By Wendy Wells, NMD.
Digestion is key to health. Many things can interfere with digestion as well as absorption of the nutrients we need. There are specific health conditions that are caused by nutrient deficiencies.
Poor Digestion and Absorption of Nutrients
Nutritional interferences can occur in several ways:
- Low HCl in stomach – Can’t get iron, B12, calcium
- Lack of enzymes - Can’t break food down
- Toxic bowel – Test with food intolerance test
Food intolerances are the cause of food allergies and toxic bowel.
- Results in poor functioning gastrointestinal tract
- Test with blood analysis
- Look for dysbiosis, increase in bad bacteria, deficiency in good bacteria, decreased immune function of gut
Stress Fight or Flight Mode
- Leads to poor digestion
- Need to balance adrenals
- Test with Adrenal Stress Index
Phytates – Found in un-sprouted seeds and grains and forms a complex with many minerals:
- Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc. – Sprouted grains contain phytase which breakdown phytates
- Oxalates – Uncooked spinach, kale, reduce absorbtion of Ca and Fe
- Coffee and Black Tea tannins, – Manganese, fiber, calcium, magnesium
- Phosphates (soda/pop) can decrease iron absorption
- Zinc interferes with copper absorption
- Vitamin C enhances iron absorption
Drugs and Nutrition
Metformin and Tagemet – interfere with B12 absorption.
Antacids – decrease B12, iron, calcium absorption and protein digestion.
Hydrochlorothiazide diuretics – deplete sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc.
Loop diuretics (Furosemide) – deplete sodium
Alcohol – depletes thiamine, folate, B6, Vitamin A, zinc.
ASA/NSAIDS – can cause iron deficiency anemia from bleeding, damage gastrointestinal lining
Birth control pills – Deplete B6, Vit C
Some of the differences in vitamin and mineral content from 1975 to 2000
- 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli
- Watercress down 88% in iron content
- Cauliflower down 40% in vitamin C
- Vitamin C in sweet peppers has plummeted from 128 mg to 89 mg.
- Vitamin A in apples has dropped from 90 mg to 53 mg.
Nutritional Deficiency Research
"90% of women and 71% of men get less than the RDA for vitamin B6." - From Dietary vitamin B-6 intake and food sources in the US population: NHANES II, 1976-1980. Kant AK, et al. 1990.
We need B6 to make Serotonin
"People with low levels of retinol, beta-carotene, vitamin E and selenium are more likely to get cancer." - From Serum retinol, beta-carotene, vitamin E and selenium as related to subsequent cancer of specific sites. Comstock GW, et al. American Journal of Epidemiol 135:115-21, 1992.
"Supplemental vitamin D reduces the risk of colon cancer by 50% compared to dietary vitamin D which reduces it 12%." - From Calcium, vitamin D, and dairy foods and the occurrence of colon cancer in men. Kearney J, et al. American Journal of Epidemiol 143:907-17, 1996.
We Need Supplements
Considering the information above, there are good reasons to take supplements.
Many apparent genetic or chronic diseases can be due to nutrient deficiencies.
The bioavailability of the nutrients is increased if you buy high quality supplements that only naturopathic doctors can prescribe. IV nutrients are available also for those who want an immune boost or are more depleted.
Food produced by factory farms can be unpredictable when it comes to nutrient content and bioavailability. Consumer Labs is a good place to compare different brands claims to their actual content of the vitamins.
Specific Nutrition Examples
Many chronic problems can be treated from the prospective of replacing the nutrients in the body that are deficient.
This information is not a substitute for the knowledge and guidance of a licensed health care practitioner. It is recommended that you receive assistance from a knowledgeable physician when addressing potentiality serious illnesses.
Each person with symptoms associated with a "disease" will need different treatment.
We are only addressing the physical health of the body, however the emotional, mental and spiritual health also need to be addressed as well.
- B12 shots – daily if severe
- Fish oils
- Vitamin C – asthmatics shown to have low levels
Other asthmatic considerations:
- Clean up the diet. – No sugar, limit salt (salt stimulates histamine release)
- Hypoallergenic Diet (Food Intolerance Test), Candida, Heavy Metals
- Vitamin B2
- Omega 3's
- Food Intolerance Avoid tyramine foods: (affect blood vessel size) – chocolate, aged cheese, red wine, herring, sour cream
- Avoid high copper foods – Chocolate, nuts, shellfish, wheat germ
- Avoid nitrites – meat preservatives
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid nutrasweet
Nutrient deficiencies – Magnesium (depleted by sugar intake), B6, Omega 3 fatty acid, Iron
Other PMS Considerations:
- Associated with refined carbohydrate intake, especially sugar
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine
- Increase soy intake - phytoestrogen
- Hormone imbalance - test
- Adrenal weakness – test
- Environmental toxicity – Xenoestrogens
- Poor GI function, reabsorbing estrogen