Home | Articles | 5 Nutrition Deficiency In Adults
By Ms.Srilatha
Dietician , Madhapur

Published on 14/11/2022

Nothing is more important than human nutritional requirements. Our bodies get the required nutrients from various food sources. However, the food choices we make do not always provide the necessary nutrients, resulting in a deficiency.Hence a balanced diet can help in avoiding deficiencies. When we start having unexplained symptoms, many assume we're unwell and need to take medication. However, these symptoms can be caused by a deficiency in essential nutrients, which is easily treated by boosting the intake of nutrient-rich meals or by taking vitamins and supplements.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies in Adults

1. Calcium

Calcium is an essential nutrient for strong bones. Therefore, a Calcium Deficiency can result in bone weakening and the possibility of fractures. Calcium helps to strengthen bones and teeth.It is important for cardiac activity also.
One can get enough calcium daily by eating calcium-rich foods. Milk & milk products, green leafy vegetables, dry fishes, soya & its products are excellent sources of calcium-rich foods.
Those who follow a dairy-free diet are more likely to develop calcium deficiency, known as Hypocalcemia, which can lead to involuntary muscle contractions or muscle twitch, older people may develop osteoporosis or irregular heart rhythms.

2. Iron

Iron is a necessary mineral that helps in the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that helps in the transport of oxygen throughout the body. Anemia occurs when the muscles and tissues do not receive enough oxygen to function properly due to a lack of hemoglobin.
Iron can be obtained through various foods, including green leafy vegetables millets, whole pulses, egg, organ meat like liver of sheep and goat, and fishes. Vitamin C boosts the body's ability to absorb iron, especially iron from plant sources. Include a vitamin C-rich dish or beverage with an iron-rich meal. Avoid tea after major meals as it hinders iron absorption.

3. Vitamin C

Along with boosting iron absorption, vitamin C is essential for keeping healthy cells, skin, bones,healing wounds and boosting immune system. Scurvy is a vitamin C deficiency disease that can cause fatigue, skin problems, gum disease, and other medical concerns. Early scurvy symptoms include easy bruising, bleeding gums problems and injuries that take an abnormally long time to heal.
Include vitamin C-rich foods in the diet such as oranges, lemons, sweet lime, strawberries, kiwi, papaya, guava, pineapples, tomato and sprouts. Vegetables and green leafy vegetables when eaten raw are excellent source of vitamin C.

4. Vitamin D

As the body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium. Vitamin D benefits include improved immunity and bone health, and lowers the risk of diabetes.Vitamin D deficiency can cause bone pain, muscle weakness, and increased infections.
Adults can increase their vitamin D intake by eating fortified dairy products, Mushrooms, eggs, and sun dried fishes. Sun exposure from 11am to 2pm for 30minutes can help in absorption of vitamin D. The skin's natural response to increased sun exposure is to create more vitamin D, giving the nutrient "sunshine vitamin”. Wearing sun protection and use of sunscreen lotions can lead to decreased vitamin D absorption.

5. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an essential component of good health. Most importantly, vitamin B12 helps the body produce DNA and red blood cells and releases energy from meals. When the body lacks vitamin B12, it becomes more prone to health problems such as gastritis, immune system diseases.
However, as the body does not make vitamin B12 on its own, people must acquire it through animal-based meals or supplements. Animal foods such as fish, meat, eggs and poultry are high in vitamin B12. Those who follow a plant-based diet should inclue a balanced diet which helps in overcoming vitamin B12 deficiency.

Are Your Medications Depleting the Nutrients?

If you eat a nutrient-dense diet but still have nutritional deficiency symptoms, the medications may deplete your body of essential nutrients. Those who take many medicines are more vulnerable to harmful nutrient interactions, resulting in nutrient deficiencies. Due to appetite suppression, increased cravings for unhealthy foods, or the way the medication and nutrients interact, several medications can contribute to nutritional deficiencies.
These medications, in particular, have been linked to shortages in some of the essential nutrients:

Antibiotics:

Antibiotics, such as penicillins, can cause low calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 levels, resulting in symptoms such as osteoporosis, anemia, and more.

Cholesterol medication:

Many common cholesterol-lowering medications have calcium, iron, vitamin D, or vitamin B12 depletion as a side effect.

Blood pressure medication:

These medications can cause a significant decrease in calcium and potassium levels.

Diabetes medication:

Antibiotics, such as penicillins, can cause low calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 levels, resulting in symptoms such as osteoporosis, anemia, and more.

  • Antacids can lead to decreased absorption of iron, magnesium and B12.
  • Those who take one or more of these medicines may benefit from taking specific supplements to maintain their vital nutritional levels. If you suspect that your prescription is causing a nutritional deficiency, consult the doctor before changing or discontinuing the medication or taking supplements.