Vitamin 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.

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin A (Retinol) Deficiency

Most of the body's vitamin A is stored in the liver as retinyl palmitate. Primary vitamin A deficiency is usually caused by prolonged dietary deprivation. Secondary vitamin A deficiency may be due to inadequate conversion of carotene to vitamin A or to interference with absorption, storage, or transport of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is common in protein-energy malnutrition (marasmus or kwashiorkor), principally because the diet is deficient but also because vitamin A storage and transport are defective. (www)

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) Deficiency

Primary thiamine deficiency is caused by inadequate intake of thiamine, particularly in people subsisting on highly polished rice. Secondary thiamine deficiency is caused by increased requirement, as in hyperthyroidism, pregnancy, lactation, and fever; impaired absorption, as in prolonged diarrheas; and impaired utilization, as in severe liver disease. (www)

Thiamine is key to warding off vascular problems such as kidney, retina and nerve damage as well as heart disease and stroke. It works by helping protect cells against the effect of high glucose levels. A deficiency of thiamine, which is found in meat, yeast and grains, has been identified in people with diabetes. (www)

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Deficiency

Severe deficiencies of niacin and tryptophan, a precursor from which the body can synthesize niacin, are the principal causes of pellagra. Primary deficiency usually occurs in areas where maize (Indian corn) forms a major part of the diet. Secondary deficiency occurs in diarrheas, cirrhosis, and alcoholism as well as after extensive postoperative use of nutrient infusions lacking vitamins. (www)

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) Deficiency

Pantothenic acid deficiency is rarely observed in humans but adult volunteers on a deficient diet experienced malaise, abdominal discomfort, and burning feet associated with paresthesias (www)

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Deficiency

Vitamin B6 deficiency can cause convulsions in infants and anemia in adults (www)

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Deficiency

Raw egg white contains a biotin antagonist, avidin. Prolonged consumption of raw egg whites may result in dermatitis and glossitis (www)

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) Deficiency

Severe deficiency results in scurvy, an acute or chronic disease characterized by hemorrhagic manifestations and abnormal osteoid and dentin formation (www)

Vitamin D1-D4 (Lamisterol, Ergocalciferol, Calciferol, Dihydrotachysterol, 7-dehydrositosterol) Deficiency

Inadequate exposure to sunlight and low dietary intake are usually necessary for development of clinical vitamin D deficiency. Metabolic bone disease resulting from vitamin D deficiency is called rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults (www)

Vitamin E (Tocopherol) Deficiency

The main manifestations of vitamin E deficiency are mild hemolytic anemia associated with increased erythrocyte hemolysis and spinocerebellar disease, which occurs mainly in children who have fat malabsorption due to abetalipoproteinemia, chronic cholestatic hepatobiliary disease, celiac disease, or a genetic abnormality in vitamin E metabolism (www)

Vitamin H Deficiency

See Vitamin B7 (Biotin) Deficiency (www)

Vitamin K (Naphthoquinone) Deficiency

Vitamin K deficiency causes hypoprothrombinemia and a fall in the concentration of the other vitamin K-dependent coagulation factors, manifested by defective coagulation and haemorrhage (www)

Vitamin PP Deficiency

See Vitamin B3 (Niacin) Deficiency (www)

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Last updated: Friday, 2nd March 2012
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