Are Your Vitamins Making You Sick?
WHAT ARE MICRONUTRIENTS?
Micronutrients are simply the vitamins and minerals which are required by our bodies to support normal metabolism, growth, and physical well-being. Most vitamins are organic, essential nutrients that cannot be made by the body but are vital to sustain a healthy life. Minerals are inorganic nutrients including trace elements like copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Although our bodies only require small quantities of micronutrients for optimal health, even when we eat a so-called wellbalanced diet, it almost never contains a sufficient amount of micronutrients for optimal function.
BENEFITS OF MICRONUTRIENTS IN THE BODY
If you’re on social media, you no doubt find advertisements for all sorts of supplements in your newsfeed. Sure, companies have flocked to the vitamin industry due to its lucrative and unregulated nature, but it’s only lucrative because millions of people just like you want improved health, to live longer, and to be more active. But all supplements are not equal and many cannot offer the wellness benefits of natural, mined from the earth, micronutrients, antioxidants, and minerals. Furthermore, more is not always better and taking high doses of the vitamins that your body doesn’t need can actually cause more harm than good.
Consider this scenario as stated by SpectraCell Labs – “A common misconception is that what is good for one person, is probably good for most people. That is not always the case. Perhaps you are deficient in zinc and this manifests as frequent infections (zinc helps fight viruses) and low energy. If your blood cells are deficient in this mineral and you replete it, you may experience symptomatic relief of fatigue and a more robust immune system. Great. You tell your friends that zinc helped you. They decide to supplement like you.
Here’s where it gets tricky. Perhaps they also had frequent infections and fatigue, but their cells were replete (levels were fine) in zinc, but deficient in say, vitamin A. Interestingly, a vitamin A deficiency can also make someone more susceptible to viral infections and is also linked to fatigue (low vitamin A decreases mitochondrial respiration and ATP production in the cell leading to fatigue), but through a completely different mechanism of action.
You can see where this is going: both of you feel tired and get a lot of infections. You are deficient in zinc, your friend is deficient in vitamin A. If your friend takes zinc because you did and it helped you, she is not solving her deficiency problem. But it is worse than that because taking copious amounts of exogenous zinc can induce a deficiency in copper, since the two minerals work together. So, after several months, your friend will likely remain deficient in vitamin A and potentially create a deficiency in copper, all the while spending money of zinc supplements that do her no good (at best) and cause more problems (at worst).
That is why targeted supplementation is key. Better stated, targeted supplementation is really personalized supplementation. Supplementing blindly may not solve the underlying problem – which is the cellular nutritional deficiency that is specific to you – and can even cause new problems."
CAN’T YOU JUST EAT RIGHT AND FOREGO SUPPLEMENTS?
Theoretically yes, you can get all that your body needs from food, but Americans just plain suck at eating. Don’t get me wrong, we Americans love to eat. The problem is, we eat terribly! The obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease epidemic is proof of that. I think most of us can admit that we don’t eat the daily dietary requirements as prescribed by the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) which is 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. This fact was proven in a clinical study of people aged 19-64 with results showing that only 13% of men and 15% of women met the five portions a day requirement. What’s worse, even those who eat clean and eat right are often found to have deficiencies. This is because our farm land is often over-farmed such that the soil is depleted of the needed minerals. Deficient soil renders deficient plants (food).
OTHER CAUSES OF MICRONUTRIENT DEFICIENCY
If it isn’t bad enough that many of us don’t eat a varied and healthy diet regularly, many other things can reduce the amount of micronutrients in the body. For example, anything that causes impaired absorption of micronutrients or when increased metabolism is needed, a drop in micronutrient levels can occur. How many of the below things apply to you?
- Chromic prescription medication use
- Chronic Stress
- Poor diet
- Eating nutrient deficient foods (fast food, boxed food, not enough fruits and veggies)
- Chronic alcohol consumption
- Acute infection
- Surgery or trauma
- Chronic inflammation
- Periods of weight gain
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with diarrhea
- Menstrual or other blood loss
- Loss of body fluids/ dehydration
Want to learn more about micronutrient testing? Call or text us for a health assessment with our registered nurse, Kara. (904) 644-8586.