Can You Identify and Correct Your Nutritional Deficiencies?

Minerals Continued: Are You Deficient?

Odds are, something in your nutrition plan is off. You may think you’re eating clean, wholesome, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding the “bad stuff,” but more than 50% of our society is deficient in two or more vitamins and minerals. Many people think, feel, or even visually see that something is “off” when it comes to their progress (gym or dieting efforts) but most don’t stop to take a look at underlying nutritional needs and figuring out simply if the body just needs a few more minerals to help make the difference that so many are looking to find.

Often, people struggle with how they look and feel because their physiology doesn’t work the way it should. This can be hormonal imbalances, but it’s more often dietary deficiency: not getting the right nutrients, in the right amounts, to get the best results. Dietary deficiencies, therefore, are the first red flag that something’s wrong. Dr. John Berardi

Deficiencies-graph
John Berardi, Precision Nutrition, How to Fix a Broken Diet

In our last Strongfigure post, we wrote about the nine minerals in which many people in our society may suffer from a deficiency. We outlined the first four: calcium, chromium, copper, and iodine; and now would like to expand on the last five.

Are you deficient?

5. Iron

Iron is found within hundreds of enzymes and proteins within the body, and about 66% of iron found in the body is connected to hemoglobin (what happens when iron combines with protein and copper). Iron helps create muscle protein, delivers oxygen to the cells in the body, helps with energy production, aids in DNA synthesis, helps the body heal, fight infection, and even helps with growth and reproduction.

Could You Have an Iron Deficiency? Check out these symptoms:

  • Brittle nails
  • Cognitive problems
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing during exertion
  • Fatigue
  • Low red blood cell count, low hematocrit, and low hemoglobin
  • Pale skin
  • Susceptible to infections

People who drink a lot of coffee and tea, have low levels of hydrochloric acid, high levels of phosphorus, as well as menstruating females are all susceptible to an iron deficiency.

Those with infections, ulcers, leukemia, restless leg syndrome, or who have colitis, eat a lot of soy, or drink a log of coffee, tea, or wine typically need more iron than others.

The RDA suggests individuals have 8 mg of iron per day. If you think you may be deficient, a doctor can perform a series of tests for you to be sure.

Warning! If you think you may be low on iron, don’t over-supplement! Iron can accumulate in the body and become toxic. Those with toxic amounts of iron in their systems may have gray-ish skin, become severely out of breath, develop headaches, lose weight and may experience dizziness.

How do you get more iron into your diet? 

  • Backstrap molasses
  • Beef, liver, tongue, chicken and dark meatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • Cashews
  • Leafy green veggies
  • Legumes
  • Oysters, shrimp, and tuna
  • Potatoes
  • Prune juice
  • Raisins
  • Tofu

6. Magnesium

Magnesium supports over 100 enzymes and over 300 metabolic reactions in the body. It aids protein synthesis, transports potassium and calcium, helps wounds heal, aids DNA and RNA synthesis, regulates acid-base balance and keeps pH constant, activates enzymes for carb metabolism and amino acid metabolism, helps absorb and metabolize potassium, sodium, calcium, ad phosphorus, helps the heart function keep its normal rhythm, regulates body temperature, enhances bone growth, and much much more!

Could You Have a Magnesium Deficiency? Check out these symptoms:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Confusion and irritability, as well as apprehnsiveness combined with personality changes
  • Formation of clots in blood
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Eclampsia, pre-eclampsia, and painful contractions and swelling at the end of pregnancy
  • Hard of hearing
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistant
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Muscle twitches, spasms, and tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stroke

People who are elderly, diabetic, alcoholics; and those who suffer from chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, prolonged diarrhea, malabsorption syndrome, cirrhosis of the liver, have GI disorders, eat a high carb diet, use diuretics long term, or suffer from protein malnutrition, kidney disorders, vomiting, and intestinal inflammation from radiation may be susceptible to a magnesium deficiency.

People who need more magnesium are those who may have had a stroke, have had kidney stones, premature babies, need hard tooth enamel, suffer from migraines, nervousness, asthma, high cholesterol, and are polio patients, have had heart surgery, and need antacids.

The RDA suggests that we need 310-400 mg per day. If you think you’re at risk for a deficiency, your doctor can perform a red blood cell magnesium test.

How do you get more magnesium into your diet? photo_31727_20140509

  • Almonds
  • Beef, poultry, and eggs
  • Cereals
  • Cheese
  • Fish
  • Lentils, seeds, and peanuts

7. Phosphorus

Phosphorus is awesome: it’s the mineral that helps give you enough energy to last your day! Phosphorus is one of the most important components of cell membranes, is found in the teeth and bones, and is the second most abundant mineral found in the body aside from calcium. It helps your body utilize macros, stimulates muscle and heart contractions, helps the hormones, digestive system, kidney functioning, skeletal growth, and cell and nerve signaling. Phosphorus helps the cells in your body both grow and repair, and even helps transport fats in the body.

