Sometimes, my colleagues and I have difficulty agreeing on a few subjects. A subject that comes up often is dietary supplements. Some folks in the natural health community believe that if you eat a primarily whole-food diet, there is no need to take dietary supplements. I disagree. In my 30 years of practice I’ve seen even my health-conscious patients develop symptoms of serious nutrient deficiencies.
The Definition of Food Has Changed Drastically
Though the Industrial Revolution started 250 years ago, it didn’t overtake agriculture until the early-mid 1900s. Many of your great-grandparents still relied on either farming themselves or purchasing food from their local butcher or farmer. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, produce, butter and bread were grown in small batches on organic farms.
Self-service grocery stores were unheard of until 1916. The first fast food restaurant didn’t open until 1921 (White Castle). Aspartame, one of the most dangerous synthetic sweeteners on the market, wouldn’t even be a thought until nearly 70 years later.
Most of the “foods” you see on your supermarket shelf today contain chemicals, preservatives, artificial food dyes, and synthetic sweeteners that were unheard of only a few generations ago.
Miriam Webster defines the word food as: “Material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy.”
Now stop and think about the aisles and aisles of products you see in your favorite grocery store. How many of those products could honestly fit the above definition? The answer is less than half.
Few People Eat the RDA of Fruits and Vegetables
For over 30 years, the United States government has sponsored an ongoing research project called Healthy People. Healthy People is designed to provide goals for the United States to improve the health of its population in 10-year increments. According to one of their recent studies, it was estimated that only 28 percent of Americans eat the recommended daily allowance of three servings of vegetables daily.
Even if You Eat 100% Organic Food, You Need Supplements
Even if you eat a completely organic diet devoid of any and all synthetics, you still need dietary supplements. According to a recent study at the University of Colorado, the nutrient density of food has declined by an incredible 50% in the past 100 years!
This means the critical vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals your body needs to stay strong and healthy are no longer available.
This could easily account for the staggering amount of mental health problems, autoimmune diseases, gastrointestinal malfunction, metabolic syndrome, and cancer so many are experiencing today.
Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies and Their Symptoms
If you’re experiencing unusual symptoms you and your doctor just can’t seem to get a handle on, you might have one or more nutritional deficiencies.
Here are the most common nutrient deficiencies I’ve seen in my practice:
Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies and it often results in iron-deficiency anemia. The most common symptoms of iron deficiency anemia include chronic fatigue, headache, difficulty concentrating, irritability, tachycardia, brittle nails, muscle pain, shortness of breath during exercise, and cravings to eat dirt, clay or ice (pica).
- Vitamin D3
In the past 30 years, more and more patients have come to me with unusual mental health symptoms. Upon talking with their primary care physician, they were immediately given prescription medication to suppress the symptoms but it did nothing to address the underlying cause. Upon checking the blood levels of many of these patients, I discovered a severe vitamin D3 deficiency. Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, and even schizophrenia. Physical symptoms of this vitamin deficiency include cardiovascular problems, frequent colds and flu, digestive dysfunction, and psoriasis.
Another common nutrient deficiency linked to the development of mental health disorders is magnesium deficiency. Low magnesium levels often contribute to symptoms such as behavioral problems, irritability, insomnia, mania, psychosis, fatigue, muscle tics, muscle spasms, cramps, stomach cramping, diarrhea, hair loss, hypertension, circulation problems, and more.
Zinc is another important mineral many are deficient in. Symptoms of low zinc levels are compromised immune system, hair loss, diarrhea, loss of appetite, loss of cognitive function, loss of libido, and infertility.
- Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency is very common among strict vegetarians and vegans as this vitamin is derived almost exclusively from animal sources. Low stomach acid, a condition called hypochlorhydria, and use of certain medications such as antacids, antibiotics, and diabetic medications can also cause vitamin B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include mood disturbances, hyperactivity, psychosis, sleep disturbances, anemia, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, memory problems, mood swings, apathy, and neuropathy.
Not All Vitamin Supplements are Created Equal
As a health-conscious person, you may have already begun to supplement your diet. However, the dietary supplements you’re taking may not be the best for you. Over the years, I’ve had many patients come to me with shopping bags full of nutritional supplements yet they were still sick from nutritional deficiencies.
What I discovered was that many of these store-bought supplements were either not being absorbed, or only partially absorbed.
Such supplements are not easy for your body to assimilate and can actually build up in your system, contributing to even more health problems. Also, many commercial vitamin supplements contain harmful additives and preservatives that can wreck havoc with your health. Store-bought vitamins can contain everything from artificial food dyes to aspartame which can contribute to the very health problems you’re trying to avoid.
The Best Dietary Supplements for Your Health
Several years ago, I designed my own line of quality supplements called Diamond Nutritionals. My superior line of dietary supplements offers complete nutrition options for the whole family.
Diamond Nutritionals offers the highest grade multivitamins, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids as well as nutritional supplements to treat inflammation, chronic fatigue, cardiovascular conditions, high cholesterol, anxiety, men’s libido problems, chronic yeast infections, and much more.
Remember, even if you eat the healthiest diet imaginable, modern industrialized agriculture has almost guaranteed you will have some sort of nutritional deficiency. This is why I recommend Spectracell Laboratories for nutritional testing. Serum blood testing for vitamins and minerals, with the exception of iron, vitamin D-3 and B vitamins, will not give you an accurate picture of your tissue levels, as most of these nutrients are not circulating in your blood. For example, 99% of magnesium is located in our cells. Spectracell Laboratories measures the level of these nutrients in your white blood cells. This is an excellent indication of total body levels.
Addressing chronic nutrient deficiencies could be your easiest yet most comprehensive way to heal various and seemingly-unrelated symptoms. Once you get on the right type of dietary supplements for you, you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!