Tuesday, 09 August 2016 14:04

Did you Know that Simple Deficiencies are a Major Cause of Common Disease and Ailment?

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Did you Know that Simple Deficiencies are a Major Cause of Common Disease and Ailment? image credit: lisarunnels@yahoo.com

Your body requires nutrients to stay alive. They are the LEGO'S building blocks of all facets within your body.To say nutrients are vital is a huge underestimation.Nutrients are the foundation of your existence. However, no other subject on earth seems to have as much debate as the diet's nutrient intake does.  It’s a complex subject, it's messy and no one seems to agree or have the answers.


All deficiencies cause a serious interruption in any of the bodies functioning.  They can prevent healing or cause disease!

Most of my clients are unaware that nutrient deficiencies can cause their health problems, however very few recognize the signs of a deficiency. When we think of nutrient deficiencies we instantly link this entire fact with our diet and food we eat. Yet what we eat is only a minuscule piece of the complicated jigsaw puzzle.

You are what you eat!

We’ve all heard the old saying ‘you are what you eat’, but have you ever stopped to think exactly how true that is?

What you put in your mouths will unavoidably affect your nutritional status.

Simply put, healthy eating is the secret to well-being. We all have up to 100 trillion cells in our bodies, each one demanding a constant supply of daily nutrients in order to function at its best.  Food affects all of these cells, and stretching into every aspect of our being: mood, energy levels, food cravings, cognitive ability, sex drive, sleeping habits and general health. If you feed your body junk and convenience foods it’ll simply fizzle out, zap your energy, even will affect your memory.   

If you eat a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, polyphenols and other phytonutrients your body has the potential to function optimally.

In a study published in the journal BMJ Open, scientists found that nearly 60% of an individual's daily calories come from “ultra-processed” food, defined as food that contains ingredients such as flavors, colors, sweeteners and hydrogenated oils, emulsifiers and other additives that you wouldn’t cook with at home.  For examples, pizza, muffins, bread, sodas, breakfast cereals, microwave food, and chips.  The study also confirmed, for the first time, this type of processed food is the major source of added sugar in the diet. Meanwhile, the report shows, people get less than 1% of their daily calories from vegetables.  Furthermore, a number of mechanisms by which sugar can actually deplete (or reduce the absorption) of certain vitamins and minerals. As a result, eating too much sugar can induce deficiencies, even when our overall micronutrient intake appears to be adequate.

The most basic point to what differentiate good and bad food is that it's real and unprocessed. Food that was grown naturally and hasn’t had all its nutrients leached out during manufacturing is essential. It’s basically about getting back to the fundamentals and eliminating packaged food and using the local farmers market to source you fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.

So, which nutrients suffer on a high-sugar diet? Let’s take a look!

1. Vitamin D

It’s no secret that vitamin D deficiency is a big problem these days (especially for those living far from the equator), but a lack of sun exposure isn’t the only cause. Excessive sugar intake (especially in the form of fructose) may actually exacerbate vitamin D deficiency!

2. Calcium

Calcium is famed for supporting skeletal health (including bones and teeth), as well as supporting in blood coagulation and acting as an electrolyte (helping nerves send signals and muscles contract). But, calcium is another nutrient negatively impacted by a high sugar intake!

And, along with fructose, a high intake of another form of sugar (glucose) has been shown to increase calcium excretion by the kidneys by suppressing parathyroid hormone from the spiked blood sugar and insulin that comes after a high-sugar meal.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium is a serious rock-star mineral that’s only started receiving the attention it deserves in recent years. Along with regulating muscle and nerve function, making protein, building bone, synthesizing DNA, and regulating blood sugar levels, magnesium is required by literally every organ in our bodies. In other words, it’s pretty important!

Both a high sugar intake and elevated insulin levels (which can result from a high intake of refined carbohydrates, including sugar) have been shown to increase the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys, and by guzzling through the body’s magnesium reserves during sugar metabolism. That’s partly why people with diabetes or chronically high insulin tend to have higher magnesium requirements and more rapid magnesium depletion.

In fact, the interaction between sugar and magnesium is a two-way street: along with sugar depleting magnesium, magnesium plays a role in stabilizing blood sugar (by influencing cellular uptake of glucose and insulin secretion). So, when magnesium levels are too low, blood sugar regulation can also be impaired—setting the stage for even greater magnesium depletion due to the higher levels of glucose in the blood!

4. Chromium

Chromium is a trace mineral involved in macronutrient metabolism and blood sugar control, and although we only need small amounts of it to be healthy, a high sugar intake can increase the likelihood of deficiency. Consuming excessive amounts of processed carbohydrates causes more chromium to be excreted in the urine.  

5. Vitamin C

Both glucose and vitamin C use the same transporters to enter cells, and research has shown that high levels of glucose (whether in the intestines or in the blood) can slow down or limit the absorption of vitamin C by our bodies.

Are you really absorbing your food?

Your body must break down food nutrients into chemical structures to enable proper absorption. If any of these individual break-down steps is not working properly deficiencies become evident.

There are 5 major methods of digestion/breakdown within our body.

