Malnutrition and resulting diseases


A condition when your body does not get enough nutrients.

Dietary-related diseases:

Vitamin A

  • Night Blindness –> cannot see well in dim light
  • Foods rich in Vitamin A: Dairy products (e.g. milk, oil, butter), Liver

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

  • Beriberi – Symptoms (Dry beriberi):
  1. anorexia (loss of appetite)
  2. heaviness, weakness, pain and numbness in the legs
  3. loss of muscle functions (e.g. paralysis, speech difficulties)
  4. subjects feel weak and get easily exhausted
  5. confusion
  6. nystagmus (involuntary eye movement)
  7. vomiting
  • Symptoms (Wet beriberi):
  1. swollen calf muscles
  2. fast and bouncing pulse
  3. weak heart leading to heart failure
  • Foods rich in Vitamin B: Brown rice, beans, corn, nuts, yellowfin tuna

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

  • pellagra – symptoms:
  1. High sensitivity to sunlight
  2. Aggression
  3. Dermatitis, alopecia, edema
  4. Smooth, beefy red glossitis (tongue is swollen)
  5. Red skin lesions
  6. Insomnia
  7. Weakness
  • Foods rich in niacin: Whole grains, red meat, fish, peanuts

Vitamin C

  • Scurvy – Symptoms:

a) General weakness followed by shortness of breath, pain in bones, joints and muscles of the extremities.

b) Swollen and tender joints, haemorrhages in various tissues and pain in joints.

c) Bleeding gums and loose teeth.

  • Foods rich in Vitamin C: Citrus fruits (e.g. lemon)

Vitamin D

  • Rickets – Symptoms:


  1. The child is restless, fretful and pale with flabby and toneless muscles
  2. Potbelly
  3. Development is delayed
  • Vitamin D can be produced through exposure to sunlight.
  • Certain marine fish (Salmon, trout, mackerel etc.) are good sources. Dairy products are poor sources of Vitamin D.

Lack of protein

  • Kwashiorkor – symptoms:
  1. Shiny skin, changes in hair colour/texture
  2. Large belly that protrudes
  3. Decreased muscle mass, failure to gain weight and grow
  4. Swelling (edema)
  5. Increased and more severe infections due to damaged immune system (e.g. Diarrhea, rash)
  6. Shock (late stage)Fatigue, Irritability
    • Foods rich in protein: meat, dairy products

Lack of iodine

  • goiter (abnormal enlargement of thyroid gland)
  • In childhood, it causes reduced thyroid functioning which results in retarded physical and mental growth.
  • Foods rich in iodine: fish and shellfish

Lack of iron

  • Anemia – symptoms:
  1. Low red blood cell count
  2. Tiredness
  3. Pallor (pale appearance)
  4. Rapid heart beats (sensations of pounding heartbeats)
  5. Headaches
  6. Dizziness
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Nervousness
  9. Depression
  10. Poor concentration
  11. Weak memory
  12. Easy bruising of body parts
  13. Slow healing of wounds
  • Foods rich in iron: Red meats, egg yolks, clams, spinach, nuts, liver


  • Caused by exceeding your calorie needs frequently over a period of time, and not burning off these calories through exercise.
  • This causes an increase in muscle-to-fat ratio as the body stores unused calories.


  • Occurs when the colon absorbs too much water or if the colon’s muscle contractions are slow or sluggish, causing the stool to move through the colon too slowly. The stool then becomes hard and dry, making it harder to pass out of the body.
  • Dietary fibre prevents this by increasing stool weight and decreasing gut transit time.
  • Read more about constipation here and here about dietary fibre

Anorexia nervosa

  • An eating disorder where people have an irrational fear of gaining weight and restrict the amount of food they consume.
  • Sufferers experience excessive weight loss as their calorie intake is drastically lower than their calorie needs, causing the body to convert the fat reserves in the body to energy.

– pictures will be placed at a later date –


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