Identify & Fix the True Cause of Nutrient Deficiencies

Identify & Fix the True Cause of Nutrient Deficiencies

Identify & Fix the True Cause of Nutrient Deficiencies

In the whirlwind of modern life, where fast food intake and processed snacks often replace whole-foods meals, humans continue to develop and deepen  key nutrient deficiencies in their bodies. 

Nutrient deficiencies are gaps in essential vitamins and minerals crucial for our body’s ability to function. 

As surprising as it may sound, nutrient deficiencies have become alarmingly prolific in the United States. For example, studies show that up to 92% of Americans don’t meet vitamin E intake standards and up to 98% don’t meet vitamin D recommendations.

So what causes nutrient deficiencies? What are the most common ones? How do you know if you have a nutrient deficiency? And, most importantly, what are some practical solutions to combat them? 

These are all excellent questions, ones I see in my health coaching practice all the time. So let’s demystify nutrient deficiencies so you can resolve the ones you may have and create an actionable plan for restoration.

What Are Nutrient Deficiencies?

At their core, nutrient deficiencies are a shortfall in the essential vitamins, minerals, and other vital substances our bodies need for optimal functioning. 

These nutrients serve as the building blocks for various physiological processes, from energy production to immune system maintenance. The absence or inadequacy of these nutrients can pave the way for an array of health issues, acting as a silent underminer of our overall well-being.

Why Are Nutrient Deficiencies So Prevalent in the United States?

Unraveling the complexity of nutrient deficiencies requires a look at the multifaceted reasons behind their prevalence in the United States.

  1. Soil Depletion:

Modern agricultural practices, geared towards maximizing crop yields, have inadvertently led to the depletion of essential nutrients in the soil. Consequently, the fruits and vegetables grown in these soils may not pack the nutritional punch they once did.

  1. Standard American Diet (SAD):

The prevalence of the Standard American Diet (SAD) plays a pivotal role in nutrient deficiencies. Characterized by high levels of processed food sources, excessive sugar intake, and low nutrient density, the SAD diet sets the stage for nutritional imbalances.

  1. Limited Dietary Diversity:

Consuming a narrow range of foods, a common habit in our fast-paced lives, limits the spectrum of nutrients introduced into the body. This monotony increases the risk of deficiencies by excluding various essential elements crucial for health.

  1. Toxic Load:

The toxic load we carry around, stemming from environmental pollutants and the consumption of processed foods, poses a dual threat. Not only do these toxins compromise overall health, but they also impede the body’s ability to detect and extract vital nutrients from the food we consume. Think of it like the toxins blocking receptor sites on your cells where nutrients get in. 

  1. Chronic Infections:

From bacteria, to fungus, to parasites…chronic infections play a role in malnutrition, particularly inside the gut microbiome. Infectious microbes have a negative effect on the human host by competing for nutrients and damaging the gut wall where nutrients are absorbed. The effect these infections have inside the gut microbiome include a reduction in the ability of the human body to digest food and absorb nutrients. Parasites are well known to be linked with various vitamin and iron deficiencies

What Are the Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies?

To truly understand the impact of nutrient deficiencies, it’s essential to delve into the most prevalent ones that affect a significant portion of the population.

  1. Vitamin D Deficiency:

Linked to inadequate sun exposure and a lack of vitamin D-rich foods, this deficiency can result in weakened bones, muscle weakness, and a compromised immune system.

  1. Iron Deficiency:

Especially common in pregnant women, older adults, and people with parasite infections, low iron levels can lead to anemia, characterized by fatigue, weakness, and impaired cognitive function.

  1. Calcium Deficiency:

A deficiency in calcium is often mis-associated with insufficient dairy product consumption. The truth is you can get plenty of calcium from non-dairy foods. Plus, several other factors contribute to calcium deficiency including vitamin D deficiency, certain pharmaceuticals, low magnesium or vitamin K levels, and parathyroid disorders.  Calcium deficiency can contribute to many health conditions including bone pain, muscle cramps, and an increased risk of osteoporosis. 

  1. B Vitamin Deficiency:

Inadequate intake of B vitamins, essential for various bodily functions, can manifest as abnormal heart rhythms, muscle weakness, and cognitive issues. Every cell in your body needs B12 to function normally, but your body is unable to produce it. Therefore, you must get it from food or supplements. The best source comes from animal products. 

  1. Iodine Deficiency:

Critical for thyroid function, and also important for detoxification, iodine deficiency can result in weight gain, fatigue, and cognitive impairments.

  1. Magnesium Deficiency:

Studies show that nearly 70% of the people in the US under 71 and 80% over 71, don’t consume the required amount of magnesium. With roles in over 300 enzyme systems, magnesium deficiency can lead to muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, anxiety, headaches, constipation, and trouble sleeping. 

Not only is having a normal level of these major vitamins and minerals essential to your health, but a deficiency of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals needed by the body in small amounts) is also found to have a direct impact on your body’s optimal functions, like immunity and mental clarity. 

How Do You Know if You Have a Nutrient Deficiency?

The signs of nutrient deficiencies often show up as a whisper, not a scream. 

