Why Most Of Us Are Nutrient Deficient And What To Do About It

If you’ve ever wondered if supplements are worthwhile or just create expensive urine, this is the podcast episode for you. While I wish it weren’t the case, I do believe we need supplements to make up for the nutrients we can no longer get through food alone. It’s extra important to note, though, that not all supplements are created equal. And please keep in mind they’re called “supplements” for a reason, not “replacements”—they are meant to supplement a healthy diet and lifestyle to provide the most impact.

Today, I’m excited to take a deeper dive into this topic with one of my most trusted sources when it comes to nutrition and dietary research, Chris Kresser. Chris and I jump right in to why people aren’t obtaining the same amount of nutrients from food as our ancestors did as well as the many reasons we may not be absorbing all the nutrients from the food we eat. That means even for those of us focused on a whole foods diet we may not be hitting the mark for vital nutrients to optimize our health. One reason is the shift from a local food system to a global one. Food starts to immediately lose nutrients as soon as it’s picked, and when it's shipped across the globe it becomes more and more depleted.

Chris shares that food traveling long distances can lose between 40-50% of its nutrients by the time it reaches our plates. Add to that the majority of Americans have a chronic disease, making the amount of nutrients they absorb quite low. It’s also likely that we’re dramatically underestimating the rate of nutrient deficiencies due to our outdated references. For example, the Recommended Daily Allowance for magnesium that we currently use is from 1997, and is based on weight. Average body weight has increased substantially since then, which should change this range, so the amount people are recommended now isn’t adequate. Chris and I also discuss nutrient synergy, signs of deficiencies, whether nutrient toxicity is something we really need to worry about, and so much more.

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