Why Nutrition is Important; What is the Relevance of Nutrition

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Nutrition can be defined as the supply of materials, such as food, required by cells and organisms to stay alive. In clinical medicine this could be the food requirements of the patient such as nutritional solutions that can be delivered via an intravenous or intragastric tube. So why nutrition is important ?

Nutrition is extremely important for individuals as it provides the substances required by the body for various things such as energy, growth and maintenance of a healthy immune system (Christian Nordqvist, 2017). A lack of certain nutrients can lead to deficiencies, which can be showcased by the symptoms presented by the individual. Furthermore, an excess of nutrients can also be maladaptive to the body as it can lead to diseases that would deteriorate the health of the individual.

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Deficiencies in nutrients such as vitamin D and calcium can lead to problems in skeletal health such as soft, thin and brittle bones (Sandy Calhoun Rice, no date). This occurs because the main function of vitamin D is to help absorb calcium from intestines which is extremely important for the maintenance of strong bones. Deficiencies in these two nutrients can lead to bones being damaged easily, causing fractures. This condition is known as rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. However, an excess of vitamin D can also be disadvantageous to the individual as it leads to an increased uptake of calcium known as hypercalcemia. An excess of calcium can be harmful to the person as it can lead to a range of conditions such as kidney damage. This is caused by the calcium binding with phosphate in the blood, forming crystals which are deposited in soft body tissue causing organ damage (Jennifer Huizen, 2018).

Moreover, nutrition has a relevance to clinical medicine as diseases such as obesity are caused by overnutrition. Since obesity is a growing worldwide problem there is a need for it to be treated. Obesity is the accumulation of excessive fat in adipose tissue, deteriorating health (Obesity and overweight - British Nutrition Foundation, 2018). Obesity is primarily caused by overconsumption of certain nutrients, such as fats and sugars, and lack of movement, so energy intake exceeds expenditure. But there are also other causes such as an underactive thyroid gland, this is when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones (Obesity - Causes - NHS, no date). Clinical medicine plays a role in the treatment of severe obesity as patients can undergo bariatric surgery if they are unable to lose weight through changes in diet and exercise. The process of bariatric surgery includes placing a gastric band around the top portion of the stomach, decreasing the size of the stomach so less food can be stored at any one time. Thus, maintaining the feeling of being full but with less food therefore reducing hunger and overall consumption (Markus MacGill, 2018).

Undernutrition due to poor diet can lead to folate deficiency anaemia, which is caused by a lack of vitamin B-12. This leads to fewer red blood cells which contain haemoglobin that carry oxygen around the body to provide to respiring cells to produce ATP. This is linked to clinical medicine as lack of nutrition in the vitamin B-12 can cause patients to experience symptoms such as; mouth ulcers, disturbed vision and paraesthesia (Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia - Symptoms - NHS, no date).

Diabetes mellitus is another disease that widely effects many people across the globe. There are two main types; type 1 and type 2. The first type is an autoimmune disease that is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. It is when the body’s immune system attacks islet beta cells in the pancreas where insulin is stored and released, whereas Type 2 is a resistance to insulin. This is relevant to clinical medicine as patients who have diabetes require the close monitoring of their glucose levels as either high or low levels of glucose can be fatal. Those with type 1 can have insulin injections so it is necessary for them to keep track of their intake of nutrients such as carbohydrates, so they can have the correct dosage of insulin. Patients with type 2 diabetes must be careful with the foods they eat as their body is resistant to insulin, so they must also closely monitor their diet and nutrient intake. Glucose levels being too high is known as hyperglycaemia and can be dangerous as it can lead the patient to go into a diabetic coma. Glucose levels being too low is known as hypoglycaemia and is also hazardous because it can lead to the patient having a seizure or becoming unconscious (Diabetes - NHS, no date).

The small intestine is where vital nutrient absorption takes place so diseases in this area can be disadvantageous as there can be malabsorption of nutrients needed by the body. Crohn’s disease is the inflammation of the intestinal tract, most commonly the ileum of the small intestine. Because of the inflammation the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, disrupting its ability to absorb nutrients. This is relevant to clinical medicine because patients with diseases like Crohn’s disease must often undergo surgery and live with a specific diet to be able to function normally as symptoms of this disease can cause a lot of discomfort. Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, bloating, gas, stomach cramps and bulky stool (Michael Kerr, 2016). The surgery consists of removing part of the mall intestine that is damaged, however going through with surgery also has its risks that could further harm the patient (Rachel Nall, 2016).

In conclusion nutrition is realli important and it has a big relevance to clinical medicine as both undernutrition and overnutrition can cause disease which is harmful to people ad require medical help and often resources form the NHS. Furthermore, diseases in organs which inhibit the absorption of nutrients cause great discomfort and inconvenience to patients, rendering them unable to function in day to day life.




  1. Christian Nordqvist (2017) Nutrition: What is it and why is it important? Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  2. Diabetes - NHS (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  3. Jennifer Huizen (2018) Vitamin D: Side effects and risks. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  4. Markus MacGill (2018) Gastric bands: How it works, surgery, who should have it. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  5. Michael Kerr (2016) Nutritional Deficiencies and Crohn’s Disease. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  6. Obesity - Causes - NHS (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  7. Obesity and overweight - British Nutrition Foundation (2018) British Nutrition Foundation. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  8. Rachel Nall (2016) When is Surgery an Option for Crohn’s Disease | Healthline. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  9. Sandy Calhoun Rice (no date) Vitamin-D Deficiency Makes Bones Age Prematurely. Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).
  10. Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia - Symptoms - NHS (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 15 October 2018).  

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