Who Gets Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies?
Vitamin check! It might seem surprising that people who have access to an abundant food supply can suffer from a lack of essential nutrients. However, certain factors put us at greater risk for a deficiency. “As people age, diets aren’t always balanced, or people eliminate food groups because they can’t tolerate them,” says Dr. Shanthi Johnson, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Regina and a registered dietitian.
Those suffering from conditions like Crohn’s disease and cystic fibrosis can have trouble getting enough nutrients. These diseases affect the small intestine, where absorption occurs, or the pancreas, which produces enzymes to digest food. In younger people, trendy diets or convenience foods can interfere with healthy eating. “The more we compromise on food groups, the higher the chances of becoming deficient in certain minerals,” Johnson says.
Recommended daily intakes vary depending on the country or expert. (Here, we’re drawing on Health Canada’s recommended daily allowances, or RDAs.) But it’s believed that more than two billion people around the world don’t get enough of at least one essential nutrient. Here are five vitamin and mineral deficiencies to watch for.