Definition, risks and how to prevent them


In the event of an unbalanced diet or diet or taking medications, our bodies may not have the necessary supply of vitamins and minerals to ensure that they function properly. What are the most common shortcomings? What are the health consequences? What are the next solutions? Explanations by Florence Foucault, nutritionist.

Definition: What is nutritional deficiency?

Doctors speak of nutritional deficiencies when the body does not get the nutrients (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) that it needs in sufficient quantities to ensure its proper functioning and avoid disease. But it’s all about the dose here. Nutritionist Florence Foucault explains:

  • deficiency or mild deficiency It is established when contributions are covered by 70%.
  • we talk about losswhen the intake is less than 70% of the requirement
  • the person suffers from Acute shortage When the intake is less than 40-50% of the requirement.

This then leads to various symptoms ranging from: From fatigue to the development of diseasesdepending on the nutrients involved.

What are the causes of our nutritional deficiencies?

deficiency can; Of course, it occurs when the daily diet is not balanced (food is not of good quality, and / or is not consumed in sufficient quantities …). But this is not the only reason: taking certain medications and certain diseases can prevent proper absorption of nutrients. “Age is also a risk factor because over time, the assimilation of nutrients is less effective.”Says Florence Foucault.

What are the most common nutritional deficiencies?


This nutrient plays a role in transporting oxygen to the cells of the body and is needed for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule naturally produced by the body, which is a source of energy. Daily iron needs are 11 mg for men and postmenopausal women, and 16 mg for premenopausal women. Iron deficiency is a real health problem: in France, 25% of premenopausal women are deficient in this mineral and 5% are anemic.1.

  • What are the signs of iron deficiency?

extreme tiredness One of the first signs of iron deficiency, due to a lack of oxygen in the body. “This is general fatigue: it affects both physicalIn other words, one feels short of breath and the slightest effort can be challenging, from cognitive functions, in other words, It’s hard to stay focused, we memorize less easily and we have memory lapses easily.” Says Florence Foucault. A person with iron deficiency may also experience dizziness and palpitations. Physically, the skin is pale, and the hair and nails are brittle.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays a major role in assimilation andcalcium bond And phosphorus is in the bones, it contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system, and according to a report issued by the French National Academy of Medicine, dated May 22, 2020, it helps prevent a dangerous form of Covid-19.2. It also helps fight The development of some types of cancerEspecially breast and prostate cancer3 Its supplementation in postmenopausal women would reduce the risk of general cancers4. Finally, since it stimulates serotonin production, it helps treat bouts of depression. Every day we need 15 mcg. Only, according to data from Public Health France published in 2019, only 1 in 4 adults and 3 in 10 children reach an adequate vitamin D threshold.

  • What are the signs of vitamin D deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency leads, first of all, to bone risk. “Rickets, osteomalacia (bone tissue becomes brittle and the risk of fractures is high) f Osteoporosis can be feared.”Nutritionist notes. immune system It also works less well, exposing us to many diseases, including ENT. It will also promote the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. According to the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS), surveys show that a low concentration of vitamin D is associated with the occurrence of diseases such as colorectal, prostate, pancreatic and lung cancer.5. “Its deficiency is also responsible for general fatigue: it is characterized by physical exhaustion that combines a feeling of general weakness, cramps, muscle weakness and muscle pain.”adds our expert.


If there is a mineral essential to the proper functioning of our bodies, it is this mineral. Magnesium is involved in over 300 reactions in our bodies. Among its benefits: magnesium Participates in the binding of calcium In the bones, it promotes muscle contraction, it intervenes in the regulation of glucose levels which helps us prevent type 2 diabetes, it normalizes the heart rate and blood pressure and thus plays an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disorders, and ensures the proper functioning of the intestinal transit. Every day we need 300 mg. But according to the SUVIMAX study, one in four women and one in six men are deficient.

  • What are the signs of magnesium deficiency?

