Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that help you maintain optimal health by regulating your metabolism, hormones, and aiding in detoxification. They are also involved in biochemical processes that produce energy from digested food. There are many ways you may be depleting vitamins and other nutrients, creating unpleasant symptoms and even disease.
Things that deplete nutrients
- Lack of dietary intake
- Over exposure to toxins
- Prescription and OTC drugs
- Excessive exercise
- Disease and genetic disorders
Lack of Dietary Intake of Nutrients
Our food has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000 years. The commercial farming practices and use of chemicals and fertilizers over traditional farming have depleted the soil of much needed nutrients. Why is this important? Because it means your food now has fewer nutrients. One example is the orange, famously thought to be a good source of vitamin C. Well maybe in the past you would find the average orange to have between 100-120mg of vitamin C. Today’s orange however holds a pitiful 0 (that’s not a typo, its a zero) to 10mg of vitamin C. If you follow the 2011 food pyramid, did you know that to meet the standard RDA in vitamins and minerals, you would have to eat about 5500 calories per day? The RDA is the recommended daily allowance but what that really means is the bare minimum you need to prevent disease, and this number is calculated for a person of good health and minimal stress or exposure to toxins. So if you have perfect health, no stress, live in a bubble, and just happen to burn 5500 calories per day, well you can stop reading this article. If you don’t, then this is a must read for anyone trying to achieve health. 68% of people in the US don’t get the RDA for magnesium in their diet, and 19% don’t get half the RDA. Magnesium is used in over 360 reactions in the body. It is impossible to get all of your nutrients through food these days, with more toxins and more stress to deal with, we need a lot more nutrients than our ancestors. We need them, and we need them in a way that doesn’t provide more calories or junk in our diet.
A properly designed supplement program using a comprehensive blood chemistry is the most effective way to figure out exactly what nutrients you need to add to your diet. The most common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are B vitamins, D3, magnesium, zinc, and omega 3’s.
It’s estimated that we live with 100 times more stress than our grandparents. Our way of life has changed very dramatically in the last few centuries and our body’s adapted physiological responses are now often miscued responses to our modern lifestyle. The fight or flight reflex has very little survival use in the day to day life of people living in the civilized world. Our body is meant to deal with stress in very short and infrequent bouts often followed by intense physical activity. This is why stress increases your heart rate, makes you more alert, and increases your blood sugar and blood pressure. Today’s life model however, provides frequent stressful events and no physical outlet. This is a major contributor to central obesity. Being stressed frequently all day long burns out the adrenals and depletes vital nutrients. Nutrients that become depleted by stress include foliate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, choline, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
Toxins from the environment deplete nutrients in two ways. One is the effect they have on the body, causing damage to tissues, creating hormonal imbalances, and interfering with metabolic processes. The second is the resources needed to remove the toxins from the body. Your liver goes through two processes using a combination of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants to neutralize toxins and then remove them from the body. Running out of any of the nutrients needed in this process is what leads to the build up of toxins in the body that can really deteriorate your health. Nutrients that are usually depleted by toxins are amino acids, glycine, choline, and taurine, folic acid, B12, vitamin C, omega 3’s, and antioxidants.
Prescription and OTC Drugs
Many common drugs, both prescription and over the counter can cause nutritional deficiencies that can add to already existing health problems. Instead of healing your problem, the drug only causes more problems. Over 1,000 of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs, and many over the counter (OTC) medications, deplete one or more nutrients in humans. The annual survey of the top 200 drugs in the United States revealed that 15 out of the top 20 prescription drugs in the United States in 1999 are drugs that cause nutrient depletion. Thus, millions of people are unknowingly taking medications that deplete their bodies of essential nutrients.
These conventional drugs have many benefits and can treat a range of diseases, but they can cause side effects, the focus of this article being depletion of vital nutrients that often have key roles in the very condition they are treating.
Commonly Prescribed Drugs that Can Cause Nutritional Deficiencies
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- Estrogen replacement therapy
- Anti-hypertensive (blood pressure lowering)
- Anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen, aspirin)
- Anti-ulcer and Heartburn drugs (H2 blockers such as Prilosec, Nexium)
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Lung and cardiovascular medications
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Benzodiazepines Antibiotics
- Gout medications
- Psychiatric drugs
- Ulcer medications