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Vitamin deficiency disorders or Avitaminosis is any disease caused by chronic or long-term vitamin deficiency or caused by a defect in metabolic conversion, such as tryptophan to niacin. They are designated by the same letter as the vitamin.
Conversely hypervitaminosis is the syndrome of symptoms caused by over-retention of fat-soluble vitamins in the body.
- vitamin A deficiency causes xerophthalmia or night blindness
- thiamine deficiency causes beriberi
- niacin deficiency causes pellagra
- vitamin B12 deficiency leads to megaloblastic anemia
- vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy
- vitamin D deficiency causes rickets
- vitamin K deficiency causes impaired coagulation
Deficiencies of vitamins are classified as either primary or secondary. A primary deficiency occurs when an organism does not get enough of the vitamin in its food. A secondary deficiency may be due to an underlying disorder that prevents or limits the absorption or use of the vitamin, due to a “lifestyle factor”, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or the use of medications that interfere with the absorption or use of the vitamin. People who eat a varied diet are unlikely to develop a severe primary vitamin deficiency. In contrast, restrictive diets have the potential to cause prolonged vitamin deficits, which may result in often painful and potentially deadly diseases.
Because human bodies do not store most vitamins, humans must consume them regularly to avoid deficiency. Human bodily stores for different vitamins vary widely; vitamins A, D, and B12 are stored in significant amounts in the human body, mainly in the liver, and an adult human's diet may be deficient in vitamins A and B12 for many months before developing a deficiency condition. Vitamin B3 is not stored in the human body in significant amounts, so stores may only last a couple of weeks.
Well-known human vitamin deficiencies involve thiamine (beriberi), niacin (pellagra), vitamin C (scurvy) and vitamin D (rickets). In much of the developed world, such deficiencies are rare; this is due to (1) an adequate supply of food; and (2) the addition of vitamins and minerals to common foods, often called fortification.
Some evidence also suggests that there is a link between vitamin deficiency and mental disorders.
- Essential nutrient
- Illnesses related to poor nutrition
- Orthomolecular medicine
- Vitamin#Human vitamins for more details.
- Wernickes syndrome
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- ↑ Lakhan SE; Vieira KF. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders. Nutrition Journal 2008;7(2).
Nutritional pathology (E40-68, 260-269)
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