By: Dr. Michael Morsillo, Naturopathic Doctor
I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend! Weekends are always a great time to spend more time with family and have a little more fun. However, weekends are times when we are more prone to overeating, having foods we might not typically indulge in, and having a little (or a lot) more alcohol than we typically would. This brings us to the topic that I would like to discuss for today, which is nutrient deficiencies.
What do I really mean when I talk about “nutrients”? There are so many different types of nutrients. Each nutrient is found in different quantities within the body, and each is involved in carrying out different functions for the body. All nutrients are very important, but some much more than others. There are two major classes of nutrients:
- Macronutrients – this refers to our carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Micronutrients – these are our amino acids, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, etc.
It’s so important that we maintain an adequate balance of all of these nutrients so that our bodies can function optimally. The problem here is that this can actually be quite challenging when you consider that nutrient levels can be affected by all of the following:
- Dietary intake – the more we consume nutrient-poor foods, the more likely we are to develop low levels of key nutrients. Also, if our diets are very healthy, but we lack variety, we also run a greater risk of having low levels of at least a few key nutrients.
- Digestion – any issues with our digestion of foods, decreases the amount of nutrients that we are extracting from our foods.
- Absorption – assuming our dietary intake and digestion is good, any issues with absorption will ensure that several key nutrients become low over time.
- Medications – there are many medications that will deplete one or more key nutrients.
- Toxins – toxins can impair how our cells are functioning, resulting in inefficient incorporation of nutrients into the cells.
- Demand – if a nutrient is being used up excessively by the body, it’s more likely to become deficient.
- Genetics – many people have genetic alterations that change their body’s nutrient requirements.
Wow – when we consider all of these factors it’s no wonder nutrient levels play such an important role in health and disease. It’s actually much harder than we think to maintain adequate nutrient levels. That’s why, when we test for patients nutrient levels, we don’t just want to simply look at whether the levels are low.
We also have to consider WHY the nutrient is low. If we were to only focus on repleting low nutrients without giving consideration as to WHY that nutrient is low, that person will re-develop that nutrient deficiency over time.
Next week we’ll discuss testing and how we determine nutrient deficiencies, stay tuned.
Dr. Michael Morsillo, H.B.Sc., N.D.
Newmarket Naturopathic Doctor