Significance of nutritional factor testing
Determining micronutrient levels is an important tool for physicians in nutritional therapy, whether it is to maintain good health or treat diseases. In serious illnesses, micronutrient testing is even more important, as nutritional therapy has a significant role in the comprehensive therapy of e.g. infectious and other autoimmune diseases. For example, Finland’s Evira (Finnish Food Safety Authority) released a report in 2016 stating that over 60 per cent of the population had iodine deficiency.
National Nutrition Council (VRN 2010) states the following in their foreword:
Nutritional therapy – Recommendation for hospitals, health centres, assisted living and nursing homes, and rehabilitation centres. Foreword: “Good nutrition promotes health, functioning and quality of life. It prevents illnesses, enhances recovery and diminishes the risk for complications. Nutritional therapy is an essential part of patient care.”
Global importance of micronutrients
In 1992, 159 countries participated in the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) on procedures to end micronutrient deficiencies in the global population. They decided on the primary goal of ending the deficiencies of iron, iodine, vitamin A and other important micronutrients.
The deficiencies don’t just involve developing countries, but developed countries as well. In Europe, it was found as early as 2006 that 57 per cent of the population suffered from iodine deficiency. WHO stated in 2006 that the worldwide deficiencies of iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc constitute a serious threat to public health with an impact on infections, metabolic syndrome as well as impaired mental and physical development. Even a mild deficiency may significantly affect a person’s functioning.
Assessment of micronutrient deficiencies is a part of the assessment of malnutrition. World Health Organization has stated that micronutrient deficiency testing is a relatively cost-effective way to investigate and correct deficiencies. Micronutrient deficiency has its own concept, MNM (micronutrient malnutrition), in World Health Organization, and the various deficiencies have their own disease classifications in the ICD-10 disease classification system of the World Health Organization.
The European Council has stated that nutritional therapy is part of medical patient care. The Council has also stated that the elderly population has a risk for vitamins B, C and D, selenium, zinc and calcium deficiency.