Could You Have a Phosphorus Deficiency? Check out these symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Appetite loss
  • Arthritis
  • Bad teeth
  • Bone pain, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking
  • Nervous disorders
  • Numbness in extremeties
  • Osteoperosis
  • Physical and mental fatigue
  • Respiratory failure
  • Rickets in children, as well as stunted growth

People with a phosphorus deficiency are those who typically have a Vitamin D and/or calcium deficiency, those with high iron, aluminum, and magnesium levels, and those who consume a high-sugar or high fat diet. Typically, pregnant and lactating females need more phosphorus, as well as individuals with bone fractures.

The RDA suggests that we need 700 mg per day. If you think you’re at risk for a deficiency, your doctor can perform a blood test.

How do you get more phosphorus into your diet?photo_30994_20140316 

  • Almonds and seeds
  • Beef, Poultry, and Eggs
  • Cereal
  • Cheese
  • Fish, especially salmon and halibut
  • Lentils and Peanuts

8. Selenium

Selenium is a mineral that helps prevent aging. Sign me up! It preserves the elasticity of your tissues and is found in 25 different proteins, three of which that are incredibly important for your thyroid–in which it helps regulate metabolism and the thyroid gland functions.

Selenium is also important for reproduction and body growth, increasing energy levels, insures an adequate oxygen supply, and functions as an antioxidant. It detoxifies heavy metals and helps remove them from the body, it produces prostaglandins which alter blood pressure, and it even protects immature sperm cells from dying.

Could You Have a Selenium Deficiency? Check out these symptoms:

People with selenium deficiencies show signs of premature aging, have issues with infertility and sperm that cannot move, may have enlarged hearts, muscular weakness and/or wasting, the inability to detoxify heavy metals, or suffer from cancer or crib death.

Those who have had any exposure to heavy metals, receiving total parenteral nutrition, suffer GI conditions, Crohn’s disease, or who have had bariatric surgery may be most susceptible to a selenium deficiency. And people who have cancer, HIV, sepsis, an immune system dysfunction, or with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis typically need more selenium than most.

The RDA suggests that we need 55 mcg per day. If you think you’re at risk for a deficiency, your doctor can perform a blood or hair test.

photo_11767_20090614How do you get more selenium into your diet? 

  • Beef, Pork, Chicken,
  • Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds
  • Clams, crabs, halibut, shrimp, oysters, tuna
  • Dairy products
  • Garlic
  • Rice and brewer’s yeast

9. Zinc

Zinc is actually a mineral that is only needed in small quantities. It helps the body absorb B vitamins, aids in digestion and metabolism, helps wounds and burns heal, maintains reproductive organ growth, helps degrade alcohol, and digest carbs.

Could You Have a Zinc Deficiency? Check out these symptoms:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Body odor
  • Cancer
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Fainting tendencies
  • Fatigue
  • Impaird growth or dwarfism
  • Infertility/sterility problems or pregnancy complications
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor circulations
  • Problems staying alert
  • Skin rashes
  • Stretch marks
  • Susceptible to infections and impaired wound healing
  • Vision problems

People who may be susceptible to having a zinc deficiency are those who eat a high grain and/or high calcium diet, alcoholics, vegetarians, suffer from liver disease, have malabsorption issues, have had heart attacks, have ulcers, kidney disease, both the elderly and children, pregnant and lactating females, diabetics, those taking penicillamine.

And people who have high levels of stress in their lives, who have atherosclerosis, have skin wounds, vision problems, HIV/AIDS, malaria, pneumonia, diarrhea, high cadmium levels and those who are alcoholic all may need more zinc than others.

The RDA suggest 8-11mg of zinc per day. If you think you have a zinc deficiency, your doctor can perform a blood test.

How do you get more zinc in your diet? Delicious Steak

  • Beef, chicken, eggs, pork
  • Black beans and baked beans
  • Cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Chickpeas and peanuts
  • Milk
  • Oysters and crab
  • Wheat bran and wheat germ
  • Yogurt

Are you ready to boost your health? Check out our list of the TOP 18 foods that will help ensure you’re getting more minerals into your diet each day.

Strongfigure’s Top 18 Mineral Packed Food Items to Add to Your Grocery List

REMINDER!
The purpose of this article is help you realize how important is to eat a wide variety of foods to ensure better all-around health. Supplementation can be tricky and sometimes even dangerous. I strongly encourage you to work with a practitioner who is familiar with mineral supplementing and can help you supplement correctly if you think you need to start supplementing with one or more mineral.

Resources:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/fix-a-broken-diet

Expert Rating Doctors and Publishers in Holistic Nutrition

  • Weston A. Price, DDS and the Weston A. Price Foundation
  • Jeffrey Smith
  • Geoff Lawton
  • Robert Lustig, M.D.
  • Cherie Calbom
  • Dr. Donna Schwontkowski

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And don’t forget to check out Strongfigure’s latest guest post on the whiteboard: Why We Pay What We Pay for CrossFit!