Genetics, pharmaceuticals, poor food choices. So many things come into play when we look at vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Supplements are an important part of our dietary intake
Even if we eat a clean, whole food based diet, we are not getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. So, here’s the low-down on supplements and the supplement industry and why you need supplements in your diet.
Each year, US citizens spend 1.5 million on nutritional and dietary supplements. Sounds like a lot, right? Well, consider that the amount spent on prescription drugs is 300–400 million dollars each year by US citizens. Doesn’t seem like so much now, does it? The problem with supplements (or as I like to, and will, refer to them as nutraceuticals) is there is so much conflicting information out there. Our doctors tell us vitamin E is good for us and then the media says it’s dangerous. We are told to take a multivitamin but then told we do not need to. It is very confusing for my patients and all consumers and a lot of times leaving them with the decision to stop taking all vitamins and minerals. But abandoning those vitamins and minerals is not the answer.
Each of us is a biochemical organism that requires nutrients in order to function properly. Vitamins and minerals are the essential elements that assist or promote every chemical reaction in our bodies. For example, magnesium and zinc each control over 200 enzymes! Without magnesium, we could not produce energy, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction, and we could not adjust the levels of cholesterol produced and released in the blood stream. Zinc plays a key role in immune health and also is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and other micro-nutrients. Zinc is also involved in cell division, DNA synthesis, and wound healing and tissue repair. These are just two of the many key vitamins and minerals we need to function properly.
Even if we eat a whole food based diet, mass food production limits our ability to get those vital and key vitamins and minerals needed to function on a daily basis. Eating whole foods does help, but it’s not enough.
So, this is where I come in. We can now test for deficiencies by either standard blood serum tests, or functional medicine based tests where we look at vitamin and minerals, their absorption in the gut, and how they are metabolized. There is also another test that I am super excited about which is where we are studying nutritional genomics via cheek DNA swab. This is the scientific study of the relationship between genetics and nutrition. How super cool is that? It completely takes the guessing game out of which nutraceuticals are appropriate for you as an individual.
*So, our DNA can tell us which vitamins and minerals we need?
That is EXACTLY what that means. As I have stated before, we cannot change the hand that we are dealt. Our DNA, whether the best hand or not the best hand, is what makes us unique. Learning how to activate good genes and deactivate bad genes is the new way of medicine in my opinion. And this is all done by taking the proper vitamins and minerals, managing stress, and avoiding toxins. No prescription drugs, no side effects, just natural medicine. And I know I have spoken about inflammation before, but it has now been discovered that we have genes that not only turn on inflammatory responses but also genes that cannot turn them off. This is huge! I have harped on inflammation because I really do believe it is a key factor in disease.
*Are there certain vitamins and minerals we need more than others?
Yes, I do have my “go to” vitamins and minerals. Deficiencies that I have noted across the board while performing many of the blood tests and functional medicine tests are magnesium, vitamin D3 (I have yet to see a normal D3 level, most are in the teens and 20s, and we should be around 80), methylated B vitamins, zinc, and folate. It’s like building a house, you have to provide a strong foundation, and then you can add in the details depending on individual needs and functioning. Modern science allows us to properly tailor individual needs based on genes.
I handpick which type of nutraceuticals I want to prescribe for my patients, and they are the same ones myself and my family take. Often OTC supplements are loaded with fillers, toxins, and inconsistent quality. OTC supplements are often cheap forms of the vitamin or mineral and are poorly absorbed or used in the body. I use pharmaceutical grade, active form, highly absorbable products that come from only the best quality manufacturers. Sunwarrior is at the top of my list for the best supplier of healthy supplements. I incorporate Sunwarrior vitamins in my treatments because Sunwarrior has some wonderful options when it comes to daily vitamins and minerals.
Not only do they provide us with amazing organic plant-based protein, but they also provide us with quality nutraceuticals! Raw Vitamins for Her and Raw Vitamins for Him provide ample amounts of clean-sourced, plant-based essential vitamins and minerals that meet our daily needed intake. Looking for that “rush” to kick start your day? Well, guess what? Yep, Sunwarrior has that with Vitamin Mineral Rush! Highly absorbable and it’s a liquid form, so you can squirt some right in your protein shake! Vitamin Mineral Rush is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, there is no better way to jumpstart your day!
Supplements can be overwhelming, especially with so many options out there. Read labels and be sure to talk to your healthcare professional about which ones are best for YOU!