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Nutrient Depletion: A Far Too Common Problem

It can be estimated that nearly 90% of American adults have a nutrient deficiency¹.  This seems like a staggering number and it is.  There are many contributing factors to so many people having one or more deficiencies in vital nutrients.

The most common cause is the lack of vitamins and minerals in our food today.  Basically, our soils are not as nutrient dense as they used to be, so our fruits and vegetables are not absorbing as much as they did in the past.  Studies have shown that many types of produce, worldwide, have lost more than 50% of their nutrient capacity compared to in the 1950’s².  The broccoli you eat today is not the broccoli your grandparents ate. 

There are fortified foods like milk, juice, cereals, and bread but they still don’t provide us with optimal amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Then we have hundreds, even thousands of food additives like carrageenan and carboxymethylcellulose that affect your gut, making it sluggish, leading to reduced nutrient absorption³.  The standard American diet, rightly called the “SAD” diet, consists of large quantities of processed foods and fast food.  These foods are dead, and provide little to no vital nutrients.  They provide our bodies calories for energy but that is it.  Eating this way is like running your car on fumes.  You are not filling your tank for the long haul with what is important.

Even if you’re thinking you already eat pretty healthy with a lot of fruits and vegetables, chances are there could be some vitamins or minerals you are lacking adequate intake of.  A naturopathic doctor once said in the ten years she had been seeing patients, many were already very healthy and took care of themselves, yet she had only 2 patients with optimal nutrient levels for every vitamin and mineral in their lab results.

So, what do we do about it?  At PharmToTable, we always believe in FOOD FIRST for obtaining our key nutrients.  Food is medicine.  Keep eating fruits, vegetables, clean meats and fish every day.  You can also supplement with high potency multivitamins and other specific vitamins and minerals tailored to each person’s individual needs.  You could choose supplements based on the most common deficiencies or based on your symptoms and how you feel every day. 

For example, low magnesium levels can make someone feel anxious or be the reason someone can’t get enough sleep.

Premature graying (males or females) or low sperm levels could be inadequate zinc.

Fatigue or brain fog can be low B vitamins.

Poor wound healing or irregular periods can be inadequate vitamin C. 

A further step would be to get tested.  Oftentimes we have patients who are very healthy and making good choices but want to optimize their health, or get a head start on the aging process, or even may feel great except for one or two minor but plaguing symptoms they can’t figure out or get rid of.  Optimizing nutrient levels can help to achieve many health goals for many patients.  There are so many great functional tests that can be done to assess a patient’s nutrient levels looking at everything from vitamin D to omega 3’s.  The difference between functional tests and conventional tests you would get at your regular doctor’s office is the functional ones are more encompassing and test for cellular nutrient levels conventional tests normally don’t capture.  We can also perform tests that give a clue to the root cause of decreased nutrient absorption such as how well your gut is working or if you have a leaky gut, and genetic tests that can show how well someone breaks down or absorbs certain vitamins.

Based on the results of your nutrient tests, you and your practitioner at PharmToTable will come up with a plan to help replenish any deficiencies through diet and lifestyle changes.  You will also have access to health coaches who can help you tackle any obstacles or challenges you face on this health journey. 

Book an appointment or schedule a free 15-minute discovery call today!

Written by Jessica Orloski, PharmD

References

1. Micronutrient Information Center; Linus Pauling Institute. Oregon State University. Micronutrient Inadequacies in the US Population:  an Overview. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrient-inadequacies/overview

2. David DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6):669-82.

3. Chassaing B, Van de Wiele T, De Bodt J, Marzorati M, Gewirtz AT. Dietary emulsifiers directly alter human microbiota composition and gene expression ex vivo potentiating intestinal inflammation. Gut. 2017 Aug;66(8):1414-1427

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