Deficiency & Developmental Disorders: A Complete Guide to Best Remedies


Last Updated July 12th, 2019

Nutritional Deficiency

The cult of mass-produced processed food has now been identified as a major contributor to failing global health. WHO estimates that in the last 4 decades the global obesity rates have increased by more than 300%. Excessive consumption of refined flour, sugar, trans fat, etc is what driving millions of individuals every year to the ER with a diseased heart or liver. The average modern-day diet is brimming with unhealthy fats and sugar (not to mention taste-enhancing toxic chemicals) while ranking extremely low in healthy micronutrients.

Micronutrients are components of the diet which, even though need to be consumed in comparatively lesser quantities, are essential to a fit and disease-free body. Vitamins and minerals are categorized as micronutrients- our body requires only a few mg of these in the diet per day however, their deficiency can lead to serious repercussions.

Micro nutritional deficiency of iron, folate, iodine, vitamin A, and zinc are now major health hazards. Recent studies reveal that globally more than 2 billion people are deficient in these essential nutrients. Additionally, it has also been estimated that 50% of all the children across the globe, within the age bracket of 6 months to 5 years are deficient in at least one essential micronutrient. One of the most widespread and potentially life-threatening deficiencies observed in children is thiamine deficiency.

What is thiamine?

BERIBERI vitamin foodsThiamine or vitamin B1 is an essential nutrient that every cell in your body uses to maintain energy level and a healthy metabolism. It is required by the body to regulate the functioning of vital organs such as the heart, stomach & intestines, and even the endocrine glands. The human body is incapable of producing thiamine, thus consuming it through diet is a mandate. Upon consumption, thiamine is stored in the liver for roughly 18 days. It is a water-soluble vitamin so it gets easily flushed out of the body. Hence, regular consumption of thiamine is important in order to avoid the dangers of thiamine deficiency.

The perils of thiamine deficiency

Thiamine or vitamin B1 deficiency is more prevalent in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. However, chronic alcohol usage often results in Wernick- Kosaroff syndrome which is characterized by decreased vitamin B1 absorption by the body. So what really happens if your diet is deficient in vitamin B1? Let us take a look at the symptoms:

  • Poor appetite and drastic weight loss
  • Nerve inflammation and damage
  • Muscle weakness which creates muscle wasting
  • High fatigue
  • Behavioral changes such as irritability and confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Depression
  • Enlarged heart and other cardiovascular disorders

Long-term B1 deficiency can spell doom for the human body.  Chronic lack of vitamin B1 in the diet can lead to symptoms which resemble anorexia nervosa (a severe eating disorder). Brown rice is a rich source of vitamin B1. However, upon polishing the rice tends to lose it nutritional value and thus people who consume polished white rice as a staple often show symptoms of thiamine deficiency.

One such form of thiamine deficiency is Beriberi, a potentially fatal disease that is observed widely in South East Asian populations. This could be linked to high consumption of white rice and other socio-economic related nutritional gaps.

Beriberi: Symptoms and complications

The word Beriberi literally translates to “I can’t, I can’t”. This is an accurate representation of the progressively worsening of the patient’s condition owing to this disease. Since vitamin B1 is an integral part of cardiovascular and nerve health along with core metabolic process, chronic vitamin B1 deficiency can have a severe and even fatal impact on the body. Beriberi is termed as an “insidious” disease. It implies that the onset of symptoms is gradual and progressive but it masks the dangerous complications it can lead to. The following symptoms are shown by those diagnosed with beriberi:

  • Breathing troubles and increased heart rate
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Inability to control eye movements & double vision
  • Mental confusion
  • Paralysis

If left untreated, beriberi can rapidly progress to severe cardiac failure and heart attack. He/she can also experience irreversible nerve damage. An extremely risky form of beriberi occurs in infants when the nursing mother is herself deficient in vitamin B1. As a result of the breast milk lacking in thiamine, the infant develops symptoms of beriberi and may even succumb to cardiac arrest. This points to the fact that thiamine supplements are a must for a pregnant/breastfeeding woman.

