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Understanding Vitamin Deficiency - A Comprehensive Guide


Understanding Vitamin Deficiency - A Comprehensive Guide


Medically Reviewed By
Dr Sohini Sengupta

Written By Kirti Saxena
on Apr 3, 2024

Last Edit Made By Kirti Saxena
on Apr 3, 2024

Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiencies are an increasing cause of worry around the world.

Our body creates several vitamins, but the vitamins essential for nutrition are externally consumed. Thus leading to all the deficiencies.

Vitamins are essential nutrients that keep our body working. There are 13 varieties of vitamins recognizable now. When the body does not get a sufficient quantity of any of these vitamins, that is vitamin deficiency. This vitamin deficiency can occur due to not enough intake or even many times due to some disease. Deficiencies can be overcome by adjusting your diet and routine, and if required, doctors may suggest taking supplements and other medications.

According to sources, 76% of the Indian population is Vitamin D deficient.

Cause of Vitamin deficiency:

Dietary habits are one of the primary causes of major vitamin deficiencies. Some people lack vitamins due to their ignorance, and others may lack them due to a lack of access to specific sources.

Besides, the vegetarian population is at higher risk of certain vitamin deficiencies, like Vitamin B12.


It is because individuals who follow vegetarianism cannot have enough Vitamin B12, as it is mainly present in non-vegetarian food, leading to a higher risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

Some people, due to certain medical conditions, can also experience vitamin deficiency. Due to the medical conditions, it becomes difficult for the body to absorb the vitamins. 

So, how do we know if someone is vitamin deficient? Are there any signs to identify it?

Symptoms of Vitamin Deficiency

Vitamin deficiencies have multiple symptoms, and some of the symptoms overlap with each other. One should always consult a doctor if the symptoms have persisted for months. You should always get tested for vitamin deficiency and consult properly if supplements are on your mind. 

Some of the symptoms one should be on the lookout for are:

  • Weakness
  • Dry and brittle hair
  • Hair loss
  • Slow Wound healing
  • Depression
  • Fractures
  • Prone to infections
  • Vision loss
  • Decreased sensation in the body
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Insomnia 

Commonly Found Vitamin Deficiencies

Some of the common Vitamin deficiencies are:

Vitamin D Deficiency: 

Vitamin D focuses on maintaining calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. It helps in muscle contraction, cell functioning, and nerve contraction.

Severe Vitamin D deficiency can lead to severe complications like osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.

Causes of Vitamin D deficiency:

  • Firstly, Vitamin D, also called Sunshine Vitamin, is a hormone, not a vitamin. As people start aging, the skin’s ability to synthesize the vitamin keeps decreasing, leading to the deficiency in older people.
  • Skin pigmentation is also an important factor leading to the deficiency. People with lighter skin color absorb UV rays better than those with darker skin.
  • People living in areas with less sunlight are also prone to having Vitamin D deficiency.

Source of Vitamin D:

  • Egg yolk
  • Cheese
  • Cereals
  • Mushrooms

Vitamin A Deficiency:

Research has found that Vitamin A deficiency is common in developing countries and people who lack animal-based products. Vitamin A is of two types

  • Retinols: It is found in meat-based food products. They are necessary for the functioning of photoreceptors.
  • Carotenoids: These are found in plant-based food products. 

Causes of Vitamin A Deficiency

  • Vitamin A deficiency can be caused due to liver dysfunction. It is because this vitamin is stored in the liver, so a liver disorder leads to storage issues for it.
  • Diseases that can lead to the inability of intestine function are responsible for Vitamin A deficiency. When the intestine stops functioning, fat absorption decreases, which automatically reduces the vitamin absorption.
  • A diet with less Vitamin A content.

Sources of Vitamin A

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Red and yellow vegetables
  • Milk and cheese
  • Mangoes 
  • Apricots 

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 is an important form of vitamin for our body. Vitamin B12 has a major role in producing DNA, RBCs, etc. 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common cause that contributes to anemia and other diseases like neurological, physical, and even psychological problems in the body.

Causes of Vitamin B12 deficiency

  • If you’re not eating food with enough Vitamin B12 content.
  • Several diseases like gastritis, pernicious anemia, and Crohn's disease can be responsible for the deficiency.
  • People who have undergone surgeries like gastric bypass have difficulty absorbing Vitamin B12.

Sources of Vitamin B12

  • Meat-based food
  • Seafood like oysters and clams
  • Dairy products

Vitamin C Deficiency

Vitamin C is an important nutrient for the human body. It cannot be produced, so it has to be consumed in the form of edibles.

The condition of Vitamin C deficiency is called Scurvy. Rough skin, weak bones, and bleeding gums are some of its common symptoms.

Causes of Vitamin C Deficiency

  • Hyperthyroidism is one of the main causes of Vitamin C deficiency.
  • Regular smoking makes one deficient in Vitamin C by 30%.
  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers can also face Vitamin C deficiency.

Sources of Vitamin C

  • Citrus fruits like oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Peppers

In the hustle and bustle of life, people have begun to neglect their health. People don’t have time to look into the food they are consuming. This is what has led to the increase in these vitamin deficiencies nowadays. One should be up to date with their regular health checkups and their doctor's consultations to be updated with what is going on in their body.

Vitamin deficiencies can be handled with a proper diet, so being mindful of what you eat can be very helpful. You can also take the help of a professional dietitian and follow the charts provided.

If the deficiencies create serious conditions in those sites, suggest tests and further courses of action to keep the condition in check. 

If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms and your doctor has suggested getting your Vitamin Test done, you can book your tests at Redcliffe Labs. We at Redcliffe Labs provide the home sample collection facility within 45- minutes of booking time and deliver results in the stipulated time frame. You can go to our website or download the app and book your tests immediately.

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