By Dr. Michael Badanek, BS, DC, CNS, CTTP, DMM, DACBN, DCBCN, MSGR/CHEV
Even when you eat a balanced, whole-food diet, you may still fail to get the right balance of vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health. Because many factors contribute to your body’s ability to derive nutrients from the food you consume, you may eat a healthy diet and still lack proper nutrition.
Changes in animal feed, climate, farming and food-
processing methods, soil conditions, water quality and weather patterns, as well as increased use of genetic engineering and toxic pesticides, can have a negative effect on the quality of food available.
Your age, genetics and health conditions such as digestive issues also impact your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from your food. Often, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be difficult to identify because you may not develop symptoms until the deficiency has become quite pronounced.
10 of the Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies
1. VITAMIN D
The Harvard School of Public Health suggests an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have low vitamin D levels, with deficiencies noted across all age and ethnic groups. The signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
. Achy or Broken Bones
. Age 50 or Older
. Body Mass Index > 30
. Dark Skin
. Feeling Depressed or Consistently Having Low Energy
. Frequent Colds and Flu
. Head Sweating
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, get your vitamin D level tested immediately!
2. OMEGA – 3s
If you regularly consume fast food and other highly processed foods, you probably over consume inflammatory omega-6 fats. Such high consumption of omega-6s very likely means you may not be consuming enough of the healthier omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and vital for supporting your brain function, joints, skin and vision, as well as your heart. They are derived from both plant and animal sources:
. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA): found in plant sources such as chia, flaxseeds, hemp and walnuts.
. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): found in animal sources such as anchovies, salmon and sardines, as well as fish oil supplements; alternatives to fish oil include algae and krill oil
. Elcosapentaenoic acid (EPA): also found in animal sources such as fish and fish oil, because wherever you find DHA, EPA is also there.
Because magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, a deficiency can wreak havoc on your health. You may be suffering from magnesium insufficiency if you experience:
. Eye twitches, muscle spasms – especially “charley horses” or spasms in your calf muscle that occur when you stretch your legs, numbness or tingling in your extremities and seizures.
. Headaches and/or migraines
. High blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and/or coronary spasms
. Low energy, fatigue and/or loss of appetite
Iodine is an essential mineral found in every one of your organs and tissues. Your body needs for normal thyroid function, including the production of thyroid hormones, which support brain development, bone maintenance, growth and metabolism. The most common symptoms you are not getting enough iodine include:
. Dry mouth, dry skin and lack of sweating
. Enlarged thyroid gland, also known as goiter,
which contributes to a variety of cancers,
including esophageal, breast, ovarian, and thyroid
. Increased heart rate
. Shortness of breath
. Weight gain
While you may think about it mainly during cold and flu season, zinc is an essential mineral found throughout your organs, tissues and bodily fluids. Moreover, after iron, zinc is the second most abundant trace mineral in your body. Because zinc is vital to many biological processes, you may not realize your body does not store zinc. Instead, you must intake it daily through the foods you eat or a high quality supplement. Zinc supports your body’s critical processes such as:
. Blood clotting
. Immune function
. Smell, taste and vision
. Cell division
. Thyroid health
. Wound healing
6. VITAMIN B-12
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is known as the energy vitamin, and you need it for blood formation, DNA synthesis, energy production and myelin formation. You may be deficient in vitamin B12 if you are not eating enough of the foods containing it, or your body lacks the ability to absorb it properly.
According to the U, S, Department of Agriculture, nearly 40 percent of the American population may have marginal vitamin B12 status – not low enough to qualify as deficiency, but low enough to where certain neurological symptoms may start to appear. Warning signs of a B12 deficiency are slow to appear, so you may be quite deficient by the time you recognize the symptoms, which include:
. Memory problems and/or “mental fog”
. Muscle weakness
. Mood swings
. Tingling in the extremities
Vitamin B12 is present in its natural form only in animal sources of food, such as:
• Grass fed beef and beef liver
• Organic pastured eggs and poultry
• Seafood such as salmon, scallops, shrimp and
7. VITAMIN E
Vitamin E is an important fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant designed to combat inflammation and make red blood cells. It also helps your body vitamin K, which is important for heart health. Six billion people worldwide and 75 to 90 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin E. If you are among them, you are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cognitive deterioration and immune dysfunction.