Best remedies for Beriberi

The recommended daily intake of vitamin B1 is 1.1 mg for women and 1.2 mg for men.  However, age, gender, lifestyle, and medical condition can further dictate the right amount of vitamin B1 intake for you. Thiamine is naturally present in a variety of foods. Let us take a look at some of the best natural sources of vitamin B1:

In addition to these, whole grains such as brown rice, oats, and quinoa are excellent sources of thiamine.  Include these healthy, thiamine-rich foods in order to stabilize beriberi symptoms. A diet for a beriberi patient must include:

  • Brown rice
  • Rice bran water
  • Milk and other dairy products

Since vitamin B1 is a water-soluble vitamin, it can get easily flushed out of the body. Thus, refrain from drinking water immediately after meals. Avoid consumption of fish and other seafood since these contain thiaminase, a chemical that causes a rapid breakdown of vitamin B1. One must remember it is okay to consume a higher dosage of thiamine as it gets easily excreted out of the body. A complete treatment plan of beriberi also includes vitamin B1 supplements in the form of pills and tablets.

Vitamin D: Why do you need the “sunshine vitamin”?

Experts now have reasons to believe that 90% of the entire American population might be suffering from silent and chronic vitamin D deficiency. Today, vitamin D is one of the most widely prescribed supplements in the world. Dietary deficiencies and lack of proper exposure to sunlight are the major reasons why most people are deficient in this vitamin. But why is vitamin D a critical element for a healthy body?

  • Your body needs vitamin D to be able to absorb calcium from the diet. Both calcium and vitamin D are required for strong bones.
  • Studies reveal strong links between vitamin D deficiency and the increased risk of cancers such as those of prostate, breast, and colon.
  • Vitamin D is essential in keeping your cardiovascular system up and running. Those with vitamin D deficiency show higher rates of heart diseases.
  • Recent studies have indicated that vitamin D has a huge impact on our mood. In fact, vitamin D supplementation has shown positive results in case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression, and schizophrenia.
  • Several other chronic illnesses can be treated with the help of vitamin D – osteoporosis, diabetes, chronic pain, etc to name a few.
  • It is not believed that vitamin D can be used to prevent autism and several autoimmune conditions.

What happens when your body is deficient in vitamin D?

Long-term deficiency of vitamin D means deficiency in calcium and phosphate levels. Since your body needs these nutrients, it starts extracting them from your bones. This makes the bones weak, brittle, and porous. In addition to this, vitamin D deficiency can also lead to the following symptoms:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Insomnia and anxiety
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic body pain
  • High blood pressure
  • High-risk infections and cancer owing to the weakened immune system
  • Poor cognition

A vitamin D deficient person is more likely to have growth problems, bone fractures, and other deformities such as scoliosis and rickets.  Rickets is a common nutritional deficiency disease observed in low and middle-income countries, though it was first reported in the mid-1600s in Europe.

Rickets: Symptoms and complications

 Rickets is a medical condition characterized by severe bone deformity caused by inadequate mineralization in the bones. A diet too low in vitamin D and zero to negligible exposure to sunlight are the major factors here. The following factors also can increase the risk of insufficient vitamin D in the body:

  • A vegetarian or vegan diet which lacks eggs, milk, and meat products
  • Having dark skin decreases the amount of sunlight absorbed
  • Residing in areas which receive very low sunlight
  • Diseases such as cystic fibrosis, IBD, or celiac disease which decrease the nutrient-absorption capacity of the body.
  • Vitamin D deficient pregnant women can increase the risk of the same in the fetus.

The major symptoms and complications to look out for are:

  • Bone deformities throughout the body
  • Bowed legs
  • Spine curvature issues
  • Stunted growth and short stature
  • Easy fractures
  • Dental issues
  • Loss of muscle strength and frequent cramps
  • Abdominal pain

How to treat vitamin D deficiency?

