The 5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Back to list 2020-11-03 11:21:29

Our body requires many nutrients and vitamins that are essential for good health. Although we can get most of them from a balanced diet, it’s pretty common nowadays that people lack some of these important nutrients.

Deficiency can occur when your body couldn’t get enough nutrients including vitamins and minerals from diet or your body could not utilize these nutrients resulting from certain diseases and malabsorption.

Katrin and Melody, clinical dietitians from Jiahui Health kindly helped us to introduce the 5 most common nutrient deficiencies. They both advocate nutrition to publics by delivering health talks, articles and nutritional promoting activities to increase public awareness on healthy eating and disease prevention.


Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies especially in female. Iron is the essential component of haemoglobin with its role to allow red blood cell carrying oxygen around the body. Without enough iron, insufficient amount of haemoglobin is produced then lead to iron deficiency anaemia.

Common symptoms are fatigue, weakness, dizziness, pale skin and short of breath. Some people may have craving on unusual substances such as ice, dirt and starch.


Calcium is one of the most widely spread minerals all over the body as most vital body functions require calcium such as muscle contraction and neurotransmission. Most calcium is stored in bones and teeth. Serum calcium level is tightly regulated by our body. If we can’t get enough calcium from diet, the bone releases calcium to blood stream in order to maintain normal body function. As a result, lack of calcium intake in long-term leads to osteopenia and osteoporosis as we are getting older. You bone will become porous and more prone to fracture.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is very common nowadays as foods usually contain little vitamin D. The best way to get vitamin D is sun exposure. People who are sitting in the office all days, have sunscreens on all the time and lack of outdoor activities are at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. Lack of vitamin D resulting in calcium and phosphate malabsorption then further impact on bone density. Adequate vitamin D also effectively prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 get involved in DNA synthesis that directly impact on every single cell’s function. Vitamin B12 is also an essential component for red blood cell formation, body energy production and nerve function. Lack of vitamin B12 causes a type of anaemia called megaloblastic anaemia. Common symptoms related to vitamin B12 are including tiredness, lethargy, headache, pale skin and loss of appetite, etc.


Fibre is one of the common nutrient deficiencies without drawing people much attention because it doesn't show up on your blood test result or cause any immediate obvious visible symptoms. Adequate fibre intake is associated with regular bowel movement, weight loss, regulating blood glucose level and blood pressure, normalising blood lipids level and preventing certain cancers. In other words, lack of dietary fibre intake increases risk of developing chronic diseases and cancer. Fibre plays an important role in preventing and managing chronic diseases.

Why some people lack of nutrients?

Lack of nutrients is caused by many reasons, some common ones are including:

1. People lack of one or more foods groups from daily intake. It could be related to food allergy or individuals’ foods preference, e.g. some people don’t like eat vegetable, and people has special dietary requirement, such as vegan/vegetarian are prone to vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies.