There are 7 essentials that you should consider replenishing each day: Vitamins and Minerals, EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids), Enzymes, Probiotics, Fiber, Protein/Amino Acids, Antioxidants. There are a variety of foods and supplements that provide you with these seven essentials.
First, let’s talk about vitamins and minerals.
- 13 essential Vitamins (water and fat soluble).
- 16 essential Macro minerals (i.e. Calcium, Iron, etc., more than 100mg/day)
- Micro (trace) minerals (i.e. silica, boron, less than 100mg/day).
- Studies have found as many as 87 total minerals identified in the body (so far).
Minerals can comprise about 4% of total body weight. Minerals come to us from plants/water. They need to be replaced each day for optimum health.
With the large amounts of over-processed, canned, boxed, processed, microwaved, plastic packaging, and nutritionally poor foods, it makes perfect sense to provide what may be missing on a daily basis.
Many nutrients are also lost due to processing/refinement and chemical ingestion. Daily essential nutrients are not just “Builders” either.
“Essential vital nutrients are necessary to convert toxins into a form the body can eliminate, effectively.” – Univ. Wisc. Integrative Medicine Detoxification Health Publication 2014
Detoxification is based on 3 phases (involving enzymes, vitamins/min./antioxidants/fiber)
- Phase I: Uses enzymes which chemically transform lipid (fat) soluble toxins into water soluble toxins in prep for phase II.
- Phase II: The liver has 15 “hydroxy-pathways”. The liver needs an enzyme blend and uses vitamins/antioxidants (green tea)/cruciferous veggies/chlorophyll etc.) to complete transport.
- Phase III: Uses fiber for proper bile flow (i.e. artichoke).
So if you are missing any of these daily essentials what happens? It can be difficult for your body to detoxify. Nutrients help build and cleanse.
Essential Fatty Acids
These are known as Omega’s or essential fatty acids (EFA). There are Omega 3s, 5s, 6s, 7s and 9s. You may be more familiar with the 3s, 6s, and 9s. Two of these fatty acids are considered essential: Alpha-linoleic acid (Omega 3) and Linoleic acid (Omega 6).
Essential Fatty Acids are required by the human body daily because our bodies cannot synthesize them. Fatty Acids are required for biological processes and fuel. In 1923 they were actually considered Vitamin F.
Balance between Omega 3-6s strongly affects function.
- The S.A.D. (Sad American Diet) is very high in Omega 6 (corn and vegetable oils) and low in Omega 3, creating a deficiency and imbalance.
Macromolecular biological catalysts (they speed things up). Almost all processes in cells need enzymes to occur at rates fast enough, to sustain life. They are known to catalyze over 5,000 biochemical reactions (including digestion and detoxification).
One example is orotidine 5- phosphate decarboxylase allows a reaction to take place in a millisecond. Without it, the reaction would take millions of years! Callahan BP, Miller BG (December 2007). “OMP decarboxylase—An enigma persists”.
The body makes 21 sextillion chemical reactions per second. All these reactions require enzymes! Enzymes make everything happen faster and are key to life. They help us “absorb” nutrients too!
Did you know that vitamins don’t work without minerals, minerals don’t work without vitamins? Neither vitamins nor minerals work without enzymes!
By now you are familiar with: “we are what we eat” and even “we are what we absorb”. But let’s take that one step further. Are we not “what our microbes eat?” Let’s talk about probiotics.
Probiotics: microorganisms that are beneficial to human life (good guys). It is estimated that there are over 10,000 species inside humans. They help decrease pathogenic gastrointestinal microbes (the bad bacteria).
Probiotics help strengthen the immune system, regularity of bowels, resistance to allergens, reduces gas and bloating. British Journal of Nutrition 106 (9): 1291–6.
Consider: 70% to 80% of the immune system is located in the gut. Essential nutrients and addition of probiotics – “daily” becomes a must. 90% of our neurotransmitters (body made chemicals – regulating mood) are made in the gut (not the brain, as once thought as they affect mood and behavior, too).
Massive amounts of research/literature are now focused on what is known as the “gut microbiome” or probiotic home.
Benefits of (good) Bacteria
- Probiotic = pro-life.
- “The Microbiome should be considered an organ in and of itself” – Dr. David Perlmutter M.D.
- Up to ½ of stool weight is discarded bacteria (NIH Human Microbiome Project 6/2012).
- Fiber and fermented foods help feed the good bacteria.
- Replenishing with lost probiotics only makes sense, especially with widespread antibiotic use and antibiotics in foods.
Changing your diet (+ supplements) may help change your gut microbiome. Continue on to part two of the 7 essentials series.