Even with the most perfect, natural diet, vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can still occur. Because of the way food is grown in our modern world, soil tends to be depleted of many nutrients that are necessary for optimal health.
We require approximately 40 micronutrients for our bodies to function properly, and our bodies can’t manufacture a lot of these nutrients on their own.
Inadequate micronutrient levels are known to contribute to increased rates of illness. (1,3) Micronutrient deficiencies are associated with cardiovascular disease, cancer, weight problems, cognitive issues, and a weakened immune system. (3)
Common nutrient deficiencies in the U.S. include: magnesium, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, vitamin A, calcium, and folate. People who follow vegetarian, vegan, or calorie-restricted diets are more prone to micronutrient deficiencies.
The elderly, those who smoke, those who have undergone gastric or bariatric surgery, those who have gastrointestinal conditions such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis, and those who are recovering from illnesses are also more at risk for deficiencies. (2) However, even if none of the above apply to you, you may still have vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
How can you know for sure what nutrient deficiencies you may have?
Here at Spark Health, we use blood tests to measure your levels of micronutrients.
We are able to test levels of nutrients that are in the blood, and we are also able to test how well your cells are utilizing vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, and antioxidants.
After gathering information about what nutrients you are deficient in, we are able to make personalized recommendations for dietary changes, lifestyle changes, supplements, shots, or IV therapy.
One way to reduce your risk of micronutrient deficiencies is to dramatically increase the amount of nutrient-dense foods in the diet.
Decreasing the consumption of processed foods and increasing consumption of whole foods will help to support healthy micronutrient levels.
For example, if you are looking to get more magnesium in the diet, you may want to increase your consumption of spinach or nuts, and to get more B12 in the diet, you may want to increase your consumption of pastured eggs and grass fed beef.
Whenever possible, choose organic versions of fruits and vegetables, and if you have access to farmers markets, you will be able to get produce that has been harvested more recently, which increases the amount of micronutrients are in the produce.
Most produce that is found in the supermarket is picked before its prime, and is transported on boats and trucks for days and sometimes weeks before consumption. It’s best to choose a variety of different colors of fruits and vegetables in order to improve the variety of nutrients you receive.
Avoiding Nutrient Killers
Another way to increase nutrient levels is to avoid certain substances that are known to drive down the levels in the body: caffeine, alcohol, and sugar.
Caffeine tends to bind iron and certain minerals, and can be dehydrating and depleting. Alcohol has a tendency to reduce our levels of digestive enzymes, leaving us depleted of certain vitamins like B1 (thiamine).
One serving of refined sugar has been shown to increase urinary excretion of calcium, and is also known to deplete vitamin C, vitamin D and chromium levels in the body. (4)
When diet isn’t enough to bring micronutrient levels up, we may employ other natural solutions. Here at Spark Health in Solana Beach, our team of naturopathic doctors are experts in providing nutrient supplementation orally, via intramuscular injections (shots), or through nutrient IVs.
We can deliver concentrated levels vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and amino acids directly into the bloodstream through an IV. With certain nutrients, IV vitamin therapy provides up to 10 times the absorption of oral supplementation.
By administering the nutrients directly into the bloodstream, our cells are able to effectively metabolize the nutrients they require for optimal function and healing. We can create a customized IV vitamin bag based on your own personal blood test results and unique vitamin and nutrient needs!
For more information about micronutrient testing and personalized IV therapy, call Spark Health today at (858) 228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com . Spark Health is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!
` The Spark Team
- Black, R.E. Micronutrient deficiency – an underlying cause of morbidity and mortality.Bull World Health Organ. 2003;81(2):79
- Shankar, P, Boylan, M, Sriram, K. Micronutrient deficiencies after bariatric surgery.Nutrition 2010; 26: 1031–1037.
- Ames, B.N. Micronutrient Deficiencies A Major Cause of DNA Damage. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1999.
- Hudson, Tori. Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2008. pp 237-266