How to eat your way to optimal health
What He Didn’t Know
Mateo was sick and tired of always feeling sick and tired. Up until about a year ago, he’d always enjoyed an active lifestyle. On the weekends he was always biking or hiking the trails with his beloved mutt, Luna. When he was home, he’d be outside his home doing yard work or shooting hoops with his friends when they dropped by. But lately, his body seems to be in a revolt against him.
He has little desire or energy to do anything. He says he feels fatigued and can’t concentrate. He’s lost some of his physical strength, too. It can’t be signs of aging, can it? He’s only 37. He’s also worried about the numbness he sometimes has in his feet and hands.
Long story short, Mateo saw his naturopathic doctor and learned that the big changes he had made in his diet were to blame, even after his medical doctor told him that his lab work was normal. All his symptoms stemmed from not having the right fuel in the tank. He was relieved to find out that he could proactively take charge of his health and heal himself.
He had no idea that the body can heal itself and was grateful to find someone to guide him in the process of self healing. Not only can micronutrients improve your wellness, but they can also repair your DNA.
The Role of Micronutrients
Micronutrients, or micros for short, refers to the 13 vitamins and 16 minerals your body needs to function properly. Your body doesn’t need them in as large amounts as macronutrients-which are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. So they are called micronutrients. Even though the body requires less of them, they are still essential for good health.
Micronutrients, like macronutrients, make up the fuel for your body’s engine–your metabolism. The food you eat is the fuel you give to your body. Your metabolism breaks food down and takes nutrients from it to every organ in your body.
These are the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function properly.
|A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9) and cyanocobalamin (B12)||calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, fluoride, iron, iodine, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, sulfur, and zinc|
You need micronutrients to keep your body running like a new car. They’re working to synthesize bone and muscle tissues. They help to transfer hormones that act as signals throughout the body. They are responsible for every chemical process within the body.
The Result of Micronutrient Deficiency
You may not notice it right away but sooner or later nutrient deficiency will catch up with you. Because your body uses the food you eat as fuel. You need high-quality food in the tank to make all the complex systems in your body work. Eating an unhealthy diet impairs your organ’s ability to function properly. When that happens, it creates a ripple effect throughout the interconnected systems of the body—including metabolism that many are unaware because of the subtlety of the symptoms.
For example, nutritional researcher Sonja Y. Hess PhD states that, “Inadequate intake of iodine impairs thyroid function and results in a spectrum of disorders. Other common deficiencies of micronutrients such as iron, selenium, vitamin A, and possibly zinc may interact with iodine nutrition and thyroid function.”1 This point is important to understand because the thyroid is key to metabolic health and dependent on micronutrients.
Let’s consider Mateo’s symptoms again and the possible nutrient deficiencies involved – fatigue, muscle weakness, and numbness of his hands and feet. It is important to know that the cause is complex, but for the purpose of this article we will focus on just nutrient deficiencies.
- Muscle weakness can be caused by lack of vitamin D2
- Fatigue can be caused by lack of magnesium, iron or potassium minerals and vitamins D, B-123
- Numbness of the hands and feet is linked to deficiencies of vitamins E, B1, B-6, B-12 and niacin4
Micronutrient deficiency can also mimic radiation (or chemicals) causing single-strand and double-strand breaks in your DNA which over time could lead to cancer.5 Micronutrient deficiency affects your metabolic health. So how can you tell if you’re deficient of vitamins and minerals?
Common Symptoms of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
There are many symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Some of the more common signs to look for are-
- Digestion problems
- Mood/mental health problems
- Low immunity
- Lethargic/low energy
- Pale skin
- Mouth sores
- Acne or bumps on upper arms
- Ridges on nails
- Hair loss
- Slow healing of wounds
- Numbness in fingers and toes
- Muscle weakness
- Poor balance
- Muscle contractions and cramps
- Abnormal heart rhythms
- Restless leg syndrome
- Shortness of breath
- Unsteady movements
- Mental confusion, forgetfulness
If you have these symptoms or think you may have a deficiency, talk to your doctor. Often they can tell you exactly what micronutrients you’re missing based on your symptoms alone.
Repair Your DNA With Micronutrients
There’s good news! Your body can repair itself when you begin to eat well-balanced meals consistently. Studies show that consuming the right foods can stop the effects of free radicals that cause cell damage and illness.6 Starting today, make a change in your diet. You want your engine fueled properly so it runs smoothly. If you eat well, you feel well.
Niacin (B-3) contributes to the repair of your DNA.7 You can find niacin in peanuts, avocados, brown rice, legumes, potatoes, and mushrooms. If you eat meat you can also add salmon, tuna, turkey to your diet.
Antioxidants such as carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols. vitamins C and E, interrupt the chain reaction of oxidation which damages DNA.8 All of these micronutrients can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables. So eat five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Berries, mangos, citrus fruits, carrots, beets, broccoli, and leafy greens are just a few choices.
The next time you go to the grocery store, take more time to explore the produce section, these foods repair your DNA. There are plenty of healthy choices and you’re bound to find foods you love. If you don’t know how to prepare certain foods, just ask. At Holistic Family Practice we offer several classes to help you on your wellness journey. From what to cook when you’re in a hurry, to foods that heal, to nutrition classes, we got you covered.
Let’s be real. You can’t win a car race if you are driving a clunker with low octane gas and in need of a transmission flush. And you can’t enjoy metabolic health if you’re eating low-quality food. But you can turn your health around if you repair your DNA!
- Change your eating habits. I know you’re tired of hearing it, but you have to eat balanced meals. There is no way to have good health without it. Eating more fruits and veggies is associated with a lower risk of degenerative diseases—including cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and brain dysfunction.5
- Take supplements. Micronutrient supplements reduce your vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You have to take supplements for an adequate period of time.6 However, you should not take them forever–just until your body recovers. They are not an alternative to healthy eating. Consult your naturopathic doctor to learn which supplements are right for you and how long you should take them.
- Knowledge is power—so join one of our classes. Learn more about nutrition, meal planning, and how to choose foods that are best for your unique needs. Whatever your need is, we’ll help find the right class for you.
Turning your health around is possible—and I’m here to help. By giving you the tools you need to repair your DNA, I help you make a lasting change in your life. Ready to take the next step? Schedule an appointment here, or give me a call.
1. “The impact of common micronutrient deficiencies on iodine…” https://www.sciencedirest.com/siciene/article/abs/pii/S1521690001005?via%3Dihub
2. “Vitamin D Deficiency: Symptoms & Treatment – Cleveland Clinic.”
3. “Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and cognition: A…” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019700
4. “Nutritional Neuropathies – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4199287/.
5. “Micronutrient deficiencies. A major cause of DNA damage..” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10668486
6. “Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on ….” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
7. “9 Science-Based Benefits of Niacin (Vitamin B3) – Healthline.” 26 Nov. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/niacin-benefits
8. “Exogenous antioxidants—Double-edged swords in cellular ….” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2952083/