Nutrition detective

Our body is the most efficient manufacturing plant in the world. From some 40-odd essential nutrients (a handful of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, water, and air), our body produces more than 10,000 compounds. Not a bad return — 10,000 from 40! Each of these 40-odd essential nutrients is really essential. Low levels of any one of them can raise havoc with our entire system.

For example, more than 300 enzymes require magnesium for proper functioning. Numerous problems including muscle spasms, heart irregularities, osteoporosis and nerve malfunctioning can be caused by low magnesium levels. Daily medical journal headlines highlight the need for adequate nutrient intake. “Folic Acid Reduces Risk of Colon Cancer”; “Low Vitamin Levels Linked to Higher Risk of Angina in Men”; “Cancer Deaths Linked to Low Antioxidant Vitamin Levels”; and “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Linked to Magnesium Deficiency” are some of the titles of medical articles sitting on my desk right now!

How likely is it that you suffer from inadequate levels of one or more nutrients? If your diet is at all like the Standard American Diet (SAD) you are at risk. Government studies reveal widespread nutritional inadequacies:

Percentage of people not meeting
1980 RDA for selected nutrients
Vitamin A
Thiamin (B1)
Riboflavin (B2)
Preformed niacin (B3)
Pyridoxine (B6)
Vitamin B12
Vitamin C

Nutrition Detective — Symptoms

Are you a good Nutrition Detective? The following symptoms could be signs of nutrient deficiency. See if you know how nutrients affect your health picture. (Click here for answers.)

  1. Get black and blue easily
  2. Gums bleed
  3. Slow wound healing
  4. Poor night vision
  5. White spots on nails for no reason
  6. Cracked skin behind ears
  7. Loss of sense of taste
  8. Cracks in skin on fingertips
  9. Yellow cast to face and skin
  10. Muscle cramps or tremors
  11. Enlarged thyroid gland
  12. Burning sensation on feet
  13. Crave sweets
  14. Anemic
  15. Pale tongue and inner eyelid
  16. Break bones easily
  17. Nocturnal leg cramps
  18. Receding gums
  19. Periodontal disease
  20. Eyes sensitive to light
  21. Calluses on inner surface of heel
  22. Varicose veins
  23. Poor dream recall
  24. Tend to grind teeth
  25. Slow growth (children)
  26. Vaginal yeast infections
  27. Nails horizontally ridged
  28. Nails soft or brittle
  29. Dry skin and/or scalp
  30. Excessive ear wax
  31. Bumpy skin on back of arms and/or thighs
  32. Stool that sinks
  33. Sensitive to cold, easily chilled
  34. Cracks or sores in corner of mouth
  35. Elevated blood pressure

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