Food is more intricate than simply sources of protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals and vitamins. Whether it is an animal or vegetable, these are complex molecular structures with cells that are living organisms and contain networks of components and nutrients that function together as a whole food. Food contains energy potential that comes from the sun and in an almost unimaginable process turns these inorganic minerals into biological organic matter by way of energy from water, gasses and of course the sun. This is part of the cycle of life, how the sun produces plants, eaten by herbivores, by predators and then humans. This is a biologically appropriate food that is life and gives life to others with the idea being no wastage whether a carcass is decomposed in the woods or eaten up by a tribe.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Nutrient synergy is very important, there is a focus on nutrient density in wholefood natural eating circles, but the synergy and mineral balance is key. One can present with mineral deficiencies, but what about mineral excess? Balancing minerals with wholefoods whilst preferred to synthetic supplements, is not that simple. Take dairy, if you’re very low in calcium and you boost up the dairy you can digest, your calcium may increase but at the expense of the magnesium which may already be low. Or organ meats high in vitamin A and iron, whilst you need the B vitamins for your energy production, the vitamin A and iron may become excessive if you’re eating excessive amounts daily for this sole purpose of balance. We need iron to transport oxygen around the body essential for energy, but excess depletes copper and with no ceruloplasmin able to hold copper, no sugar can be converted to energy. Before you start to panic, a balanced wholefood diet generally covers all areas. It is rather when we get depleted reserves due to excesses in certain foods, poor quality foods, or emotional/physical stress that we then want to think about this balance more intricately.
The two nutrient relationships, synergy & antagonism
Unfortunately we can’t just focus on nutrients in the individual status. Whilst it has helped us learn the functions of aminos acids, fatty acids, saccharides, vitamins and minerals etc, it has also shown us that nutrients function in either synergistic or antagonistic ways. As they are never found alone rather existing amongst vitamins, enzymes, minerals and co -factors we need to nature we need to know of its relationships.
When it comes to nutrients which are vitamins and minerals, there are two types of relationships, synergistic or antagonistic. Trace minerals tend to cause the most concern. This includes Cobalt, Chromium, Copper, Iron, iodine, Selenium, Manganese, molybdenum and Zinc.
Using supplements is not ideal to balance nutrient imbalances and excessive nutrition protocols too. The mineral wheel can illustrate interactions between mineral interactions in the soil and the human body system. If a mineral is pointing to another mineral it means that there is a deficiency of that mineral or there is an interference with its metabolism as you can see on the mineral chart above. The mineral wheel here showcases some main minerals but there are over 24 that we need for survival. Whilst some mineral relationships are generally known such as magnesium-calcium, what is not as well known is each mineral then branches off to others such as from calcium to zinc or to manganese. This is why it does not make much sense long term at least to just eat meat if it helps with gut issues, but then trying to balance minerals with purely electrolytes high in sodium and phosphorus, for it will throw off other minerals.
Examples of Mineral & Vitamin Antagonism
Examples of nutrient antagonism
- Calcium + Zinc
- Zinc + Copper + Manganese + Iron
- Calcium + Iron
- Calcium + Vitamin E + Vitamin A + Potassium
- Vitamin D + Magnesium + Potassium
- Vitamin C + Copper
- Vit A + D + E
we don’t want antagonism in general as it will put our mineral stores out of balance. We need Iodine as cofactors for enzymatic reactions and to maintain PH balance in the body. Magnesium to help transfer nutrients across cell membranes and maintains proper nerve conduction. Iron to contract and relax muscles and regulates tissue growth. Also Calcium to provide structural and functional support. Imagine coming to see a practitioner with low thyroid function, hormonal imbalance, gut pain and fatigue, and all along your minerals are being thrown out of balance with deficiencies or excess in certain minerals unbeknownst to you?
Examples of Mineral & Vitamin Synergy
- Vitamin C + Vitamin E
- Fat + Vit A, D, E & K
- Vit B6 + B12 + Folate
- Vit D + Calcium + Vit K + Boron
- Iron + vit C
- Potassium + Magnesium + Calcium
What does Nutrient imbalance look like?
