In our organism there are certain demands for the acquisition of all the nutritional content that the body itself needs for its correct development and functioning, which, if not covered, reflect disorders, discomforts and even the development of diseases.

In this sense, we present the following article where we will talk about nutritional deficiencies , which are the main ones and what responses we get from our body.

What are nutritional deficiencies?

Nutritional deficiencies have been an arduously studied and researched problem for years, due to their influence on individual and child mortality. They are considered public health problems, due to the impact they have on the life and well-being of the population. (1)

To highlight: Nutritional deficiencies can be categorized depending on an assessment made for the state of the individual, evaluated quantitatively and qualitatively thanks to the interpretation of biochemical, clinical factors and functional dimensions according to life cycles. (two)

In this sense, nutritional deficiencies may be due to malnutrition or poor diet , where the probability of developing diseases as a consequence is synonymous with the needs of our body.

What are nutritional deficiencies?

The main nutritional deficiencies are identified through the nutrients that are scarce in the body. We will detail them below, the symptoms that occur and what is the appropriate treatment:

1. Iron deficiency

Iron is an essential mineral in the body, for the formation of blood and the transport of oxygen through it. It is part of the essential trace elements, which means that it is not produced by the body but obtained through food . 

You should know: The deficiency of this micronutrient can result in anemia , where the minimum daily consumption is 10 milligrams in men and 15 milligrams in women. (3)


The iron deficiency in the organism produces an inconvenience in the fulfillment of its functions , especially that of the transport of oxygen to the cells, it is therefore that the body presents certain considerable responses in the symptoms, mentioned below:

  • Weakness, tiredness and apathy.
  • Brittle nails and hair loss.
  • Tachycardia and shortness of breath.
  • Headache, dizziness, vertigo.


A change in the diet ingested will significantly influence the acquisition of deficient nutrients. We mention below options for treatment:

  • Increased consumption of plant sources rich in iron .
  • Inclusion in our diet of foods such as fish, red meat and eggs .
  • Vitamin C consumption to improve iron absorption .
  • Iron supplements.

2. Protein deficiency

Protein deficiency is usually produced by ingesting little food that is a source of this macromolecule. It leads to a loss of muscle mass and can greatly compromise the proper functioning of our body.


Protein is a source of energy for our body, so the symptoms focus on alerting the body of its need. We mention below the main signs of lack of protein:

  • Weakness in hair and skin cells.
  • Excessive fatigue and loss of muscle mass 
  • Constipation, water retention and liver disorders.
  • Ease of contracting infections .


Because the consequences of a protein deficiency can compromise the health of the individual, it is important to solve it through diet or supplements. We mention below treatment options:

  • Increase meat consumption .
  • Consumption of legumes and cereals, adding it even to salads, stews and soups.
  • Consumption of fruits and seeds .
  • Protein nutritional supplements .

3. Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency can have various reasons for its origin, ranging from liver disorders to inadequate intakes and fat absorption problems. This micronutrient interacts with the immune system and the functioning of the visual system. (4)


The deficiency of this molecule in our body is mainly identified with ocular discomfort , which will be mentioned below:

  • Dryness and night blindness .
  • Thickening of the cornea and conjunctiva.
  • Corneal opacity and erosion formation .
  • Mucosa in the digestive system and urinary tract.


Appropriate treatment is applied effectively from an early diagnosis , thus avoiding compromise of the cornea and possible infections. For this, the following must be taken into account: 

  • Consumption of foods rich in vitamin A and riboflavins.
  • Water soluble vitamin A treatment and intramuscular injections.
  • Application of antibiotics .
  • Retinyl Palmitate and Retinyl Acetate.

4. Vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency influences bone density and means increased risk for adults over 65 and young children. It also plays important roles in the nervous and muscular systems.


