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HealthcareHow Do Nutritional Deficiencies Impact Your Health?

Your body requires all sorts of minerals and vitamins to function properly. These micronutrients are vital for preventing disease and aiding development, so it’s essential to ensure you get the necessary amounts your body needs.

Although people will usually get most minerals and vitamins needed from a healthy, balanced diet, many can’t metabolise these nutrients effectively. This is known as malabsorption syndrome, and it can lead to a range of health problems, including mental health issues. One of the most dangerous aspects of this malabsorption is that although you may be feeling in perfect health, you may be unaware that you have a nutritional deficiency and, therefore, don’t make the necessary changes.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common nutritional deficiencies and see what you can do to improve your nutritional health.

Common Health Problems Associated with Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrient deficiency is a far more common problem than you would think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that just under 10% of the United States population has nutrient deficiencies, and these are just those that have already been diagnosed. Although not always taken as seriously as it should be, nutrient deficiency can result in a range of serious health problems. Here are some common examples:

  • Protein-energy malnutrition
  • Scurvy
  • Rickets
  • Hypocalcemia
  • Osteomalacia
  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Pellagra
  • Xerophthalmia
  • Iron deficiency.

How Can Nutrient Deficiency Impact Mental Health?

Even though nutrient deficiencies are often associated with physical health issues, there is evidence to suggest that nutrient deficiencies can contribute to anxiety and depression. Whether you are nutrient deficient or unable to metabolise them, the impact on your emotional well-being can be serious. Although it is not always clear how you may be affected by the deficiency, there are some telltale signs to look out for, including:

  • Inability to focus
  • Inability to cope with stressors
  • Poor mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Tiredness
  • Mental health disorders can worsen.

Although nutritional deficiencies can impact you at any stage of your life, especially if you alter your diet, those groups most at risk include pregnant mothers, infants and children. These groups present a greater risk of nutritional deficiencies due to their development and growth needs, which are highly nutrient demanding.

If you are worried about your nutritional levels, you can contact a nutritionist. Alternatively, there is a range of reliable home health tests that you can carry out to test for nutrient deficiencies.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies

B Vitamins

B vitamins play an important role in a range of bodily functions, including cardiovascular health, cell health, energy levels, brain function, growth of red blood cells and much more. Therefore, they are vital for physical health and should be monitored to ensure that your vitamin B levels remain within a healthy range.

Not only do B vitamins play an important role in physical health and regulating your hormone levels, but they also play a role in regulating your energy levels and mood. Seeing that B vitamins are vital in producing the “feel-good” chemical serotonin, it is easy to see how irritability, depression and fatigue have been linked to reduced B vitamin levels.

Iron

Iron is hugely important when it comes to regulating oxygen transport throughout the body and brain and the production of red blood cells. This means that anyone suffering from decreased iron levels can experience a range of symptoms, including tiredness, hair loss, insomnia and greater susceptibility to infections.

Iron is also involved in the production of serotonin, meaning that iron deficiency can result in depression-like symptoms. Thankfully, there are plenty of iron-rich foods you can incorporate into your diet to consume the recommended quantity of around 18mg per day.

Calcium

It is generally understood that calcium deficiency can result in an increased risk of bone issues. This is particularly concerning in younger children who are still growing and in postmenopausal women who may have osteoporosis.

However, another worrying aspect of calcium deficiency is that it can negatively affect your mental health. There have been studies that suggest that depression is also linked to calcium deficiency.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is vital for a vast range of important bodily functions. Not only does vitamin D help the body absorb calcium, but it also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. The recommended daily amount for adults is 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

Just as worrying as the physical health issues are the impacts this deficiency can have on your emotional well-being. Studies have found links between a vitamin D deficiency and autism, dementia and depression. It is therefore clear that ensuring healthy vitamin D levels is vitally important.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are another important nutrient in which you can find yourself deficient. With its range of health benefits — including reducing inflammation and aiding brain function — we can understand why there may be a link to joint pain and fatigue, amongst other symptoms, suffered by some people who are deficient in omega-3.

If you aren’t getting enough fatty acids in your diet, you may also experience anxiety and reduced brain functions. This is caused when your brain struggles to make the same high-quality nerve cell membranes that it normally does when you are getting the recommended levels of omega-3.

This post has been sponsored by exposure ninja

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz! aims to be the destination of choice when it comes to what’s happening in the digital health world. We are not about news and views, but informative articles and thoughts to apply in your business.

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