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MICRONUTRIENT

Mineral referss to a group inorganic ions in their elemental from. The essential minerals for nutrition, which must be supplied in the diet, may be classified as :

1.    Macroelements – essential for the normal development and functioning of the body at levels of 100 mg or more per day.

2.    Microelements – essential to the body at level of 0.01 mg to a few mg per day.

They form part of the tissues and skeleton and essential for growth. Some act as catalysts or carriers and regulates the metobolism of several enzymes. Mineral also maintain serve and muscular extability. They are important in maintaining the acid – base balance.

About vitamins and minerals act as regulators and catalysts for a variety of bodily functions. Vitamins are essential for : (1) Building body tissues such as bones, skin, glands, nerves, and blood; (2) Assisting in the metabolizing of proteins, fats, and carbohyrates so you receive energy from food; (3) Promoting healing; (4) Preventing nutritional deficiency diseases. Minerals are essential for : (1) the formation of strong bones and teeth; (2) Helping to control the nervous system; (3) Fluid balance in tissues; (4) Muscle contractions. Minerals and most vitamins must be supplied through diet since they are not made in the body.

The vitamins are a group of chemically unrelated organic compounds and are divided into two groups according to their solubility : (1) the fat soluble (i.e.liposoluble) vitamins : A,D,E and K; (2) the water soluble (i.e.hydrosoluble) vitamins : B complex and vitamin C, folic acid, panthothenic acid and niacin. They are important for the digestion and utilisation of the energy – producing elements (protein, fat and carbohydrates) and mineral present in diets. They are components or cofactors of the enzymes, which catalyse metabolic processes. Vitamins are important for growth maintenance and repair of body tissues. Vitamin deficiency results in serious and frequently fatal disorders e.g.scurvy, rickets, beri – beri and pellagra.

About undernutrition manifestation of inadequate nutrition. Common in sub – Saharan Africa : (1) 1/3 of all children < 5 years old underweight; (2) 38% of children with low weight for age. Many causes in undernutrition : (1) inadequate accessto food/nutrients; (2) improper care of mothers and children; (3) limited health services; (4) unhealthy environment.

The vitamins deficiency disorders : (1) scurvy (deficiency of Vitamin C); (2) rickets (deficiency of Vitamin D); (3) mental, adrenal disorders (deficiency of Vitamin B). The mineral deficiency : oesteporosis (deficiency of calcium). And diet related non communicable diseases : (1) Diabetes; (2) Coronary heart disease; (3) Obesity; (4) High blood pressure.

Strategies to prevent and control undernutrition is improve household food security, diversity of diet, maternal nutrition and health care, child feeding practices, ensure child health care (immunization, medical care, growth monitoring), and provide nutrition rehabilitation.

Most common type of anemia caued by malaria, hooworm, and inadequate iron and vitamin intake resulting in low hemoglobin levels. Affects mainly children < 5 years old and pregnant women. Detected by measuring blood hemoglobin levels. Effects of anemia is adults (reduced work capacity, reduced mental capacity, reduced immune competence, poor pregnancy outcomes, and increased risk of maternal death) and infants and children (reduced cognitive development, reduced immune competence, reduced work capacity). Strategic to prevent and control anemia is promote iron, folic acid, and B-12 rich foods. Treat and prevent anemia related diseases (malaria and worms). Provide iron and folic supplements to infants and pregnant and lactating women. Fortify foods and promote vitamin C rich foods with meals and discourage drinking coffee or tea with meals.

About IDD (Iodine Defiency Disorders) caused by inadequate intake of iodine, only 1 tsp. Needed over entire lifetime, iodine in food sources varies by geography : (1) less in highlands and mountain regions; and (2) leached from soil and carried to lowlands. Manifestations of IDD is goiten enlarged neck region from overactive thyroid gland, hypothyroidism : dry skin, weight gain, puffy face, lethargy from underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism rapid pulse and weight loss from overactive thyroid, cretinism : mental retardation, physical development problems, spaticity from IDD in mother during pregnancy. Strategis to control IDD is iodize salt, dairy products, and bread where iodine is dificient in local foods, provide iodine drops, inject people with iodized oil (expensive).

Causes of vitamin a deficiency is low consumption of vitamin a rich foods, dietary deficiency due to food processing, limited consumption of fats and oils, poor breastfeeding (no colostrum, insufficient, breastfeeding), diseases affecting absorption (e.g. worms, chronic diarrhea). Manifestion of VAD (Vitamin A Deficiency) is xerophthalmia (eye conditions) : (1) blindness (VAD is the leading cause of blindness in children < 5 years old); (2) bitot’s spots; (3) damage to the cornea, slowed growth and development, reduced reproductive health, increased risk of anemia. Stategis to control VAD is promote vitamin A rich foods (fruits, vegetables, red palm oil), give infants and women low dose iron supplements according to WHO protocols, improve food security, feed children property, prevent disease and treat disease early, and fortify foods.

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