Do I really know what's in the foods I am eating? Hopefully more than just food goes in and waste comes out. What nutrient levels have been excreted in that waste? How much can I absorb of that food/supplement I'm taking? Understanding nutrition for the body and what each nutrients role can be a mind field. The more information I read the more questions I have! Which is great and that's why I keep reading more to make my own decisions on the information I read.
Nutrition, in my view can be like kids vying for one parent's attention!
Nutrients behave similarly to kids, when they aren't supplied stimulation (food) in sufficient quantities they can throw wobblies (symptoms of deficiency) causing stress on the parent body. From what I've seen its no easy feat being a parent (I remember what I was like as a kid!) and I believe its no easy feat understanding how nutrients behave in the gut and body - each has its own specific needs.
When I was creating nutritional plans for turf grass plants we were constantly separating calcium and magnesium because depending on the form, they held an antagonistic relationship. Similar relationships occur in the body, calcium and magnesium are an example of two nutrients who fight for the same site pathway, too much calcium intake can reduce magnesium absorption and visa versa but yet both need to work somehow together to balance the body to keep the likes of bone health and other important functions working, but do we need to separate them with our food intake? Im definitely no saint with regards to food either (I bloody love it, and overindulge many of a time), however you are always in a never ending battle of wobblies when you do not meet balance.
It is amazing how the body tries to balance its own homeostasis and will create some nutrients just by being out in the sun e.g. vitamin D. However most nutrients we cannot create and must be taken in through our diet and/or by the use of supplements. Each nutrient has its own absorption/bioavailability rates depending on its current levels in the body - for example healthy adults can only absorb 30%-50% of dietary magnesium but this can increase to 70% if we are deficient (Braun & Cohen, 2015). This is where recommended dietary intakes (RDI's) come into play.
Recommended dietary intakes (RDI's)
We have all heard about RDI's and how to use them, but are they based for optimal health or preventing deficiency? It is mostly for the later, preventing deficiency. The RDI's do take into consideration the absorption rates and metabolism of each nutrient (which does cut out many calculations, yay). They are however based on large groups of the population (greater than 90%) so the RDI's for me may be different for you. This is where individual analysis of food intake and its personal effects can be time consuming to find that right balance of foods to provide our own optimal health.
Dr Corin Storkey - Seleno Health
Dr Corin Storkey at his chronic fatigue event showed us his struggle with CF and reaching his optimal health and has blogged about his journey which took many months and even years to achieve (follow his journey here). This can be why we often choose to go for a supplement because it is easy and most of the time it works or helps. Food intake is in my view the primary goal but supplements can also be recommended in deficient states where food intake cannot help.
If you are looking for books to read on nutrition and food I highly recommend "The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods" by Michael Murray with Joseph and Lara Pizzorno. Its an older book now but a great, easy to follow read with good info on foods and nutrients.
Less than 3 weeks to go till surgery
I have my date for surgery set for May 28th 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Auckland. During the next 3 weeks I will be completing another food diary intake for my Level 6 Nutrition paper with SPCNM and looking at some new nutritional software to plug the food intake into. Be great to see the changes in nutrient intake and levels I have made to my diet to provide optimal nutrition compared to my first try and explain any differences I have may felt over. Will let you know the results of course.
Until then, take care.
Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2015). Herbs & natural supplements. An evidenced based guide (4th ed., Vol 2). Sydney, Australia. Elsevier.