Avitaminosis is a group of diseases that is due to a lack of one or more than one vitamin. The diseases in the Avitaminosis group are pellagra, beriberi, scurvy, rickets, and night blindness. 

  • Pellagra is due to a lack of niacin or vitamin B3. 
  • Beriberi is a condition caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1. 
  • Scurvy is caused by a long-term deficiency of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. 
  • Rickets is due to a lack of vitamin D. 
  • Night blindness is often caused by an insufficient amount of vitamin A.
  • Avitaminosis is often due to a lack of nutrition or unavailability of food with certain vitamins.


Avitaminosis (vitamin lack) may be encountered when:

  •  there are increased losses of vitamins such as occur with chronic severe diarrhea
  • excessive sweating
  • when there are increased requirements for vitamins during periods of rapid growth, especially during childhood and pregnancy. 
  • Fever and the endocrine disorder hyperthyroidism are two additional examples of conditions that require higher than the usual levels of vitamin intake. 

Unless the diet is adjusted to the increased requirements, deficiencies may develop. Lastly, artificial manipulation of the body and its natural metabolic pathways, as by certain surgical procedures or the administration of various drugs, can lead to avitaminoses.

Signs and Symptoms 

Following are some common symptoms of Avitaminosis:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Weight loss
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Muscle weakness


To help diagnose vitamin deficiency anemias, you might have blood tests that check for: The number and appearance of red blood cells. The amount of vitamin B-12 and folate in the blood. The presence of antibodies to intrinsic factor, which indicates pernicious anemia.

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