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What is a nutritional deficiency?

The body needs adequate nutrition for better health and performance. You get this nutrition from macronutrients such as fats, carbohydrates and proteins, while micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals and amino acids also play a vital role in maintaining good health. When the body does not receive enough nutrition, it is called nutritional deficiency. Although it is a global problem, nearly half of the world’s micronutrient-deficient population is in India.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Nutritional deficiency includes the deficiency of any nutrient from a number of nutrients, and hence the symptoms are specific to a specific deficient nutrient. The signs and symptoms can be seen in your daily activities. Following are some of the common symptoms of nutritional deficiency:

What are the main causes?

The main causes of nutritional deficiency are:

  • Inadequate diet, a diet lacking in nutrients
  • Incomplete absorption of nutrients in the body
  • Colon cancer
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Imbalanced gut flora
  • Stomach infection
  • Inflammation in the digestive system
  • Medication

How is it diagnosed and treated?

A number of diseases can be caused due to deficiency of nutrients, and hence diagnosis is very important. Primarily, the patient’s medical history is noted, and the following tests are performed:

  • Physical examination.
  • Determination of body mass index.
  • Blood investigation to find the concentration of vitamins and minerals in the blood.
  • Ultrasound examination.

Treatment modalities for nutritional deficiency will depend on the type of deficiency diagnosed. The treatment regimen is as follows:

  • Nutritional supplements by the oral or parenteral route.
  • Medication to treat the deficiency and the underlying cause of the deficiency as needed.
  • Foods fortified with nutrients.

Many nutritional deficiencies go unnoticed and are diagnosed only when they become severe, so early diagnosis is important, and any symptoms should not be ignored. A tailored diet plan and nutritional supplements can help overcome nutritional deficiencies and have better health. Efforts by the government such as public education and national health policies to provide fortified food products and balanced diet can also help avoid nutritional deficiencies.

  1. Medicines for Nutritional Deficiency
  2. Doctors for Nutritional Deficiency
Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

7 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

7 Years of Experience


  1. Mrigen Kr. Deka et al. Dietary pattern and nutritional deficiencies among urban adolescents . J Family Med Prim Care. 2015 Jul-Sep; 4(3): 364–368. PMID: 26288775
  2. Jenkins DJA et al. Supplemental Vitamins and Minerals for CVD Prevention and Treatment. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2018 Jun 5;71(22):2570-2584. PMID: 29852980
  3. Bruins MJ et al. Considerations for Secondary Prevention of Nutritional Deficiencies in High-Risk Groups in High-Income Countries. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 5;10(1). pii: E47. PMID: 29304025
  4. National Health Portal [Internet] India; Healthy Nutrition and Nutritional Disorders
  5. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Nutrition - women's extra needs
  6. Better health channel. Department of Health and Human Services [internet]. State government of Victoria; Vitamin and mineral supplements
  7. World Health Organization [Internet]. Geneva (SUI): World Health Organization; WHO estimates of vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
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