Vitamins and Minerals
Updated: May 2, 2021
Ever since the 1960s, when it was first argued that animal products could be bad for our health because they contain saturated fat, nutritionists have typically refrained from pointing out that meat contains all the amino acids necessary for life, all the essential fats, and twelve of the thirteen essential vitamins in surprisingly large quantities. It’s true nonetheless. Meat is a particularly concentrated source of vitamins A and E, and the entire complex of B vitamins. Vitamins B12 and D are found only in animal products (although we may get vitamin D from regular exposure to sunlight).
James E. Dowd M.D. in his book, “The vitamin D cure” (2008), highlights that the majority of people in USA, are deficient in vitamin D which he believes contributes to many health problems. He has case studies in which changing diets including reduction of refined grains and supplementing with vitamin D has provided huge benefits to his patients. He is particularly concerned to ensure that unborn babies and young children get sufficient vitamin D to set them up for a healthy adult life. We are seeing a resurgence of interest in this with the concern that lack of vitamin D contributes to worse outcomes for COVID-19. Recommendations from some sources are now to be taking up to 4000 iu per day.
Care must be taken with calcium supplements. Researchers have identified that when calcium is supplemented without vitamin D, the result can be an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease due to calcium build up in arteries. A better approach may be to take vitamin K2 instead which has been proven to reduce bone loss due to ageing and also assist in the removal of calcium from soft tissue.
B vitamins supplementation is often required, particularly by vegans, and non-fortified nutritional yeast is one recommended source. Apparently this is not always recognized by GP’s, with people suffering from this taking years to have the problem identified.
Fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K can only be absorbed by the body if there is fat available in the diet, without this, the vitamins will just pass through the body. Supplements with these vitamins often state that they must be taken with food. The B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble but any excess is unable to be stored by the body so must be included in the diet regularly.
It has been discovered recently that vitamin C needs are much lower in people who are “fat” burners, perhaps because there is vitamin C in meat fat. This may explain why people eating fresh meat with full fat have a low to zero requirement for vitamin C supplements to avoid scurvy. The traditional Inuit diet of nearly 100% meat and fat required no vitamin C supplementation to contain scurvy, despite a complete lack of fruit and vegetables.
Should you be worried about nitrates in bacon? The original study has been debunked. Check out:
We have nitrites in our saliva and celery has lots of it. If a meat is cured with celery powder apparently it can claim to be nitrate free despite possibly having higher levels of nitrate than a standard product.
Two of the richest sources of nitrates (NO3), greater than in bacon, are beetroot juice and celery. It is also frequently found in water. This nitrate is converted by bacteria in saliva to nitrites (NO2) and goes on to help in production of nitric oxide known to reduce blood pressure by dilating small blood vessels in extremities. But don’t use mouthwash as this kills the bacteria that do the conversion. Heating nitrates to high heat can cause nitrosamines which may be harmful.
Another aspect of sun exposure that is less well known is that UVA sunlight exposure also promotes the generation of nitric oxide. Safe sun exposure, when your shadow is longer than you are tall, can enhance this, improving your health. A study in Scandinavia, of people with significant non-melanoma sun exposure showed they lived on average 10 years longer than people without this exposure.
My research has identified that vitamin K2 has an ability to metabolise calcium, assisting with the removal of calcium from blood vessel walls and redepositing it in bones. This vitamin has been referred to as “the most important anti-aging nutrient” and yet is deficient in the typical western diet. Bone health is dependent on vitamin K2, because osteocalcin (MGP), the bone building protein, requires activation by vitamin K2 in order to be able to put calcium back into bones. It would appear that without K2, calcium supplements may be of little value, but vitamin K2 supplements will help build bone from calcium available in the diet. Underperformance of this process leads to significant risk of elevated bone fracture. High levels of vitamin K2 have been identified in healthy aorta
European studies with vitamin K2 have shown:
- 20% reduced diabetes risk,
- A decreased cancer risk,
- 35% reduced prostate cancer risk.
- Reduced muscle cramps,
- Ability to revive dead or dying nerve cells.
There is even a suggestion that it may assist in the undoing of Parkinson’s disease by reducing neuropathy.
Cardiac output volumes have been shown to improve significantly with 100-300 ug per day
- 13% volume increase at resting heart rates
- 23% volume increase at maximum heart rates
Rich animal sources of vitamin K2 include high-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows, egg yolks, as well as liver and other organ meats. Vitamin K2 is fat-soluble, which means low-fat and lean animal products don’t contain much of it. Don’t confuse vitamin K2 for vitamin K1 as K1 is a different vitamin, comes from leafy green vegetables and is important for blood coagulation but has no discernible benefit for heart health.
There is an uncertainty around vitamin K2. Is it K2-MK4, that helps or K2-MK7, or both? There are 2 schools of thought. MK4 has a very short half life in your body of about 3 hours while MK7 has a longer half life of about 72 hours. Some people have noted that MK4 is great for brain fog. Your body can make some MK4 from MK7 apparently. What should we believe, as you will find both camps fighting for supremacy at this time.
Potassium is critical for human health and although deficiency is uncommon, most people do not get enough. Most deficiencies are not caused by diet, but by diarrhea or vomiting. Symptoms of deficiency include muscle cramps, muscle pain or irregular heart beat. Recommended daily consumption is quoted at 3,500 mg – 4,700 mg per day. Good sources from 100 grams of food include beet greens (909 mg), avocado (485 mg), cooked spinach (466 mg), and cooked salmon (414 mg).
Magnesium supplements are a must for those who want to protect their hearts according to Bowden & Sinatra (in “The Great Cholesterol Myth”). It is claimed that it will lower blood pressure, help control blood sugar, and relax the lining of blood vessels. Recommended supplementation is 400 mg / day.
CoQ10 is a vitamin like substance found in virtually every cell in the body with the greatest concentrations in the heart. When this level falls, so does general health. CoQ10 is used in the energy producing metabolic pathways of every cell, is a powerful anti-oxidant and without this our bodies cannot survive. An alarming side effect of Statin drugs is the severe depletion of CoQ10 because the process that the statin interferes with to reduce cholesterol, is part of the same mechanism that produces CoQ10.
Nick Lane in his very technical book about mitochondria, “Power sex and suicide” contends that antioxidants supplements have no measurable impact on health and ageing, despite all the marketing hype. He believes that athletes who consume huge amounts of oxygen compared with non-athletes do not generally age more quickly than the average person despite the additional oxygen.
George Elder, Author, "Take Back Your Health", Amazon $3.99.