Millions of people die from lack of minute traces of nutrients. This often occurs without them even knowing what transpired in their bodies. The adverse consequences are profound and include premature death, poor health, blindness, growth stunting, mental retardation, learning disabilities and low work capacity.
The most common reasons for micronutrient deficiencies are low stomach acid levels, leaky gut syndrome, poor diet, blood sugar imbalances, and chronic stress. The incredibly common deficiencies are iron deficiency, iodine deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency, calcium deficiency, Vitamin A deficiency, and magnesium deficiency.
The body requires many kinds of vitamins and minerals for its development and for the prevention of diseases. A nutritional deficiency may occur when it cannot absorb or get from the food you consumed the necessary nutrients.
The amount of each nutrient depends on your age. A deficiency may result in skin disorders, defective bone growth, stunted growth, digestion problems or even dementia. Know that these micronutrients contribute much to your growth and development.
Sometimes, it leads to blindness and general losses in productivity and potential. Unlike undernourishment, the impact of micronutrient deficiency to health is not always visible, that it is often times referred to as the hidden hunger.
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Low stomach acid levels
Stomach secretions are made up of hydrochloric acid, several enzymes and a mucus coating that protects the lining of your stomach. The acid help break down, digest and absorb nutrients as well as eliminates bacteria and viruses in the stomach.
Low levels of hydrochloric acid can significantly impact the ability of the body to properly digest and absorb the nutrients from the food you consumed. Left untreated, hypochlorhydria may cause infections, damage to the gastrointestinal system and other health issues. Symptoms of an impaired digestion are
- Upset stomach
- Nausea when taking vitamins and minerals
- Desire to eat when not hungry
- Hair loss
- Undigested food in stool
- Weak, brittle fingernails
- GI infections
- Deficiencies of other minerals, iron and protein
- Neurological issues, such as numbness, tingling and vision changes
Chronic conditions associated with low levels of stomach acid are
- Thyroid issues
- Chronic autoimmune disorders
Some of the most common causes for a low stomach acid are age especially 65, stress, vitamin deficiency, taking medications that treat ulcers and acid reflux, a H. pylori infection, and surgery of the stomach. Risk factors are high levels of stress and being over 65 years old. Treatment is mostly diet modifications and supplements.
Leaky gut syndrome
Common causes of nutrient deficiencies are usually a diet high in fat, salt, sugar and calories, but very low in nutrients. A leaky gut is a digestive condition in which the bacteria and toxin leak through the intestinal wall.
The walls of the intestines act as a barrier that controls what enters the bloodstream to be transported to the organs. Having a leaky gut makes it easy for substances to pass through the intestinal wall.
Causes of a leaky gut are excessive sugar intake, excessive alcohol intake, nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, stress, poor gut health, yeast overgrowth and NSAIDs drugs. An unhealthy diet and stress are some common factors causing it in today’s generation.
Micronutrient deficiencies include Vitamin B12, folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, copper and Vitamins A, D and E. Developing anemia often results from lack of one or several micronutrients resulting from inadequate intake, increased requirements and malabsorption. The lack of even one micronutrient would lead to deficiencies of the other micronutrients.
Dietary guidelines have been promoted recommending diets rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grain, but limited in sugar, solid fats and sodium. Deficiencies occur because some people may not know the best food to eat that can sustain health or they can be too expensive to buy and the produce may not be locally available.
Nutrition is the most powerful, adaptable environmental exposure that any one can target and look into for better quality of life. The micronutrients are necessary in achieving optimal physiological function.
Micronutrient deficiency rarely occurs alone. Often, multiple MNDs coexist. The micronutrient is the umbrella term used to represent the essential vitamins and minerals required from the diet to sustain virtually all normal cellular and molecular functions. Causes of MNDs are only one form of undernutrition.
Blood sugar imbalances
Soft drink consumption is associated with lower intakes of calcium and other nutrients which may lead to malnutrition, especially in children. In addition, an over consumption of added sugars is linked to the development of insulin resistance, which decreases the body’s ability to use its other key fuel source, fats.
This is what is often called as starvation in the land of plenty where the cells are starved of energy because the energy generation from fatty acids is inhibited when insulin levels are high, resulting in an internal starvation or hidden cellular semistarvation.
Sugar also has the ability to derail an appetite for nutrient dense foods, thus causing further nutrient depletion. Due to the elevation in insulin levels prompted by the consumption of refined carbohydrates, the body may crave for more carbohydrate as an effect of the insulin’s fuel partitioning and the inhibition of energy generation from fatty acids.
Added sugar displaces nutritionally superior foods and decreases appetite for more nutritious food. It depletes the nutrients within the body and provides zero nutrition. It has been found to cause insulin resistance.
Sugar damages the mitochondria and depletes the ATP. It also produces an unnatural drug like cravings leading to a vicious cycle of continued consumption and further nutrient depletion.
Stress is something that we don’t want but has been our constant companion in life more often than we would like. For most of us, it comes from home or from the workplace. In some instances, it can be lurking at the ticket counters and on our travel destinations.
We do have these bodily signs that seem to pop up when life’s challenges build to a crescendo. You may be ignoring that white spots on your nails, but they are often assumed to be a result of calcium deficiency.
White spots on nails are mostly seen in females and the young people as a result of simple stress or minor trauma to the fingernails. These spots generally disappear as the nail grows. Anyone can have white spots on nails regardless of the sex, age and ethnicity.
Don’t you know that repetitive grinding or clenching of teeth known as bruxism may be stress related? Consistent with literature, state anxiety and depression are antecedents of bruxism. Jaw clicks, difficulty chewing food and dry mount are other oral complaints associated with anxiety.
Bruxism seems to be more severe during periods of heightened stress and anxiety. The grinding of teeth has long been held as one physical manifestation of stress and anxiety.
What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel with many vitamins and minerals having a direct impact on your anxiety levels. Anxiety is a complex condition affected by lifestyle factors and nutritional deficiencies.
Try to eat fresh, raw produce wherever possible as overcooking and over processed foods lose some of their original value. Here are some signs of nutritional deficiencies
Dark circles or bags under the eyes and poor night vision.
Bleeding gums and crowded teeth.
Hair loss, dry hair and dandruff.
Muscle cramping, twitching, edema, numbness or tingling and clicking joints.
Canker sores, cracks in the corner of the mouth, weak tooth enamel, painful tongue and loss of smell or taste.
Spoon shaped nails, white marks or white spots, pale nails, brittle nails and cuticles that tear easily.
Bumps on the back of the arms, dry or rough skin, unusual nosebleeds, easy bruising, acne during menstruation, dermatitis and red stretch marks.
Depression, dementia, nervousness and irritability, insomnia and dizziness.
Micronutrient deficiencies affect a person’s entire life. Not only do these nutritional deficiencies lead to a decline in physical health but many problems influence an individual’s ability to maintain a quality work and social life.