We wrote the newsletter on Macronutrients because it’s so simple, its a great place to start, and by getting a handle on your 3 macronutrients – you’ll have stabilized blood sugar, increased metabolism (which means increased fat-burning), and increased energy. Sounds good!
Lets go a little deeper. What about the Micronutrients? We’ve all heard people say, “You need your vitamins and minerals!” Well, ‘vitamins and minerals’ are Micronutrients, or nutrients that we require in small (very small!) quantities so that our bodies can fulfill and maintain certain physiological functions. So for example, if you want your body to be able to better be able to metabolize the macronutrients (fat, protein and carbs), then Manganese is essential for that task. Manganese also promotes bone formation and energy production. Woah! Pretty important for those who want to be strong, athletic, and powerful, huh.
Lets get started!
Vitamin B complex. B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning your body cannot store them, it is important to ensure that your diet provides sufficient amounts of these nutrients every day. The B complex vitamins help your body extract energy from food, so they are critical for every process in your body.
-B1 (thiamin) is needed to help convert the carbohydrates we eat into glucose.
-B2 (riboflavin) works with other vitamins in the B complex to process energy from carbohydrates, protein and fat. Our bodies needs it for growth and red cell production, and adequate riboflavin intake promotes healthy skin and good vision.
-B3 (niacin) is another b-complex vitamin that extracts energy from the macro-nutrients, but it also helps the digestive system function, promotes a normal appetite, along with healthy skin.
Niacin can even reduce LDL cholesteroal and lower HDL cholesterol.
-B5 (pantothenic acid) is another b-complex vitamin that extracts energy from the macro-nutrients, while it also supports skin maintenance/repair, along with vision and proper liver function. Aditionally, pantothenic acid also helps to keeps the digestive tract healthy. Part of this is due to the fact that vitamin B5 can help the body synthesize cholesterol.
-B6, helps brain function, supports adrenal function, calms and maintain a healthy nervous system, and helps the body convert protein to energy.
-B7 (biotin) also help support adrenal function, help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system – and also develops and maintains strong nails and hair.
-B8 (ergadenylic acid, or inositol) maintains a healthy immune system, nervous system and healthy skin. It may even prevent grey hair and hair loss. Some studies have shown B9 is effective in anxiety, OCD, and chronic depression, etc…!
-B9 (folic acid), is important for the production and maintenance of new cells. Adults and children need folic acid to make normal red blood cells and to prevent anemia, especially during both pregnancy and infancy when cell growth is extremely rapid.
-B12 (cyanocobalamin) works with folic acid to produce healthy red blood cells, and 12 is another one that keeps your central nervous system healthy. Of note here is that the only natural sources of Vitamin B12 are animal products.
-Vitamin A (retinol), helps your eyes adjust to changes in light, and helps keep your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist. -Vitamin A mostly comes from animal foods, but some plant- based foods supply beta-carotene, which your body then converts into Vitamin A. It also has antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals in the body that cause tissue and cellular damage.
-Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), is one of those super-vitamins that we can’t get enough of. It hhelps to heal wounds, prevent cell damage, promote healthy gums and teeth, and does a ton to strengthen the immune system. It also helps the body absorb iron. Some research has even indicated that vitamin C may be associated with delayed aging and disease prevention by destroying ‘free radicals’-the molecules associated with aging and cell damage. Whoo-hooo! Long live vitamin C!
-Vitamin D is another one of those Wow! Vitamins. It helps the body absorb and use calcium, it aids in bone and tooth formation, and supports muscle and nerve function. It also plays a role in preventing osteoporosis. Whats cool about vitamin D is that our bodies can create it when exposed to sunlight. So get out there and get some sun!
-Vitamin E (tocopherol) is an integral part of cellular membranes whose main role is to defend the cell against oxidation, or in preventing free-radical damage. In other words, it slows down aging significantly, from hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis) to maintaining cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle. Sounds good? Oh yeah!
-Vitamin K is responsible for responding to injuries, from blood clotting to helping to transport calcium through the body to make bones stronger.
13 Trace Elements
-Boron. Essential to life, Boron is an element that makes the cell walls of plants stronger, and in humans it helps to activate Vitamin D and Estrogen. In fact, did you know that soil used for agriculture over a long period of time can become boron deficient, and people eating food produced in boron-rich soil have reduced incidence of arthritis and osteoporis? Wow.
-Cobalt. Essential to all animals, Cobalt is particularly important to grazing animals (ruminants) because without it, the animal cannot produce Vitamin B12. Because cobalt is a key constituent in B12 – which is uber important for us humans (see below), we need cobalt too.
-Chromium. Science is divided on the essential nature of chromium, but there have been cases where people fed intraveneously for a long period of time have ended up with a chromium deficiency.
-Calcium. We hear all the time “you need your calcium!” “Drink your milk because you need calcium!” Why is calcium so important? For starters, calcium is the majority of material used in the mineralization of bones and teeth! If you want strong bones and teeth (and who doesn’t?), then adequate amounts of calium are essential. In fact, 99% of the calcium stored in your body in your bones and teeth. Calcium is also essential muscle contraction, and for electrical conduction of the heart! Whoah!
-Copper. Copper is required to transport electrons and oxygen, both of which are essential for peak athletic performance. And we looooove peak athletic performance!
-Floride. Fluoride is has a role in bone mineralization, as well as preventing cavities and tooth decay. It was once thought that Fluoride is more beneficial than current studies indicate, and there is a lot of controversy associated with the fluoridization of water.
