Selected nutritional deficiency symptoms and complications
- Note: See the Integrative Therapies section for a more detailed explanation of each nutrient and its function in the body.
- Biotin: Symptoms of biotin deficiency include dermatitis, eye inflammation, hair loss, loss of muscle control, insomnia, and muscle weakness.
Symptoms of calcium deficiency include brittle nails, cramps, delusions, depression, insomnia, irritability, osteoporosis, palpitations, periodontal disease, rickets, and tooth decay.
Symptoms of copper deficiency include anemia, arterial damage, depression, diarrhea, fatigue, fragile bones, hair loss, hyperthyroidism, and weakness.
- Essential fatty acids: Symptoms of essential fatty acid deficiency include diarrhea, dry skin and hair, hair loss, immune impairment, infertility, poor wound healing, premenstrual syndrome, acne, eczema, gall stones, and liver degeneration.
- Folic acid: Symptoms of folic acid deficiency include anemia, apathy, diarrhea, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, neural tube defects in fetus, paranoia, shortness of breath, and weakness.
- Iodine: Symptoms of iodine deficiency include cretinism, fatigue, hypothyroidism, and weight gain.
- Iron: Symptoms of iron deficiency include anemia, brittle nails, confusion, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inflamed tongue, and mouth lesions.
Symptoms of niacin deficiency include bad breath, canker sores, confusion, depression, dermatitis, diarrhea, emotional instability, fatigue, irritability, loss of appetite, memory impairment, muscle weakness, nausea, skin eruptions, and inflammation.
- Pantothenic acid: Symptoms of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) deficiency include abdominal pains, burning feet, depression, eczema, fatigue, hair loss, immune impairment, insomnia, irritability, low blood pressure, muscle spasms, nausea, and poor coordination.
- Pyridoxine (vitamin B6): Symptoms of pyridoxine (vitamin B6) deficiency include acne, anemia, arthritis, eye inflammation, depression, dizziness, facial oiliness, fatigue, impaired wound healing, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of hair, mouth lesions, and nausea.
- Riboflavin: Symptoms of riboflavin (vitamin B2) deficiency include blurred vision, cataracts, depression, dermatitis, dizziness, hair loss, inflamed eyes, mouth lesions, nervousness, neurological symptoms (numbness, loss of sensation, "electric shock" sensations), seizures, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, and weakness.
- Thiamin: Symptoms of thiamin (vitamin B1) deficiency include confusion, constipation, digestive problems, irritability, loss of appetite, memory loss, nervousness, numbness of hands and feet, pain sensitivity, poor coordination, and weakness.
- Vitamin A: Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include acne, dry hair, fatigue, growth impairment, insomnia, hyperkeratosis (thickening and roughness of skin), immune impairment, night blindness, and weight loss.
- Vitamin B12: Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include anemia, constipation, depression, dizziness, fatigue, intestinal disturbances, headaches, irritability, loss of vibration sensation, low stomach acid, mental disturbances, moodiness, mouth lesions, numbness, and spinal cord degeneration.
- Vitamin C: Symptoms of vitamin C deficiency include bleeding gums, depression, easy bruising, impaired wound healing, irritability, joint pains, loose teeth, malaise, and tiredness.
- Vitamin D: Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include burning sensations in the mouth, diarrhea, insomnia, blurred vision, nervousness, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, rickets, and scalp sweating.
- Vitamin E: Symptoms of vitamin E deficiency include neurological problems (such as gait disturbances and poor reflexes) and shortened red blood cell life.
- Vitamin K: Symptoms of vitamin K deficiency include heavy menstrual bleeding, gastrointestinal bleeding, hematuria (blood in the urine), nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and easy bruising.
Diagnosis and treatment
- If a doctor believes that an individual is suffering from a lack of nutrition, the healthcare provider will weigh the individual and make a dietary assessment, which includes a diet history or food frequency analysis.
- Blood tests to look for anemia, thyroid disorders, and to measure levels of specific nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals) are usually used.
- Diagnosis using contrast X-rays of the gastrointestinal tract may be carried out to test for underlying digestive disorders. If the deficiency is severe, the individual will be admitted to a hospital where nutrients will be administered using a tube passed through the nose into the stomach (G-tube) or intravenously (IV) directly into the bloodstream.
- Changing the diet will resolve the problem if poor eating habits are the cause. Each individual will have specific nutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiencies, so it is important for a doctor to determine which nutrient deficiency is present. A sample of blood will generally be taken in a clinic or hospital and analyzed for vitamin and mineral status. In some cases, such as Crohn's disease (a chronic, episodic, inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract characterized by affecting the entire wall of the involved bowel or intestines) or gastric bypass, long-term vitamin and mineral supplementation will be required. These conditions cause changes in the absorption of nutrients and can cause long-term vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
- If medications are causing nutrient depletion, supplementation with multivitamin therapy or the depleted nutrient, such as coenzyme Q10 (with certain cholesterol-lowering medications called HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors), is recommended by healthcare providers. It is recommended to discuss any interactions with medications or dietary supplements with a healthcare provider.
- Nutritionist: A nutritionist is a health professional dedicated to food and nutritional science, preventive nutrition, diseases related to nutrient deficiencies, and the use of nutrient manipulation to enhance the clinical response to human diseases. Nutritionists evaluate the diets of individuals suffering from medical disorders and suggest ways of fighting various health problems by modifying the individual's intake of certain food items.
Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.