The following are some of the most effective steps in managing rickets symptoms and alleviating vitamin D deficiency:

  • Sunlight exposure: When you expose your body to the sun, the UVB (ultraviolet B) component of the sunlight synthesizes vitamin D from the cholesterol present in the body. 15 minutes of healthy sunlight exposure (slightly more if you are dark skinned) can help in the natural production of vitamin D. It is important to understand the difference between healthy exposure and sunburn. Excessive exposure to UV rays should be avoided. Exposing your skin to sunlight is the first and foremost step in both preventing and treating rickets. Try talking a walk in the sunlight to avail maximum health benefits of being outdoors.
  • Include dairy products: The introduction of fortified milk (and fortified cereals) helped bring down the rates of rickets drastically. Those who opt for vegan alternatives for cow’s milk such as soy milk or coconut milk often show significant vitamin D deficiency. In addition to milk, you can also add Greek yogurt and cheeses in your diet to observe healthier bones.
  • Fish and seafood: Oily fish such as salmon and halibut, and fish oil supplements are excellent sources of vitamin D3. A healthy dosage of fish oil tablets or cod liver supplements can help balance vitamin D intake. Additionally, you can also include fatty fish in your diet weekly to see your vitamin D levels surge. The best fishes to consume for high vitamin D are mackerel, carp fish, salmon, swordfish, and rainbow trout.
  • UV exposed mushrooms: Maitake and Portabella mushrooms which have been exposed to UVB rays are considered one of the best vegan sources of vitamin D. Only 15 minutes of UV exposure can dramatically increase the vitamin D content of these mushrooms.
  • Veggies and fruits: When planning a diet chart for a rickets patient (or anyone with vitamin D deficiency) you must include – kale, okra (ladyfinger), almonds, oranges, edamame, broccoli, and bok choy.
  • Don’t forget the eggs and meat: Eggs and meat, especially organ meats, contain significant portions of vitamin D. Beef liver and egg yolks (1 serving) can easily provide 10-11% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D supplements: The required vitamin D intake for an adult is close to 600 IU per day. For children, it is 35 units per pound of body weight. Adults over the age of 70 require a slightly higher amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are widely available today and need to be taken by those who have a high risk of rickets and/or have low vitamin D content in their diet.

Spinal curvature disorders

Any kind of dislocation, injury, or degeneration to any one (or multiple) of the 33 vertebrae that make up the spinal column result in spinal curvature disorder. The most common form of spine curvature disorder is scoliosis – a disorder where the spine turns S-shaped or C-shaped. Every year, more than 3 million cases of scoliosis are reported in the USA alone.  More than 80% of cases of scoliosis cannot be cured of the condition. It can severely impact the quality of life – poor sleep, bad posture, chronic pain, lung impairments, and poor body image to name a few.

What are the causes?

The following are counted as the main reasons for spine curvature disorders:

  • Erosion of spinal column due to age
  • Anatomical abnormalities
  • Nutritional deficiencies – especially magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin K
  • Poor posture and low body weight
  • Other health conditions such as connective tissue disorder, sciatic nerve issue, osteoporosis, etc
  • Birth defects such as spina bifida
  • Spinal tumors

Best foods and supplements for spine curvature disorders

Dietary improvements

  • Anti-inflammatory foods: These can help reduce pain and inflammation caused in the body owing to abnormal spine structure. Green leafy veggies such as kale, blueberries, pineapple, etc are great for recovery from pain.
  • High fiber diet: This will ensure that the gut health and digestion is not affected by spine curvature disorders.
  • Probiotics: These will also aid in better digestion and improved absorption of essential nutrients from the diet.
  • Teas and spices: Green tea, basil, turmeric, ginger, oregano, etc can equip the body with necessary antioxidants required to reduce the pain and degeneration.
  • Bone broth: This is an excellent source of collagen (a protein that builds connective tissue) and thus should be consumed by those who have skeletal disorders.

