Stages and reasons for nutrient deficiency

When a person’s nutritional status falls below the recommended dosage on a regular schedule, this would be known as nutrient deficiency. Nutritional deficiencies can trigger a range of health issues, though they can be minimized by consuming a well-balanced diet or a nutritionally dense diet that the body requires more. When the late Professor Myron Brin evaluated induced vitamin B1–thiamin insufficiency in a range of participants in the 1960s, he discovered the chronology of the evolution of thiamin deficiency. Within a few weeks, a deficiency emerged, and that he was able to witness it through various stages. No one fell extremely ill as a result of the study, and the findings contributed to a better understanding of how an individual would go from a condition of nutritional sufficiency to significant ill-health and sometimes even death.

The stages of the formation or development of a nutrient deficiency in an individual are as follows:

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Nutrient adequacy

The negative balance of the nutrient

Reduction or decline in the tissue storage

Loss in functioning with evident signs and symptoms of nutrient deficiency, and organ failure

Death, in severe cases

Reasons for the nutritional deficiency or negative balance of nutrients in the body are as follows:

Inadequate intake of nutrients from food mainly due to poor choices of food sources, or due to the presence of certain health implications that cause difficulty in swallowing the food.

Improper absorption of nutrients due to digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, or excessive alcohol consumption.

Requirement of more nutrients during certain stages of life such as pregnancy, lactation, growth sprout stages, or in some chronic disease conditions.

Change in metabolism due to induced factors such as alcohol abuse, smoking, environmental pollution, and hereditary factors.

Loss of nutrients through the urine due to diseases in the kidney, and diabetes.

Forms and types of nutrient deficiencies
Primary and secondary nutrient deficiencies are the two main forms of deficiency.

Primary nutritional deficiency: It occurs when an individual does not acquire the right amount of certain important nutrients, and that may be managed by consumption of nutritious meals or taking supplements to restore the deficient nutrients.

Secondary nutritional deficiency: It develops when a medical problem or disease such as celiac disease, cystic fibrosis, lactose intolerance, pancreatic insufficiency, or pernicious anemia hinders the body’s tendency to accumulate nutrients. Malnourishment generated by secondary nutrient deficit is more difficult to eradicate than malnutrition caused by primary nutrient insufficiency.

The following are the three fundamental types of nutrient deficiencies:

Deficiency of vitamins: Vitamin B inadequacy such as vitamin B9, and vitamin B12 deficiency, and vitamin D deficiency are the most common vitamin deficiencies. A balanced diet is important to overcome the deficit.

Deficiency in minerals: Iodine shortage, iron deficiencies, calcium deficiency, zinc deficiency, and magnesium deficiency are all examples of mineral deficiencies. Anemia, bone density loss, lack of appetite, muscular stiffness, and cramping are all indications of mineral insufficiency.

Protein deficiency: Protein deficiency generates a multitude of symptoms within the body, such as tiredness, slow wound healing, muscular weakness, and loss of hair. Most nutrient deficiency disorders can be managed by eating a well-balanced diet that contains a wide variety of foods.

Prevalence and health problems of common nutrient deficiencies and prevention of nutritional deficiency
Some of the common nutrient deficiencies from which an individual may suffer in their lifetime and their prevalence are as follows:

Vitamin D deficiency: It is a fat-soluble vitamin and its active form calcitriol is an important steroid hormone. In the United States (US), around 42\%42% of the total population is dealing with vitamin-D deficiency, and nearly 74\%74% of older people are affected. The deficiency of vitamin D causes rickets, fatigue, and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin A deficiency: Vitamin A is also a fat-soluble vitamin that is involved in maintaining healthy teeth, skin, cell membranes, and vision. Vitamin A deficiency is a common deficiency in various developing countries as around 50\%50% of children have vitamin A deficiency. Xerophthalmia and night blindness occurs due to vitamin A deficiency.

Iron deficiency: Iron is an important mineral that binds with hemoglobin in red blood cells and transports oxygen throughout the cells of the body. Iron deficiency is the most prominent nutrient deficiency in 25\%25% of individuals around the globe. Poor body temperature regulation, impaired cognitive functioning, hypochromic anemia, and decreased immunity functioning are the result of iron deficiency in adults. Symptoms include brittle nails, fatigue and tiredness, headache, loss of appetite, and even heart palpitations.

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