It certainly seems like humans would have been designed to derive all their nutrient needs from food. And in fact, they were. But over the past several decades our farming methods, food processing techniques, stressful lifestyles, and dietary options have resulted in most Americans being chronically deficient in one or more nutrients. Fortunately, by making better dietary choices and taking a personalized daily vitamin pack, anyone can overcome any nutrient deficiencies they experience.
Why People Don’t Get Adequate Nutrients From Food
Animals — including humans — have each been designed for propagation of the species. For humans that means living long enough to reproduce, and then several years past that to raise their offspring to the point where the offspring can survive on their own. A lifespan of thirty years is more than enough time to accomplish the task of perpetuating the human race.
Mother Nature has no concerns for longevity or optimum health. Humans have been programmed to survive for a few decades even on a nutritionally poor diet. From nature’s standpoint, there was never a need for humans to always be surrounded by an abundance of a wide variety of nutritionally rich plants and animals. Humans want that, because we want to live as long and as healthy as possible. Nature, on the other hand, is fine with us passing away from “old age” when we hit 30!
Humans, being the resourceful species that we are, have, over time, determined the nutrients necessary to live long and healthy. And we’ve also determined what plants and animals are good sources of these nutrients. So in various places in the world — places that have a natural wealth of nutrient-rich foods or places that have an environment where such foods can be grown and raised — people have been able to eat healthy and extend their lifespans by several decades. So why, now, in the United States — a land of monetary and natural wealth — are so many people deficient in important nutrients? There are a number of reasons for this seemingly contradictory situation.
Modern Food Practices
The food you eat today is not the same food your great grandparents — or even grandparents — consumed many years ago. Today, the plants, and how we grow them, are very different. Likewise, the meat that’s produced today is very different. Both conventional farming and meat processing has dramatically changed the quality of food.
The plant food that we eat today comes largely from agricultural corporations — often somewhat derogatorily referred to as Big Agriculture, or Big Ag. Agricultural farming is now a mass production business. The goal isn’t to produce nutritious food, but rather it’s about producing as much food as quickly as possible.
The natural tending to crops ending many decades ago — now fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals are used liberally to ensure maximum yield. Instead of rotating crops to ensure soil retains its nutrients, the same crop is grown in the same fields, season after season — increasing the need for the application of chemical fertilizers.
The varieties of vegetables, fruits, and grains most commonly grown now are selected not for the nutrition they provide, but instead for how fast and big a product that can be produced. The result is bigger plants, but the ability of these plants to manufacture and uptake nutrients hasn’t kept pace. Modern, or industrialized, agriculture results in vegetables and fruits with a lower vitamin and mineral content, and grains with a much lower protein content, compared to the nutrient-rich plants produced several decades ago.
After plants are harvested relatively little goes directly to grocers to be sold as raw produce. Instead, plants get processed to become part of what’s referred to as the Standard American Diet, SAD. SAD is a diet consisting of largely ultra-processed processed foods — foods with an excess of saturated and trans fats, refined carbohydrates, sugar, and sodium. Many Americans actually eat less food then their counterparts of a hundred years ago, but because of SAD Americans are fatter and much less healthy than their ancestors.
A person can fight back by putting effort and money into finding and buying only organic produce. But the way American society is structured, that’s a difficult task to perform for three meals a day, every day. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the use of the term organic on food labels, so a consumer can’t even really be sure that the so-called organic foods they buy are really all that much richer in nutrients.
The current state of farming and our dependency on processed foods brings uncertainty to the kinds, and levels, of nutrients we eat. There is one near-certainty though — every person is probably deficient in at least one — and probably more — nutrients. With that in mind, taking a daily multivitamin seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
When people hear the phrase environmental toxins the worst often comes to mind, such as nuclear waste and sludge and smoke spewing factories. The truth is that there are hundreds of different kinds of environmental toxins, and most aren’t the stuff of end-of-world science fiction movies. But they still do have negative health implications for people.
