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Common nutrient deficiencies
Contact a dietitian if you think you have any of the following symptoms. Untreated nutrient deficiencies could lead to serious health consequences.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting more than 25% of people worldwide. Untreated anaemia could have serious negative health consequences, especially in children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
Common iron deficiency symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Headache, dizziness or lightheadedness
- Cold hands and feet
- Brittle nails
- Poor appetite (especially in infants and children)
Vitamin D plays important roles in immune function. It also plays a key role in helping your body absorb calcium, which is important for the health of your bones. Vitamin D is also known to be important for the proper functioning of your nervous system, your immune system and the functioning of your muscles. Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D as opposed to food, so exposure to sunlight in the summer months can help our body synthesise Vitamin D.
Common Vitamin D deficiency symptoms:
- Getting sick often (flu, colds)
- Bone and back pain, bone loss
- Muscle weakness
Many believe that the only potential cause of anaemia is iron deficiency. But this is not the case. You may also have anaemia caused by a Vitamin B12 deficiency. B12 is used by the body to aid in the process of making red blood cells. If Inadequate Vitamin B12 intake can reduce red blood cell production, which can lead to Vitamin B12 anaemia. If the cause of your anaemia is not iron or B12 deficiency, it may be Vitamin B9, also known as Folate’. More on this below.
Common B12 deficiency symptoms:
- Pale yellow tinge to your skin
- Sore and red tongue (glossitis)
- Disturbed vision
- Mouth ulcers
- Pins and needles
People at higher risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency:
- Vegans or strict vegetarians
- The elderly
- People taking metformin or antacids
Folic acid, folate or vitamin B9 is particularly important for women ready to conceive. A folate deficiency during pregnancy could lead to birth defects known as neural tube defect. Women with gastrointestinal conditions may also experience folate deficiency, as may people on a strict weight loss diet, those with alcohol dependency issues and women over 65 years of age. Be aware that a folic acid deficiency will not clear up of its own accord. Treatment will be required that will likely involve changes to your diet or perhaps folate supplements.
Common folic acid/ folate deficiency symptoms:
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Gray hair
Close to 99% of calcium is concentrated in the bones and teeth. What remains still plays a key role in the proper functioning of all cells in the body, including muscle cells (those of the heart, among others) and nerve cells. Calcium also participates in kidney function the mechanism of blood coagulation as well as several enzymatic processes.
Common long-term calcium deficiency symptoms:
- Teeth and gum problems
- Kidney problems
- Bone demineralisation
Low levels of calcium in the blood, also known as hypocalcaemia, should not be ignored or otherwise allowed to fester. Allowing hypocalcaemia to go unchecked can potentially lead to weak, brittle bones, problems with blood clotting, general sense of fatigue, muscle weakness, moodiness and fatigue. Older individuals who suffer chronic calcium deficiency are also far more likely to suffer devastating bone fractures.
Vitamin & Iron Deficiency Test
Measuring 19 biomarkers including:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Folate (Folic acid/ Vitamin B9)
- Cholesterol and Triglycerides
- Liver Function (ALT-ALP-GGT-Total bilirubin)
4 simple steps to take the test
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies should never be ignored. Doing so will undoubtedly lead to negative health outcomes down the road. If you suspect you may be experiencing any of the above-listed vitamin and mineral deficiencies don’t wait. Get in touch with a qualified Dietitian or discuss the matter with your doctor at the earliest opportunity.