How Vitamins Can Fortify Your Life

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Dr. Tieraona Low Dog cites that many Americans are deficient in vital nutrients based on data from the Centers for Disease Control. In her book, Fortify Your Life, Dr. Low Dog provides a guide to supplements that she believes will help counter the CDC data.

Many Americans are not getting all of the nutrients they need from their diet, which is evident from the deficiencies noted in data from the US Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Low Dog, of Cherokee descent, is an integrative medicine specialist who practices in Pecos, New Mexico. Many of my patients find that taking a high-quality multivitamin specific to their age, gender, and lifestyle is beneficial. I also prescribe a wide array of minerals, herbal remedies, and other supplements, especially to older patients.

An expert on integrative medicine and dietary supplements who is internationally recognized, Dr. Low Dog has chaired two committees on dietary supplements for the US Pharmacopeia and served as an adviser to both the White House and the National Institutes of Health. The author of the text is also the author of Fortify Your Life, a guide to vitamins, minerals, and other key supplements. She says that not many healthcare professionals are regularly checking or even discussing nutrient levels with their patients, excluding potassium and diuretics.

Drug-Induced Nutrient Deficiencies

Dr. Low Dog and her fellow physicians have observed an increase in nutrient deficiencies caused by drug use. She explains that an increase in the use of drugs that inhibit the production of stomach acids is leading to more difficulty in absorbing nutrients. These are drugs used to treat acid reflux and are, in my opinion, overprescribed.

The level of CoQ10 in a person’s body can be lowered by taking certain prescription drugs, according to Dr. Low Dog. These drugs include statins and beta-blockers, which are commonly prescribed.

Dr. Low Dog states that a greater number of individuals are encountering difficulties with nutrient absorption due to the growing prevalence of autoimmune diseases and an aging population. Digestive enzymes may help improve digestion by stimulating the production and release of stomach acid, bile, and pancreatic enzymes.

Dr. Low Dog emphasizes that consuming bitter foods (such as arugula, radicchio, and endives) and bitter herbs (like dandelion root, artichoke leaf, gentian root, and angelica) can help stimulate the production of stomach acid, bile, and pancreatic enzymes.

According to Dr. Low Dog, some people may need digestive enzymes. ” I usually recommend using enzymes that come from plants rather than from animals. When choosing a product, try to find one that contains Food Chemical Codex (FCC) units. The national standard in the US for judging the activity and strength of enzymes is the Food Chemical Codex.

As a physician who is interested in public health, Dr. Low Dog is concerned about the conflicting messages in the media about the current state of nutrition in the US. She disagrees with people who say that “eating right” is all you need to do to be healthy. She cites research that shows that many commonly-prescribed drugs in the US can cause the body to lose important nutrients.

Dr. Low Dog thinks that drug-nutrient depletions and interactions are not taught enough in US medical schools. She suggests that drug companies should be required to list any potential nutrient depletions that could occur as a result of taking their medication. It is not “optional” for companies to decide whether or not they will do it.” I am not in favor of drug companies advertising directly to consumers, but until it is banned, I believe that it should be required. Companies should not be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to do it.

Dr. Low Dog believes that more training is necessary for medical doctors, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, registered dietitians, psychologists, and other health professionals so that they can be better advocates for their patients/clients.

Fortify Your Life is a resource for practical and actionable news that everyone can use. An estimated 30 million people take Prozac and other anti-depressant SSRIs, but these drugs have been proven to deplete the body of vital nutrients like iodine, selenium, and vitamin B9 (folate) and hormones like melatonin. “Around 60% of Americans take at least one prescription drug,” Dr. Low Dog notes, “and 15% take five or more every day.” Thus, the risk for drug-induced nutrient depletions in the majority of the population “further increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies.” Fortunately, Fortify Your Life contains a lengthy, detailed, and easy-to-understand Appendix of Drug-Nutrient Depletions and Interactions.

I’m concerned that healthcare providers never think to check B6 levels, given that 30 million Americans are deficient in this vitamin, which can cause depression and poor cognition. ” If we never think about it, we may never look, and thus we may remain unaware of the deficiency.

Dr. Low Dog explains that she doesn’t always order blood tests, but she does if she suspects a deficiency based on a thorough history and physical exam. If a nutrient deficiency is noted, she makes recommendations and then rechecks generally in eight to twelve weeks.

If a follow-up blood test shows that supplement levels have not improved, Dr. Low Dog carefully considers various factors related to the nutrient deficiency in question.

About Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are organic compounds that our bodies use for various metabolic processes. We only need small amounts of these nutrients for our bodies to function properly. Our immune systems are responsible for keeping us healthy and helping our bodies to function properly.

The vitamins and minerals we need come from the food we eat. A diet that includes all five food groups is generally healthy and varied. You should eat various unrefined foods that are healthy in order to get the most vitamins and minerals.

