Development of Nutrient Deficiencies

Nutrient deficiencies result from an inadequate supply of nutrients to meet the demands of the body. This may result from inadequate intake, impaired digestion and absorption, or increased losses. Also, a deficiency of one nutrient can contribute to ensuing deficiencies of other nutrients. Clinical appearances of deficiencies occur when tissue stores are depleted; then warning signs and/or physical abnormalities begin to appear. Extra-oral appearances can include changes in skin appearances and integrity, and intra-oral observations may be changes to the teeth, soft tissue, and tongue. If left untreated, deficiency symptoms may progress to deficiency diseases.

Nutritional deficiencies can reveal tissue and body store depletion; evidenced by reduced nutrient serum levels and/or altered diagnostic tests. However, serum levels don’t always reflect nutrient stores. Biologic and physiologic cell changes and/or dysfunction, followed by clinical manifestations, may reflect these changes.