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NUTRIENT REPLACEMENT

In 2016 a 15 year old Australian boy made headline news as he nearly lost his eyesight due to a diet consisting solely of chicken, potatoes, dry bread and coke. One Ophthalmologist was even quoted telling the young boy “this is something you’re just going to have to live with.” He was eventually found to be suffering a vitamin A deficiency. You may be thinking that this is an extreme and isolated case. Although his symptoms were severe and pronounced, most Australians have a nutrient deficiency that is adversely affecting their health and it is usually going unnoticed.

A diet high in sugar, coffee and alcohol which is a common Australian diet will deplete magnesium levels. Magnesium is one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies worldwide.

Magnesium deficiencies can lead to:

  • High BP
  • Poor heart health
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Calcium deficiency
 


The use of certain prescription drugs such as statins have been shown to deplete Co-enzyme Q10 which is another crucial micronutrient involved in energy production and heart health.

A common question I get in practice is “do I really need a supplement, can’t I get all the nutrients I need from food? Absolutely, if you are eating an unprocessed, whole foods diet then theoretically you would be able to get an abundant supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, a perfect diet isn’t always enough to provide everything you need. The combination of our depleted soils, storage and transportation of food, genetically modified foods, and the increased stress and nutritional demands resulting from our toxic environment means that it is impossible to get our required nutrients from the foods we eat. Further to this, it is not necessarily what you eat, but what you are able to absorb through your digestive system. Many of my patients have malabsorption meaning they are not able to absorb all the nutrients from the food they are consuming.

I’m sure you have probably heard on the news or read in the newspaper that supplements are a waste of money. Or perhaps your local medical doctor has advised you to just eat well and avoid supplements. What does eating well really mean for each of us when we all have such different dietary requirements?

When we consider nutrients we must address the two categories;

1. MACRONUTRIENTS

These nutrients are required in large amounts to provide the energy required to maintain body functions and carry out the activities of daily life.

The three classes of macronutrients are:

  1. Fat –Often misunderstood, fats are an important part of an ideal diet. The human brain is approximately 60% fat, essential fatty acids (EFA’s) are a crucial part of any healthy diet as they are required for healthy brain development and function. Omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA/DHA have been shown to be important for brain development during pregnancy and the postnatal period. Fatty acids are crucial for all ages and have been shown to protect from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and general cognitive decline.

Our endocrine glands, the adrenals and sex glands rely on cholesterol to produce the steroid hormones that are crucial for the neuroendocrine system. Testosterone, progesterone, pregnenolone, estrogen and DHEA are all synthesized from cholesterol. We all need adequate levels of cholesterol for our steroid hormone levels.

Energy wise, fatty acids yield the most kilojoules per gram at 37kJ/g when compared to protein and carbohydrates making fatty acids the most efficient way to produce energy. Carnitine is a compound essential for fatty acid metabolism. If you are deficient in carnitine you will find it hard to utilize fatty acids meaning you could suffer with metabolic problems, weight gain, skeletal muscle myopathy, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, aging, cancer, compromised thyroid function and infertility.

  1. Carbohydrate – We require this group of macronutrients in the form of starches and sugars in the largest amount of all three. It is recommended that the majority of our fuel source comes from carbohydrates around 45% – 65% of total daily energy needs. Carbohydrates yield 17kJ/g of energy when converted into cellular energy.

Obesity and diabetes are two chronic diseases that are rampant in modern life. Through Organic Acids testing it is possible to determine if there are certain micronutrient deficiencies that are stopping carbohydrates from being metabolized. Problems with carbohydrate metabolism can raise blood sugar levelspotentially leading to diabetes and also contribute to weight gain.

Dietary fibre, another type of carbohydrate present in fruit and vegetables is all also important due to its role in the healthy function of the large intestine and assisting the body in removing waste products.

  1. Protein (amino acids) – The proteins we consume as part of our diet are broken down in the gut into amino acids. The human body can produce 11 of the 20 amino acids, the remaining 9 are considered essential amino acids and must be consumed daily as part of a healthy diet. Unlike fats and carbohydrates, excess amino acids cannot be stored so they need to be consumed every day.

2. MICRONUTRIENTS

These are all the individual vitamins and minerals that may be lacking causing a nutrient deficiency. Although it probably doesn’t sound like an important issue, certain micronutrient deficiencies can be devastating.

Whilst blood or urine tests may seem the most obvious way to measure nutrient status it is not the most effective way to check for nutrient deficiencies. Measuring biochemical markers that respond to cellular metabolic restriction due to nutrient insufficiency can provide more useful information than regular blood tests. For example B12 levels in a blood test can look normal while Methylmalonate, a marker for intracellular vitamin B12 measured in the organic acids test can be low. Meaning you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, identified on the organic acid test but not via regular blood tests.

Organic acid testing is able to measure micronutrient depletion in a number of different areas:

  • Depletion of serotonin and dopamine in the brain leading to depression, anxiety and other mood disorders
  • Depletion of B6/B12/folate leading to methylation problems as discussed in the oxidation and methylation page.
  • Depleting sulphur amino acids will lead to liver detox phase 2 and catecholamine (dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline) imbalances
  • Depleting antioxidants leading to oxidative stress being placed on DNA and energy production
  • Depleting of beneficial bacteria and imbalance of flora in GI system
  • Depleting of carnitine, CoQ10, free form amino acids, B vitamins and other Krebs cycle intermediaries crucial for energy production

All too often nutrient deficiencies are overlooked in the progression of a disease. Easy, convenient lab testing can offer great insights into this area, contact the clinic today for more information

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