Currently in the world today, there are around 3 billion people who suffer from malnutrition. A segment of those who are malnourished suffer from micronutrient deficiency, the lack of vital minerals and nutrients to help keep their body in order.
Micronutrient deficiencies form an important global health issue, with malnutrition affecting key development outcomes including poor physical and mental development in children, vulnerability or exacerbation of disease, blindness, and general losses in productivity and potential. The health impacts of micronutrient deficiency are not always acutely visible; it is therefore sometimes termed ‘hidden hunger’ (the two terms can be used interchangeably). The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency on a global basis.
Although any individual can experience micronutrient deficiency, pregnant women and children are at greatest risk of developing deficiencies. This is not only as a result of low dietary intake, but also from higher physiological requirements; pregnancy and childhood development often increases the demand for specific vitamins and minerals.
Going forward will explain the certain vitamin deficiencies people most often face and the resulting factor of long exposure to the certain types of vitamin deficiency.
Vitamin A DeficiencyVitamin A is a vitamin associated with building and maintaining our eyesight. Today there are roughly 250 million children who lack vitamin A which in turn leads to a surge in blindness. The WHO reports an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight.
Zinc is an important nutrient that serves vital in the growth and recovering process of our bodies. Deficiency of zinc can stunt growth; increase susceptibility to disease and infection; decrease recovery time, or in some cases, impair recovery altogether. Most cases of zinc deficiency occur in developing countries however many developing countries have had a fair share of their population suffers from low zinc due to the countries' respective diets. A great article written by Oregon State University explains even in the United States, about 12 percent of the population is probably at risk for zinc deficiency, and perhaps as many as 40 percent of the elderly, due to inadequate dietary intake and less absorption of this essential nutrient.
Iron is placed high on the lists of important vitamins needed. With such importance Iron deficiency is very widespread in the world and deficiency of the nutrient can have vast consequences. Long term exposure to iron deficiency can lead to Anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the human body lacks the proper amount of healthy red blood cells limiting the body's ability to absorb oxygen.
Iron deficiency anemia can be so mild that it goes unnoticed. But as the body becomes more deficient in iron and anemia worsens, the signs and symptoms intensify.
Iron deficiency anemia signs and symptoms may include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Chest pain, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
The number of people who suffer from Iron Deficiency varies but in a developed country like the United States, it has been reported approximately 10 million people are iron deficient in the United States, including 5 million who have iron deficiency anemia.
- muscle spasms.
- numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face.
- muscle cramps.
- weak and brittle nails.
- easy fracturing of the bones.
According to recent reports, calcium deficiency in the world is deemed as low.
Magnesium is a mineral that serves importance with the multiple enzyme reactions which occurs in your body daily.
The main symptoms of severe magnesium deficiency include abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and migraines.
More subtle, long-term symptoms that you may not notice include insulin resistance and high blood pressure.
Magnesium deficiency is common in Western countries, and low intake is associated with many health conditions and diseases.
It is possible to be deficient in almost every nutrient. That said, the deficiencies listed above are by far the most common.
Children, young women, older adults, vegetarians, and vegans seem to be at the highest risk of several deficiencies.
The best way to prevent deficiency is to eat a balanced diet that includes whole, nutrient-dense foods. However, supplements are another way for those who lack the proper vitamin intake needed almost daily.