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Vitamin Deficiency: Most Common Vitamin deficiencies likely to exist, and Why

Updated: Jul 24, 2021


Iron Deficiency 

  • One of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world is iron deficiency which affects more than 25% of people worldwide. This number rises to 47% in preschool children, around 30% in menstruating women who are deficient mainly due to monthly blood loss, and up to 42% of young, pregnant women may be deficient as well.

  • Vegetarians and vegans are especially at an increased risk of iron deficiency because they consume only non-heme iron, which is not absorbed as well as heme iron.

  • Anemia is the most common consequence of iron deficiency, in which the number of your red blood cells and your bloods ability to carry oxygen drops.

Iodine deficiency

  • Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies, affecting nearly a third of the world's population.

  • Iodine-poor soil will result in low-iodine food since iodine is found mostly in soil and ocean water, 

  • An enlarged thyroid gland, also known as goiter is the most common symptom of a iodine deficiency. It may also lead to an increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and weight gain.

  • Severe iodine deficiency can cause serious harm, especially in children. It may lead to mental retardation and developmental abnormalities.


Vitamin D deficiency

  • Vitamin D is the most common deficiency. It's estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of vitamin D in their blood, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient, in Hispanics the number goes up to 69.2% and in African-Americans, it is around 82.1%.

  • Vitamin D is considered as the most essential nutrient for our overall well-being that supports various aspects of health, including immune health and bone health. Adults with vitamin D may experience muscle weakness, bone loss, and an increased risk of fractures. In children, it may lead to delays in growth and soft bones (rickets). Severe Vitamin D deficiency may even reduce immune function and increases the risk of cancer.

  • People who are deficient in vitamin D may choose to take a supplement or increase their sun exposure since It is hard to get sufficient amounts through diet alone.

  • 7 MOST common factors causing a risk of vitamin D deficiency:

  1. Having dark skin.

  2. Being elderly.

  3. Being overweight or obese.

  4. Not eating much fish or dairy.

  5. Living farther away from the equator where there is little sun year-round.

  6. Always using sunscreen when going out.

  7. Staying indoors.

Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is essential for blood formation, as well as brain and nerve function.

  • Every cell in your body requires vitamin B12 to function normally, but your body is unable to produce it. Therefore it is necessary to get it from food or supplements.

  • B12 can be found in sufficient amounts in animal foods, although certain types of seaweed may provide small quantities. Therefore, people who do not eat animal products are at an increased risk of deficiency, going to uptown such an extent that Studies indicate that up to 80-90% of vegetarians and vegans are likely to be deficient in vitamin B12. The risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency is also higher among older adults and it is believed that more than 20% of them are B12 deficient since absorption decreases with age.

  • The absorption of vitamin B12 is more complex when compared with other vitamins because its absorption to a large extent depends on a protein known as intrinsic factor. Some people are lacking in this protein and may thus need B12 injections or higher doses of vitamins and supplements.

  • Megaloblastic anemia is a common symptom of vitamin B12 deficiency which is a blood disorder that enlarges your red blood cells.

  • Other symptoms deficiency include impaired brain function and elevated homocysteine levels, which is a leading risk factor for several diseases. Vitamin B12 isn’t harmful when consumed in large amounts because it is poorly absorbed and easily excreted.



Calcium deficiency

  • Calcium is required by every cell in our body for its ability to mineralize bones and teeth, especially during times of rapid growth. It is also needed for the maintenance of our bones. Additionally, calcium serves as a signaling molecule. Without it, your heart, muscles, and nerves would not be able to function.

  • The concentration of calcium in your blood is tightly regulated and in case of excess, it is stored in bones. If the intake is lacking our bones will release the excess calcium stored in them resulting in the most common symptom of calcium deficiency, osteoporosis (characterized by softer and more fragile bones)

  • A Survey conducted has found that less than 15% of teenage girls, fewer than 14% of women over 50, and less than 25% of teenage boys and men over 50 met the recommended calcium intake 

  • Although supplementing increased these numbers slightly, most people are yet not able to get enough calcium.

  • Getting calcium from food rather than supplements is always preferable, these supplements seem to benefit people who are not getting enough in their diet

  • Low calcium intake is considered to be quite common, especially in women of all ages and older adults. The main symptom of calcium deficiency is increased risk osteoporosis which might occur later in life.


Vitamin A deficiency

  • Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin, needed for the maintenance of healthy skin, teeth, bones, and cell membranes. It is essential for vision as it supports the production of eye pigments necessary for vision

  •  Dietary vitamin A are of two types -:

  • - Preformed vitamin which is found in animal products like meat, fish, poultry, and dairy.

  • - Pro-vitamin A found in plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, Beta carotene, which your body turns into vitamin A, is the most 

  • Vitamin A deficiency is found to be very common in many developing countries. About 44-50% of preschool-aged children in certain regions suffer from vitamin A deficiency. Whereas around 30% of Indian women are at risk of vitamin B12 deficiency.

  •  Vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of blindness in the world and can cause both temporary and permanent eye damage and may even lead to blindness. 

  • Vitamin A deficiency is common in most of the developing countries. It results in eye damage and blindness, as well as disrupts immune function and increases mortality among women and children.



Magnesium deficiency

  • Magnesium is a key mineral in your body, essential for bone and teeth structure, and

is also involved in more than 300 enzyme reactions

  • Magnesium deficiency is associated with several conditions, including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and osteoporosis.

  • Magnesium deficiency is highly common among hospitalized patients and studies to have shown that 65% of them suffer from magnesium deficiency.

  • Disease, drug use, reduced digestive function, or inadequate magnesium intake are the leading causes of magnesium deficiency.

  • Severe magnesium deficiency symptoms include abnormal heart rhythm, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and migraines. More subtle, long-term symptoms that e include insulin resistance and high blood pressure.

  •  At least 50% of people fall short in magnesium.

  • The majority of our health outcomes are controlled by our lifestyle and only a few are affected by genetics. Thus the dietary choices we make have a huge impact on our heath. Good health is can be the result of necessary actions performed for its achievement by addressing the nutrient shortfalls that occur in the out diets. Nutraceutical products play a key role in helping to fill these nutrient gaps.