Thursday, March 31, 2016

Being low in these can kill you

I’ve often been asked what the most important nutrients are to which I typically respond, “All of them.”

Nature didn’t create anything by accident, and all nutrients serve a very valid role in your health (and life).

But alas, there are three of them that stand apart from the others…because being without them is not only NOT a good idea, but it can be deadly.

And the scary thing is, these also happen to be very common deficiencies.

Here are the 3 top important, life-saving nutrients:

Vitamin D
Most people associate vitamin D with strong bones, but that’s just the beginning.

Vitamin D also helps prevent excessive, inflammatory immune responses such as those seen in autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s, colitis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Type 1 diabetes and Graves’ disease.

It lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes by regulating calcium in your bloodstream, which in turn encourages healthy glucose and insulin levels.

It protects you against cancer too.  Studies show vitamin D acts to decrease the growth of cancer cells and to stimulate the death of those deadly cells!

And its anti-inflammatory properties also decrease your risk of heart disease.  Arterial inflammation is a leading contributing factor to high blood pressure, arterial damage, atherosclerosis and ultimately heart disease, and vitamin D helps counteract that process.

Why deficiency is common:  Because we avoid the sun due to fears of skin cancer, and exposure to sunlight is how your body makes vitamin D.

Plus the fact that statins are in line to become our fifth food group doesn’t help either.  Your body needs cholesterol to manufacture vitamin D, so shutting down your liver’s ability to make cholesterol creates vitamin D deficiency.

How to help:  Get reasonable exposure to the sun without sunscreen—20 minutes or so can make a big difference.  Reconsider your use of statins—talk to your doctor about other ways to counteract high cholesterol like fish oil (more on that below).  Supplement with a high-quality vitamin D formula that also contains vitamin K.

Magnesium supports healthy bone growth, so deficiency can be just as much of an osteoporosis concern as calcium although most people don’t know that, thanks to the Dairy Council’s marketing efforts to push calcium.

It works with calcium to regulate your heartbeat and is a natural muscle relaxant.  So being low in it can cause irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, tremors, cramps, twitching and even convulsions.

Magnesium deficiency is also associated with elevated levels of a compound called C-reactive protein, which is a marker of chronic inflammation and can increase your risk of heart disease.

Being low in magnesium can also lead to blood calcium buildup and ultimately gallstones, joint degeneration and bone spurs, kidney stones and atherosclerosis.

Magnesium is critical for nervous system activation and proper cell energy production—so lacking in it can cause chronic fatigue.

Plus it’s needed to produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin—so it’s no surprise magnesium deficiency is common in people with depression.

Why deficiency is common: Poor soil conditions have led to decreased magnesium content in our crops.  Plus our heavy reliance on nutrient-poor processed and fast foods has created the widespread deficiency.

How to help: Get more food sources of magnesium like meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, and oats.  Consider supplementation with a top-notch multi-vitamin and mineral formula that contains magnesium.

Omega-3 essential fatty acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids support cardiovascular health by helping to keep artery walls flexible, reduce the process of plaque growth, promote healthier triglyceride and cholesterol levels, prevent blood clotting and encourage a stable heart rhythm and lower blood pressure.

They also support brain health and are essential to learning and memory. Your brain is especially rich in Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), and this crucial fat helps to strengthen the fatty membrane around your nerve cells.

Research also shows that Omega-3 fatty acids act to reduce inflammation and help lower your risk of chronic diseases including cancer and arthritis.
Deficiencies in Omega-3 EFAs have been linked to heart disease, Alzheimer's, joint problems, depression, inflammation, vision loss, and other chronic conditions.

Why deficiency is common: Our shift from pasture-fed to grain-fed animals being raised for our consumption has dramatically decreased the Omega-3 EFA content of our foods.  Plus the increasingly common farm-raised fish that is available in our stores have a lower Omega-3 content than the less common wild-caught varieties.

How to help: Choose organic, grass-fed meats, eggs, and milk whenever possible, and look for wild-caught fish.  Supplement with a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil formula to ensure your body has adequate levels of this vital nutrient.


  1. Sherry, thanks for yet another word of wisdom. I was wondering though if taking synthetic Vitamin D can cause hypervitaminosis (even if the manufacturers' guidance is not exceeded) and thus mess up our calcium metabolism?

    Your faithful follower.

    1. Thanks so much for reading! Generally speaking, as long as the recommended dosage is not exceeded, Vitamin D toxicity is usually not a concern. Larger doses should only be considered when under the care of a physician, as Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and can accumulate in the body.

      If someone is taking in a lot of Vitamin D-rich foods and/or getting adequate sunlight to allow their body to manufacture Vitamin D, supplementation can be tapered back accordingly.

      It’s wise to have your Vitamin D levels tested by a doctor to see where you’re starting from and after supplementation is in place to see where you stand.

      I hope this helps you! Have an amazing weekend!

  2. Thank you Sherry most interesting

  3. What is the recommended dose of Magnesium in our diets?

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