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Are you deficient in any nutrients? If you were, how would you know? Did you know that even if you eat a healthy diet, the odds are increasingly stacked against you obtaining enough nutrients from your food?
The shocking fact is nobody really knows how many people are at risk of nutrient deficiency. Until recently, the last meaningful worldwide study of nutrient status dated from over 30 years ago. In any case, it only looked at levels of anaemia, reflecting deficiency in iron or certain B vitamins.
Nutritional surveys typically look only at certain nutrients in isolation. However, one recent study found, over twenty countries including the UK, 56% of preschool children were deficient in at least one nutrient out of iron, zinc and vitamin A. Not only that, but 69% of adult women were deficient in either iron, zinc, or folate 1. In the UK, over one-third of preschool children were low in iron, with one in ten women lacking in zinc and twice this number deficient in either iron or folate.
There are many reasons why you might be deficient in one or more nutrients.
It’s worth mentioning that when the researchers looked at the nutrient levels in those preschool children and women, on average the samples examined dated from 2013. So it’s likely the percentages of people deficient in one or more nutrients will have increased, with ongoing soil nutrient depletion and increasing availability of processed foods.
While it’s possible to measure some nutrients by looking at how much are in your blood, this doesn’t always reflect what’s available to your body. This is because your body will keep your blood nutrient levels constant at the expense of other tissues. Therefore, it can be better to look at substances in your blood or urine known as markers. These give clues about your body’s metabolic processes and the biochemical pathways underpinning essential body processes which aren’t working as they should. In turn, these will indicate if your body is lacking in any nutrients which are impacting how well your body is functioning.
We will never assume all is well even if your blood nutrient levels look OK. Functional medicine practitioners are skilled at detective work and will use specialist tests to determine your personal requirements for not only essential vitamins and minerals but also other important food compounds like essential fats, antioxidants, amino acids and phytochemicals. We’ll carefully analyse your test results to see what is really happening inside your body.
Do you need personalised support for your nutrient deficiency? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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