Updated: Jun 18
This is where it gets tricky. Just because you’re consuming a nutrient-dense meal doesn’t mean your body is actually absorbing them. It sounds crazy and can be quite complicated, but many of our clients fall victim to this one as well. They feel they’re getting all the nutrients they need from nutritious food and supplements, but the results from their SpectraCell micronutrient test reveal differently.
I’d love to say there’s one reason for your body not absorbing nutrients, but there are quite a few and as you’d imagine, it can be quite complicated. However, our friends Dr. Jayson and Mira Calton provide a terrific explanation.
You can eat a diet rich in vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) in order to increase your chances of micronutrient sufficiency. However, that is the additional part of the equation. The part where you are adding in all the micronutrients to see how close you are to reaching a micronutrient-sufficient state. Unfortunately, the equation doesn’t end there. You see, throughout the day there is a sneaky little thing called “real life” that happens to each and every one of us. And life takes its toll—unfortunately the currency demanded are your vitamins and minerals. Your daily habits, including your personal dietary philosophy, act as Everyday Micronutrient Depleters (EMDs), subtracting the vitamins and minerals you thought you could count on, often unexpectedly leaving you further away from meeting your goal of micronutrient sufficiency.
Here are seven of the most common lifestyle habits that deplete your micronutrients:
Your Dietary Philosophy – Regardless of what dietary philosophy you may be following, be it the standard American diet (SAD), or a gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, Paleo, Primal, low-carb, low-fat, low- calorie, or surgically induced diet, such as lap band or gastric bypass, there are inherent micronutrient deficiencies associated with each.
Stress – In times of stress, certain metabolic reactions occur that cause certain micronutrients to be used up at a faster rate by the body. The water-soluble micronutrients—such as the B vitamins, vitamin C, and all of the minerals—are generally excreted at a faster rate during stress. Additionally, research shows that omega-3 fatty acids can play a key role in keeping stress at bay.
Exercise – While we highly advocate exercise, studies show that the intensity and the duration of the exercise you perform directly correlates to the amount of micronutrients your body utilizes. Because many essential vitamins and minerals play key roles in energy metabolism, the utilization rate of these micronutrients may be increased by up to 20 to 100 times the resting rate during intense physical activity.
Smoking and Air Pollution – Cigarette smoke causes a rapid depletion of vitamins A, C, and E and cigarette smoke itself is an oxidant that creates unhealthy free radicals. Poor air quality is another daily habit that can negatively affect those living in large cities. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at least 20,000 premature deaths occur every year in the United States due to air pollution. Globally, this number may exceed 500,000 per year.
Prescription Medications – The micronutrient depletion caused by prescription drugs is well-documented. The simple act of taking a prescription medication robs you of specific micronutrients, and these depletions are thought to cause up to 30 percent of all pharmaceutical side effects. In other words, your prescription medication may be an “antimicronutrient pill,” depleting your essential micronutrients without you even knowing it.
Over-The-Counter (OTC) Medications – Just because the pills you pop are purchased over-the-counter at a drugstore doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. Non-prescription OTC medications—such as aspirin, acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antacids, laxatives, and H2 blockers (found in heartburn medications)—may seem harmless, but they also work to deplete your vital micronutrients in ways you likely have not imagined.
Toxic Load caused by environmental heavy metals & household toxic products – Many household products (including perfumes, room deodorizers, detergents, dryer sheets, shampoo, makeup, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, plastic storage containers and non-stick pans) contain toxic ingredients. You micronutrients, specifically the antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E, and alpha-lipoic acid) as well as magnesium, selenium, and zinc, work as the body’s natural detoxifiers, affecting both the absorption and excretion of toxic contaminants. Additionally, heavy metals also found in foods (see the list here) also utilize your vitamins and minerals for detoxification. The higher your toxic load the faster your body will utilize its essential micronutrients.
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