Vitamin E can easily be obtained from a healthy diet, and high amount of it are found in three general categories of foods:
• Leafy greens like spinach
• High fat foods such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish and seafood, including
• Sardines and shrimp
• Oil-rich, high-fat plants such as avocadoes and olives
8. VITAMIN K2
Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that is well-known for its role in blood clotting. However, there are two different kinds of vitamin K, each providing its own set of health benefits. Vitamin K1 is primarily responsible for blood clotting where as vitamin K2 works synergistically with calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to impart a number of important health benefits.
Vitamin K2 also plays a crucial role in bone health, and may be critical for the prevention of osteoporosis (brittle bones). Osteocaicin is a protein produced by your osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone formation), and is utilized within the bone as an integral part of the bone-forming process. However, osteocalcin must be “carboxylated” before it can be effective. Vitamin K functions as a cofactor for the enzyme that catalyzes the carboxylation of osteocaicin.
Selenium serves two very important and interrelated roles:
1. At the cellular level, selenium is an active component of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that converts hydrogen peroxide to water. Glutathione peroxidase has potent antioxidant properties and serves as a first line of defense against build-up of harmful free radicals in your cells.
2. Selenium also plays an important role in the prevention of cancer. One of the reasons people get cancer is because of excessive free radical production. By reducing free radicals, selenium helps reduce your risk of cancer.
If you like Brazil nuts, eating about two or three of them per day will typically be sufficient. If you opt for a supplement, make sure to get the correct form. What you’re looking for is the high-selenium yeast form, the scientifically tested and most recommended version.
10. VITAMIN A
Nearly half of American adults and teens are at risk for insufficiency or deficiency of vitamin A. Your body needs a daily dose of this fat-soluble vitamin to maintain healthy bones, cell membranes, immune function, skin, teeth and vision. Vitamins A and D work in tandem, and there’s evidence suggesting that without vitamin D, vitamin A can be ineffective or even toxic.
On the other hand, if you’re deficient in vitamin A, vitamin D cannot function properly either, so a balance of these two vitamins is essential to good health. That said, because we do not yet know the optimal ratios between these two vitamins, balancing them well through supplementation can be challenging. For that reason, if you are able, it’s best to intake vitamins A and D from food and sun exposure, rather than supplements.
The best source of vitamin A your body can actually use is animal products such as fish, grass fed meat, liver and pastured poultry, as well as raw, organic dairy products like butter. These foods contain retinol, preformed vitamin A that your body can easily use. You will find it difficult to get sufficient amounts of vitamin A from beta-carotene, a provitamin A found in plant foods like broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes.
While your body can readily use the retinol form of vitamin A, it must convert provitamin A (carotenoids) into bioavailable retinol. If you’re in excellent health, this should not pose a major problem; however, factors such as alcohol use, digestive problems and genetics can affect your body’s ability to absorb carotenoids and convert them into retinol. Medical conditions that interfere with the digestion of fat, including Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and gallbladder and liver disease also affect your body’s ability to convert vitamin A.
A number of studies have raised warnings about vitamin A supplementation indicating high doses may lead to toxicity, and may raise your risk of cancer, heart disease and all-cause mortality. Be particularly cautious with retinol or retinoic-acid supplements, as these fat-soluble forms pose a greater risk of toxicity. Strictly avoid all synthetic versions.
Dr. Badanek has been and currently is 37 years into active/private practice in the Ocala/Marion County, Florida region. Find him online at Dr.Badanek.com and www.alternativewholistic.com, and see what the facility has to offer the sick and health challenged. To schedule an appointment call 352-622-1151
352.622.1151 | DrBadanek.com