  • Properly chewing of food is the start of the digestion process and plays an important role. There are countless bacteria already in the capillaries of the tongue which kick off the digestive process.  Therefore ensuring that food is properly chewed will support your bodies ability access the necessary nutrients.
  • Hydrochloric acid (HCL) is the major acid in our stomach. This causes the breakdown of proteins and fats. Although HCL doesn’t complete the digestive process small changes to the stomach’s acidity (pH) can dramatically affect our ability to successfully receive mineral nutrients locked in protein structures.
  • Enzymes play a vital role in our digestive system. Beginning in the mouth Amylase starts the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, Pepsin support HCL in the stomach, and Protease, Lipase and Amylase are secreted by the pancreas and released into the small intestine to break down protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Enzymatic function drastically alters the final stages of digestion. Working to release nutrients and complete the breakdown process, deficiency in pancreatic enzymes can dramatically affect nutritional status.
  • Bile acids are produced by the liver and released by the gallbladder into the small intestine. Bile acid or bile salts break down fats/lipids into fatty acids and cholesterol so they can be transported through the bloodstream and used in the production of hormones, cell membranes, and a hundred other functions. When the gall bladder is removed a client no longer released bile acids in large quantities when food is present. Instead, they release a steady trickle of bile throughout the day. This may affect the ability to digest large quantities of fat at one time and thereby increasing the risk of fat based vitamin deficiencies (A, D, E, K) and omega 3.
  • Bacteria play an important role in our digestive system. They help to finish off the majority of our digestive functions. Most commonly in the colon our microbiome (good bacteria) provides us with vitamins such as K, E, and B12 and both fatty acids and amino acids. A wide range of factors can disturb our microbiome. Medication such as antibiotics are the most common disturbers, however, unbalanced pH, pesticides, stress and a lack of prebiotic foods (foods that feed good bacteria) can also affect our bacterial status.

Do you need more?

Your demand for nutrients (calories, protein, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients) changes depending on a number of factors. You may need a lot more because you are young, elderly, active, sedentary, sick or healthy.

DEMAND based on AGE

Your age is one of the universal features affecting nutrient demand. We all know that what you ate as a child is very different to what you eat today, both in quantity and nutrient makeup. For instance, elderly people have higher requirements to maintain vitamin D status and teenagers have a higher caloric demand due to growth. It is therefore, important to address age-related deficiencies.


Lifestyle factors such as exercise also affect your demand for nutrients.Athletes require a higher intake of nutrients compared to a sedentary person. They require more calories to convert to energy (Carbohydrates, Lipids, Proteins), they need a higher intake of vitamins to facilitate energy conversion (B vitamins) and athletes need a higher intake of minerals and electrolytes to combat dehydration and support energy production (iron, magnesium, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc and calcium).


Disease and injury also change your nutrient demand. Any viral or bacterial illness (even latent) will increase the demand on your immune system thereby burning through higher quantities of essential nutrients such as zinc, selenium and vitamin C. Stress in one of the most potent nutrient demand

Stress in one of the most potent nutrient demand on the body. When you are stressed you burn through a range of amino acids (proteins) and vitamins and minerals. Magnesium and water-soluble vitamins such as B vitamins are most quickly depleted by stress and should be considered in anyone suffering chronic stress. Stress in one of the most potent nutrient consumers. That's why chronic fatigue / adrenal fatigue always presents itself with severe deficiencies.

Do you excrete more than you absorb?

You eliminate waste through your digestive system, urinary system, through your skin and via your lungs. All macro and micro-nutrients that you excrete must be in balance with your intake, absorption, demand, and metabolism. When this becomes unbalanced it leads to nutrient deficiencies.

A classic example of excessive nutrient excretion is during kidney disease when the body is no longer able to accurately control the excretion of potassium, phosphate, calcium and bicarbonate.

Any form of detoxification of heavy metals for example also flushes large amounts of minerals which can lead to a severe deficiency. Many of my clients have severe mercury toxicity often experienced from zinc, selenium and iodine deficiencies.

Other situations that may lead to increased excretion may be due to food poisoning or other disease states (some drugs) that change food’s transit time through your gastrointestinal system thus skipping proper digestion. Leaky gut, IBS, food sensitivities, allergies and Crohn’s disease lead to inflammation and irritation of the gastrointestinal lining. This decreases transit time and often resulting in nutrient deficiencies from persistent diarrhea.

What's the solution?

Deficiencies can be the root cause of any disease or condition such as restless leg syndrome, diabetes, anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, heart disease and weight gain. Even psychological diseases such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bi-polar can be caused or worsened by nutrient deficiencies. Even cancers are directly linked to deficiencies such as Vitamin D3, zinc, and selenium.

Rectifying nutrient deficiencies with dietary and supplemental intervention is a very important component of healing.

The best diet is when the nutrient uptake corrects the particular deficiencies to counteract any imbalance. Usually whatever your diet was for a long time is the exact opposite of what you should eat. This will not only correct deficiencies but also food sensitivities. That's why cancer patients experience often such drastic recovery after changing to a healing diet. It's not because the diet is perfect, but because they eat foods they need, and stop eating deficient foods.

Last modified on Sunday, 04 March 2018 00:51
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