Simple Health

How Nutrient Deficiencies Affect Your Health

October 13, 2016

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Do you struggle with nutrient deficiencies? They are becoming more common. And some of the nagging symptoms you struggle with may actually be signs of common deficiencies.

Yesterday was a very interesting day for me.  It was a beautiful day but I woke up earlier than usual. I wasn’t overly sleepy. But what I noticed that WAS different for me was that I had uncontrollable cravings all day. I was craving the nastiest, unhealthiest junk possible. Everything from fast food to cake and lots of chocolate. To top it off, I was feeling a little down and a little depressed. It was like I was walking through a thick fog.

The people who know me will tell you that I am usually upbeat, positive, and often downright perky at times! So when I feel a little depressed and I have uncontrollable cravings, I take notice! Now, it is normal to feel a little down if there are difficulties in your life, or if there is some type of loss. But truthfully, things here have been going really well. So there were no events in my life that would contribute to the blues. I also checked the calendar for any sign that there might be a hormonal cause (ah the joys of being a woman!). But I struck out there as well.

Pyroluria, zinc and B6

There were no environmental or emotional causes of my state. So I began to look at what else might be causing me to feel so downright yucky.  I was diagnosed recently with a condition called pyroluria. Those who have this condition have a difficult time eliminating a waste product in the body called pyrroles. Generally, this waste product doesn’t cause any problems. But when it builds up in the body, it attaches itself to nutrients like zinc and vitamin B6. This ultimately causes deficiencies in those nutrients. If I eat sugary foods or drink alcohol, it causes more pyrroles to build up and more zinc and B6 to be required. There are a host of symptoms connected with deficiencies in these two nutrients such as anxiety, depression, cravings, fatigue, fogginess!

I regularly supplement, but when I eat poorly, sometimes I require extra zinc and B6. What I realized was that the day before I had been at a birthday party and not only had some birthday cake and ice cream….but I had enjoyed an “adult beverage” as well! And I forgot to take additional supplements to counteract the sugary foods! Luckily I have plenty of these supplements on hand and took some extra to compensate for a less than stellar diet!

The result?

I went through the next day with tons more energy! Any depression was gone as were all of my cravings! In fact, fatty and sweet foods didn’t even appeal to me at all throughout the day.

Even for those who don’t struggle with a condition like pyroluria, nutritional deficiencies are becoming more and more of a problem for many Americans. This isn’t a surprise with the US diet so full of processed foods that have been stripped of so many natural vitamins and minerals. And deficiencies in basic vitamins and minerals cannot only affect your mood but can compromise your health in a big way.

So how do you know if you are deficient in any nutrients? If you are not feeling well, lack energy, feeling low, or having other health issues, you can find plenty of information on which nutrient deficiencies cause health symptoms. I found a great site that has a listing of each nutrient, its benefits, and the symptoms of deficiency.

Mineral Deficiencies

Vitamin Deficiencies

There are a few health conditions that can cause chronic nutrient deficiencies of certain nutrients. Most you can be tested for by a good, qualified naturopathic or functional doctor.  They can test you for deficiencies and can get you back on track to feeling good!

The best thing that you can do to prevent any vitamin or mineral deficiencies is to eat a diet rich in whole foods, avoid highly processed foods, particularly those high in trans fat, made with white flour, or white sugar. And taking a whole foods vitamin and mineral supplement can help dramatically as well!

I will be talking more about Pyroluria, what the symptoms are and how it is affecting the health of more and more people, so stayed tuned for that information!

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