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What diseases does a lack of vitamins in the body cause?

What diseases does a lack of vitamins in the body cause?

Lack of adequate nutrition can lead to vitamin deficiency diseases. The latter are essential micronutrients that are present in a wide variety of regularly consumed foods, although in small quantities.

Until a few years ago, people talked about the consequence of not consuming certain foods; However, it was later discovered that, in reality, what was necessary to maintain health were the substances contained in them. What happens if there are not enough vitamins?

Vitamin deficiency diseases

There are thirteen types of vitamins in total. All of these correspond to a group of organic compounds that act in conjunction with enzymes, and are part of the body's metabolic processes. Although they are considered micronutrients, they are vital in the diet.

When there is a deficit that is sustained in the medium or long term, the probability of developing certain diseases increases. Which is it? Below, we detail the most relevant ones.

Vision disorders and vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency is related to vision disorders. In particular, it causes dry eyes or xerophthalmia, which over time could progress to night blindness.

Therefore, to avoid these complications, you must eat foods that contain its precursors, such as carotenoids. They can usually be obtained through foods such as:

  • Egg.
  • Milk.
  • Fish like salmon.
  • Liver.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Mangos.
  • Papayas.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Carrot.
  • Zapallo.
  • Corn.

The daily recommendation for this nutrient depends on age and sex. According to the National Institute of Health, the values ​​for adults are 900 micrograms in men and 700 in women.

Anemia and vitamin B12 deficiency

There is a type of anemia, called pernicious, which is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B12 or cobalamin. This substance contains cobalt inside, a mineral that is necessary for the production of red blood cells.

As it is synthesized only by bacteria, the contribution in humans is determined by the consumption of foods of animal origin. In this way, all those people who have a vegan or vegetarian diet can suffer from this problem.

According to entities such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the daily recommendation of cobalamin for adults of both sexes is 2.4 micrograms per day. This contribution can be covered with supplements, especially in those who follow a diet based on plant foods.

Skin lesions and vitamin C deficiency

In its early stages, vitamin C deficiency can cause bleeding gums and slow wound healing. However, many years ago, science discovered that, in advanced periods, it generates a pathology called scurvy.

In addition to the symptoms mentioned, this condition causes fatigue, joint pain and skin lesions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, its prevalence is rare since the importance of the contribution of this nutrient is known.

Some foods that contain vitamin C are citrus fruits, kiwi and pepper. However, it must be considered that part of it is lost due to cooking or exposure to summer temperatures. A safe option to complement the diet is the use of supplements.

The lack of vitamin C in the body is related to difficulty recovering from skin wounds. This nutrient is present in foods such as citrus fruits.

Neurological defects and folic acid

Various studies have suggested that the provision of folic acid (vitamin B9) in pregnant women prevents neurological defects in the fetus. Additionally, supplementation appears to have other beneficial effects, such as preventing congenital heart disease and oral clefts.

The main food sources are dark green leaves, liver and kidney. According to the World Health Organization, those trying to get pregnant, up to 12 weeks of gestation, should take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.

Bone fragility due to vitamin D deficiency

One of the functions of vitamin D in the body is to maintain bone health through proper calcium absorption. When there is not enough of it, diseases such as rickets and osteomalacia appear.

In humans, this substance is formed when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Likewise, it can be obtained from foods of animal origin such as eggs, milk and meat, although only 10%.

What to remember about vitamin deficiency diseases?

When the diet is balanced, it is difficult for there to be a vitamin deficiency. However, there may be situations in which the recommendations are increased, as occurs in pregnancy or in some pathologies.

If so, it is important to adjust the diet, since a lack of these micronutrients can lead to health problems. To do this, it is advisable to consult with a nutrition professional and evaluate the possibility of using supplementation.

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