Here’s a question I get ALL THE TIME:
“Should I be taking multivitamins or supplements?”
I wish the answer was simple…
In general, I am a fan of getting your nutrients from a well-balanced diet.
One that includes about 10 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and lots of fiber. I believe in real food, mindful eating, and self-care to help your body absorb and utilize the nutrients it needs.
Most people are NOT eating a well balanced diet.
Fruits and vegetables are one of the main sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. If you’re not eating enough of them (at least 2 1/2 cups of fruit & 3 cups of veg), there’s a high likelihood that you’re not getting enough of one or more nutrients.
Even if you eat a well-balanced diet, you could have issues with digestion/absorption, medical conditions or medications that affect your nutrient status, or genetic polymorphisms that change how your body utilizes certain micronutrients, leaving you functionally deficient.
Sometimes people can go for years without realizing they are undernourished.
Symptoms vary widely, depending on which nutrient(s) you are deficient in, but common symptoms include fatigue and lack of energy, low immunity, or feeling a little “off” & not at your best.
Other less-obvious symptoms can include weak or brittle nails, cracking/scaly skin, excessive bruising, poor wound healing, infertility, increased inflammation, cataracts/macular degeneration, numbness/tingling in hands & feet, night blindness, & muscle spasms or cramps.
Often, people who struggle with chronic diseases like depression & anxiety, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypothyroidism also suffer from micronutrient deficiencies.
Medications can also cause nutrient depletions.
You’d be surprised how common this is! I always check my client’s meds, and I’d say roughly 80% of the time they have a drug-nutrient interaction that the client is unaware of.
Some common meds that can cause nutrient deficiencies include:
- Antacids & Ulcer Meds
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs
- Antiviral Drugs
- Birth Control Pills
- Blood Pressure Lowering Meds
- Cholesterol Lowering Drugs
- Diabetes Meds
- Estrogen / Hormone Replacement
In case that wasn’t enough, your genetics also play a role.
Even if you are doing everything right, you could have genetic polymorphisms (SNPs) that impact how you utilize nutrients within your body.
For example, many people have mutations in their MTHFR gene that affects how their body metabolizes folate and vitamin B12, and can lead to elevated homocysteine levels (a risk factor for heart disease). For these clients, supplementing with methylated folate and methylated cobalamin can help their bodies utilize these nutrients properly. Some may also need to avoid synthetic folic acid (which is tough to do, since it is added to fortified flours & thus in almost every commercial baked good!).
You may never know if you have these conditions without micronutrient testing to give you more insight.
But once you know, you are empowered, and have the ability to nourish your body & get its nutrient levels back up to optimum!
If you’re not sure if you could benefit from micronutrient testing, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables every day?
- Do I eat fish twice a week?
- Do I make sure at least half the grains I eat are whole grains?
- Do I curb my alcohol intake to moderate limits? (no more than 1 drink/day for women, or 2 drinks/day for men)
- Do I get at least 15 minutes of direct sunlight on most of my body each day?
- Do I feel vibrant, well, and full of life and vitality?
If you answered “No” to any of the above questions, it is likely that you could benefit from micronutrient testing & a multivitamin or specific supplement (like fish oil or vitamin D).
*Please note* This is not intended to be specific medical advice for any individual. Please see a doctor or dietitian if you would like personalized recommendations.
If you are interested in getting your micronutrient levels checked…
I am now a provider!!
So freaking excited.
I can order the Spectracell Micronutrient Test for you.
If you’re interested in having the test done (it can be done remotely, you don’t need to live in the Los Angeles area), shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s how it works:
- I order the test & paperwork to be sent to your home.
- We chat & I explain the paperwork & collection procedures.
- You head to an approved blood draw center and get your blood drawn.
- You bring a copy of your insurance card & all the appropriate paperwork with you, and pay $190 for the exam. If you don’t have insurance, the cost is $390.
- The blood draw center preps your sample & sends it off to Spectracell laboratories the same day.
- After 2-3 weeks, the results are sent to me, & we schedule an appointment to go over the results & discuss recommendations! ($295/ 1hour custom consultation)
- After 6 months, you can get retested to see if your micronutrient levels/ antioxidant status has improved (if desired).
How does the test measure your nutrient levels?
The lab extracts the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) from your blood sample, and then grows them under different conditions.
First, they let your lymphocytes grow with an unlimited amount of every micronutrient available, to see how quickly they can grow under optimal conditions.
Then, they repeat this roughly 30 times, each time removing just ONE nutrient from the growth medium, so that the lymphocytes have to rely on their own internal stores of that nutrient to grow.
If your lymphocytes have high levels of the nutrient, then they will be able to grow just fine using their own supplies.
If, however, you have low levels of that nutrient, your lymphocytes will grow much more slowly.
By comparing the growth rates, the lab is then able to determine whether you have optimal, sub-optimal, or deficient levels of each nutrient.
They give you an awesome printout showing the functional levels of each nutrient:
By doing this test, you will know which nutrients you are deficient or borderline deficient in.
Then we work together to talk about the best ways to replenish your body & get your nutrient levels into desirable ranges so you can feel your absolute best.
They test the following micronutrients:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
- Oleic Acid
Other Fatty Acids:
- Vitamin D3
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin K2
- Glucose-Insulin Interaction
- Fructose Sensitivity
- Coenzyme Q-10
- Vitamin E
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Vitamin C
- Total Antioxidant Function (whether you have enough antioxidants to prevent harmful oxidation inside your body)
- LPI (lymphocyte proliferation index- how well your immune system is functioning)