These deficiencies can cause many disorders, such as anemia and goiter. Examples of mineral deficiencies include zinc deficiency, iron deficiency, and magnesium deficiency. Common mineral deficiencies in patients with eating disorders include calcium, iron, and zinc. Serum calcium levels in patients with eating disorders are usually normal, as the body removes calcium from bones to preserve serum calcium levels.
It is important to have a thorough dietary history to identify if patients consume an adequate amount of calcium. If possible, calcium should come from dietary sources, although supplementation is appropriate when necessary. Patients with eating disorders may be at greater risk of iron deficiency, although the data are conflicting. When evaluating patients with eating disorders, dieticians should identify sources of iron in their intake, the consumption of beverages that inhibit iron absorption (coffee, tea, and others), and the presence of amenorrhea.
The plasma ferritin level can also help identify early iron deficiency and determine if supplementation is indicated. As we have said, mineral deficiency in the body can be caused by different minerals. As the effect of each mineral on the body is different, the symptoms of mineral deficiency are also different. In general, the most common mineral deficiencies are magnesium deficiency, zinc deficiency, and calcium deficiency.
For example, in the doctor's office, most of the focus is solely on iodine and iron. Iodine, because its deficiency is associated with a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones and iron is labeled as deficient in hemoglobin. However, in reality, low thyroid hormone levels can be the cause of selenium deficiency, and a low level of hemoglobin (anemia) can hide a copper deficiency.