What Is a Nutrient Deficiency?
A nutrient deficiency refers to a lack of a certain vitamin or mineral in the body. People need an assortment of vitamins and minerals in balanced proportions to support body growth and development, and to also combat disease. If the body lacks a sufficient amount of one or more vitamins or minerals, then certain health problems may occur.
The health problems associated with a nutrient deficiency vary based on the vitamins and minerals that an individual lacks. In fact, there are many types of nutrient deficiencies, including:
- Iron: An iron deficiency sometimes leads to anemia, a condition that causes the body’s red blood cell count to drop, and it hampers the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the body.
- Iodine: An iodine deficiency may result in an enlarged thyroid gland, which affects thyroid hormones that the body uses to regulate metabolism.
- Vitamin C: A vitamin C deficiency may lead to bleeding of the gums, bruising, and poor wound healing.
- Vitamin D: A vitamin D deficiency may cause the bones to become brittle, thin, or misshapen.
- Vitamin K: A vitamin K deficiency may result in problems associated with blood clotting, as well as increased bleeding.
For people who are coping with any of the aforementioned nutritional deficiencies or other nutritional deficiencies, they may display various signs of poor nutrition, including:
- Dry or brittle hair
- Gingivitis and other dental issues
- Memory loss
- Slow immune response
Meeting with a physician can help to address these symptoms. A physician will work with a patient to find out why a nutrient deficiency is occurring. Once a nutrient deficiency is diagnosed, a personalized treatment plan is developed for the patient. Since each patient is different, each nutrient deficiency treatment must be tailored to this individual to help him or her get the right mix of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. Ultimately, the plan can help a patient maintain a healthy diet and avoid a future nutrient deficiency.