Mineral Deficiencies

A deficiency is something that fails to meet a particular need or requirement, usually due to a lack or shortage, functional quality or availability.

There are many health conditions caused by a deficiency of essential substances such as vitamins, minerals, hormones and proteins.

Mineral Deficiency

Acquired Copper Deficiency

Acquired, environmental, or dietary abnormalities rarely cause clinically significant copper deficiency. The only reported causes of such deficiency are kwashiorkor; persistent infantile diarrhea, usually associated with a diet limited to milk; severe malabsorption, as in sprue; total parenteral nutrition that is copper-free; and excess intake of a zinc salt as a dietary supplement. (www)

Hereditary Copper Deficiency (Menkes' Syndrome)

Occurs in male infants who have inherited a mutant X-linked gene, with an incidence of about 1 in 50,000 live births. The disorder is characterized by deficiencies of copper in the liver and serum and, more significantly, deficiencies of essential copper proteins, including cytochrome-c oxidase, ceruloplasmin, and lysyl oxidase. (www)

Molybdenum Deficiency

Genetically conditioned and nutritional deficiencies of molybdenum are rare. The intake of molybdenum is derived principally from organ meats, whole-grain cereals, and legumes. (www)

Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia)

Potassium is a mineral necessary to good health. It maintains the water and acid balance in blood and tissue cells, assists in muscle building, and transmits electrical signals between cells and nerves. Early symptoms of hypokalemia, or potassium deficiency, include dry skin, muscle weakness, fatigue and slow reflexes. If the deficiency develops rapidly, heart problems may result. Left unchecked, a condition known as hypokalemic paralysis may develop, in which the entire body goes stiff. This is a very serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. (www)

Salt Deficiency

Salt (sodium chloride) is necessary for the survival of all living creatures, including humans. Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body. Salt flavour is one of the basic tastes. Salt cravings may be caused by trace mineral deficiencies as well as by a deficiency of sodium chloride itself. (www)

Sodium Deficiency (Hyponatremia)

A deficiency is rare, but can easily happen with diarrhea, vomiting or excessive sweating, and a shortage may lead to nausea, dizziness, poor concentration and muscle weakness. (www)

Zinc Deficiency

The signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency include anorexia, growth retardation, delayed sexual maturation, hypogonadism and hypospermia, alopecia, immune disorders, dermatitis, night blindness, impaired taste (hypogeusia), and impaired wound healing. Zinc deficiency develops in some patients with cirrhosis because the ability to retain zinc is lost. (www)

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Last updated: Friday, 2nd March 2012
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