These subtle symptoms can include: 

  • Low Energy: Chronic fatigue is a common manifestation of nutrient deficiencies, leaving you feeling drained and lethargic.
  • Impaired Cognitive Function: Memory lapses, difficulty concentrating, and persistent brain fog may be indicative of inadequate nutrient intake, particularly of essential fatty acids and B vitamins.
  • Muscle Weakness and Cramps: A calcium or magnesium deficiency can contribute to muscle weakness and cramps, affecting overall mobility and comfort.
  • Bone and Joint Issues: Calcium and vitamin D deficiencies are directly linked to bone pain, joint discomfort, and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
  • Leaky Gut: Persistent inflammation can cause damage to the proteins that carry nutrients from our food to our system, preventing certain nutrients from being absorbed into the body.

Solutions to Combat Nutrient Deficiencies

Understanding nutrient deficiencies is only half the battle; the real victory lies in implementing actionable solutions to rectify these imbalances.

  1. Embrace a Diverse Diet:

The foundation of a nutrient-rich life lies in embracing a diverse and balanced diet. Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, animal proteins, and dairy from goats and sheep ensures a broad spectrum of key nutrients. 

Although beneficial in some ways, there is also a higher risk of nutrient and mineral deficiencies and other potential risks of plant-based diets to consider. For example, researchers discovered that by avoiding all animal products (particularly red meat), those who follow a vegan diet can experience nutritional deficiencies in vitamin B12, omega-3, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and high-quality protein.

Consuming iron-rich foods supports the maintenance of robust red blood cells, while essential vitamins like B2, B12, and B3—present in items like eggs, whole grains, and bananas—play a crucial role in building and sustaining healthy red blood cells. 

  1. Consider Dietary Supplements:

Supplements can fill the gaps when dietary intake falls short. They allow for precise control over the dosage of specific nutrients. This is important because excessive intake of certain vitamins and minerals can have adverse effects, while supplements can provide a controlled and measured way to correct deficiencies without the risk of overconsumption.

They can also be especially beneficial for individuals with micronutrient deficiencies by providing a concentrated and easily absorbable form of the deficient nutrient. 

Always choose high-quality, pharmaceutical grade supplements. When it comes to what you put into your body, you don’t want to pinch your pennies. Many of the cheap supplements on the market use low quality ingredients or useless fillers to keep their profits high.

  1. Regular Urine Organic Acids (OAT) and Blood Tests:

Organic Acids Test (OAT), is a simple urine and blood sample that gives an extensive overview on a person’s metabolic status and includes various vitamins, oxidative stress, antioxidants, mitochondrial energy production, neurotransmitters, oxalates, detoxification including glutathione, fatty acids and gut/digestion markers. It’s like the swiss army knife of functional tests and I recommend doing it every 6 months for an overview of your health status.

Routine blood tests can serve as a powerful tool for identifying deficiencies early on, allowing for timely intervention and preventing the progression of symptoms.

For instance, deficiencies in vitamins like vitamin D, B12, and iron can often be pinpointed through blood tests. Similarly, tests can reveal inadequate levels of minerals such as calcium or zinc. 

Monitoring these markers enables healthcare professionals to diagnose deficiencies early on, allowing for timely interventions through dietary adjustments or supplements to restore nutritional balance.

Interestingly, when you work with a functional health professional, not only can we help shine a line on your nutrient deficiencies, but we can also identify toxins, infections, and inflammation sources also zapping your energy, hobbling your immune system function, and killing your motivation and drive.

  1. Detox (the right way):

Because some nutrient deficiencies are rooted in toxins, parasites, and infections blocking your body from recognizing and absorbing nutrients, it’s critical to keep your detoxification channels free and clear-flowing.

You could drastically improve the results of any detox protocols you employ by unblocking your drainage pathways and preparing your body with the right foods, supplements, and probiotics (which are crucial for restoring balance to your gut microbiome). 

Opening these pathways not only helps rid your body of all the toxins that are stopping it from absorbing nutrients, but also prepares your body to take in more of them once you have cleansed your system.

  1. Consult a Functional Medicine Practitioner:

Even before you detox, consider consulting a functional medicine practitioner. 

Instead of just treating mere symptoms on a superficial level, together, we  will delve into the root causes of your health issues using microbiome testing and tailoring sustainable plans for long-term well-being.

If you’re feeling sluggish or grappling with unexplained diagnoses, it might be time to explore the possibility that nutrient deficiencies are affecting your vitality. 

A functional medicine practitioner (like me!) can help guide you through the process, and help you create a personalized protocol plan with solutions tailored just for you.

Then you can stop wasting time and money guessing—hoping you happen upon the solution.

Instead you can rest easy knowing that science is telling you exactly what’s going on in your unique case. The kinds of testing, labs, and solutions we’re able to offer you are generally not available via traditional medicine systems. Trust me, I would know—I worked for decades in the American healthcare system. I know firsthand how frustrating it can be to not feel like yourself, and not get actual answers and solutions that work from your western medicine practitioner.

Let’s see if we’re a good match.

Click here to take your first step.

Take Good Care,

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