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Nutritional Deficiencies and How to Safeguard Your Health

Updated on July 3, 2011

Even though we live in a country that is still rich in natural resources, with an abundant of foods to choose from, we can still run the risk of being nutritionally deficient. Even if a person is grossly overweight, they can be lacking in many vital nutrients and simply be the product of empty calories, due to an over consumption of high calorie foods that are low in fiber and vital nutrients. Stephen Lawson of the Laboratory for Research in Gene Regulation at the Linus Pauling Institute, stated the following in an article in Energy Times Magazine: “Insufficiencies can contribute to chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease, due to oxidative stress and free radical damage”

Many people are falling short of what the USDA recommends. More than 90% of all Americans don’t get enough vitamin E. The shortages are stated as follows: 56% are short on magnesium, 44% are below recommended levels for vitamins A, 31% for vitamin C, 50-70% for vitamin D. The causes vary, some are pharmaceutical related. Birth control pills create a greater need to supplement with B6 and B12, as well as folic acid. Statin drugs hinder Q10. Antibiotics are known to lower your levels of B and K vitamins, as well as vital Probiotics in your large intestine.

There are also lifestyle choices that contribute to nutritional deficiencies, such as smoking and drinking. Food handling practices such as how food is transported and stored, as well as processes such as bleaching destroy the nutrients in our foods.

This also affects various sectors of the population to a greater degree. Premenopausal women and vegans are more prone to iron deficiency. Seniors are prone to deficiencies in B12, B6 and vitamin C. Women who have recently given birth and are more prone to post partum depression, are more prone because of deficiencies in calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, selenium, vitamin B12 and Zinc. It is wise for members of these groups to supplement themselves more heavily, by consuming more of these specific nutrients, in order to compensate for these deficits and better safeguard their health.

The biggest deficit that has been found overall, is a deficiency in vitamin D. Mark Moyad, MD, director of preventive medicine at the University of Michigan, states the following in Energy Times Magazine: “A random blood test for vitamin D levels at recent conference yielded such a large number of deficiencies and insufficiencies that we thought something was wrong with the lad, and there wasn’t” The reason for this according Dr. Moyad is first of all there are very few food sources, such as cod liver oil and fortified milk that provide our bodies with vitamin D. The main source of vitamin D, which is sunlight that triggers vitamin D formation, is hindered by the use of sun block.

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to such health issues as loss of bone integrity leading to rickets, autoimmune diseases, such a multiple sclerosis, even rheumatoid arthritis as well as some types cancer, such as breast, colon, ovary and even prostate cancer.

Surprisingly, even with all the ads for orange juice we are lacking in vitamin C. Two factors that contribute to a lack in vitamin C, are smoking and weight gain. Another deficiency despite all the advice given on television and magazines is Omega-3 fatty acids, according to researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health "low levels of omega 3 was the main factor in 96,000 preventable deaths a year." Omegas 3 are vital for lowering lipids and winning the battle against cholesterol. The virtues of Omegas 3 are even recognized by the American Heart Association.

How much do you need to keep your body from being malnourished? The problem with relying on RDAs is that they reflect what nutrition authorities deem proper amounts for the population at large, but may not reflect the unique needs of each individual. Therefore, it is important to find out which nutrients, you as an individual need most. You can find out where you are by having one of two tests done. You either have the option of going to the doctor’s office and having a blood test done. An excellent test is one called the Spectracell Test, this is a blood test that helps the patient in determining, whether or not, they have any deficiencies in B complex vitamins, amino acids, metabolites, fatty acids, minerals, antioxidants, and carbohydrate metabolism. Many insurance plans cover this test and it is one of the most comprehensive blood test on the market for determining the nutrient levels in your blood.

In order to safeguard one’s health it is important to make sure that your body is not deficient in any of the vital nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body and guard against disease. For the sake of your health get tested if necessary and make sure you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as choosing proteins that are high quality. Also take the necessary supplements for your specific health needs. Ensuring that your body has enough nutrients to keep it working at it’s optimum is fundamental to good health.

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    • Internetwriter62 profile image
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      Internetwriter62 8 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Thanks Sandyspider, I always appreciate your feedback.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Great informational hub.

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