Pica is, for the most part, defined as the desire to consume non-nutritive substances. However, it can also cover an abnormal appetite for food ingredients and sometimes even the mouthing of substances of a non-nutritional nature as well. Though in order for this behavior to be considered pica, it must occur for an amount of time equal to or greater than one month at an age where it would be considered developmentally inappropriate, which would be greater than 18-24 months old. Unfortunately there are no known causes of pica so it’s virtually impossible to get a full grasp on the disorder but there have been some hypotheses as to why it occurs.
One hypothesis is that it could be due to nutritional deficiencies. There isn’t any solid evidence to prove that belief but pica has been associated with a lack of iron, calcium, zinc, and other nutrients including vitamins C and D so despite the lack of evidence, some believe that the claim does hold water. However, even if a mineral deficiency is the cause, most times the item that gets ingested contains absolutely no trace of the mineral their body is missing so this behavior not only persists but it can ...
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