For health and physical fitness, nutrients such as minerals and vitamins are very essential nutrients because they perform many roles in the body. But these nutrients are required in limited amount and getting too much can harm you. You can obtain these nutrients by eating healthy and balanced diet but in fact it is very difficult for most of the people to take balanced diet for fulfilling the requirements of these essential nutrients. So, for the ease of these people, doctors recommended minerals and vitamins supplement. Here I will briefly describe The important nutrients and their deficiency effects on health.
- Healthy Diet: Its Natural Source and Supplements
- Best ways to improve your Physical Fitness and Health
The Important Nutrients and their Deficiency effects on Health
Many biochemical reactions are taking place in your body in which muscles, skins and bones are produced. These reactions require nutrients and oxygen which provided through red blood cells. These nutrients are also required for your body by sending signals or messages from your brain to body or from body to brain. These nutrients include vitamins, minerals and other dietary components which your body can not manufactured in required or essential amount.
Minerals and vitamins are considered as essential nutrients because they can help to grow bones, strengthen muscles, heal wounds and boost your immune system. These are also essential for converting food into energy and restoration of cellular damage.
Moreover, the minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and Sulphur while vitamins are A, B, C, D, E, and K. All of these minerals and vitamins are required for proper health and fitness. Here I discussed about deficiency of seven important nutrients which are common in most of the peoples who did not eat balanced diet.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies
The common deficiencies of important nutrients and their deficiency effects are given as:
- Iron deficiency
- Iodine deficiency
- Calcium deficiency
- Magnesium deficiency
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Deficiency Vitamin B12
- Vitamin A deficiency
1- Iron deficiency
Iron will considered as most essential mineral because it’s a huge constituent of red blood cells and binds with hemoglobin to transport oxygen to cells and tissues. There are two types of iron which categorized as dietary iron.
Heme Iron: Heme iron can easily absorb in your blood stream. You can obtain this type of iron from animal foods such as red meat which contain high amount of iron.
Non-heme Iron: You can obtain non-heme iron from both animal and plant foods. It is not easily absorbed into your blood stream like heme iron.
In fact, iron deficiency is most common nutrient deficiency in the world. It estimated that, more than 25 percent peoples are affected by iron deficiency in the whole world. Mostly the kids are highly affected by iron deficiency. Moreover, 40% of women affected by iron deficiency due to blood loss during menstrual cycle and in pregnancy.
Iron deficiency can cause anemia in which blood cells decreased and their ability to carry oxygen is also effected. As a result, a patient feels weakness, tiredness, lack of immunity and reduced brain functions.
You can obtain iron from Red meat, organ meat, shellfish, canned sardines, beans, seeds and leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli etc.
You also obtain iron from iron supplements which are readily or easily available in the market. But you should use iron supplements when your body needs it. Excess amount of iron can also cause health problems.
2- Iodine Deficiency
For the production of thyroid hormones and their normal functions iodine is very essential mineral. Thyroid hormone can involve in many physical processes like brain development, growth, bone maintenance and also regulate your metabolic rate.
In fact, Iodine deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency after iron deficiency. Due to these Nutrients deficiency (iodine deficiency) and their Deficiency effects, a person has enlarged thyroid gland (also known as goiter). As a result, the goiter patient has increased heart rate, weight gain and shortness of breath. In children severe iodine deficiency can cause serious problems like developmental abnormalities and mental retardation.
The iodine deficiency symptoms include:
- Neck swelling
- Unexpected increase in weight
- Disturbed heart rate
- Feeling chill
- Dry skin
- Difficulty in remembering and learning
- Weakness and fatigue
- Hair loss
You can obtain iodine from seaweed, dairy, eggs and fish. The amounts of iodine in these sources vary according to their environment. Instead of natural sources iodine supplements are also available in the market which you can use according to your need.
3- Calcium Deficiency
Calcium is very essential for keeping your body healthy. It is vital for every cell in your body. It maintains bones and teeth health, particularly during rapid growth at early age. About 1000 mg calcium is essential for bone maintenance.
Additionally, calcium is also essential for your muscles, heart and nerves would not be able to function. The calcium you take absorbed in your blood stream which is highly regulated and excess is stored in bones. If you take less calcium according to your need then your bones will release calcium for fulfilling your body requirements. That is why calcium deficiency makes bones softer and brittle and causes osteoporosis. Calcium deficiency symptoms include:
- Memory loss or confusion
- Muscle contractions
- Impassiveness and burning in the face, hands and feet.
- Muscle pains.
- Weak and brittle nails.
- Easy fracturing of the bones.
