Vitamin Deficiency

What is Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiency is a condition that occurs when a person does not get enough of certain vitamins in their diet. It can cause a range of health problems, such as weakened bones, poor vision, and a weakened immune system.

Types of Vitamin Deficiencies

There are many different types of vitamin deficiencies, but they generally fall into one of two categories: macro and micronutrient deficiencies. Macro deficiencies occur when a person does not get enough vitamins from the five food groups. Micronutrient deficiencies occur when a person does not get enough vitamins from specific foods, such as vitamin D from oily fish or vitamin B12 from certain meats.

Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency

The signs and symptoms of vitamin deficiency depend on the type of vitamin that is lacking, but may include:
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor appetite
  • Hair loss
  • Skin problems

Risk Factors

The risk of vitamin deficiency increases in certain groups of people, including:
  • People with poor diets
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain medical conditions, such as Crohn's disease or celiac disease
  • People taking certain medications, including antibiotics
  • Vegetarians or vegans
  • Older adults

Preventing Vitamin Deficiency

The best way to prevent vitamin deficiency is to eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It is also important to talk to a healthcare provider about any medical conditions, medications, or dietary restrictions that may increase the risk of vitamin deficiency. Supplements may also be necessary in some cases.