Nutrient Deficiency

Every medical student in the last fifty years has been tested at least once on the basics of nutrient deficiency. At the risk of being overly pedantic:

Nutrient Cellular mechanism Deficiency
Biotin Fatty Acid Synthesis Alopecia, dermatosis, dry skin
Chromium Improves glucose tolerance Hyperglycemia
Copper Enzyme cofactor, hematopoiesis, bone formation Refractory iron repletion, hypochromic anemia
Folate Homocysteine, purine, and pyrimidine metabolism, maturation of RBC’s Hypercholesterolemia, anemia, hyperpigmentation
Omega-6 fatty acids Prostaglandin synthesis, membrane integrity Poor wound healing, increased infection rate, dermatosis
Selenium Glutathione precursor,  component of thyroid hormone iodinase Cardiomyopathy (Keshan disease)
Zinc Enzyme cofactor, wound healing Glossitis, dermatosis


Brown, scaly dermatosis from zinc deficiency (photo courtesy

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