Most of the people did not get enough calcium. In children calcium deficiency causes rickets. You can take calcium from dairy products, boned fish and dark green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale.
It is best to get calcium from your diet. If your calcium requirement can not be fulfilled by your diet then you should use calcium supplements which are easily available in market or online stores.
4- Magnesium Deficiency
Like iron, iodine and calcium magnesium is also important for our body. It is crucial for teeth and bone structure. Magnesium can catalyze more than 300 enzyme reactions.
Lack of magnesium in your body can cause metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease. The most common causes of magnesium deficiency are drug use, diseases, reduced digestive activity or insufficient intake of calcium. The key symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include:
- Muscles cramps
- Restless leg syndrome
- Abnormal heart rate
- Insulin resistance
- High blood pressure
Nutritional magnesium sources include whole grains, nuts, chocolate and dark green leafy vegetables like raw spinach. You can also use magnesium supplements for fulfilling your magnesium requirements.
5- Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is very essential fat-soluble vitamin that moves into each cell through bloodstream and control genes activities. Each cell of your body is the receptor of Vitamin D. It can produce in our body from skin cholesterol when exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency depends upon the environmental factor. Those areas where sun shine is low, most of the people living there face vitamin D deficiency if there dietary intake is also not sufficient. According recent survey, about 42% of USA people face vitamin D deficiency.
The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Muscles weakness
- Bone loss
- Increased risk of fractures
- Growth delays in children
- Soft bones
- Decreased immune function
- Increased risk of cancer
You can also obtain vitamin D from dietary sources like Cod liver oil, fatty fish (like mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout) and Egg yolks. People who want to fulfill vitamin D requirements can also use Vitamin D supplements.
6- Vitamin B12 deficiency
The most important water soluble vitamin is Vitamin B12 that also known as cobalamin. It is very important for brain, nerve functions and blood formation. Like Vitamin D, each cell of your body needs vitamin B12 for their normal functioning but your body didn’t synthesis it. As a result, you should take it from your foods or supplements.
The source of vitamin B12 is only animal foods in limited amount. Therefore, people who are vegetarians and do not eat animal foods will be at the risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Recent studies show that about 85–92% of vegetarians face vitamin B12 deficiency.
The absorption of vitamin B12 is decrease with increasing age because its absorption process is very much complex as compared to other vitamins. The vitamin B12 is absorbed with the help of a protein known as intrinsic factor. Few people are deficient in this protein and should need vitamin B12 injections or higher amounts of supplements.
The common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include:
- Megaloblastic anemia (Blood disorder in which red blood cells enlarged)
- Impaired brain function
- Higher homocysteine levels
- Pale yellow skin
- Mouth ulcer
- Vision disturbance
- Glossitis (a sore and red tongue)
- Disturbance in walking and moving
- Anxiety and depression
You can obtain vitamin B12 from Dietary sources which includes Shellfish, organ (liver) meat, meat, eggs and milk products. Vitamin B12 is also available in the form of supplements which can fulfill your vitamin requirements. Vitamin B12 can be safe to use and not considered as harmful in excess amounts because it’s often poorly absorbed and easily excreted.
7- Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A is an important fat-soluble vitamin which is necessary to maintain healthy skin, bones, teeth and cell membranes. Moreover, it also creates eye pigments that are highly necessary for vision. There are two types of vitamin A depending upon their dietary source. These are preformed vitamin A and Pro-vitamin A. The preformed vitamin A is present in animal products like fish, meat, poultry and dairy. While pro-vitamin A is present in plant foods like fruits and vegetables. For example, most common form is beta carotene which converted into vitamin A in our body.
In developed countries about 75-80% people eat western diet can get enough vitamin A and didn’t face vitamin A deficiency. But in developing countries deficiency of vitamin A is very common. Mostly kids and women are highly effect by vitamin A deficiency.
Deficiency of vitamin A can cause serious temporary and permanent eye damage and could even lead to blindness. In fact, vitamin A deficiency is the major cause of blindness in whole world.
Deficiency of vitamin A can also conquer immune system and increase death rate, particularly among kids and expecting or breastfeeding ladies.
You can obtain vitamin A from dietary sources like organ meat (beef liver), fish liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots and dark green leafy vegetable like spinach. Though it is very significant to take enough vitamin A but too much vitamin A intake may cause poisonous or toxicity.
The pro-vitamin A such as beta carotene is not toxic and its high intake can cause your skin to turn a little orange, but this consequences isn’t hazardous. Vitamin A is also available in the form supplements which can fulfill your vitamin A requirements.