The symptoms of lack of vitamin D in our body have a direct influence on the health of our bones and nervous system. We mention the most common below:

  • Reduced bone density, brittle bones .
  • Cramps and muscle fatigue.
  • Dry skin, redness and scales .
  • Weakness, fatigue, and bone pain.


To correct low levels of vitamin D in the body, high doses from different sources should be applied , whether daily or permanent. Here are several options:

  • Sun exposure.
  • Vitamin D supplements (between 800 and 1000 IU)
  • Consumption of foods with high levels of fatty acids (fish and nuts)
  • Inclusion of eggs, meat and fortified foods in the diet.

5. Vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 has a great intervention in activities and functions of our body, so a serious reduction in its presence can even cause neurological damage and loss of sensitivity.


The main symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are of a nervous nature, in addition to consequences such as a significant reduction in red blood cells. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness and tingling.
  • Loss of sensation in hands and feet.
  • Impaired reflexes and confusion.
  • Difficulty walking, anemia and dementia .


The treatment in these cases is the application of supplements for the recovery of adequate values, in addition to important changes in the diet. (5) We mention below some of the recommendations: 

  • Vitamin B12 vaccines.
  • Use of supplements.
  • Inclusion in the diet of foods such as fish, meat and dairy products .
  • Increased consumption of beef liver 

6. Folic Acid Deficiency

Folic acid is a B-type vitamin, which is usually consumed to benefit the production of red blood cells and the development of healthy pregnancies . Among the consequences of its deficiency is anemia and constant irritability.


The symptoms of folic acid deficiency are quite constant and allow early detection . We mention below what are the main signs:

  • Fatigue and irritability.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Sensitive tongue and decreased platelets.
  • Pale skin, bad breath, and dizziness.


Its main treatment focuses on the oral consumption of supplements that can normalize the values ​​of the body. We mention several options below: 

  • Folic acid supplements.
  • Changes in the diet with greater consumption of lentils, liver, spinach , chickpeas , etc.
  • Vitamin supplements.
  • Consumption of green leafy vegetables.

7. Magnesium deficiency

Magnesium deficiency is also known as hypomagnesemia and is characterized by having values ​​below normal. Confusion ensues and is considered an electrolyte imbalance.


The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are very characteristic, being an important nutrient for the proper functioning of our body, mainly for the cardiac and nervous systems. Here are several signs:

  • Shortness of breath and chest pain .
  • Confusion, poor balance, and decreased reflexes.
  • Clumsy movements and problems coordinating .
  • Swollen lips and irregular heart rhythms.


To recover the balance and normality of our body and its functions, we mention which are the treatments usually indicated for magnesium deficiency:

  • Magnesium, calcium and potassium supplements .
  • Modifications in the diet increasing the consumption of foods rich in magnesium , to recover and maintain the adequate values .
  • Intravenous electrolyte treatments.
  • Medications to relieve symptoms.

8. Calcium deficiency

Calcium is one of the best known minerals, due to its importance in the bone health of our body. Its deficiency can be induced by low levels of vitamin D or disorder in the parathyroid glands.


Calcium deficiency occurs at any age and it is important that it be identified so that it can be treated in time. We mention below some symptoms for your knowledge, although in some cases it may be asymptomatic:

  • Tingling lips and fingers.
  • Muscle cramps and confusion.
  • Muscle spasms and tachycardia.
  • Insomnia and high blood pressure .


The treatment of calcium deficiency is key to avoiding serious consequences such as the development of rickets and osteoporosis. Here are some options:

  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements.
  • Consumption of foods rich in calcium such as dairy products and vegetables .
  • Oral supplements.
  • Intravenous treatments in case of relapse.

Key Findings

  • The nutritional quality of our diet allows our body to develop and function properly.
  • Nutritional deficiencies are considered an important issue for the health and safety of the individual.
  • Nutritional deficiency is understood as levels below the minimum required in nutrients.
  • The consequences of nutritional deficiencies can lead to the development of diseases and serious side effects.

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