Deficiency Diseases

Deficiency Diseases

Deficiency disease occurs due to lack of one or more nutrients like protein, vitamin or minerals in our diet over a long period of time. A balanced diet is required to avoid deficiency diseases.

Diseases caused by Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM):

Disease Symptoms Sources of Protein


(affects children below 5 years of age who do not get protein in their diet)

– Swelling of the ankles and feet

– Enlarged liver with fatty infiltrates

– Thinning hair

– Loss of teeth

– Irritability

Milk, Eggs, Sea food, Beans, Cheese, Nuts, Seeds, Yoghurt, Meat, Spinach, Broccoli


(It affects infants who are on mother’s milk)

– Weight loss

– Anemia

– Dehydration

– Lean body

– Dry skin


Diseases caused due to deficiency of minerals:

Deficiency Disease Symptoms Sources of mineral


– Anemia – Headache

– Fatigue

– Loss of energy

– Rapid heart beat

– Dizziness

– Shortness of breadth

– Pale skin

– Brittle nails

Peanuts, Almonds, Spinach, Raisins, Figs, Kidney beans, Dates, Dark green leafy vegetables, Dried apricots, Lentils, Prunes, Apples


– Goitre – Swelling of glands near the throat

– Mental disability in children

Fish, Eggs, Nuts, Meat, Seaweed, Iodized table salt


– Rickets (In children)

– Osteoporosis

– Hypocalcaemia

– Weak and brittle bones

– Tooth decay

– Muscle cramps

Milk, Eggs, Dairy products, Leafy green vegetables, Broccoli, Sesame, Almond, Turnip


– Rickets (In children)

– Osteoporosis

– Hypophosphatemia

– Weak and brittle bones

– Lack of appetite

– Body pain

– Stiff joints


Milk, Green vegetables, Cereals, Whole grains, Egg yolk, Legumes, Nuts


– Hyponatremia – Muscle spasms

– Nausea

– Fatigue

– Headache

– Confusion

– Coma

Rock salt, Sea salt, Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Sodium phosphate, Sodium nitrate, Bread, Canned soup


– Hypokalemia – Tiredness

– Weakness

– Constipation

– Leg cramps

Green leafy vegetables, Tomatoes, Coconut water, Bananas, Citrus fruits


Vitamin Deficiency diseases:

Deficiency Disease Symptoms Sources of mineral

Vitamin A

– Night blindness (Nyctalopia) – Loss of vision in the darkness

– Poor vision

Carrot, Cod liver oil, Sweet potato

Vitamin B1

(Also known as Thiamin)

– Beriberi – Weak muscles

– Weight loss

– Emotional disturbances

– Loss of memory

Rice bran, Meat products, Legumes, Brown bread, Soybean, Yeast, Nuts

Vitamin B2

(Also known as Riboflavin)

– Ariboflavinosis – Cracks in the corners of mouth

– Anemia

– Sensitive eyes to light

– Weakness

– Dermatitis

– Swollen tongue (Magenta color)


Whole grains, Milk, Cheese, Eggs, Mushrooms, Spinach, Broccoli, Fish, Poultry

Vitamin B3

(Also known as Niacin)

– Pellagra – Dermatitis

– Fatigue

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting

– Headache

– Memory loss

– Depression

Peanuts, Mushrooms, Tuna, Green peas, Turkey, Sunflower seeds, Avocado

Vitamin B6

(Also known as Pyridoxine)

– Microcytic anemia – Depression

– Confusion

– Swollen tongue

– Dermatitis

– Fatigue

– Muscle pain

– Irritability

Nuts, Seeds, Avocados, Legumes, Beans, Beef Liver, Starchy vegetables, some non citrus fruits

Vitamin B9

(Also known as Folic acid)

– Macrocytic anemia

– Deficiency in pregnant woman can lead to birth defects

– Tiredness

– Loss of appetite

– Irritability

– Gray hair

Liver, Dark green leafy vegetables, Beans, Yeast, Yolk egg, Beets

Vitamin B12

(Also known as Cobalamin)

– Microcytic anemia

– Pernicious anemia

– Memory loss

– Weakness

– Tiredness

– Vision loss

– Pale skin

– Depression

– Loss of appetite

– Smooth tongue

Fish, Oyster and clan, Nuts, Eggs, Meat, Cheese, Poultry, Liver (beef), Soy products

Vitamin C

– Scurvy – Fatigue

– Muscle weakness

– Bleeding gums

– Nose bleeds

– Dry and splitting hair

Citrus fruits (Orange, Lemon and Limes), Broccoli, Strawberries, Guava, Kiwi, Pine apple

Vitamin D

 – Rickets

– Osteomalacia

 – Muscle weakness

– Kidney disease


– Hypertension

– Constant fatigue

– Asthma

Sunlight, Cheese, Sweet potato, Eggs, Apricots, Broccoli, Cod liver oil, Mushroom, Egg yolk, Fortified cereals

Vitamin E

– Anemia (Due to low level of Red Blood Cells)

– Blindness (Degeneration of the retina)

– Dry hair

– Loss of sensation

– Loss of weight

– Cramps on the legs

– Weakness of muscles

Almonds, Spinach, Sweet potato, Avocados, Sunflower seeds, Palm oil

Vitamin K

– Nose bleeding

– Bleeding gums

– Weak bones

– Heart problem

– Cancer development

Mustard greens, Brussel sprouts, Turnip greens, Broccoli, Cucumber, Cabbage, Spinach, Beans, Soybeans