Nutrients: Are You Getting What You Need?

by Hope B. Director

I would venture to say that most health-conscious people take supplements in some form or another. This, for the most part, is a good thing. But have you ever wondered whether you are actually getting what you need when it comes to supplementing with essential nutrients? Each of us has our own individual biochemistry and because of that, we may use more or less of a particular nutrient than someone else who takes the same supplements we do.  

As you know, there are so many supplements to choose from and they all sound important and necessary, which makes it hard to know what to take. In making that decision, we first need to differentiate between what is essential and what products are used to support our health in a more specific way. A doctor may recommend a basic supplement program consisting of a packet containing a multivitamin, mineral/bone support, and fish oil. Additionally, they may also recommend vitamin D, lipoic acid, CoQ10, additional minerals, and probiotics. More specific recommendations are given based on a patient’s health history and are meant to be taken to correct an underlying disorder. Supplements may be taken to lose or gain weight, treat mood swings, or even lower blood pressure. These additional supplements may be taken temporarily or for a longer period of time until their problems resolved.

For those who invest in a good supplement program, you want to know whether you are actually meeting your nutritional needs. Standard blood chemistry panels can measure levels of electrolytes, vitamins and other minerals in the serum but this may not give us the adequate information we need. What is in the serum may not be indicative of what is available inside the cells, where the metabolic activity and usage of those nutrients occurs.

Specialized micronutrient testing, which measures nutrient levels within the white blood cells, gives us more accurate information about our nutritional status and vitamin deficiencies. I am often surprised to see deficiencies among my patients, especially when they are on a good supplement program and eat a healthy diet. When deficiencies occur under these circumstances, it may indicate that the body uses up and therefore needs more of a particular nutrient.  Armed with this information, we can make more specific recommendations for individualized supplementation.

This test to be particularly useful in children who have a limited diet either by choice or necessity. Most of us feel the need to give our children a basic multivitamin and perhaps some additional calcium to meet their needs. However, there is only so much that we can expect young children to take, so it is useful for a parent to know what is most important to supplement in our children’s diets. These nutrients do not have to come in the form of a supplement alone. Adding foods to our children’s diet that contain an abundance of the needed nutrients is also beneficial and allows for our children to receive the added benefit of other nutrients in those foods.

This test is also beneficial to the elderly. Nutritional deficiencies are rampant among our senior citizens due to limited availability of a variety of foods, compromised absorption of nutrients and decreased appetite. As we get older, our ability to digest and absorb the nutrients from our food becomes inhibited due to decreased production of hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. The ability to properly chew food can also inhibit nutrient absorption. Oral nutrient supplementation can be of great benefit to this population if their capacity for absorption is inadequate. Intravenous nutritional supplementation may be necessary for those who lack the ability to absorb nutrients from their digestive tract.

Knowing our basic nutritional status helps us to make more informed choices when choosing supplements. It is also important to use this information to improve our diet and include an abundance of foods containing a wide variety of nutrients in addition to selecting foods that contain whatever nutrient we may have a greater need for.  

A popular micronutrient testing doctors use comes from Spectracell Labs. They provide a kit for doctors to give to their patients to take to a local lab to have their blood drawn. The kit is mailed to the lab with the sample and the results are sent to the ordering physician. Spectracell accepts most insurance policies with a co-pay up front and bills Medicare.  If you would like to learn more about micronutrient testing through Spectracell Labs, go to  I have no affiliation with this company. I simply like what they have to offer and wanted to share it with you.

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About Hope B. Junior   Director

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Joined APSense since, August 25th, 2018, From Temecula, United States.

Created on Sep 16th 2018 18:02. Viewed 278 times.


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