Fight deficiencies

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Fight deficiencies

In today’s fast-paced life, nutrition usually takes a backseat. Moreover, to strike a balance between unhealthy eating and staying slim, people often end up dieting. Doctors are of the opinion that many youngsters today suffer from multi-nutritional deficiency, some of the common ones being vitamin B12 and iron. These vitamins and minerals act together to perform body functions that are vital to our existence.

Poor eating habits can often lead to deficiency of vitamins and nutrients in the body, causing anaemia. Vitamin deficiencies develop slowly in the body, and the symptoms can initially be elusive. Here’s a list of some of the symptoms of nutritional deficiency and anaemia:

l Shortness of breath
l Dizziness
l Pale or yellowish skin
l Weight loss
l Irregular heart beats
l Muscle weakness
l Confused state of mind
l Fatigue
l Regular headaches
The cure for these deficiencies lies in having a wholesome diet, which includes plenty of green leafy vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, eggs, nuts, dairy products, lean meats and fish.

Deficiency of vitamin B12 is a common problem faced by vegetarians, as this nutrient is not present in plant foods. Vegetarians must ensure that they eat enough dairy products like milk and foods such as rice and soy. Plant-derived meat analogue, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals and nutritional yeast or multivitamins can also meet a person’s vitamin B12 needs. If the intake of vitamin B12 is not proper during pregnancy, it can cause developmental delays in the child.

Here are some of the factors that cause nutritional deficiency in the body:

Restrictive diet
People might suffer from nutritional deficient anaemia if the diet is restricted to only certain food products. Generally, vegetarians or vegans suffer from nutritional deficiency, as they don’t eat meat, which is the main sources of some nutrients like vitamin B12.

Pregnancy
Pregnant women should include multivitamin supplements in their diet. Women should also include folic acid supplements in their diet from the time of planning pregnancy.

Prescription drugs
Certain prescribed medicines like anti-seizure drugs can block absorption of folate. Also, antacids and other drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes might interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12. It is important to contact your physician and get a comprehensive assessment of your medication.

(The author is a senior consultant of Internal Medicine at Columbia Asia Hospital, Whitefield.)

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