A Consideration of the Deficiency Factor in Diseases of the Gastro-Intestinal Tract*
Four factors are operative in the production of deficiency disease.
The diet may be deficient in the food elements.
The diet may be sufficient, but a deficiency may exist because digestion has not prepared the food properly for utilization by the body.
The diet may ordinarily be sufficient but a relative deficiency may exist because of poor absorption from the gastro-intestinal tract, or from rapid loss of food substance through prolonged vomiting or diarrhea.
In some conditions such as pregnancy and hyperthyroidism, an increased demand by the body may cause a relative deficiency.
When it was recognized that certain diseases were caused by the lack of certain unknown substances in the diet, the first factor in the production of deficiency disease was self-evident. The recognition of this important fact immediately opened the large problem of what diseases are due to deficient diet, what substances are necessary to the human economy, what are the sources of these substances in natural foods, can they be artificially prepared and what quantity of these substances is necessary to prevent disease. Many of these problems have been answered, and today it is recognized that many diseases are definitely due to deficiency, many more are suspected, and undoubtedly others will eventually be added to this group. The general public has been so enlightened by what has been learned about the nature, source and quantity of these substances which are necessary to prevent disease, that, barring economic factors, it is rare to find. . .