-Iodine. Iodine is needed for the normal metabolism of cells (or the process of converting food into energy). We need iodine for normal thyroid function, and for the production of thyroid hormones. What happens if our thyroid hormones get out of whack? Our metabolic rate can decrease by as much as 50%m, or increase by as much as 100%, depending on the cause. If you care about performance at all, this is hugely important.
-Iron. Iron is present is every cell in the body. We need iron in order to make the oxygen-carrying proteins hemoglobin and myoglobin. Iron is so essential that low iron levels over a long period of time can lead to iron deficiency anemia. Symptoms include lack of energy, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, irritability, etc… In other words, not good!!
-Magnesium. Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein. Man, talk about an essential element!
-Manganese. Manganese does a lot of different things, from assisting in the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol, to facilitating protein and carbohydrate metabolism. Manganese also activates the enzymes responsible for utilization of several key nutrients, including thiamin, biotin, ascorbic acid, and choline. It works as part of an antioxidant enzyme by protecting our bodies against free radicals and is involved in the formation of urea, the primary component of urine. Manganese also assists in the metabolism of blood sugar. And as the rise in hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and type 2 diabetes tells us – metabolizing blood sugar is uber important!
-Molybdenum. This lesser-known element is responsible for several biochemical processes involving cellular structures of the body. Cellular respiration and the utilization of oxygen are dependent on molybdenum to function normally. Harnessing free radicals and preventing DNA and RNA missteps in reproduction, as well as the maintenance of cell membranes are all dependent on molybdenum.
-Selenium. Much of Seleniums role has to do with prevention. It helps make antioxidant enzymes that play a role in preventing cell-damage. Selenium seems to help to prevent certain cancers, diseases, and helps protect the body from poisonous effects of heavy metals. Woah. Can I have some more please?
-Zinc. This element is found throughout the body, and is needed for the body’s immune system (defensive) to work properly, for proper cell division, cell growth, and even for certain senses like smell and taste. To take it a little farther, zinc is so essential to the immune system that when you start to feel a cold coming on – taking zinc can ward off that cold, or at least shorten its duration. Awesome stuff, that zinc.
Well, all that was a mouthful. Cut to the chase–where do we get these essential vitamins and minerals?
In real, whole, nutrient dense food, that was raised in nutrient dense soil.
-B1 (thiamin) is found in meats such as pork, poultry and fish, organ meats such as liver, egg yolks, nuts,
-B2 (riboflavin) is also found in organ meats (liver, kidney, and heart), along with almonds, mushrooms, and green leafy veggies
-B3 (niacin) is widely distributed in foods of both animal and vegetable origin. Niacin is found in dairy products, poultry, fish, organ meats, nuts, and eggs. Other sources are beets, beef liver, beef kidney, pork, turkey, chicken, veal, fish, salmon, swordfish, tuna, sunflower seeds, and peanuts.
-B5 (pantothenic acid) sources include eggs, organ meat, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocadoes, and corn.
-B6 can be found in liver, spinach, beans, carrots, peas, sunflower seeds, walnuts, and organ meat.
-B7 is available in vegetables such as beans and cauliflower, along with egg yolks, fish, organ meats, molasses, dairy products, nuts, oysters, peanut butter, poultry – and even chocolate. Mmmm, chocolate.
-B8 (ergadenylic acid, or inositol) can be found in nuts, legumes like beans, and green leafy vegetables. The highest concentration sources, however, are organ meat such as brain, stomach, kidney, spleen, liver and heart. Yahoo for real food!
-B9 (folic acid) can be sourced from leafy green vegetables are like spinach and collard, turnip and mustard greens. Other vegetables such as asparagus, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, and many types of legumes, including peas, lentils, garbanzo beans; and dried beans, such as kidney, lima and black beans are good sources of B9. Citrus fruits another great source of this fantastic vitamin.
-B12 (cyanocobalamin) is found in the highest concentrations in meat, poultry, and seafood. Eggs and dairy are another good source of B12, although not as good as a source as meat. Score another one for real, whole food! Whooo hooo!
Vitamin A (retinol), is found in beef, calf, chicken liver; eggs, and fish liver oils as well as dairy products including whole milk, whole milk yogurt, whole milk cottage cheese, butter, and cheese. Vegetable based sources are carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, cantaloupe, pink grapefruit, apricots, broccoli, spinach, and most dark green leafy vegetables.
-Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is found in all fresh fruits, vegetables and their juices. Citrus fruits such as sweet limes, guava, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, papaya and pineapple contain large amounts of this vitamin along with kiwis, berries, and mangoes. Vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, potatoes, green and yellow peppers, leafy vegetables, Brussels sprouts, collard greens and broccoli are excellent sources. Finally, some unconventional high sources of vitamin C are rose hips, Indian gooseberry, acerola berry and acai berry. Lets hear it for Vitamin C!!!
-Vitamin D is found most of all in natural sunlight. Fatty fish are considered the best food sources of vitamin D–especially herring, catfish, salmon, trout and halibut. The only vegetable that is naturally an excellent source of vitamin D is the mushroom.
-Vitamin E (tocopherol) can be found in nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts. Other sources include peanut butter, spinach, soybean oil and broccoli. Fruits such as mango, tomato and kiwi contain vitamin E, too.
-Vitamin K sources include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, spinach and soybeans. Cooked dark green vegetables, such as spinach, kale and broccoli, can provide more than one RDA in a single serving. Raw cows milk is also a good source of vitamin K.
Sheesh – notice anything here? Any kind of pattern beginning to reveal itself? Hmmm, it looks like meat/poultry/seafood, vegetables & fruit, nuts and seeds are the best sources for all of these essential vitamins and minerals. Not grains, not processed foods, not foods with long and hard to pronounce ingredient lists. Interesting…