Supplements

  • Vitamin D: Required for healthy and strong bones.
  • Omega-3: Excellent anti-inflammatory substance that aids faster recovery.
  • Magnesium: It is an important trace mineral required for healthy bones and muscles.
  • MSM: It is an all-encompassing supplement that helps in lowering pain and bone weakness.

 

Developmental and Behavioural

Developmental and behavioral disorders are often treated as chronic health conditions. These mainly comprise of issues pertaining to reduced intellectual ability, learning disabilities, and attention disorders.

Taking pediatric health into consideration, developmental and behavioral issues can arise out of genetic causes, anatomical defects, or adverse environmental factors. Let us take a look into a few of the very common issues toddlers and children experience.

Lisp: What is it?

Lisp is a type of speech impediment or speech disorder. It is a functional disorder in which the person is unable to correctly pronounce certain words or letters (mostly, “s” , “z”, & “r”). The main reason for lisping is the incorrect placement of the tongue in the mouth. If an infant has a higher tongue thrust, he/she is more likely to develop a lisp. Another condition responsible for lisping is “tongue-tie” which refers to inherent immobility of the tongue. Studies also point to the fact that emotional or psychological trauma can also hinder speech abilities in some kids and cause lisping.

What are the corrective measures?

Speech therapy is the first and foremost step in correcting lisp. Speech therapists help kids in correctly aligning their teeth and tongue in order to speak clearly. Regular speech exercises can help kids overcome lisping.

Frequent sinus allergies can also lead to lisping. This is because the child starts breathing more through the mouth and it can cause distorted speech. The good news is there are certain home remedies for treating sinus infections at home. Some of these are:

  • Neti pot – A small pot which can be filled with saline water and used to clear out the nasal path.
  • Essential oilsLavender, eucalyptus, lemon grass, etc extracts can be mixed in hot water and inhaled as steam to unclog the sinuses.
  • Warm compresses – This can loosen the mucus and help in draining the sinuses.
  • Chicken soup – This is one of the best home remedies for treating a cold or sinus infection.

Muteness

Muteness or mutism is the complete inability to speak and communicate. Muteness rarely occurs as a stand-alone disorder; it is often accompanied by other behavioral disorders and cognitive deficits. It is, thus, categorized under both psychiatric and neurological diseases. Trauma/injury to the skull can result in such a disability. Other causes include birth defects, neurodegenerative diseases, and even autism. There is a sub-category of muteness, selective mutism that is a result of severe anxiety. It is often referred to as psychological-based mutism.

How to manage the symptoms?

  • Refer to a speech-language pathologist
  • The treatment and management of symptoms require a team of doctors – psychiatrists, pediatricians, and other experts who work holistically to improve the speech ability.
  • Behavioral treatment program often focuses on the anxiety issues in the most fundamental level that can be fruitful in treating cases of selective mutism.

Is your kid throwing temper tantrums?

Infants in their growing stage often show a pattern of behavior commonly consisting of crying, shouting, rolling on the floor, etc – which is termed as “temper tantrum”. Most experts believe that these are nothing but means to capture the attention of the parents and are often referred to as “exhibitionistic”. Kids tend to grow increasingly demanding at this age but since they have limited communication abilities, they often express themselves by means of aggressive behavior. Between the ages 2 and 4 years, temper tantrums reach a peak.  Fortunately, there are ways to deal with a child showing such behavior.

The best ways to deal with temper tantrums

  • Avoid erratic changes in daily routine – make sure the child is sleeping, eating, and playing at regular intervals of time.
  • Make him/her play with toys that keep him engaged. It is important to buy age-appropriate toys to keep them busy.
  • Toddlers should get the right amount of sleep every day. Even one day of sleep deficit can make them more “temper tantrum-y”.
  • Refrain from physically hitting or abusing the child. It will make the child even more aggressive and might alter emotional understanding in the longer run.
  • Even though it is easy to give in to the demands of the child every time, doing so can lead to more behavioral changes in the longer run.
  • Avoid situations or conditions that might trigger a temper tantrum episode.
  • Your child deserves positive encouragement and positive attention. Give the child the time and attention he/she deserves.

