Diseases caused by nutritional deficiency


We say a person is nutrient deficient if they lack a nutrient that is essential to the health of the body systems. When nutrient deficiency occurs, a disease may rise as a result of the starvation or malnutrition. Sometimes though, nutrient deficiency diseases could occur as a result of a biological imbalance in the metabolic system.
Nutrients are important for the growth and maintenance of tissues. They are also vital for the availability of energy and regulate processes in the body. Examples of nutrients that provide energy for the body are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Other nutrients which do not provide energy but are important helps to improve health and immunity of the body systems.
Below are a few diseases that could stem from nutrient deficiencies;


Goitre occurs when there is a deficiency of iodine in the human system. Iodine is required for metabolism of cells in the body. When a person has goitre, the thyroid glands become enlarged and results in hypothyroidism, impaired growth and development in infants, mental retardation and even cretinism. The occurrence of this disease happens to be a lot higher in areas with a soil that has little iodine. To prevent goitre, go for iodised salt or saltwater fish.


This is a bone disease that occurs as a result of a deficiency in vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, since its gotten from sunlight. Formerly, rickets was very common among infants until infant formulas began to add vitamin D. As a result, the disease is rarely seen today, especially among infants.
You know a person has rickets when the legs become bowed as a result of its inability to support the weight of the body. The ankles and wrists also get thick and the teeth take longer to grow.
Since there is insufficient phosphorus and calcium, the growth and development of bones also become affected. Children who are susceptible to this are those who live in crowded conditions where there almost no sunlight.
In adults, the underdevelopment of bones as a result of a deficiency in calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus is known as osteomalacia. In this case, the bones soften and become deformed. A pain often comes along with it. The disease is mostly common in Asia and the Middle East. To prevent this and other bone diseases, take lots of calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus.


This disease is caused by the lack of protein and energy. In kwashiorkor, the victim experiences irritability, anorexia, ulcerating dermatoses and an enlarged lover. You have probably seen photos of what kwashiorkor looks like from areas struck by famine and poor food supply. Kwashiorkor is majorly caused by malnutrition or starvation. To prevent kwashiorkor, a food rich in proteins and carbohydrates should not be taken for granted. Foods like eggs, legumes, meat, rice, lentils will are great sources.


We know you think it is surprising that depression could stem from a nutrient deficiency, but it’s absolutely true. So what nutrient deficiency leads to depression? Biotin! It’s also called vitamin H. This deficiency could cause serious problems if present in exacerbated forms. You’ll find symptoms like hair loss, rashes, mental issues and yes, depression. Foods that are rich in biotin include dairy items, poultry products, peanuts etc. Be sure to consume these foods along with biotin supplements.

Night Blindness

Night blindness happens when it’s difficult to see in dim light. This disease is caused by vitamin A, responsible for forming visual purple necessary to see at night or in dim light. A deficiency in vitamin A could also lead to glare blindness or xerophthalmia which could ultimately lead to total blindness. Xerophthalmia affects cornea cells, tear ducts and eye tissues.


This is an old and popular vitamin deficiency. It was the first cured deficiency disease which happened by adding a vitamin to the diet. This disease (vitamin C deficiency) was known to have affected sailors, some of which eventually lost their lives in the fifteenth and sixteenth century. Haemorrhage is the main symptom of scurvy. They will often appear as bruises or sports under the skin. The gums may also get swollen and become infected. Membranes covering large bones could bleed and wounds often heal slowly. Other symptoms include depression, fatigue and depression.
Vitamin C is important for the formation of collagen, important for strong blood vessels, healthy skin and gums, red blood cell formation, healing of wounds etc. Acne, sore gums, haemorrhages, easy bruising could also result from a deficiency in vitamin C.
You can get vitamin C from sources like strawberries, broccoli and citrus fruits.

Beri Beri

Beri Beri is caused by a deficiency in thiamine (Vitamin B1). Victims of this disease often get symptoms like cardiovascular problems, altered muscle coordination and nerve degeneration.
You can get the B1 vitamin from foods like dried beans, eggs, meat, whole grains etc.
You should eat foods rich in vitamin B1 everyday or at least regularly to keep you safe and sound from a nutritional deficiency disease like beri beri.


Anaemia occurs when there is a deficit or a deficiency of iron in the body. As a result, there is often a decrease in haemoglobin which results in weakness, dyspnoea, fatigue and paleness. Eating a healthy diet and taking iron supplements regularly may be help treat or prevent the disease.
Foods rich in iron include bran, tofu, squashes, nuts etc.


Pellagra is a disease that occurs as a result of a deficiency or lack of the B3 vitamin, also known as Niacin. The four Ds that Pellagra is characterized by include dermatitis, dementia, diarrhoea and painfully, death. Pellagra isn’t just a deficiency in Niacin or vitamin B3, it also involves a short supply of amino acids lysine and tryptophan. Plus, it also could be caused by excessive production of lysine in the body.
If you’re looking for foods rich in Niacin, you can go for foods like peanuts, tuna, chicken, mushrooms and whole grains. To ward off Pellagra, these foods should be consumed as regularly as possible.


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