Osteoporosis (bone loss) is the primary disease associated with long-term
calcium deficiency; it may be associated with bone pain and spinal deformity.
Depleted levels can also cause muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, and
Although phosphorus deficiency is rare, long-term low levels are associated
with muscle weakness, bone pain, mental confusion, loss of appetite, anemia,
increased susceptibility to infection, respiratory difficulties, seizures, and
Symptoms of deficiency include loss of appetite, nausea, drowsiness, feelings
of apprehension, excessive thirst, irrational behavior, fatigue, muscle pain and
weakness (usually of the lower limbs); severe cases may lead to irregular
Symptoms of depleted levels of thiamine include weakness, fatigue, anorexia,
constipation, memory loss, confusion, and depression. Deficiency may lead to
beriberi, a condition characterized by inflammation of nerves, heart
irregularities, and fluid retention.
Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency may include weakness,
nervousness, insomnia, mental confusion, irritability, and anemia. Long-term low
levels of this nutrient may also increase the risk of heart disease as well as
colon and prostate cancers.
Vitamin C deficiency may include bruising, fever, anemia, emotional changes,
swollen and bleeding gums, fatigue, lethargy, jaundice (yellowing of the skin
and eyes), increased susceptibility to infections, slow wound healing, and
swelling of the lower limbs. Severe deficiency leads to scurvy, a disorder that
affects muscles and bones and is potentially fatal. However, scurvy is rare
these days because of the wide availability of vitamin C from dietary
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Review Date: October 2000
Reviewed By: All depletions monographs have been reviewed by a team of experts including
Derrick M. DeSilva, Jr., MD, Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy, NJ;
Jacqueline A. Hart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley
Hospital, Harvard University and Senior Medical Editor, A.D.A.M., Inc., Boston,
MA; John Hinze, PharmD, NMD, Woodbine, IA; Ruth Marlin, MD, Medical Director and
Director of Medical Education, Preventive Medicine Research Institute,
Sausalito, CA; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy, Clinical Assistant
Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; President, Your
Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Leonard Wisneski, MD, FACP, George
Washington University, Rockville, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA, President and
Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Medicine, Honolulu,
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