TL;DR?

Deficiency & Developmental

Related Conditions

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Test Your Knowledge

Welcome to your Nutrient Deficiency Quiz

What type of sun rays help synthesize vitamin D?
Which disorder is characterized by inability to speak in certain social situations?
Beriberi is caused by the lack of this micronutrient-
Can stuttering be genetic?
Which of these vitamins are needed for calcium absorption by the body?
What is scoliosis?
People with darker skin are more prone to vitamin D deficiency.
If you have thiamine deficiency, which of these should you avoid consuming with your thiamine rich diet?
Which of the following is a speech disorder that affects the pronunciation of letters like s, z, r?
Consumption of mushrooms exposed to UVB rays help with low vitamin D levels.

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10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out how you can…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with essential nutrients that…
Vitamin B12: The unknown repercussions of this nutrient deficiency Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamine; involved in the development of red blood cells in the bone marrow.…
Grapeseed Oil: Find out how to use this oil without any side-effects Grapes are known for their delicious fresh taste and the fact that they make wine a healthy drink.…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
Cottage cheese: What can you find in this healthy chunk of fresh milk cheese? Love cheese but scared of putting on extra pounds? With cottage cheese, you can get the best of…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing weight and boosting…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test is used to measure and monitor the levels of folic acid in the blood. The…
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgG
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgG Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 antibody test involves detecting and measuring the presence of the IgG class of beta…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk of several deadliest…
turmeric skin
We bet you didn’t know that turmeric could be this beneficial! Did you know that turmeric, a humble ingredient found in most Indian kitchens could cure countless ailments and…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
back pain relief
Don’t choose pain: 10 truths about your back ache (and how to get relief) Back pain is one of the most common ailments in the world. Almost 80% of the entire global…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You will never believe…
50 common health conditions
What are the top 50 deadly and widespread diseases? A complete list of the top 50 most common and deadly diseases that plague humanity. Which disease is…
castor oil hair
Castor oil : A vitamin-rich oil for shiny locks and healthy bowels Castor oil bestows unlimited benefits, whether you use it for your hair or skin. But did you know…
chia seeds weight loss
Chia seeds: How to consume this staple Aztec food to get a leaner body Chia seeds: What is the actual reason for its sudden popularity? Why are celebrities swearing by its amazing…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Eustachian Tube : Functions and top home remedies to prevent its infection Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the three important functions…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
ketoacidosis diabetes
HB1Ac Test HB1Ac test is an important blood test that is used to measure the levels of glycated hemoglobin in…
Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase (G6PD) test Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) is an enzyme that is found in every cell of the body and it plays…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
Panera bread steak arugula
Panera Bread: The truth behind this “healthy” restaurant chain What to order and what to avoid when dining at Panera Bread ? Know more about this popular…
MCT oil athletes
MCT Oil : The kind of fats you should be eating MCT oil or Medium Chain Triglycerides is the new buzzword in the fitness industry. What makes this oil…
Latest findings on Kombucha; a teacup full of yeast and bacteria How can a tea consisting of a live culture of bacteria & fungi be healthy? With Kombucha, you…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can treat HIV and…
Top natural diuretics: The instant benefits you can get from nature’s water pills Since diuretic drugs are known to cause side effects, it is better to choose a natural diuretic that…
The complete fitness guide on how to perform Tabata This fitness routine is called Tabata workouts, which is named after Dr. Izumi Tabata who developed this intensive…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
APL IgM Test
Antiphospholipid Antibody(APL)-IgM test The antiphospholipid antibodies are a specific protein produced by the body and directed against the phospholipids. It is…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did you know how…