When the body lacks magnesium, the signs appear physically first. The imperfect person feelsPalpitations and tremors at the eyelid level, crampsespecially nocturnal, Headache and dizzinessFlorence Foucault notes. Its deficiency also has implications for cognitive functions: its deficiency leads to intellectual exhaustion, with Difficulty concentrating And save. Sleep is also of poor quality: sleep time is longer, rest is less rejuvenating. Finally, the person is more stressed, handles their emotions less well, and is more irritable than usual.

Vitamin C

Also called ascorbic acid, vitamin C has many advantages: a tonic and immunostimulator, it brings energy to the body and helps it strengthen immune defenses in order to better overcome diseases. “It improves the healing process, Promotes iron absorption Found in plants and involved in the formation of red blood cellsFlorence Foucault adds. She also has it Antioxidant properties qui nous aident à protecter our cellules contre les dommages cause by les radicaux libres, to prevent cardiovasculaires troubles, certains cancers such as poumone, peau and sein, as the maladies oculaires, as the cataracte and the degénérescence Maculaire liee At the age of”. Our needs are 110 mg/day and 120 mg for smokers. According to the SUVIMAX study, nearly one in five adults have intakes of less than two-thirds of their RNCs.

  • What are the signs of vitamin C deficiency?

Vitamin C deficiency leads to extreme tiredness, physically by feeling depressed and exhausted, and intellectually, causing especially concentration and memorization disorders as well as mood disorders such as irritability. A person who is deficient in Vitamin C also tends to have it Get sick often. Deficiency is also characterized by loss of appetite and spontaneous bleeding (from the nose while brushing or in favor of a wound) because it weakens blood vessels. When the deficiency of vitamin C is profound, vitamin C deficiency causes scurvy, a disease characterized by bleeding of the skin, the appearance of hematomas on the body, loosening of the teeth, inflammation of the gums, and edema.

Vitamin B12

Also known as cobalamin, vitamin B12 is essential for the proper functioning of the brain and from the nervous system : Necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters as well as for maintaining the integrity of the nervous system, in particular the myelin sheath that protects nerves and allows them to function. It is also involved in the synthesis of DNA and in the formation of red blood cells. Because it is sourced from animal origin only, people Vegetarians and vegans They are most prone to deficiencies. Its prevalence is estimated at 1 to 2% of the general population according to a study conducted in 201166.

  • What are the signs of vitamin B12 deficiency?

characterized by extreme fatigue, general weaknessAnemia, Shortness of breathpalpitations, nausea, digestive disorders with vomiting, abdominal pain, bouts of constipation, swellingAnorexia and neurological disorders (numbness of the extremities, difficulty walking, mood disorders, memory loss, dementia).

For healthy adults, a varied and balanced diet, combined with moderate exposure to sunlight, makes it possible to cover all needs for essential nutrients and micronutrients. “Also, in the presence of these various symptoms, a good first reaction is to rebalance the contents of your plate by inviting daily foods rich in these minerals and vitamins (fruits, vegetables, legumes, proteins), recommends Florence Foucault. If nutrition does not improve your symptoms after 3 months, blood test can be useful.” With that said, nutritional deficiencies must be taken seriously, and cannot be determined based on his simple opinion. If you think you may be deficient, tell your doctor.

No to diets, yes to WW!

in case proven shortcomingsand if eating a variety of nutrition is not enough, after a blood test, your doctor will be asked to prescribe for you Dietary supplements by taking nutritional supplements.

  • for vitamin Cconsists of taking a 1 g tablet, preferably in the morning;
  • for vitamin B12 It will be an attack treatment for about a month, at a rate of once a day, once a week or once every two weeks depending on the importance of the deficiency;
  • for vitamin Ddaily intake is decreasing at a rate of 800 and 1000 IU Daily ;
  • In case of iron deficiency Treatment consists of taking 1 capsule per day.

The treatment is prescribed for one month, at the end of which a second biological evaluation makes it possible to check the vitamin status. If necessary, it is extended from one month to another two months. If the person is a vegetarian, vitamin B12 treatment may continue for life.


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