Common Nutritional Deficiency for Nursing Students

Common Nutritional Deficiency for Nursing Students

We all recognize that our health, productivity, and overall well-being are significantly influenced by our dietary choices. Nutritional deficiency diseases, such as high blood pressure, acne, fatigue, night blindness, stress, anxiety, and osteoporosis, are often a result of inadequate nutrition and low-quality food. Let’s explore the most common nutritional deficiencies for nursing students:

The Importance of Diet:

Diet is a critical aspect to assess when a patient’s physical, mental, or emotional health is not yielding desirable outcomes. In modern society, nutritional deficiency diseases have become widespread, partly due to people opting for the convenience of processed and refined foods. In this discussion, we will delve into the details of what constitutes a nutritional deficiency, prevalent dietary disorders, and the various nutritional deficiency diseases.

Definition of Nutritional Deficiency:

A nutritional deficiency occurs when the body lacks sufficient nutrients to function optimally, leading to malnutrition. This state arises when the body does not receive enough of one or more essential nutrients necessary for cellular health and normal bodily function. To maintain overall well-being, it is crucial to maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet, ensuring the body receives all the necessary nutrients. Chronic lack of vitamins and proper nutrition can result in various health issues.

Types of Nutritional Deficiencies:

As nursing students, it is vital to understand the three main types of nutritional deficiencies:

1. Vitamin Deficiency:

The most common forms of vitamin deficiency are vitamin D, vitamin B12, and folate. Vitamin B plays a pivotal role in converting food into energy, which is crucial for maintaining bodily processes. A nutritious diet is essential to combat these deficiencies.

2. Mineral Deficiency:

Mineral deficiencies encompass iodine, iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Insufficient minerals can lead to fatigue, weakened bones and muscles, anemia, bone density loss, and reduced appetite. The severity of symptoms depends on the degree of mineral deficiency.

3. Protein Deficiency:

Low protein intake is often associated with low-calorie consumption. Proteins play a crucial role in immunity, wound healing, blood sugar regulation, and muscular growth. When there is a calorie deficit in the diet, the body may rely on protein as an energy source. Adequate protein intake is essential to support various bodily functions.

The 3 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies:

1. Vitamin D:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasize the importance of vitamin D for bone health and its potential role in preventing diseases such as cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, making individuals residing in areas with limited solar radiation more susceptible to nutritional deficiency diseases.

2. Calcium:

Calcium is a vital mineral, extensively present in the body, and plays a crucial role in vascular contraction, muscular function, neuronal transmission, and hormone secretion. Adequate calcium intake is essential for maintaining bone and teeth health. Dietary sources of calcium include dairy products and green leafy vegetables.

3. Iron:

Iron is indispensable for the synthesis of hemoglobin in red blood cells. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that around 10% of U.S. women suffer from iron deficiency. A lack of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia, characterized by symptoms such as exhaustion, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

Examples of Nutritional Deficiencies:

When the body lacks sufficient vitamins and minerals, it struggles to function optimally. Below are some examples of nutritional deficiencies and the corresponding nutrients necessary for maintaining a healthy body:

– Essential Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids, including alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosahexaenoic acid, are crucial for various bodily functions, including cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and immunological systems.

– Folic Acid:

Essential for functioning red blood cells, folic acid is particularly crucial during pregnancy. Foods like vegetables, fruits, sunflower seeds, and liver are excellent sources of folic acid.

– Magnesium:

This essential mineral plays a crucial role in various metabolic processes, and its deficiency can lead to symptoms such as cramping, tingling, elevated blood pressure, and irregular heartbeats. Magnesium-rich foods include cashews, pumpkin seeds, oats, spinach, peanuts, chia seeds, almonds, and soymilk.

Five Nutritional Diseases:

The medical staff at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia specializes in addressing gastrointestinal (GI) problems caused by nutritional issues. Some nutritional diseases they encounter include:

– Malabsorption of Carbohydrates
– Amino Acid Metabolism Problems
– Diseases Associated with Fat Absorption
– Diseases Linked to Improper Metal Absorption
– Proteolysis Disorders

Causes of Nutritional Deficiency:

Various factors contribute to nutritional insufficiency, including inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals due to restrictive or imbalanced diets, food processing, and excessive consumption of processed and junk foods. Certain dietary choices, such as vegetarian or vegan diets, can lead to a higher risk of protein insufficiency. Overcooking food can also destroy essential vitamins. Additionally, certain medications and drugs may interfere with nutrient absorption.

Treatment for Nutritional Deficiency:

Effective treatment for nutritional deficiencies depends on the specific type and severity of the deficiency. Adopting a proper diet or incorporating deficient vitamins into the diet can often alleviate symptoms. For severe deficiencies, a visit to a dietitian and follow-up appointments can be beneficial. Supplements may be necessary in some cases, with dosage and scheduling adjusted based on the degree of insufficiency. In extreme cases, parenteral feed (intravenous or intramuscular feeding) may be required.

Process of Nutritional Deficiency Test:

Accurate testing is crucial to confirm or rule out nutritional deficits in patients. A blood test that identifies the exact nutrients and vitamins lacking in the patient’s body is highly valuable, allowing targeted intervention to reverse malnutrition and establish a new health norm. BioScan technology can provide essential information to enhance health in various areas, offering valuable insights in just 10 minutes.

Closing Remarks:

It is essential for nursing students to understand nutritional deficiencies to provide effective care to patients. Seeking professional guidance and appropriate treatments can make a significant difference in combating nutritional deficiency diseases. At, our professionals are always available to assist you in understanding and addressing nutritional deficiencies effectively. We take pride in being a reliable resource for professional nurses.