
The most well-known effect of vitamin C deficiency is scurvy, a deadly disease if left untreated that causes inflammation and bleeding of the gums, easy bruising, weakness, fatigue, skin rashes, and difficulty healing wounds. While scurvy is rare today, adequate vitamin C intake remains crucial for optimal health, as vitamin C regulates collagen production. Vitamin D is unique in that most vitamin D can be produced in our body when exposed to adequate amounts of UVB radiation from sunlight. The key function of vitamin D is to regulate calcium absorption.
People with vitamin D deficiency can't absorb that calcium and, in turn, strengthen their bones. However, vitamin D plays other important roles for overall health, such as supporting bone health, cardiovascular health, testosterone, and immune function. Your healthcare provider may request a blood test to assess your levels of essential nutrients if you have symptoms of a deficiency. An individual blood test can be performed to evaluate a specific nutrient deficiency.
However, a comprehensive nutrition panel is the most effective way to measure your overall health according to vitamin, nutrient, and enzyme levels. Overnight fasting may be recommended to improve the accuracy of the results. Even with a healthy diet, it can be difficult to achieve an optimal balance of nutrients. Supplements that contain essential nutrients are available alone or in multi-vitamin formulas; your healthcare provider or pharmacist can help you determine the right balance of supplements.
The names, logos, brands and other trademarks of pharmacies are the property of their respective owners. People who do not receive adequate nutrition in nursing homes can suffer from severe calcium deficiency and malnutrition, which can constitute a form of abuse or neglect for older people in nursing homes. Folate deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in pregnant women and can result in severe congenital disabilities and growth problems. But if you're generally healthy and eating a varied diet, you just don't need to, says Teresa Fung, assistant professor of nutrition at Harvard University.
The WHO states that vitamin A nutritional deficiency affects a third of children and mothers worldwide. .