Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Vitamins and Nutrients


Vitamins fall into two general categories: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins are found mainly in watery or starchy foods such as grains, fruits, and vegetables, while fat-soluble vitamins are found mainly in fatty foods such as butter, nuts, olives, seafood, and organ meats. Only water-soluble vitamins function as coenzymes, while cofactors can also be minerals and other micronutrients. Vitamin deficiencies or coenzyme deficiency can lead to serious health disorders because important biological processes break down when a lack of coenzymes prevents enzymes from catalyzing essential chemical reactions. Two well-known coenzyme vitamins are thiamin and niacin. Thiamin compounds serve as coenzymes for a variety of reactions involving cellular energy production, protein synthesis, and brain function. Thiamin deficiency causes a disorder known as beriberi, with symptoms such as irritability, weakness, and even heart failure. Niacin is needed for numerous reactions related to energy production and fatty-acid synthesis. Deficiency causes pellagra, which leads to dementia, skin problems, weight loss, and eventually death. Inadequate or insufficient dietary intakes of vitamins and minerals are widespread, most  likely due to excessive consumption of calorie-rich, nutrient-poor, refined food. Suboptimal intake of micronutrients often accompanies caloric excess (hidden hunger). Hidden hunger (or occult hunger) is a form of undernutrition in which a chronic lack of vitamins and minerals has no visible warning signs. The Standard American Diet lacks essential nutrients. This state of nutritional insufficiency is a possible reason why millions walk around with headaches, body aches, digestive upset, skin problems, sinus problems, frequent colds, and other signs and  symptoms that may quickly disappear when you start taking necessary vitamins and minerals. Nutrition is enhanced through supplementation. Hidden hunger can lead to mental impairment, poor health and productivity, or even death.


The triage theory of optimal nutrition states that the human body prioritizes the use of vitamins and minerals when it is getting an insufficient amount of them to be able to keep functioning. Triage means deciding which patient to treat when faced with limited resources. When nutritional resources are limited, physiology (biological intelligence) must decide which biological functions to prioritize to give the total organism and the species the best chance to survive and reproduce. While short-term deficiencies or insufficiencies are common, they are often not taken seriously by mainstream medicine. Under such a limited scenario, the body will always direct nutrients toward short-term health and survival capability and away from regulation and repair of cellular DNA and proteins, which ultimately optimize health and increase longevity. We need to eat a wide variety of food to obtain the nutrients we need. A big problem we face is that the nutritional values of foods that people eat may be inferior to the listed values given in food  tables. Foods today have less nutrient content than foods 50 years ago. A study that assessed this issue showed declines in protein (−6%), calcium (−16%), phosphorus (−9%), iron (−15%), riboflavin (−38%), and vitamin C (−20%). There is a dilution effect, in which yield-enhancing methods such as fertilization and irrigation may decrease nutrient concentrations. A report from the US and UK Government statistics shows a decline in trace minerals of up to 76% in fruit and vegetables over the period from 1940 to 1991. Imagine what it is now. Nutrient imbalances impose a metabolic burden on all organ systems, with the greatest burden on those systems responsible for achieving and maintaining metabolic  equilibrium. Long-term disruption of metabolic equilibrium will most often adversely impact the cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, and/or musculoskeletal systems. In the absence of an adequate supply of nutrients to satisfy normal physiological requirements or adjust to increased metabolic demand, compensatory mechanisms involving one or more of these systems must be initiated to re-establish homeostasis. As with metabolic adjustments to address short-term nutrient deficiencies, these compensatory responses are important for correction of temporary imbalances, but if sustained over the long term, they may become maladaptive and contribute to the degenerative changes responsible for development or worsening of chronic diseases.

