How Mineral Deficiencies Can Affect Your Health
Minerals are essential nutrients that your body requires to function smoothly. A deficiency can occur if your body has no way to obtain and absorb the minerals in the required amount. There are recommended amounts of every mineral that you must have, and lack of it leads to health issues. Below are some ways of how a mineral deficiency can affect your health.
Iron is used in different ways in the body, but mostly for the production of hemoglobin. This is the protein found in red blood cells and helps to transport oxygen all over the body. Lack of iron leads to anemia meaning their red blood cells are weak and this causes them dizziness and weakness. Everyone and especially women should ensure their diets are rich in iron. Lack of iron is common in premenopausal women.
Iron deficiency develops slowly and can cause anemia. It’s considered uncommon in the United States and in people with healthy diets. But, the World Health Organization estimated in a 2008 report that iron deficiency causes approximately half of all anemia cases worldwide.
The symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia include feeling weak and tired. You may be performing poorly at work or school. Children may exhibit signs through slow social and cognitive development.
As you age, the bones mass reduce making them weak; this affects the strength and functionality of the body. It increases the risk of broken bones and osteoporosis. The teeth are not spared by calcium deficiency. However, you can easily enrich your diet with calcium by including dairy products.
Severe calcium deficiency is usually caused by medical problems or treatments, such as medications (like diuretics), surgery to remove the stomach, or kidney failure. Symptoms of a severe deficiency include:
- cramping of the muscles
- tingling in the fingers
- poor appetite
- irregular heart rhythms
Potassium is a mineral that functions as an electrolyte. It’s required for muscle contraction, proper heart function, and the transmission of nerve signals. It’s also needed by a few enzymes, including one that helps your body turn carbohydrates into energy.
The best sources of potassium are fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, avocado, dark leafy greens, beets, potatoes, and plums. Other good sources include orange juice and nuts.
The most common cause of potassium deficiency is excessive fluid loss. Examples can include extended vomiting, kidney disease, or the use of certain medications such as diuretics.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle cramping and weakness. Other symptoms show up as constipation, bloating, or abdominal pain caused by paralysis of the intestines.
Severe potassium deficiency can cause paralysis of the muscles or irregular heart rhythms that may lead to death.
Zinc plays a role in many aspects of the body’s metabolism. These include:
- protein synthesis
- immune system function
- wound healing
- DNA synthesis
It’s also important for proper growth and development during pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. Zinc is found in animal products like oysters, red meat, and poultry. Other good sources of zinc include:
- whole grains
- dairy products
Zinc deficiency can cause loss of appetite, taste, or smell. Decreased function of the immune system and slowed growth are other symptoms. Severe deficiency can also cause diarrhea, loss of hair, and impotence. It can also prolong the process that your body takes to heals wounds.
The body needs magnesium for hundreds of chemical reactions. These include responses that control blood glucose levels and blood pressure. Proper function of muscles and nerves, brain function, energy metabolism, and protein production are also controlled by magnesium.
Roughly 60 percent of the body’s magnesium resides in the bones while nearly 40 percent resides in muscle and soft tissue cells. Good sources of magnesium include:
- whole grains
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach
Magnesium deficiency is uncommon in healthy people. The kidneys can keep magnesium from leaving the body through the urine. Still, certain medications and chronic health conditions like alcoholism may cause magnesium deficiency.
Magnesium needs are also highly influenced by the presence of disease. In this situation, the RDA for magnesium may not be sufficient for some individuals.
Early signs of magnesium deficiency include:
- loss of appetite
Magnesium deficiency can lead to the following symptoms if left untreated:
- muscle cramps
- abnormal rhythms of the heart