Unmasking Why Almost 2 Billion People Have a Nutrient Deficiency5 years ago | Nutrition
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
There’s no denying it. We are in the midst of a worldwide nutrient crisis!
It is estimated that more than two billion people globally have one or more nutrient deficiencies. A nutrient deficiency occurs when we fail to get adequate amounts of the six basic nutrients we need to remain healthy. And as I always like to reiterate, our bodies need a balanced amount of these nutrients -water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals - to stay healthy.
Vitamins and minerals are sometimes referred to as micronutrients, because we only need small amounts to function effectively. And there are many credible sources which conclude that “failing to get even those small quantities virtually guarantees disease.”
Unfortunately, many people are just not getting the small amounts of micronutrients they need to stay healthy which could be one of the reasons why the human population is battling so many different diseases, like cancer, mental illness, heart disease and arthritis (to name a few).
So What Causes a Nutrient Deficiency?
There are many things that may create nutrient deficiencies. These include the following:
- An unbalanced diet lacking nutrient-dense foods, like fruits and veggies.
- Taking medications.
- Gut issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Substance abuse.
- Aging. As we age, our bodies have a harder time utilizing nutrients from the foods we eat.
- Poor soil quality. As soil ages, primary minerals decompose and lose nutrients from leaching (loss of nutrients due to rain and irrigation).
- Certain environmental issues. For example, researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health conducted an extensive study that predicts that due to rising CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels from human activity, by the year 2050 - 175 million people may be zinc deficient, 122 million people may be protein deficient and more than one billion women and children may lose a large amount of their dietary iron intake, putting them at risk of developing anemia and other diseases.
The Harvard research team analyzed the impact CO2 emissions have on the nutrient value of our foods by looking at 225 different foods across 151 countries. The results suggested that India may be most affected.
In India, an estimated 50 million people will become zinc deficient. Zinc is a mineral which is not only important for a healthy immune system but also for normal growth and development during pregnancy and childhood. Zinc may also help men optimize testosterone levels.
Thirty-eight million people in India may become protein deficient. “Protein is a macronutrient that is necessary for the development, upkeep and repair of all your body's cells,” credible evidence shows. “Protein is required for the growth and maintenance of various body function. Deficiency of protein can cause the improper function of different body organs.”
And 502 million women and children in India may have a high risk of developing diseases associated with iron deficiency. Iron is a critical mineral that every single cell in your body needs. It is needed to make hemoglobin, a component of your red blood cells that delivers oxygen to all the cells in your body. Without adequate iron, your body can’t carry enough oxygen to your vital organs.
“Iron deficiency can lead to anemia, which increases the risk of hemorrhage and bacterial infection during childbirth and is implicated in maternal deaths. In turn, babies may be born prematurely and suffer from infections, learning disabilities, and delayed development. Almost 40 percent of pregnant women and more than 40 percent of children under 5 in developing countries are anemic. About half of these cases are estimated to result from iron deficiency,” reports UNICEF.
Other areas of the world that are expected to take a hard hit include South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
And currently, nutritional deficiencies are prevalent in America. For example, some reports say that 9 out of 10 (upwards of 290 million people) Americans are not getting enough potassium on a daily basis. Potassium is a must-have mineral. It works with sodium (which many Americans consume too much of) to balance the fluids and electrolytes in the body. It also helps keep blood pressure under control, may reduce your risk for kidney stones and age-related bone loss and reduce the risk of stroke.
On top of this, nearly all Americans (more than 90%) consume less than the recommended amount of nutrients in general required to remain healthy.
How Can You Be Proactive?
Clearly, just being aware of this issue is imperative. Reducing CO2 levels requires a collective effort by taking actions such as driving less, conserving electricity and reducing livestock farming. Read here for more suggestions.
We also need to educate ourselves about the role nutrients play in preventing diseases. For example:
- Zinc may help with esophageal cancer.
- Vitamin C may help with the management of diabetes.
- Potassium, magnesium, calcium and other vitamins and minerals may help prevent hypertension.
- Manganese, copper, iron, chromium and more may help prevent depression.
Another way we can be proactive is by taking a comprehensive nutrient test. Doing this will identify deficiencies of critical nutrients in our bodies. This allows us to work with a competent healthcare professional to adjust our diets and possibly utilize supplements to correct these deficiencies
The goal of the pH Labs Team is to educate and help people avoid diseases by being proactive about avoiding nutritional deficiencies. The majority of our articles focus on the consequences of nutrient imbalance. It is an area that is frequently overlooked but necessary if we are really interested in staying healthy.
You can read more about life-saving nutrients, particularly minerals, in Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient.
Let’s educate ourselves so we can enjoy our healthy lives!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.