Our body requires ample doses of vitamins to function normally. Except for vitamins D and K, the others cannot be synthesized by the body. They are provided to your body through the food that you consume. A balanced diet that includes a variety of food items ensures a good supply of all the essential vitamins. When your diet does not provide all the vitamins needed by your body, your lack needs to be compensated with vitamin supplements available in the market. Remember, no supplement can equal a balanced diet. It is best to get all the required vitamins from dietary sources and not from supplements.
Certain medical conditions or improper diet can deprive your body of certain vitamins that lead to deficiency diseases. A vitamin deficiency may not become evident on the face of it. It might take a few months or sometimes a few years, for the deficiency to become evident.
Vitamin A deficiency causes night blindness and the loss of moisture in the eye. It disturbs the proper functioning of the immune system thereby increasing mortality. It causes diseases that affect the digestive and respiratory system.
Vitamin B deficiency can affect the nerve transmission and proper functioning of the brain. It can lead to stress, frustrations and other mental problems. It increases the risk of heart disease. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to formation of abnormal cells called megaloblasts and result in anemia. It can also cause problems like depression and loss of memory.
Vitamin C deficiency weakens the immune system. It causes scurvy that leads to inflammation and bleeding of gums. Deficiency of vitamin C damages the hair and skin. They may suffer from swelling and pain in the joints.
Deficiency of vitamin D affects the absorption of calcium in the intestines. It causes rickets in children, which results in deformities of the bone. In adults it causes osteomalacia, which weakens the muscles and bones.
Deficiency of vitamin E is not a common occurrence. It usually occurs in people who have problems in the absorption of dietary fats. The deficiency of vitamin E damages the nerves and affects the coordination of muscles. It can result in an inability to walk.
Vitamin K deficiency results in excessive bleeding of wounds. Newborn babies could be deficient in vitamin K because of its deficiency in the breast milk.
When compared to the poorer nations of the world, vitamin deficiencies are uncommon in industrialized nations, though it is not completely ruled out in these nations too. Industrialized nations like The United States of America and The United Kingdom use fortification of food, in order to ensure that all the citizens get the daily dose of the required vitamins. Foods like milk, cereals and bread are loaded with vitamins and minerals, to prevent deficiencies and to ensure proper functioning of the bodies.