Oxygen and water may be the very basics for survival, but never forget that nutrition is the third pillar of this trinity. The human body requires the correct balance of nutrients - micro and macro - for optimal health and development. An imbalance in nutrition can lead to severe negative health outcomes. National Nutrition Month (previously National Nutrition Week) is celebrated during the month of September in India every year to spread awareness about nutrition, nutritional needs and malnutrition.This focus on nutrition for the entire duration of a month is necessary because India carries a huge burden of nutritional deficiencies and their adverse outcomes. A study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2018 indicates that even though India has come a long way since 1947, its population still has a huge prevalence of nutritional deficiency of micronutrients like iron, iodine, calcium and vitamins A, B9 or folate, B12, C and D.
Since your body needs all of these vital vitamins and minerals to survive, their deficiency, especially in the long run, can leave some telltale signs on the body. The following are the most common signs of nutritional deficiency. If you see any of them in a loved one, or even yourself, consult a doctor about overcoming the deficiency before it does lasting damage.
1. Slow-healing wounds: A cut here or a scrape there isn’t extraordinary, but a simple wound not healing as fast as it did before or bruising too easily is a sure-shot sign of nutritional deficiency - which is regarding vitamin C in this case. This nutrient not only boosts the immunity but also reduces inflammation and speeds up wound healing. Get more citrus fruits, bell peppers, etc in your diet and talk to your doctor about supplements.
2. Hair loss: Everyone loses about 100 strands of hair every day in a normal shedding process. But if you’re losing clumps of hair or find your bathroom drain clogged with abnormal amounts of hair, it’s a clear sign that your body doesn’t have enough iron. Weakness and dizziness are also symptoms associated with iron deficiency, so if you’re experiencing them as well, it’s time to increase your spinach, liver and iron supplement intake.
3. Bone pain: Vitamin D and calcium are the twin nutrients your body needs to keep your bones in great working order. Aching bones, especially in the legs could be a sign that you aren’t getting enough of either or both of these nutrients. Bone pain is also often associated with iron deficiency anemia. The best way to understand the root of this sign is to consult a doctor and get tests done.
4. Burning in the feet or tongue: Does your feet or tongue feel like they’re on fire without you having rubbed any chilli on either? This is probably a sign of vitamin B12 deficiency, which, when spiked to abnormal levels, can even lead to cognitive impairment. Vegetarians and vegans may have greater risks of this deficiency since vitamin B12 is usually found in animal-based foods only. Talk to your doctor about changing your diet or adding dietary supplements.
5. Irregular heartbeat: Arrhythmias are usually associated with heart disease, but the underlying cause may be a calcium deficiency. It could also be caused by a low intake of omega-3 fatty acids and essential vitamins. Consult a doctor and a cardiologist to counter any of these deficiencies and to prevent their recurrence.
6. Faulty night vision: Is making your way in darkness or driving at night next to impossible for you? Chances are your night vision is deteriorating, and the cause is a vitamin A deficiency. You should consult your doctor as well as an ophthalmologist about your vision before it impairs your movement completely. Adding milk, eggs, sweet potatoes and apricots in your diet may also help.For more information, read our article on Nutritional deficiency. Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.