Balancing Your Diet

Supplement treatments for nutritional deficiencies

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

Malabsorption of nutrients in humans is getting more attention as the medical community recognizes the lack of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in our diets. The amylase protein in our saliva dose not get much of a chance to start breaking down food before it get into the stomach, adding to nutrient deficiency in our bodies.

Some doctors are of the opinion that there is absolutely no role for nutritional supplements or nutritional supplementation because a healthy diet contains all the nutrients a body requires.

While this may be true, other factors must also be considered, says Larry McCleary, M.D. Medications that increase nutrition requirements, age, diseases and even soil quality and pesticides are important contributors to nutritional balance.

“A very small percentage of Americans consume the recommended daily dietary intake of all the essential nutrients required on a daily basis,” Dr. McCleary says.

“This has been documented by testing that reveals inadequate body levels of not just a single nutrient, but often multiple nutrients in a large fraction of the population.” Dr. McCleary advocates supplements because the downside risk is minimal and the potential upside benefits are substantial.

Whole Foods

Many physicians and nutritionists recommend that, first and foremost, the quality of food you eat is the most important step in balanced nutritional health.

“Isolated vitamin pills are nothing more than expensive yellow urine,” says Ralph Roberts, M.S, Certified Nutritionist. “Whole, unprocessed raw foods are, according to nine out of ten medical doctors, the best source of minerals and vitamins. The absorption of nutrients is key. AFA blue green algae is the most nutrient dense whole organic food with the highest percentage of absorption.”


Calcium supplements are generally advised for women as they age, particularly for thin people, to combat bone loss. But some men may also benefit from taking extra calcium. Dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables and fortified foods are all good sources of calcium.

NattoPharma of Norway has introduced a “smart” calcium supplement called MenaQ7. This natural vitamin K2 aims at supporting optimal bone health as well as preventing arterial calcification. Directing calcium to the bones, instead of the arteries, puts it to its best use and avoids detrimental side effects.


Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in the brain chemicals that affect mood; low levels of these vitamins may be linked to depression, says Daniel K. Hall-Flavin, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic.

“Older adults, vegetarians and people with digestive disorders such as celiac disease or Crohn's disease may have trouble getting enough B-12,” Dr. Hall-Flavin says. The best way to ensure that you are getting enough B vitamins is to eat a healthy diet; B-12 is plentiful in fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk, and fortified cereals are a good source of B-12 and other B vitamins. A daily B-12 supplement may also be needed, particularly for people over 50 and vegetarians, who don’t get the B-12 from meat proteins.

Fish Oil

Cellular inflammation causes many diseases such as diabetes because it disrupts the hormonal signaling necessary for daily activities. Omega-3 fatty acids can offer health benefits in treating such chronic diseases, as well as improve athletic performance and enhance emotional wellbeing. Omega-3, or fish oil, reduces inflammation and increases blood flow throughout the brain and body.

Dr. Barry Sears, creator of the Zone Diet, has spent 30 years studying the links between diet, hormones and health. “The key to transitioning sufferers and manage their condition is with an increase in the intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids from fish and purified fish oils,” says Dr. Sears. “These fatty acids at high concentrations are powerful anti-inflammatory agents.”


Many Americans are nutritionally deficient due to inadequate diet, high levels of stress, improper sleeping habits, and a sedentary lifestyle. Incorporating a multi-vitamin with a well-balanced breakfast can set the stage for the entire day. Maurice Assia, Vice President of Product Development at GEN L.A.B.S., recommends eating four to five small meals spread two to three hours apart throughout the day, along with getting an adequate amount of sleep and supplementing where needed.