Whilst many of the below are more common in high dose supplementation the fact remains that excess or deficiency of minerals can throw your whole body’s balance off kilter. Iron overload causes inflammation and low energy symptoms. Hypercalcemia leading to insomnia and adrenal issues reduced zinc uptake, and iron overload in hemochromatosis. Zinc can cause nausea
, vomiting & immunosuppression and also impaired copper uptake. Selenium at doses above 0.91 mg/d can cause peripheral neuropathies, gastric upset and brittle hair and nails, peripheral neuropathy and gastrointestinal upset. It also sheds light in vitamin deficiencies with the relationship of minerals
For example an increased need of vitamin b6 (pyridoxine) tends to alter metabolism and the ability to utilize calcium and magnesium. Calcium tends to be retained and magnesium excreted. Similarly when storage vitamin D is high meaning it’s not being utilized and erroneously diagnosed as low vitamin D in general, your calcium will be raised and the potassium lowered this is the Ca/K relationship. As calcium rises the magnesium will be lowered. Magnesium is needed to utilize the vitamin D and put calcium in the bones. Magnesium does not just activate vitamin D but maintains calcium balance and the issue at hand is that high dose synthetic vitamin D will prevent the proper balance of calcium from occurring and pull calcium from the bones, but calcium is needed in the bone not the tissues. Therefore one can see with this example how the mineral status and relationships can give us a great indication into the nutrient status of vitamins in the client.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA)
Read my article on specific details of the HTMA I offer in my clinic in person in my nutrition Harley street London clinic or online here:
There is a requirement for an equilibrium between the nutrients we consume. This can be achieved by a varied diet to some degree. When the equilibrium is not there we experience negative effects. To Avoid subclinical deficiencies followed by illness or worse, we can use the hair mineral tissue analysis to pick up on imbalances or excess and rectify with appropriate changes to one nutrition as well as being mindful of balancing meals. This is how we can learn of our mineral interrelationship. Each mineral can not be affected without affecting two other minerals and each will then affect a further two more. A lot of this is dependent on biochemical reactions enzymes and cofactors. Ultimately even traditional ancestral tribes whilst they are generally the same foods due to lack of foreign importation, they certainly seasonally which provided that mix. Unfortunately today many can go eating the same, possibly good quality foods all year round which is against the seasons and against nature leading to imbalances albeit with the best intentions. The hair tissue mineral analysis part of all my programs at my harley street nutrition clinic or online, measures mineral status with a small amount of your hair. It tells you your balance, if in excess or deficiency and toxic elements such as heavy metals like aluminum, mercury arsenic or lead
Excess intake of a single mineral can lead to inhibit absorption. For example people going crazy over zinc during winter months. This can lead to copper deficiency as it decreases intestinal copper absorption. Zinc toxicity symptoms. This is not just trace minerals as mentioned high calcium will block intestinal absorption of zinc. Therefore macro minerals also can disturb the balance and lead to issues on a metabolic level. Also a phenomena of compartmental displacement occurs which leads to disproportionate excretion of another mineral. This happens with iron and copper, zinc and copper, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and cadmium and zinc.
But wait, this also occurs in vitamins such as A and D, thiamine (B1) and cobalamin (B12). Yet in some cases there is an indirect antagonist such as with iron affecting cobalt, which is an important component of B12. Hormones influence nutrient absorption, transport, extraction and storage, as do nutrients influence hormones, it is no wonder when women face difficult periods and hormonal symptoms.
It is important to learn the fundamentals which are more simple than it seems, and make meals with synergistic value. The traditional recipes for the most part have this, think sausages and sauerkraut with potatoes, or raw fish with rice and pickles. Yte in some cases antagonism is beneficial such as if you eat too much liver to balance the lowered vitamin D levels due to increased A creating a D rich meal to allow D to rise. Or to allow zinc to rise in the same context. Adding vitamin C rich foods to iron rich proteins to aid absorption. These principles are shared with clients throughout their program and protocol, to enable them to become more intuitive with their eating as the body generally knows what it needs. It may sound complex but actually once you learn the fundamentals of the mineral wheel it becomes very easy and simple most the time we’re doing it right, its just finding out the deficiency and or excess that requires some more skill.
1 to 1 professional support?
Whilst knowledge is power, sometimes we cant do it alone, either there is too much information, we need someone to coach us, we dont even know exactly what our issue is, or we are dissatisfied with the service of the consultants we have seen thus far. If this sounds like you, worry no more.
My Four-Pillar Protocol is designed to heal you on four planes, the physical is the bulk of our work together (Nutrition + Exercise + Grounding + Therapeutics), yet we will also touch on the emotional (Self-enquiry, Experiential-therapy, Connection to others + Objectivity to emotions), the Mental (Perspective + Meditation + Goals + Objectivity to thought), & the Spiritual ( Connection to higher self & all + Gratitude + Breath-work to reconnect.)
It is assumed a nutritionist will force someone on a diet, this could not be further from the truth. Rather we work to change how you perceive and eat food, learning about its many healing properties to lead to long term sustainable positive change in your health and well-being.
I will assess your overall health including your medical history
Looking into lifestyle & emotional factors that most practitioners wont
Individualize the protocol to implement suitable changes for you
You will be sent a bespoke eating plan
You will be sent a bespoke therapeutics plan if needed
Lab testing will be recommended if necessary
Finally follow up or pay-as-you-go appointments enable you to get the hands on one to one coaching with me throughout the healing journey
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