When Do We Speak Of Deficiency?
A deficiency results from an imbalance between food intake and macronutrient requirements ( proteins, lipids, carbohydrates ) and micronutrients ( vitamins and trace elements ). Its causes can be multiple (disease, poor diet, eating disorder, etc.) and it affects all ages of life (newborns, children in the period of growth, the elderly, etc.).
The risk is obviously much higher in undernourished individuals, however even overweight individuals can be affected if their diet is unbalanced. People following a specific diet ( vegan for example) are also more at risk. Finally, certain drugs or foods cause malabsorption of nutrients which can lead to a deficiency. Antibiotics, alcohol, tobacco, or high-dose coffee for example prevent assimilation of vitamin B12.
When do we speak of deficiency?
It is difficult to determine an absolute threshold for deficiency. Needs vary according to age and activity and are different from one population to another. The scientific consensus is also likely to vary over time. For example, it is considered that an individual is in a situation of vitamin B12 deficiency when the level in the blood serum is less than 200 pg/mol, but some recent studies suggest that the threshold would be rather between 500 and 600 pg/mol. Depending on the level defined, we will speak of “deficiency” in vitamin D intakes less than 10 or 12 ng / mL, but a “deficit” for a concentration less than 20 ng / mL and an “insufficiency” below 30 mL. Finally, an intake lower than the recommended intake does not necessarily imply a deficiency, but only a probability of deficiency, a probability that is all the higher as one moves away from the recommended intake.
Consequences of deficiencies
Dietary deficiencies have multiple consequences on health. Of inadequate iron, intakes are accompanied by an example of anemia overall and reduced resistance to infections. A lack of vitamin B12 leads to digestive disturbances, tingling and numbness of the limbs, and shortness of breath. In severe cases, the deficiencies turn into life-threatening illnesses. A deficiency of vitamin D is associated with rickets or osteomalacia, a deficiency of vitamin C leads to scurvy and a severe lack of vitamin A leads to xerophthalmia resulting in blindness. Generally speaking, a deficiency weakens the body and also increases the likelihood of other diseases.
A new study confirms the validity of vitamin B in preventing stroke. People who have received these dietary supplements have a 7% lower risk of experiencing vascular complications.
There are two types of strokes. The most common occurs when a vessel in the brain becomes blocked and is said to be ischemic. The others appear when a vessel punctures and blood flows into the brain (as the white spot in the image reveals): it is hemorrhage. Vitamin B could help protect us from this disease, which affects more than 100,000 French people each year.
Previous research on vitamin B has come to conflicting results. Some suggested that this vitamin could protect against strokes and heart attacks; other than vitamin B3 could help recover these vascular accidents, while researchers have suggested that it could increase the risk. Difficult to navigate.
Researchers from Zhengzhou University (China) wanted to have the last word in history. They analyzed 14 clinical tests involving nearly 55,000 subjects. Their findings, which appeared online in the journal Neurology, showed a 7% reduced risk of stroke in people who took vitamin B-rich dietary supplements.
On the other hand, their work showed that taking vitamin B had no significant impact on the risk of a heart attack. The UK Telegraph reports that other researchers have found that folic acid (prescribed for pregnant women, among other things), also known as vitamin B9, may reduce the benefits of taking vitamin B supplements. scientists advise consulting your doctor before taking any food supplements.
Some herbal food supplements supposed to improve our health may contain substances normally used in drugs, or on the contrary, prohibited even in the latter, warns a report from the Academy of Pharmacy.
Some herbal food supplements have effects similar to drugs without being as well supervised, alarms the Academy of Pharmacy, stressing the dangerousness of those containing aloe juice or rhubarb roots, used for their effect. laxative.
“There are plants authorized in food supplements which have however never been used in food, but for pharmacological purposes, that is to say in drugs”, lamented Jean-Pierre Foucher, member of the Academy, by presenting a report on this question. This document points in particular to food supplements containing aloe (only when the juice is used, the gel not posing a problem), Chinese rhubarb roots, senna (fruit, leaflet), and buckthorn or cascara bark (a shrub and a tree ). They are mainly sold in the form of capsules.
Substances used in powerful laxatives
The plants in question have one thing in common: they contain active ingredients (called hydroxyanthracene heterosides ) identical to those of drugs classified as “stimulant laxatives”. This term refers to “strong laxatives, but irritants to the digestive tract, ” according to the report. Their “prolonged use is addictive, it is no longer possible to have a bowel movement without medication. In the long term, permanent lesions of the inner lining of the intestine may appear ”, what is called “ laxative disease ”.
The Academy asks that these plants be removed from the list of those authorized in food supplements, products which are popular among the French and are easily accessible (in pharmacies, supermarkets, even on the internet ). This list, which includes 540 plant species, is established by an order of the Ministry of the Economy of June 24, 2014.
Indeed, the placing on the market of a food supplement obeys a system of declaration with the repression of the frauds (DGCCRF). A drug must obtain a marketing authorization ( AMM ) from the health authorities, after a scientific assessment of its benefits and risks.