So, what’s up with the name “Nutrition Interactions”???

 

Nutrition Interactions

 

Good question!

I can easily say that I chose the name Nutrition Interactions because I liked it, and because it acknowledges the importance of nutrition, and nutrients interact with every function of your body.  And that is all true, but there’s a bit more to it than that.

Of course nutrition is essential for health in every single person.  Severe nutrient deficiencies are the direct cause of certain diseases.  Everyone has heard of “scurvy”, where a lack of vitamin C causes many, many issues, including the well-known: your bones soften, your teeth fall out, you bruise and bleed easily, you suffer, and eventually you die.  Other nutrients have their own deficiency disease names – vitamin B1 deficiency is beriberi, vitamin B3 deficiency is pellagra, vitamin D deficiency is rickets, iron deficiency is iron-deficiency anemia, etc.

But serious deficiencies – they are extreme cases.

In fact, most people in developed countries today do not suffer from serious nutrient deficiencies.  BUT, some deficiency diseases like scurvy and rickets unfortunately resurface from time to time.(1,2)

When you consider mild nutrient deficiencies, or inadequacies, recent studies show that many people have sub-optimal levels of many essential nutrients, and most are not meeting their recommended daily intakes for many nutrients.(3)

Basically, nutrients actually DO “interact” with a lot of things in your body!

 

Proteins break down into amino acids that are absorbed by the digestive system.  Some of these amino acids are “essential” meaning you NEED them to survive.  Your body uses them to make uber-important big things like muscles, skin, bones, and other organs.  There are also many, many tiny things that are made of amino acids such as antibodies, hormones, neurotransmitters, and enzymes.

Carbohydrates like starch break down into individual sugar molecules which are used for immediate energy.  This is especially important for energy requirements for the brain and muscles.  And if you have more carbs than you need at that time, they’re stored in the liver, muscles, and eventually converted into fat, for future energy use.

Fats are used for many structures and functions such as your brain, and the lining of every cell membrane of your body.  Fats such as cholesterol are used to make certain hormones.  And excess fat is stored for future use (most essential nutrients aren’t just wasted!).

We all know we need vitamins!  They weren’t named “vital amines” for nothing!  They’re used by enzymes to speed up vital processes in your body, like the synthesis of essential molecules.  Enzymes are needed for the liver’s detoxification processes, they’re used in cells to turn those carbs, fats & proteins into energy, and they make neurotransmitters so you can sleep and remember things.

One example is vitamin C which is needed to make the essential connective tissue protein “collagen” that is necessary for bones, cartilage and gums; to be able to form blood clots, without which of course can eventually lead to scurvy.

Minerals such as magnesium are also used to help enzymes synthesize proteins and repair DNA; as well as being critically important for bone, brain, heart and muscle health health.(4)

So, Every nutrient interacts with each other to do everything your body needs to do. #nutrition Click To Tweet

Nutrients are essentially the raw materials for our lives!

Let’s see a real-life example of what I mean by “interactions”

 

Here’s an amazing short video (4:33) that explains these kinds of interactions, but instead of watching these interactions in the body, this is a example of how individual species in an ecosystem interact with each other.  (Is my biology background obvious?).  It shows that if one species is re-introduced after being absent for many years, how this interacts with all the other species, as well as the landscape of the entire ecosystem.

In this video, the wolves had been gone for 70 years, and scientists were amazed at how things balanced out amongst not just the deer populations, which is the obvious animal directly impacted by the wolves, but many other species of plants and animals started to flourish within just 6 years after the wolves returned.

I see the interaction of nutrients in the exact same way.  If one nutrient in the body is low or deficient, it has effects on so many other functions of the body.

P.S. This short video has over 22 million views – if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re welcome!  🙂

So, if the wolves represented one single nutrient, and Yellowstone national park represented the body, then this is exactly how I see these interactions.  This is the nutrient balance in our bodies.

 

All of the nutrients interact!  Hence, “Nutrition Interactions”.

 

Most nutrients have multiple functions, and when one nutrient is low (due to poor food quality, lack of absorption, medication use, etc.), or if it is overdosed (due to lack of variety of nutritious foods, improper use of supplements, etc.) it can eventually have a domino effect on many other functions of the body.

The body is able to compensate for these depletions and overdoses for so long by tapping into its storage, but eventually without re-balancing our intakes, symptoms and health issues can soon take hold.

If you wanted to see a visual chart of the complexity of the biochemical reactions in your body, or at least some of what science has been able to determine so far, click here.  It’s amazing!

I don’t know about you, but that chart is REALLY impressive to me!  And we don’t barely have to think about any of these reactions when we’re healthy, yet they keep us alive and functioning 24-hours per day!  And if they’re going well, they help us to ward off diseases and heal from ones we do get.

Oh, and that post about my health philosophy (and why I don’t fit in) again…it’s here.  🙂


References:

(1) http://casereports.bmj.com/content/2014/bcr-2013-201982.abstract

(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629265/

(3) http://hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/surveill/nutrition/commun/art-nutr-adult-eng.php

(4) http://physrev.physiology.org/content/95/1/1.full

So, what can I do for you?

I’m not just a health writer and content strategist for busy wellness professionals.

  • I’m a science-based holistic nutritionist (MSc, R.H.N.).
  • I know (and value) the holistic approach to health, and I’m pretty awesome at digging into the scientific research to see what’s what (and sometimes even I’m surprised with what I find).
  • Not to mention the fact that I freaking LOVE doing it!

 

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