Publication year: 2020
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Vitamin deficiency is the condition of a long-term lack of a vitamin. When caused by not enough vitamin intake it is classified as a primary deficiency, whereas when due to an underlying disorder such as malabsorption it is called a secondary deficiency. An underlying disorder may be metabolic – as in a genetic defect for converting tryptophan to niacin – or from lifestyle choices that increase vitamin needs, such as smoking or drinking alcohol. Governments guidelines on vitamin deficiencies advise certain intakes for healthy people, with specific values for women, men, babies, the elderly, and during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Many countries have mandated vitamin food fortification programs to prevent commonly occurring vitamin deficiencies. Conversely hypervitaminosis refers to symptoms caused by vitamin intakes in excess of needs, especially for fat-soluble vitamins that can accumulate in body tissues.