Deficiencies

Food contains proteins, carbohydrates and fats. These in turn contain essential nutrients - vitamins, minerals and trace elements - essential for life and health.

The digestive system extracts these nutrients by producing DIGESTIVE ENZYMES which break down the proteins, carbohydrates and fats we eat into their simplest form so we can absorb them through the walls of the small intestine.

As the digestive system functions best when the body is in a calm state, acute or prolonged stress, rushing food and not chewing properly can inhibit digestive enzyme production which can lead to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and trace elements.

A diet high in processed food which can be nutrient poor, smoking, alcohol, the contraceptive pill, medications and lack of sunlight can also result in poor absorption of nutrients.

Some vitamins and minerals are stored in the body, others we need daily. Many are necessary for the absorption of others. A well balanced diet is the best way to ensure that the body gets a plentiful supply of nutrients. However, there may be occasions when this is not possible, especially after illness, prolonged stress, poor appetite and poor diet. This is when supplementation of vitamins and minerals can be useful, but excessive doses ** can be harmful. It is important to discuss with a doctor, pharmacist or health practitioner if you are suffering from a medical condition, taking medication, planning a pregnancy or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

THE FOLLOWNG ARE VITAMINS, MINERALS AND SOME TRACE ELEMENTS WITH A SUMMARY OF THEIR FUNCTIONS AND POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF DEFICIENCIES. For food sources of these vitamins go to www.health.gov.au click on 'healthy eating' then 'vitamins and minerals'

FUNCTIONS DEFICIENCIES
Vitamin A**  
Healthy skin
Healthy mucous membranes
Immunity
Skin problems
Respiratory infections
Constipation

Vitamin B1  
Appetite
Positive mental outlook
Healthy nerves
Fatigue
Feelings of doom
Loss of appetite
Constipation

Vitamin B2  

Hair, skin & nails
Aids growth

Fatigue
Insomnia
Infections
Itchy eyes
Skin & nail problems
Sore tongue

Vitamin B3**  

Energy
Growth
Healthy skin
Nervous system
Brain & nerves

Fatigue
Insomnia
Weight loss
Appetite loss

Vitamin B6**  

Skin & hair
Absorption of B12

Anaemia
Fatigue
Water retention
Cracked lips

Vitamin B12  

Healthy nervous system
Concentration
Memory
Balance

Anxiety, tension
Constipation
Fatigue
Sore tongue

Folic Acid  

Growth & normal healing
Essential for foetal growth

Eczema
Fatigue
Forgetfulness
Irritability

Vitamin C**  

Immunity
Healthy bones, skin, teeth, gums, tissues
Reduces allergic reactions
Iron absorption

Frequent colds
Frequent infections
Poor wound healing
Colon disease
Bleeding gums
Red pimples on skin

Vitamin D**  

Bone & teeth health
Essential for absorption of calcium

Tooth decay
Osteoporosis
Muscle spasm

Vitamin E**  

Skin healing
Immunity
Healthy reproductive system
Energy

Dry skin
Poor healing
Reproductive problems

Vitamin K**  

Blood clotting
Bone health

Easy bruising
Chronic diarrhoea

Calcium** (mineral)  

Bone & teeth health
Muscle growth & contraction
Heartbeat

Aching joints
Tooth decay
muscle cramps
Tremors & palpitations
Brittle nails
Insomnia
Eczema

Phosphorus (mineral)  

Aids bone & teeth health, cells, energy release,
blood clotting, heart rhythm, kidney function

Deficiency is rare

Magnesium** (mineral)  

Muscle & nerve health
Relieves premenstrual headaches & cramps
Prevents osteoporosis

Muscle cramps
Muscle weakness
Constipation
Menstrual cramps & PMS
Craving sweet foods

Potassium (mineral)  

Healthy nervous system
Fluid balance

Dry skin
Acne
Constipation
Depression
Oedema

Sodium** (mineral)  

Muscle contraction
Fluid balance

Muscle cramps
Excessive fatigue
Oedema

Iron** (mineral)  

Red blood cells
Transports oxygen around body
Brain function
Immunity

Anaemia
Fatigue
Nausea
Lack of concentration
Brittle nails & hair

Zinc** (trace element)  

Wound healing
Male fertility & libido
Antioxidant

Poor healing
Male infertility
Frequent infections
Stretch marks
Acne
Skin rashes
Irritability & depression

Copper (trace element)  

Energy production
Antioxidant
Red blood cell production

Anaemia
Oedema
Loss of taste
Respiratory infections

Iodine** (trace element)  

Mental & physical development
Metabolism

Chronic fatigue & apathy
Dry skin

Selenium**(trace element)  

Antioxidant
Healthy immune system

Fatigue
Frequent infections

Manganese (trace element)  

Maintains blood sugar levels
Energy

Fatigue
Dermatitis
Poor memory
Muscle twitches
Sore knees
Poor balance

Chromium (trace elements)  

Helps control appetite
Increases insulin action

Craving sweet foods
Dizziness after long
periods without food
Cold hands
Excessive thirst
Daytime drowsiness
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