Vitamins and Minerals
There are several vitamins and minerals that need to be discussed. Let’s start with magnesium. Magnesium contributes as a cofactor to more than 300 hundred specific chemical reactions in the human body. Perhaps two major roles of magnesium is in cardiovascular health and the production of ATP (the energy currency of all cells.) Magnesium also plays a role in DNA and RNA synthesis and is required for the production of all proteins. Vitamins A and D need magnesium for their metabolic roles in calcium metabolism. Magnesium is also a cofactor in the transmission of nerve impulses, temperature regulation, detoxification in the liver and in the formations of bone and teeth. Unfortunately, magnesium can be depleted by estrogen compounds prednisone, blood pressure medications, and antibiotics. Whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables (especially dark leafy greens) are a good source of magnesium.
Fat-soluble vitamins like D, E, A and K are major players in over all health. They are implicated in immune function, blood clotting, gene expression, vitamin K-dependent proteins, supporting growth, protecting soft tissues from calcification, supporting bones and teeth, supporting the absorption of zinc, playing a role in vision, to name a few examples. Cod liver oil is an excellent source of both A and D in the correct ratio.
The challenge of the typical depleted American diet, in conjunction with the fast food industry and industrial agriculture, is getting adequate vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants on a daily basis. A typical American diet is pro-inflammatory and increases oxidative stress on the entire body. The causes are refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, deep fried fast foods, etc. These junk foods support poor health and have a high addictive potential because fat, sugar and salt sells! We now know that many drugs deplete nutrients also. Oral contraceptives deplete major nutrients: many B vitamins, folic acid, zinc and vitamin C to name a few. Diabetic drugs (metformin) can cause mal-absorption of B12 and folic acid. There are many other examples like, Pepcid and Zantac (for GI diseases like gastro-esophageal reflux disease.) These drugs inhibit gastric acid secretion and raise the pH of the stomach. These effects impair B12 absorption and lead to decreased absorption of calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid, and beta-carotene.
Statins drugs have been linked to liver damage, muscle weakness and pain (myopathy), memory loss and depletion of CoQ10. Statins tend to increase insulin levels, blood sugar levels and increase abdominal adiposity. Statins are also toxic to the liver and frequent blood tests are needed to check the status of liver enzymes. The list goes on and on! Proper supplementation and nutritional counseling is needed to neutralize the negative effects of drugs.
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