Ok, so let’s continue going through the last five in the Top 10 Deficiencies list.
Deficiency #6: Folic Acid (B9), B6, B12 Deficiencies in B-vitamins can cause an entire host of problems, but the main issue here is anemia. Iron (last deficiency in our list here) isn’t the only thing that can cause anemia if you’re low in it. B9 or Folic Acid is important for neurological development of the fetus during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Lack of B9 can lead to neural tube defects which can cause developmental problems with the spinal cord. B6 deficiencies can lead to neuropathies in the extremeties like in the arms. And B12 deficiency causes pernicious anemia. The most common population to have B12 problems are vegetarians because the only place to find absorbable B12 is in animal products like red meat. So if you are currently following or are looking at following a vegetarian diet in the near future, just be sure and add in B12 to your supplement schedule to keep you from losing too much.
Deficiency #7: Selenium This nutrient acts as an antioxidant in the body. The primary function of an antioxidant is to travel through the body and remove any “free radicals”. Free radicals are damaging cells that occur due to improper fat breakdown or tissue damage or poor diet and they attach and destroy normal cells in the body. Antioxidants are necessary to kill of these harmful particles. Selenium has also been found to be helpful in thyroid control, cancer prevention (what mineral or vitamin isn’t!?!) and immune function. Dietary sources include: Brewer’s yeast and wheat germ, liver, butter, fish (mackerel, tuna, halibut, flounder, herring, smelts) and shellfish (oysters, scallops, and lobster), garlic, whole grains, sunflower seeds, and Brazil nuts. The amount of selenium in the soil is a large determinate of whether or not the food will have adequate selenium in it or not. The biggest thing that destroys selenium out of our food supply is processing and refining that happens in our industrialized food industry. This will cause our food to be depleted in selenium and rob us of on of the best antioxidants there are. So eating as many raw, unprocessed foods during the week as we can will help us to keep our levels up.
Deficiency #8: Zinc Enough can’t be said about all the benefits of Zinc in our diet. Zinc is important for so many things: genetic expression (your genesactually communicate better with Zinc), immune function, taste sensation, blood sugar balance, metabolic rate, and smell. Deficiencies in zinc can cause underdevelopment or growth problems in children, especially sexually. So how do you know if you’re deficient?? Well, we have a “zinc tester” at the office that is basically a bottle of liquid zinc that you put under your tongue and if you are deficient, it will taste just like water. If you have enough zinc in your system, then it tastes like awful metallic taste. So you know really quick whether you are needing to take it or not. Zinc is also really good at supporting your adrenal glands during stress and helping your body handle stress. So where do you get Zinc from?? Well, the chart on the right shows many of the foods that are richest in zinc. Most people aren’t eating all of these foods so you can also supplement with it. We really like Zinc Liver Chelate from Standard Process.
Deficiency #9: Chromium One of the worst issues with people in today’s society is a problem processing and using sugar correctly. Hypoglycemia and insulin resistance are both really big health issues that have become a real problem over the last 10 years or so. Chromium is especially important for blood sugar balancing because it directly effects what they call the Glucose Tolerance Factor (GTF). Some of the best foods to get extra chromium in is: broccoli, turkey breast, orange juice (fresh squeezed is much better), apples, bananas, green beans, raw onions, romain lettuce, and tomatoes. We also carry a protein powder in the office called “Paleomeal” that has chromium as a part of it that helps keep your blood sugar balanced during the day while on the shakes. You can check your blood sugar levels with specific blood tests (not super accurate for function) or you can also do hair analysis to check to see how your body is utilizing the sugars you are getting out of the food you are ingesting.
Deficiency #10: Iron This is probably the leading causing of anemia (microcytic hypochromic anemia) in patients we see in the office (mainly pregnant moms). Iron is the large component of your blood cells that helps in the distribution and carrying of your oxygen into the different tissues of the body. If you are low, you will not be able to distribute the oxygen as well as you should which can lead to dizziness, weakness, and inability to concentrate. Iron is also important for your immune function (again, what isn’t?!) and for energy production in the body. Iron also helps the body produce the amino acid carnitine which is essential in the breakdown and oxidation or burning of fat cells. The best way to increase your iron levels is to add it into the diet so here are some foods high in iron on the right. I’m not really high on the soybeans because it is hard to find any that are non-GMO so be careful here. Mostly, animal meat (red-meat), dairy products and swiss chard are some of the highest in iron. If you aren’t able to get enough out of your diet there are some supplements that would really help you. Ferrofood from Standard Process is a good choice since it is whole-food based. Two other iron supplements that are good are: 1. Hematinic, and 2. Fluoradix. The other thing we tell patients to take that is full of iron is Black Strap Mollasses. The main thing with supplementing is to make sure you are taking adequate levels of Vitamin C to enhance your absorption of Iron and to not take your iron with your other minerals because your body has a harder time breaking it down and using it if it is in the presence of other minerals.
So not an exhaustive list of everything people are deficient in, but these are the Top 10 that are listed online. Your goal shouldn’t be to check every single level and measure out exactly how many black eyed peas you should eat with your lunch to get your levels back to normal…that’s not how God created our bodies to work. Focusing on getting plenty of balanced meals with good whole foods and organic produce is the key. Hope this helps!