Integrative and Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy by: Diane Noland, Jeanne A. Drisko, Leigh Wagner

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

The Five Spheres and Metabolic Correction

The five primary spheres of influence:

The five primary spheres of influence in the Radial are as follows: 

  1. Food, lifestyle, and environment

  2. Nutrition, physical, signs, and systems 

  3. Biomarkers 

  4. Metabolic pathways and networks 

  5. Systems  

The four distinct, interrelated steps include nutrition assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and monitoring/evaluation. The Radial core illustrates the intermingling of mind, body, spirit, community, and earth and its association with personalized nutrition care. All of these factors influence one’s health and healing. Mind, body, and spirit are viewed as wholeness versus distinct and separate physiological, psychological, and spiritual units. The value of community and social networks as a component of health and wellness must be considered since social contexts influence biological systems. An appreciation of our intimate connection to the earth and the healing power of nature to foster one’s health is also valued as an integrative concept of food and sustainable nutrition. The microbiome revolution has established that microbial signatures vary between individuals far more than genetics. Dietary habits and lifestyle affect the gut microbiota composition in dramatic ways. This vital influence must be taken into account. The composition of the microbiome and its diverse activities are involved in most of the biological processes, and thus, it is a key player in health and disease at all stages of the life cycle. The Systems sphere radiates from the core of the Radial and underscores the imbalances that are created by poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle behaviors, and environmental exposures such as chronic inflammation, oxidative stress, digestive and detoxification disturbances, metabolic chaos, neuro-endocrine-immune disruption, and nutritional depletion.

Metabolic Correction:

A modern, integrated concept of food as medicine emphasizes scientific understanding of nutrition with lifestyle behaviors in relation to a person’s ability to realize vital goals of healthy living. Food is valued as an instrument for vibrant health and an essential tool to kindle healing by restoring nutritional integrity. Diet assessments may not always coordinate with laboratory values of individual nutrients. This may be due to many factors, such as an individual having a greater need for a nutrient than the RDA, poor-quality food or supplements, a genetic variation, impaired absorption, exposure to a specific toxin whose detoxification requires specific nutrients, etc. You also see different types of food reactions. By definition, IgE reactions are true allergic reactions, while other reactions are food intolerances or sensitivities, measured with immunoglobulins (IgG) or white cells, and have significantly less literature support. Metabolic correction (MC) is the utilization of a synergistic combination of micronutrients and cofactors in their active forms and proper doses to maximize the function of metabolic enzymes. MC is a functional biochemical/physiological concept that explains how improvements in cellular biochemistry help the body achieve metabolic or physiologic optimization. The MC concept provides the biochemical elucidation of the utilization of nutrients for preventive and therapeutic purposes against disease. The MC concept becomes important since our food is decreasing in nutritional value; diseases increase the demand for nutrients, and medications can deplete nutrients. These nutrient insufficiencies are causing enormous costs due to increased morbidity and mortality. In summary, MC increases enzymatic function that enhances biological functions contributing to better health and well-being. A nutritional deficiency is defined as an inadequate supply of essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in the diet, resulting in malnutrition or disease. Tissue levels are low enough in one or more nutrients that pathology results primarily from the nutritional deficiency and from secondary complications. Nutrient deficiency is described in medical pathology textbooks; unfortunately, this is the start and end to nutritional education for most physicians. A nutritional insufficiency is a subtle deficiency of a nutrient sufficient to affect health but not severe enough to cause classic index deficiency symptoms. Problems here are more of a functional and biochemical nature rather than pathologic, but they may lead to the disease state. A nutrient dependency refers to a unique genetic or acquired dependency on supra-dietary levels of one or more nutrients. At the point where altered cellular function has evolved into clinical manifestations of nutrient deficiency, cellular activity will have been compromised for some time, and the compensatory responses that might have allowed a temporary adjustment to the deficiency would no longer be effective. Detection of subclinical changes in cell processes early in the course of a nutrient deficiency, when cell damage is minor and more reversible, can have a considerable impact on the prevention and treatment of disease. If subclinical deficiency is not corrected by providing the lacking nutrient, then prolonged marginalization of cellular activity may not only increase vulnerability to disease, but it may also exacerbate progression of existing disease and interfere with effectiveness of treatment, since all drugs require some level of metabolic support to achieve their desired therapeutic effects.

Integrative and Functional Medical Nutrition Therapy by: Diane Noland, Jeanne A. Drisko, Leigh Wagner