Strange as it sounds, malnutrition is common in modern society, not caused by starvation of calories but rather a lack of nutrients found in many products that masquerade as food. If you are not buying the majority of your food locally grown by small farms, much of your food is being transported long distances meaning it is likely exposed to a myriad of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in preparation for travel, premature picking and many processing and refinement practices that leave many foods devoid of nutrients as industry by-products are marketed as food rather than discarded as waste. While manufacturers will attempt to fortify the refined products with chemical derived substitutes for naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, most people understand that chemicals are not a viable replacement for the real thing.
The highest source of minerals comes through fresh ripe whole vegetables and the number one source of all vitamins on the planet comes from 100% fresh ripe whole fruits. Consuming these foods in their natural state maximizes your chances to receive optimal nutrition. As much as it would be great if everyone enjoyed the benefits from eating a 100% fresh whole foods diet, that remains the small exception of the population. If you are feeling anything less than ideal, it is possible you may not be getting all of the nutrients your body needs to operate optimally. Vitamins and minerals help your body perform vital roles, from automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, temperature regulation, hormone production etcetera to deliberate functions such as thinking, reasoning, walking, running, exercising, etc. Symptoms of inadequate nutrition can vary greatly depending on the minerals or vitamins that might be deficient but such symptoms can predispose serious disease. For instance if your immune system is not getting the nutrients it needs, it will not be successful at keeping foreign invaders at bay.
The human body has an amazing ability to adapt. When its nutrient requirements are not met, your body will compensate for dietary inadequacies by resorting to reserves within the body itself to draw upon those necessary nutrients It is after those reservoirs, whether tissue or bone, get depleted that the blood is likely to show deficient levels. At this stage, the body is seriously compromised. This is not to encourage you to take a daily supplement without first investigating your own nutritional profile and consulting with a medical professional. If not needed, supplements can actually cause confusion in your body, in the case of a calcium supplement for example, your own bones may leech calcium to compensate for the extra calcium you are ingesting creating a potentially precarious situation. This is merely one example of many where supplementation may actually do more harm than good.
Rather than trying to prevent depletion through a daily supplement, you might instead predict how you are doing with meeting your nutritional needs before a depletion happens. Many online sites allow you to look at the nutrient breakdown of virtually every food. An excellent free online program called cronometer actually helps you to monitor your nutritional intake, tracking not only macro-nutrients (calories from protein, fat and carbohydrates) but micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals). If over an extended interval of time you are deficient in a particular nutrient you might reason that eventually it will show up as a deficiency in your body often creating an uncomfortable symptom that urges you to go for a check up. At this advanced stage, your doctor will likely order a SMAC panel, a common blood test that reveals deficiencies in the blood. Be aware that nutritional absorption can vary from person to person based upon levels of personal wellness so while your diet might be rich in a particular nutrient, your body still might show as deficient. Your doctor will likely be able to determine if your ability to absorb certain nutrients is compromised. That being said, with the body’s innate ability to repair itself, sometimes supplementation can be used to bridge a gap when someone is transitioning to a healthier way of living until the body heals, other times the supplementation might be required for a longer interval especially if the impairment is permanent. While getting nutrients from natural food sources is always preferred, there is likely to be a time in most everyone’s life where supplementation may be helpful. Liquid supplementation can restore the reservoirs of the body in the event of any nutrient depletion and are generally more bio-available with less extraneous ingredients.
If you are concerned you might have a deficiency, you might explore your nutritional profile through cronometer or similar programs to assess your nutrient intake. If it shows a depletion in your diet, you can make some changes and see if you don’t notice an improvement. If after a month, dietary changes are not helping, you might not be absorbing certain nutrients. You might consult with a professional health care provider to determine if supplementation (ideally liquid) might be beneficial for you.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.
Please seek the advice of a professional qualified health professional before making any dietary changes or considering a supplementation program. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. Foods are not drugs and are not intended to diagnose or treat any condition.