Dr. Mark Hyman has released a series called Hacking Your Healthcare. Day 3 of this series talks about the importance of nutrition and normal body function. It is an excellent series and I would suggest checking it out. Many of us assume we are getting the nutrition we need for optimal health; but statistics have proven this assumption to be wrong.

Are you getting enough of the key nutrients your body needs to function properly? How would you know if you are deficient in key nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, selenium or vitamin B6? According to Dr. Mark Hyman, 90% of Americans are not getting enough of the nutrients that are critical for healthy body function!

It is also important to note that there a spectrum of deficiency states. You may be so low in vitamin C that you get a scurvy, which would be a disease. Then again, your levels may not be that low but in instead of scurvy you bruise easily, catch colds often or age prematurely.

If your vitamin D is critically low,  you could develop a disease of the bones called rickets. If your vitamin D is moderately low then you may have difficulty absorbing calcium and suffer with decreased bone density, called osteopenia or the more severe form, osteoporosis.

Optimal nutrient status plays a major role in functional medicine. So, what exactly do nutrient do anyway?

Why Are Nutrients So Important?

The word nutrient and nourish both come from Latin meaning “to feed, support and preserve.” The word nutrient came into use around 1650 meaning “providing nourishment.” Nourish means to provide the substances necessary for growth, health, repair and good condition.  The point I want to get across is that nutrients are necessary for health! If your body is not getting the nutrients it needs it cannot, by definition, function properly. If you goal is to restore health and feel your best, you cannot ignore the many nutrients your body requires.

Isn’t Diet Enough?

For most people diet it NOT enough. They do not consume  enough nutrient-dense foods in sufficient quantities to meet their body’s nutrient needs. According to the Hacking Your Health series:

  • 98% of Americans are deficient in omega 3 fats
  • 80% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D
  • 50% of Americans are deficient in magnesium
  • According to testing in my office more than 50% of my patients are deficient in vitamin C and 20% are deficient in zinc

Many of my patients are already eating healthy diets including organic vegetable and fruits and grass-fed animal proteins.

So, is diet enough? In most cases diet is not enough to meet our nutritional needs. I eat a very good diet, yet I still need to supplement with vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and even copper.

My wife and I eat the same diet, yet she has her own nutrient needs that require additional supplementation…they are not the same ones I need…eating the same diet.

Nutrients Are Not Optional

Without resorting to a lengthy biochemistry explanation, let me put it this way. Your body requires nutrients to perform the vital chemical reactions your body needs to not only remain healthy, but to remain alive. We need some nutrition in large amounts like fats, carbohydrates and fats. I’m not talking about these forms of nutrition. The emphasis here is on the “magic keys” of chemical reactions in your body. Common examples are the B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin C, selenium, iodine, copper, iron, chromium, carnitine, etc. Your body needs all of these and more to function properly.

The only way to determine your nutrient status is to perform diagnostic testing. With the help of an experienced functional medicine doctor, they can determine what kind of testing you should have and what nutrient dosages your body requires.

Without testing you are just guessing.

Wasting time, living with potential deficiencies and buying supplmements you don’t need.


I wish you success on your quest for health!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.