Why We Are Getting Fewer Nutrients

What are nutrients?
There are two types of nutrients. Macronutrients include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals found in dietary sources that fuel proper body functioning, such as vitamins A, C, B12, D, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Why is it most of us don’t get enough nutrients?
Reason #1:
We eat empty calories (foods that contain little nutritional value), such as: Heavily Processed Foods, Baked Goods, Soda, Candy, and Desserts.
Reason #2:
Most people don’t know that many aspects of daily living can increase the level of nutrients your body needs, accelerate nutrient losses, or impair proper nutrient absorption. These include:

Antacids
Certain antacids might block the absorption of nutrients such as calcium or iron. Longterm antacid use in some cases has been associated with nutritional deficiencies.

Caffeine
The tannins in coffee and tea can interfere with absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. Because caffeine has a diuretic action, it also might deplete nutrients such as vitamin B6. Caffeine can also increase emotional stress (see Emotional Stress below), increase cravings for unhealthy foods, and cause heartburn (see Antacids above).

Surgery
Recovery from surgery (like any illness or injury) requires additional nutrients, such as protein and antioxidants. Some surgical procedures (gastric bypass, intestinal resection) can also permanently affect dietary absorption of important nutrients such as vitamin B12.

Pregnancy
Mothers need additional nutrients such as folic acid in pregnancy. Nutritional deficiencies may force the mother and fetus to compete for nutrients and might lead to complications for either or both. Nutrient depletion also sets the stage for post-partum ailments such as depression.

Influenza (the Flu)
A body depleted of nutrients not only makes a better host for infectious diseases like the flu but also increases the body’s need for antioxidants (E, C, beta carotene) found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts. A healthy balance of intestinal bacteria also positively influences the body’s immune system and can be fostered by a healthy diet and probiotics.

Emotional Stress
In addition to physical stress, the body might encounter increased nutritional needs (like vitamin C) due to emotional stress—which can also cause unhealthy eating. And a poor diet—lacking in protein, Essential Fatty Acids, and key vitamins—on its own can be the cause of emotional stress. Stress also restricts the body’s flow of blood (which carries nutrients) by tightening muscles.

Prescription/OTC Drugs
Corticosteroids can inhibit calcium absorption, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy can deplete B vitamins, statin medications can deplete essential CoQ10, and certain weight loss drugs or “fat blockers” can reduce the absorption of other nutrients—just to name a few. Plus, some foods and nutritional supplements should be taken separately from certain medications.

Vitamins that Can Help with Weight Loss and Management

Below is a list of vitamins that was provided by SpectraCell Laboratories that can help with weight management.

Asparagine – The amino acid increases insulin sensitivity which helps the body store energy Weight management in muscle instead of storing it as body fat.

Biotin – Boosts metabolism by improving glycemic control (stabilizes blood sugar) and lowering insulin, a hormone that promotes fat formation.

Carnitine – Carries fatty acids into the cell so they can be burned for fuel; Helps reduce visceral adiposity (belly fat).

Calcium – Inhibits the formation of fat cells; Also helps oxidize (burn) fat cells.

Lipoic Acid – Improves glucose uptake into cells, which helps a person burn carbohydrates more efficiently.

Chromium – Makes the body more sensitive to insulin, helping to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle.

Vitamin B5 – Taking B5 lowers body weight by activating lipoprotein lipases, an enzyme that burns fat cells.  One study linked B5 supplementation to less hunger when dieting.

Magnesium – Low magnesium in cells impairs a person’s ability to use glucose for fuel, instead of storing it as fat; Correcting a magnesium deficiency stimulates metabolism by increasing insulin sensitivity.  Magnesium may also inhibit fat absorption.

Glutamine – Reduces fat mass by improving glucose uptake into muscle.

Cysteine – Supplementation with this antioxidant reduced body fat in obese patients.

Inositol – Supplementation may increase adiponectin levels.

Vitamin B3(Niacin) – Treatment with B3 increases adiponectin, a weight-loss hormone secreted by fat cells; Niacin-bound chromium supplements helped reduced body weight in clinical trials.

Vitamin A – Enhances expression of genes that reduce a person’s tendency to store food as fat; Reduces the size of fat cells.

Vitamin E – Inhibits pre-fat cells from changing into mature fat cells, thus reducing body fat.

Vitamin D – Deficiency strongly linked to poor metabolism of carbohydrates; Genes that are regulated by vitamin D may alter the way fat cells form in some people.

Vitamin K – Poor vitamin K status linked to excess fat tissue; Vitamin K helps metabolize sugars.

Zinc – Deficiency of zinc reduces leptin, a beneficial hormone that regulates appetite, which is reversed by zinc repletion.

FirstLine Therapy® is a Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) program that can enhance your health and prevent disease.   FirstLine Therapy® is about making choices every day that will enable you to achieve a long, full, and healthy life. Contact one of our FirstLine Therapy Lifestyle Counselors at Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine in Chicago.

Comprehensive Center for Women’s Medicine is located at 1 East Delaware Place, Suite 501, Chicago, Illinois 60611. Phone: 773.435.1150, Website: http://ccwm.com