Heavy metals including mercury and lead are naturally occurring toxins that should be easily avoidable, but instead they are sometimes used in products such as cosmetics. Cigarette smoke — including second-hand smoke — exposes the body to toxins such as arsenic, benzene, and formaldehyde.
Toxins are also associated with some foods. The toxin bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical found in the plastic containers of many common beverages and foods. Studies show that BPA can leech out of plastic containers and into beverages and foods. Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are toxic industrial compounds that are often found in farm-raised fish. Various other toxins are present in some preservatives, pesticides and herbicides, highly-processed fats, and highly-processed grains.
The body does its best to deal with
When people think about stress, they usually don’t think about nutrition. They should. Stress — especially chronic stress — negatively affects the body’s use of nutrients and calories in several ways. Stress ups your body’s metabolic requirements, and increases the use and excretion of many nutrients. Even if a person is eating a nutritious diet, deficiencies of some nutrients are possible.
During times of stress, the body requires magnesium to better manage anxiety and sleep. Magnesium is a mineral that many people are deficient in — regardless of the level of stress they experience. If a person is normally deficient in magnesium, and they go through a stressful time, that deficiency will only be amplified further.
Stress also depletes antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and omega 3 fatty acids. Additionally, studies show that stress causes the body to use calcium, iron, niacin, and zinc in greater than normal amounts.
Important Nutrients That Are Difficult to Get From Food
It’s easy for a person to develop a deficiency in many different nutrients, but it’s common and especially easy to become deficient in vitamins B12 and D, and calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient important to keeping nerve and blood cells healthy and to making DNA — the genetic material present in all cells. There are a few reasons why vitamin B12 deficiencies are common.
- B12 is water soluble vitamin, which means excess isn’t stored — it’s eliminated. You need to get sufficient B12 in your diet daily — you can’t load up on it and expect it to remain in your body for an extended period.
- B12 requires plenty of stomach acid to absorb the vitamin. Stomach acid production declines with age, so the older you are, the greater the likelihood you may be deficient in B12.
- Medications that include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as heartburn medications, can interfere with vitamin B12 absorption.
- B12 is found mainly in foods of animal origin — it’s not present in plants. Vegans or anyone who consumes very little animal products need to take a B12 supplement.
Vitamin D is important for energy, bone development and repair, and the immune system. It’s difficult to get enough of this vitamin from food — there just aren’t many food rich in this vitamin. Instead, humans get vitamin D mainly from exposure of bare skin to direct sunlight — cholesterol in skin produces vitamin D in response to sunlight.
Unfortunately, sunscreen prevents the production of vitamin D. Forgoing the sunscreen isn’t a good option, as that greatly increases the chance of developing skin cancer. People who live in a climate with little strong sunlight can easily develop a deficiency in D, as can people who spend a great deal of time indoors (as has become more and more common in recent decades). Vitamin D absorption is also reduced by dark skin tone, inflammation, and obesity.
Around 50% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, so there’s a good chance that you yourself might be lacking in this crucial nutrient. Unless you already know the status of your vitamin D, you’d be wise to have a simple blood test done. A good way to do that is to buy an in-home blood test kit along with personalized multivitamin packs from Rootine.
As most people well know, calcium is necessary to build and maintain strong bones. But calcium’s importance goes beyond bones — it’s essential for every cell in your body. Your nerves, muscles, and heart also need calcium in order to function properly.
In the United States well under half of the population get the recommended calcium intake. Surveys have shown that for some demographics, such as teenagers and adults over 50, fewer than 25% get proper calcium from their diet.
In addition to simply not including enough calcium-rich food in the diet, people can become deficient in calcium from taking some types of medication. Diuretics, certain antibiotics and antiseizure medications, and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) can all either cause calcium to pass from the body too quickly or reduce absorption of the mineral.
The main function of iron is the role it plays in the formation of hemoglobin — a red blood cell protein used to transport oxygen within blood. Iron is one of the most vital minerals to human health — it’s also one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world.
