Vitamin deficiencies are common worldwide. Vitamin deficiencies can affect anyone and usually coexist with mineral deficiencies. Albeit often clinically unrecognised, some mild deficiencies can have significant adverse effects.
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In a nutshell:
Vitamin A deficiency
Why Vitamin A is important
Vitamin A is an essential fat-soluble vitamin.
Ever heard of skincare products emphasizing retinol or retinoid?
Vitamin A itself is the compound retinol, which helps in forming and maintaining healthy skin.
In addition, vitamin A helps with the production and maintenance of healthy teeth, bones, and cell membranes.
Effects of Vitamin A deficiency
Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in many developing countries.
It can cause both temporary and permanent eye damage.
In severe cases, it can cause blindness.
In fact, this vitamin deficiency is the global leading cause of blindness.
Also, it can suppress immune function and increase mortality among children and women.
Other signs and symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include:
Skin dryness, itching, and scaling
Infertility and trouble conceiving
Throat and chest infections
Poor wound healing
Acne and breakouts
Boosting your Vitamin A
Because vitamin A cannot be produced by the human body on its own, you must incorporate them into your diet.
There are 2 types of dietary vitamin A–preformed vitamin A and pro-vitamin A.
Preformed vitamin A is found on animal products such as poultry, dairy, fish, and meat.
Meanwhile, pro-vitamin A is found in plant-based foods like fruits (e.g., orange, mango, and melon) and vegetables (e.g., sweet potato, carrot, spinach, and lettuce).
Vitamin B-1 deficiency
Why Vitamin B-1 is important
Are you familiar with thiamine? It’s otherwise known as vitamin B-1.
It’s an important part of the nervous system.
It also helps the body convert carbohydrates into energy as part of the metabolism process.
In addition, thiamin plays a role in muscle contraction.
It can even prevent diseases like beriberi, which involves disorders of the heart, digestive system, and nerves.
Effects of Vitamin B-1 deficiency
Vitamin B-1 deficiency can lead to nerve and muscle damage and can affect the heart.
One of its common health effects is beriberi, as mentioned previously.
In some cases, it can cause anorexia, as well as mental problems.
Other signs and symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting
Shortness of breath
Short-term memory loss
Tingling sensation in arms and legs
Cardiovascular symptoms like an enlarged heart
Boosting your Vitamin B-1
Eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes B-1-rich foods can help prevent succumbing to thiamine deficiency.
Some good sources of vitamin B-1 are beef liver, macadamia nuts, lentils, black beans, asparagus, pork loin, and fortified breakfast cereal.
Vitamin B-3 deficiency
Why Vitamin B-3 is important
Vitamin B-3, or also known as niacin, plays a role in turning the food we eat into energy.
It helps the body utilize proteins and fats.
In addition, vitamin B-3 keeps the hair, skin, and nervous system healthy.
Although many people don’t easily get vitamin B-3 deficiency nowadays, factors like low-tryptophan diet, undernutrition, and low intake of B-2, B-6, or iron can lead to low levels of B-3.
Effects of Vitamin B-3 deficiency
Before, niacin deficiency was a common problem.
Thankfully, these days, most people get enough vitamin B-3 in their diet.
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