Malnutrition Symptoms, Causes & Prevention
When we hear the word “malnutrition”, we tend to think of lack of food in developing countries and communities suffering from extreme poverty. However, malnutrition can be caused by more than just a lack of food – and it could be happening right under your nose in your own home!
Malnutrition means having nutritional deficiencies, even when there’s tons of food available. These deficiencies occur all around us for various reasons.
Having proper and adequate nutrients will allow your body to work the way it’s designed to function. Those nutrients are your fuel. They support the processes that slow aging, they affect how your genes are expressed, and they lower your risk for disease.
Malnutrition and Obesity – Yes, They Can Be Linked
The number one cause of malnutrition is poor diet, whereby people don’t eat enough healthy nutrient-dense foods and instead consume too many empty calories. This situation is at the root of the massive obesity epidemic that exists today.
The US has the highest obesity rate in the world. Nearly 75% of men and 60% of women – and, unbelievably, 30% of children – struggle with their weight. Children who experience malnutrition in any form will have altered metabolisms, thus increasing their risk for adulthood obesity.
Meanwhile, nearly everyone is lacking at least a few key nutrients. The standard American diet is, at its best, nutrition “thin”, even though most Americans consume more than enough food. Almost everyone is deficient in at least one major vitamin or mineral. As a doctor, the most common that I see lacking in patients are vitamin D, vitamin k2, and Omega-3 fatty acids.
How Nutrient Deficiencies Can Increase Weight
The takeaway here is that if you’re overweight, it’s highly likely that you have nutrient deficiencies. That’s because foods that cause obesity (1) lack nutritional value, (2) steal vital nutrients from your body, and (3) interfere with your body’s normal function.
For instance, sugar steals nutrients and affects the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Excess fructose (a type of sugar) interrupts the enzymes that help to synthesize vitamin D in your body. This happens even if your overall diet is adequate.
What this means is that your health to a large degree depends on staying away from processed and sugary foods, refined carbohydrates, and chemicals and artificial ingredients.
Poor diet also leads to malnutrition by creating digestive issues like gut bacterial overgrowth and blood sugar imbalances. These are often factors in common digestive conditions such as low stomach acid, colitis, leaky gut syndrome, and Crohn’s disease. All these issues hinder the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Other Common Factors That Cause Malnutrition Include…
- chronic stress
- prescription drug use
Symptoms of Malnutrition
Regardless of the reason for a nutritional deficiency, if the problem is left unhandled, it will have devastating health consequences. Unfortunately, deficiencies can go undetected for years, so here are some common symptoms to watch out for:
- fatigue and weakness
- low bone density
- skin issues
- brittle hair and nails
- poor eyesight
- declining oral health
- memory problems
- mental health issues
- joint pain
- weight problems
Now Is The Time To Act
Don’t wait for symptoms to appear. The key is to head off malnutrition before it starts. Do this by ensuring that you get all the nutrition you need – starting now. Working to maintain your overall health is important because a high functioning body will absorb and use nutrients properly.
Your Plan for Avoiding Malnutrition
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet.
- Use high quality dietary supplements to fill in the gaps.
- Switch from conventionally farmed fruits, vegetables and meat to organic, non-GMO, pasture-raised and wild-caught foods. This change will provide you with more nutrition and fewer chemicals. Unfortunately, the nutrient value of food gets depleted by modern growing and harvesting practices, which is another reason why so many people aren’t getting enough nutrition and why supplementation is necessary.
- Drastically limit or completely omit sugar and processed food.
- Consume lots of vegetables, a moderate amount of protein, and lots of healthy fat.
- Include foods rich in pre- and probiotics, like fibrous and fermented vegetables. This is where a lot of people can miss the boat, even if they do the other things listed above.
- Add a daily greens powder to your diet. It’s an easy and immediate way to improve your health. The product I recommend is called Super Green Foods by BodyManual. It includes chlorella, wheatgrass, and red marine algae, along with other super foods that might have a better chance of making it onto your dinner plate, like broccoli, spinach and asparagus.
- Take a high quality multivitamin. BodyManual’s Multi Vitamin & Mineral provides the full spectrum of nutrients that you should look for. It’s formulated for both men and women and it can help bridge the gap between what you’re getting in your food and what your body ultimately needs.
- Digestive enzymes. Your digestive system needs support and a key component to absorbing nutrients is having adequate amounts of digestive enzymes. This is important for most adults, especially those over age 40, and for people with digestive tract damage. After 40, enzymes and digestive system efficiency decrease. A good enzyme supplement will help break down three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Again, BodyManual has you covered with a product called Digestive Enzymes.
If you follow these simple steps, you’ll put yourself in a position to get what you need from your diet and avoid the devastating consequences of malnutrition.
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