Iron is found in both animal and plant based foods, so one would think deficiencies would be uncommon. Unfortunately, the iron in plant sources such as seeds, nuts, legumes, and leafy greens is not as easily absorbed as the iron in animal sources. Because of this, when it comes to an iron deficiency vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk than omnivores.
As far as humans and minerals go, magnesium is the real deal. Magnesium plays a role in hundreds of metabolic reactions, including regulating heart rhythm, energy production, steadying blood glucose levels, and reducing anxiety and blood pressure. According to research published in the International Journal of Endocrinology, magnesium may help manage or prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, migraines, and diabetes.
The best dietary sources of magnesium are seeds, nuts and grain. If a person’s diet is lacking in these few types of foods, there’s a good chance that person will end up with a magnesium deficiency. Apparently quite a few Americans don’t eat a lot of these foods, because up to 75% of the people in the United States don’t meet the recommended dietary intake.
Personalized Multivitamins Prevent Nutrient Deficiencies
To make sure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs, your first course of action should be to evaluate your diet and work to increase healthy, non-processed foods and reduce highly processed foods and other foods low in nutrient value.
Understanding just how likely it is to be deficient in one or more nutrients — even when you do eat healthy — makes the idea of supplementing your diet with a multivitamin appealing.
Each person’s nutritional health goals nutritional requirements aren’t identical. Unfortunately, the way we make use of multivitamins has never taken this fact into consideration. Multivitamin manufacturers have always used a one-size-fits-all approach. Recently several nutritional supplement manufacturers have implemented a personalized approach to taking multivitamins.
Rootine’s Personalized Approach to Multivitamins
Rootine is a Nashville, TN based nutritional supplement company that sells a daily multivitamin pack that contains 18 vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. That in itself isn’t remarkable. What does differentiate their Rootine product (the product name is the same as the company name) from other multivitamins is that the quantity of each nutrient is personalized specifically to the needs of each customer.
Rootine creates a custom supplement for you by analyzing your lifestyle factors, DNA genetic composition, and blood vitamin levels. This data allows Rootine to vary the levels of each nutrient to match your body’s particular needs.
- Lifestyle Questionnaire The lifestyle quiz is a short online questionnaire that asks questions about your lifestyle (activity level, current diet, smoker, and so forth).
- DNA Test Rootine sends you an at-home DNA test kit that allows you to perform a DNA test with a simple cheek swab. Return the swab to Rootine for an analysis that looks at over 50 genes that impact your body’s handling of important nutrients.
- Blood Test Rootine sends you an at-home blood test that involves taking a simple finger prick blood sample. Return the sample to Rootine for an analysis of nutrient levels currently in your bloodstream.
Traditionally multivitamins come in the form of either pills, capsules, liquids, or powders. Each of these delivery systems have drawbacks such as making dosage personalization difficult, improper mixing of nutrients, or inconsistent time-release patterns.
Rootine’s delivery system for nutrients is unique in that they don’t rely on any of the traditional systems. Instead, Rootine has spent years perfecting a system that it calls microbeads. Each microbead is a very small, coated “pearl” that consists of one raw nutrient, pharmaceutical grade starch and cellulose to provide a slow release, and a sustainably-farmed beeswax coating. Microbeads allow for fine-tuning the dose of each nutrient for each customer.
Humans may have been designed to derive all their nutrient needs from food, but in recent times that isn’t always happening. The modern food practices of industrial farming grows more crops, but not nutrient-rich crops. Big Ag’s overuse of chemical laden pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers have introduced toxins into the everyday diet of most people. People have become conditioned to rely on highly processed food and fast food, to the exclusion of fresh, healthful produce. The stress-inducing lifestyle of modern day America puts strain on a person’s metabolic system, bringing an unmet need for extra nutrients.
All of the above factors mean that the average person is deficient in at least one important nutrient — and most likely a few or several nutrients. The solution is to take a high-quality daily multivitamin. For best results a person should consider a personalized multivitamin like Rootine — a nutritional supplement consisting of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are each in a dose level determined to be best for that one person.