If you consume large amounts of vitamins and minerals, you may experience toxicity.

Types of vitamins and their functions

Vitamins and minerals are a type of nutrients that the body needs in small quantities. While micronutrients don’t provide us with energy, they play a role in the metabolic processes that allow us to get energy from carbohydrates, protein, and fat – which are also known as macronutrients.

There are many different types of vitamins, each with a different purpose and function in the body.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important because it:

Food Sources of Vitamin A

There are different compounds in animal and plant foods that have vitamin A activity. You can usually tell plant foods apart from other types of food because they contain beta-carotene, an orange or yellow pigment.

Plant sources include:

  • orange and yellow fruit and vegetables – such as carrots, red capsicum, mangoes, sweet potatoes, apricots, pumpkin and cantaloupe
  • leafy green vegetables – such as spinach, peas and broccoli.

Animal sources include:

  • liver
  • eggs
  • some fortified milk and milk products (with added vitamin A).

Vitamin B

B-group vitamins are necessary for our bodies to be able to convert food into energy. These vitamins help break down carbohydrates, fat, and protein so that our cells can use them for fuel. B-group vitamins are necessary for cell proliferation by aiding in the creation of new DNA.

Vitamins B-12 and folate are the only B-group vitamins that can be stored in the liver. You need to eat these foods often as part of a balanced diet that has a variety of whole foods (such as lean meat, fish, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and beans) and limited alcohol and processed foods.

The eight types of vitamin B are:

  • thiamin (B1)
  • riboflavin (B2)
  • niacin (B3)
  • pantothenic acid (B5)
  • pyridoxine (B6)
  • biotin (B7)
  • folate or ‘folic acid’ when included in supplements (B9)
  • cyanocobalamin (B12).

If you have a poor diet for a few months, you may end up with a B-group vitamin deficiency. It is important to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet that includes adequate amounts of these vitamins every day.

Vitamin C

In order to get the vitamin C our bodies need, we have to include it in our diets through the foods and drinks we consume. We need to consume vitamin C regularly because it is not stored in the body for long periods of time.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is important for many metabolic processes, including:

  • Collagen formation – collagen is used in different ways throughout the body. Its primary role is to strengthen the skin, blood vessels, and bone. The body also relies on collagen to heal wounds.
  • Antioxidant function– the metabolism of oxygen within the body releases molecular compounds called ‘free radicals, which damage cell membranes. Antioxidants are substances that destroy free radicals, and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant.
  • Iron absorption – the process of iron absorption is aided by vitamin C, particularly non-haem iron (found in plant foods such as beans and lentils).
  • Infection fighting – the immune system, particularly cells called lymphocytes, requires vitamin C for proper functioning.
  • Other roles – vitamin C is used to produce other important substances in the body, such as brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for keeping bones, muscles, and overall health strong. UV radiation from the sun is necessary to produce vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of vitamin D.

Regular physical activity also helps the body produce vitamin D.

The body can only absorb limited quantities of Vitamin D.

If you spend too much time in the sun, your skin may change in a way that makes you more likely to get skin cancer. You should always use sun protection, but it is especially important when the UV index is high.

Food sources of vitamin D

Vitamin D is not sourced from our diet to a large extent. Sources include:

  • fatty fish (such as salmon)
  • eggs
  • margarine and some kinds of milk have added vitamin D.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps your body by nullifying the harmful effects of free radicals. Free radicals are created from things like exposure to cigarette smoke or radiation. It is also important for our:

  • vision
  • immune system
  • skin.

Dietary sources of vitamin E

The best way to get Vitamin E is by eating plenty of fresh, minimally processed foods. Vitamin E is also vulnerable to heat, especially deep frying.

Dietary sources include:

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is important for:

  • healthy bones
  • blood clotting and wound healing
  • newborn babies to prevent a serious bleeding condition called hemorrhagic disease of the newborn (HDN).

Dietary sources of vitamin K

We obtain vitamin K from food and bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract. Newborn babies are given a booster to increase their vitamin K levels. This is because they are born without bacteria in their gastrointestinal tract. We get a lot of our vitamin K from what we eat.

Food sources include:

  • leafy green vegetables – spinach and kale
  • fruits – such as avocado and kiwi fruit
  • some vegetable oils – such as soybean oil.

Best Way to Take Supplements

“Do we need to be using the most active form of a nutrient to be effective?” Dr. Low Dog inquires. ” Which format would be better, a liquid, a capsule, or a tablet? Do we have the essential nutrients that are required for activation, utilization, and transportation by the body?

“Iron is needed to correct iron deficiency anemia, but you need vitamin A to move the iron into the hemoglobin, and vitamin C is necessary to absorb non-heme forms of iron,” according to Dr. Low Dog. She also notes that “You need vitamin A to see in dim light at night, but you must have zinc to transport it from the liver (where it is stored) to the retina.”


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