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In this presentation, we discuss the significance of single-nutrient deficiencies in the body, and then we’ll show how critically important it is to address all of these deficiencies at the same time so we can enjoy optimum health.
Dr. Bruce Ames, one of the most recognized researchers in human nutrition, has indicated that when one input in the metabolic network is inadequate, repercussions are felt on a large number of systems and can lead to disease. Essential vitamins and minerals are vital inputs for many processes in every cell in our bodies, so when one nutrient is deficient, it can cause problems in multiple body systems and lead to chronic disease. We’ll give you an analogy to explain why vitamins and minerals are so important.
Imagine that each cell in your body includes a tiny circuit board to control its functions. In this analogy, if a particular vitamin or mineral is lacking in the cell, it’s like breaking one or more of the connections on the circuit board. You can see how this would cause serious problems, because when a vitamin or mineral is deficient, the ‘circuit board’ connections would be broken in millions of cells throughout the body, not just in one cell.
The workings of our cells are actually much more complex than any circuit board! In fact, each cell is like a tiny factory that takes raw materials and produces what our bodies need to function. In our bodies, enzymes are required to produce these raw materials, and enzymes require vitamins and minerals in order to work. So if a vitamin or mineral is deficient, it can actually halt an entire ‘assembly line’. We’ll give you one example to illustrate.
If iron is deficient, a whole network of metabolic processes are affected. This is a bad situation because this would cause two important neurotransmitters, serotonin and melatonin, to no longer be produced. Serotonin helps to keep our mood even and melatonin helps us to sleep restfully. This explains, in part, why iron deficiency leads to symptoms like feeling weak and tired, feeling grumpy, having headaches, and having a hard time concentrating or thinking. So you can see how a single nutrient deficiency can have a large effect on many systems of the body and lead to disease.
Deficiencies in multiple nutrients can have even more serious consequences on your health. For example, researchers have found that deficiencies in vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B5, B12, in minerals like magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium, boron and chromium can cause things like depression, anxiety, fatigue, mental lethargy, emotional disorders, weakness, sluggishness, poor coordination, and decreased mental alertness. So deficiencies of many different minerals and vitamins can cause significant and serious effects on body systems.
Decades ago the surgeon general indicated that “it has long been known that optimal health depends upon…adequate nutrition.” What we show you in Part 2 (the Analogy of the Dam) will help you understand what this important statement really means.