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The western diet is partly to blame for many of the vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Our poor eating habits and lifestyle choices lead to sickness and diseases. It’s really important to know if you’re deficient in anything so you can remedy the problem. Express.co.uk chatted to accredited Nutritional Therapist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Founder of Après Food, Catherine Sharman to find out everything you need to know about vitamin deficiencies.
Brits are no stranger to deficiencies, especially when it comes to magnesium, selenium, zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C.
Most of this is down to not eating enough vegetables, viagra actress brunette drinking too much alcohol, being chronically stressed, eating a restrictive diet or not getting enough sun.
Your body needs all of these nutrients for different purposes and you can’t function properly without them.
How to tell which vitamins you’re deficient in – the simple taste test
The symptoms for these deficiencies will be quite discrete, so you’ll need to get tested to find out if you’re deficient.
Catherine Sharman, accredited Nutritional Therapist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Founder of Après Food has developed a Health Check kit that allows you to determine your personal need for minerals in a simple and reproducible home test.
All you have to do is take a liquid mineral taste test, a stomach acid test and a pH acid/alkaline balance test.
The liquid mineral taste test involves sipping on nine different liquids in test tubes, marking down whether they taste ‘sweet or pleasant’, ‘like water or slightly furry’, or ‘metallic or you just don’t like it’ to figure out YOUR personal need for nine different minerals.
Your results will tell you whether or not you’re deficient, have a slight deficiency or are sufficient.
The stomach acid test in the kit involves drinking a solution of bicarbonate of soda mixed with water to cause a chemical reaction in your stomach.
You then need to keep track of how many times you burp in five minutes.
If you burp two times or less, you’ll need to improve your stomach acid with some of Catherine’s top tips in the guide included (from slowing down the speed at which you eat to incorporating fermented foods into your diet).
The pH acid/alkaline balance test involves weeing on a test strip and comparing your colour to a chart in the book.
The pH level of your urine will indicate any dietary deficiencies.
You can have these tests done in a number of places, but they’ll be pricey.
Catherine explained: “This is not a commonly used method because so little is known by the general public on how to test or even why or what to test.
“The tests in this health check are generally used by practitioners, incorporated into a consultation, as they help to identify how the body is functioning at a very basic level (by giving an idea of mineral levels for example).
“I have developed this Healthcheck (£25, Après Food) to be used outside the consultation environment because not everyone can afford or has the time to have private consultations by nutritional therapists and nutritionists, and I don’t think it is fair.
“We all deserve to have a much deeper understanding of how our body actually works, and have more tools available to us to gain this information, so we are empowered to manage our health and well-being better, rather than constantly searching the internet or trying fad diets for approaches to help us feel better. We deserve to feel good!”
The test also helps to identify if low stomach acid (amongst other things) may be contributing to low availability of minerals in the body and what your acid/alkaline balance is.
Catherine said: “Healthy levels of minerals and a healthy acid-alkaline balance is essential for well-being, important for vitality, energy and overall health.
“Stress and an unhealthy diet (high levels of ultra-processed food, fast food, meat and dairy products) can increase acidity in the body, often leading to excess acid build up in the body, causing pain, fatigue and many other symptoms of ill health.”
A lack of fresh vegetables and fruits also contribute to excess acids in the body (and deficiency of minerals), as does lifestyle, stress, physical strain and emotional pressure.
What to do if you are deficient in any vitamins
The best route to treating vitamin deficiency is through food – this way we get all the nourishment we need.
Catherine said: “Real food is packaged up with so many nutrients our body needs to thrive.
“An individual will know how much they are currently eating of foods rich in the various minerals and therefore which foods they need to increase.
“Having said that, there may be times when targeted supplementation may be helpful.”
If you want to take supplements, Catherine recommends contacting a qualified health practitioner.
She explained: “Random supplementation can be as detrimental as medications without an understanding of what and how long to take them.
“Additionally, supplements purchased from over the counter are too often full of fillers and not in the best format for optimal absorption.”
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