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Micronutrient deficiencies: Signs, causes & treatment

Micronutrient deficiency reduces their ability to fight infection and negatively affects the development of the brain and other organs.

Snigdha Behera Written By: Snigdha Behera New Delhi Published on: May 26, 2023 16:54 IST
Can cause severe and even life-threatening health issues.
Image Source : FREEPIK Can cause severe and even life-threatening health issues.

Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals needed by our body in very small amounts. However, they play a critical role in maintaining our overall health. Deficiency in any of them can cause severe and even life-threatening health issues. 

Micronutrient deficiencies are very common, especially in women, who feel they will be able to meet their micronutrient requirements through daily diet. There are some common nutrient deficiencies that affect most people, such as Vitamin D, B12, and A, as well as iron and calcium.

Signs of micronutrient deficiency

Micronutrients contribute to overall health. Midler symptoms of deficiencies which you should be conscious of:

1. A feeling of fatigue

2. Weakness

3. Lack of energy

4. Lack of coordination

5. Falling sick all the time

6. Being more prone to disease

7. Breathlessness after climbing a flight of stairs

8. Anemic (when blood doesn’t count have enough healthy red blood cells)

9. Fracture of your arm or head after a small fall

10. Hair Fall

11. Looking pale

12. Being colorblind (vitamin A deficiency)

Micronutrient deficiencies are also linked with poor pregnancy outcomes. If a pregnant woman is low on folic acid, she can have a baby who is having severe defects in their body, like the absence of a skull sometimes or spinal cord defects.

India Tv -  Lack of Vitamin and minerals in the body

Image Source : FREEPIK Lack of Vitamin and minerals in the body

Treatment of micronutrient deficiency

The ultimate solution to micronutrient deficiency is the reduction of poverty and access to diverse diets. Instead of rice for dinner, if people could have rice, meat, beans, and some vegetables or fruits, they would easily meet their body’s needs for not only calories but protein and micronutrients as well. Many strategies have been used to improve nutrition. These include gardens, supplements, changes in how foods are prepared, fortification, and biofortification.

Here are the treatments which are a must to keep your body healthy & robust:

1. Gardens:

Gardens of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in homes, schools, and communities are wonderful ways to reduce micronutrient deficiency and help people climb out of poverty. 

2. Supplements:

Supplementation is the primary method that has been used in attempts to reduce micronutrient deficiency. Daily vitamins are impractical for a variety of reasons (lack of supply chains and high costs are major ones), so megadoses are used yearly or a few times a year. 

3. Micronutrient Absorption

Certain preparation methods of foods can make the nutrients easier to digest, while other preparation methods destroy nutrients. For example, adding lactic acid during tortilla preparation can make the iron in corn flour more bioavailable. Cooking cassava into gari reduces beta-carotene levels compared to fufu or boiling.

4. Fortification

Instead, or in addition to changing how foods are prepared at home, changes to industrially prepared foods can have positive impacts on micronutrient deficiency. If fortification is added to foods that are widely used, then high percentages of populations can be reached, using supply chains that already exist.

5. Biofortification

Instead of adding nutrients to foods, the nutrients found in staple crops can be improved directly with selective breeding or biotechnology. Biofortification eliminates the need for a central distribution system. Once seeds are distributed, no additional or repeated intervention is needed.

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