Deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals are the cause of many imbalances in the human body. These deficiencies come from poor dietary habits including too much processed food and not enough high quality fruits and vegetables. What is critical about these deficiencies is that if they are present over the long run, the body will ultimately develop some chronic health problem.
Virtually every function in the human body is the result of a biochemical reaction that requires essential nutrients. Deficiencies of essential nutrients mean that certain biochemical reactions are compromised. Our bodies are forced to allocate nutrients to certain functions that are necessary for our survival, while other functions are put on hold until enough of the right nutrients are available. Once the right nutrients are available, then the body can go about healing itself.
A body in a poor nutritional state does not necessarily become diseased in the sense that traditional medical doctors trained to find pathology would notice. Pathology is usually the result of many years of neglect. There is a progression that begins with poor habits, then nutritional deficiencies, then poor cell function, followed by poor enzyme function, then poor endocrine function, which leads to poor immune system function, and then finally diagnosable symptoms.
Nutritional deficiencies generally result in a variety of subclinical complaints such as fatigue, joint pain, frequent colds, allergies, sinusitis, rashes, hives, dry skin, depression, headaches and other health problems. Many of us respond to these symptoms by taking things that suppress the symptoms, but in no way address the basic cause of the problem.
The key to nutritional health is not in simply addressing symptoms, but looking deeper at underlying causes which are typically related to diet and lifestyle. Almost all of these problems are preventable if addressed early enough. Proper diet changes along with appropriate supplementation have shown remarkable results in addressing even chronic problems. When working with these problems, it is important to remember that they did not develop overnight and consequently take time to heal.
For me, the key to health lies in prevention. If the problem is related to deficiencies, then those can be supplemented. If the problem lies in poor food choices, then better choices can be made. Problems are not usually as simple as just one deficiency. That is why it is beneficial to seek professional advice from someone who is qualified in nutritional counseling.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.