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Micronutrient testing is so important! The world of functional medicine depends greatly on a group of essential elements called micronutrients. Although “micro,” these nutrients play a large role in the body. Fundamentally, they are at the root of our health and can offer drastic health benefits when adequate levels are restored and maintained. The key is identifying when micronutrient levels are out-of-range and effectively supporting healthy stores.
Micronutrients are essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to thrive and function. Key word: essential. This is because without healthy stores of micronutrients, health suffers.
Primary micronutrients include:
These essential micronutrients are responsible for countless functions within the body, including functions that we often don’t even think about and likely take for granted. For example, many micronutrients serve as important players in enzyme function, energy production, mental function, and nutrient transportation.
While the term “micro-nutrient” closely parallels “macro-nutrient,” they are fundamentally different. Macronutrients include protein, carbs, and fat, which naturally contain various micronutrients. Together, micronutrients and macronutrients aid in overall health, which is why it’s also wise to be intentional about consuming adequate macronutrients through food. Therefore, balanced macronutrients naturally support healthy micronutrient levels.
Here is a (short) list of some of the functions micronutrients play a large role:
To make sure your body is actually utilizing these nutrients and they aren’t just entering the body and not absorbing, we test. There are two types of nutrient levels we can test for— intracellular and extracellular. Intracellular levels measure the micronutrients absorbed by your circulating white and red blood cells. Extracellular levels on the other hand, measure the micronutrients that are free floating in your blood and exist outside the cells. Basically, intracellular is what your cells are absorbing and extracellular is what they are not.
Even though you may be eating a healthy diet or taking supplements, your cellular intake levels of certain nutrients may still not be sufficient because your body isn’t absorbing them. For example, maybe you took a ton of supplements before your test but then we can still see that you’re deficient (intracellularly), which is most important! In other words, if intracellular nutrient levels are deficient, it means your body is not actually absorbing these essential nutrients.
Micronutrient lab tests provide an inside look at what’s happening within the body. Without micronutrient testing, we are left in the dark, and for this reason, micronutrient testing serves as an invaluable tool. I recommend everyone utilize micronutrient tests annually.
With the help of your health practitioner, you can order annual micronutrient tests to gauge your nutrient levels and proceed accordingly.
The main micronutrients to test include:
In addition to many chronic diseases (and health symptoms listed above), annual micronutrient testing helps aid in the treatment of autoimmunity and gut imbalances. Unfortunately and fortunately, these health conditions are often closely related to nutrient deficiencies. So, gaining valuable insight into nutrient stores allows us to correct and support micronutrient levels.
It’s also important to note that some micronutrients are synergistic (work together), while others are antagonistic (work against each other). It’s important to achieve a healthy balance of micronutrients, so that one doesn’t deplete the other. So, this is why it’s essential to work with a health professional, who can help you achieve balanced micronutrient levels.
What’s the best way to make sure you’ve got enough vitamins and minerals to be your healthiest self?
Supplements alone aren’t enough. But also— food alone isn’t enough. But together? GAMECHANGER. I love a good power duo and food + supplements is a combination that has healing down to a science. They work synergistically to make sure there are no gaps in nutrient levels so that your body runs optimally.
I recommend starting with your diet. First, you want to make sure you’re eating a varied diet full of diverse whole foods. This is how you get your base levels of important vitamins and minerals! Then, we test. Wherever the gaps remain is where you supplement. And remember, quality is key! Make sure the supplements you choose are scientifically backed.
Checking the boxes on our daily nutrient needs seems challenging, but when you have a roadmap of what you’ve got already and what you need, it becomes much easier.
Unfortunately, modern lifestyles make it really hard to maintain sufficient levels of vitamins and minerals. Our soil is depleted of nutrients, therefore our food is depleted of nutrients. Then add the processing we use to make food more convenient, and nutrient levels remain pretty minimal. We often don’t even absorb the nutrients that do remain intact due to our bodies being riddled with stress.
Beneficial microbes help farms produce nutrient-dense food. Certain farming practices can deplete our soil, making our crops less nutritious. And without plants being able to uptake micronutrients, our food is deficient. And therefore, our health is deficient.
Processed foods simply do not have sufficient nutrients. Many nutrients can be destroyed or removed during processing. Heating or drying foods can also destroy certain vitamins and minerals. Although food manufacturers can add back some of the nutrients lost, it is impossible to recreate the food in its original form.
When you’re stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode. It focuses all its energy on protecting itself. Even if you eat a nutrient dense meal, if you are stressed, your body doesn’t fully process and digest the nutrients in your food. This is because it’s too busy!
Micronutrient deficiencies are all too common in our world today. Unfortunately, there are many factors working against our ability to maintain healthy micronutrient levels. For example, nutrient-depleted soil, chronic stress, processed foods, and medications.
While we are all likely deficient in one micronutrient or another, there are tell-tale signs of chronic nutrient deficiencies to look out for:
While everyone can benefit from annual micronutrient testing, it’s a non-negotiable for those who are healing from:
Although nutrient deficiencies are extremely common, it is possible to reverse them. Once you identify nutrient deficiencies within the body, you can use food, supplements, and other lifestyle changes to restore healthy nutrient levels.
Through the strategic use of diet and supplements, nutrient deficiencies can be restored. Adopting a whole food diet is the best way to ensure adequate nutrients are being consumed. However, given our nutrient-depleted soil and foods today, specific supplementation can be advantageous.
Just as every person is bio-individual, so are their nutrient needs and deficiencies. Working with a health practitioner to identify your specific imbalances is key. To test your micronutrient levels, get in touch with my team today. If you’re already an established client, make sure you are checking in annually to optimize your levels. Reach out to us at email@example.com or apply for one of our programs at nikkiyeltonrd.com/apply!
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.