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Top 7 Nutrient Deficiencies

Top 7 Nutrient Deficiencies Most Americans Don’t Know They Have

Top 7 Nutrient Deficiencies

1) Vitamin D

Before the year 2000, very few doctors even considered the possibility that you might be vitamin D deficient. But as awareness has grown and the technology to measure vitamin D became inexpensive and widely available, more and more studies have been done.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 32 percent of Americans were vitamin D deficient. However, even this is grossly underestimated as they used vitamin D levels that were not consistent with optimal health. If levels of an optimal range (over 60 ng/ml) were used the percent of deficient Americans would be closer to 85%.

It is not possible to get enough Vitamin D without adequate sun exposure or supplementation. There are very few food sources available, and none contain high enough levels. People with darker skin are also more at risk for D deficiency. In most cases it takes a minimum of 50,000 iu or more weekly to raise Vitamin D Levels into an optimal range. If you are going to take more than that, you need to get tested to make sure your levels do not get too high.

Signs of deficiency:

Depressed Moods, Fatigue, Bone & Joint Pain or Aches, Excessive Sweating, Weakness, erectile dysfunction, recurring illness, Psoriasis, Hypertension, Kidney Disease, Greater Pain Sensitivity, Stress Fractures

Good food sources:

Salmon, Mackerel, Egg Yolks, Shiitake Mushrooms

2) Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 and omega-6 are two types of fat that are essential for human health. However, the typical American consumes far too many omega-6 fats in her diet while consuming very low omega-3 levels. Omega-6 is primarily sourced from corn, soy, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils. These are overabundant in the typical diet, which accounts for excess omega-6 levels. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats is 1:1, however our ratio averages from 20:1 to 50:1. Many scientists believe that one reason there is a high incidence of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, premature aging, and some cancer forms today is this profound omega-3-omega-6 imbalance.

There are actually two main types of Omega-3 fatty acids, animal based and plant based. Animal sources contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) , and plant sources contain alpha-linoleic acid (ALA). Most of the health benefit comes from the EPA and DHA. In fact, ALA is converted in the body into EPA and DHA. However, the body is only capable of converting small amounts of ALA, so including either an animal based source or both sources of Omega-3s in your diet is ideal. In most cases dietary sources are not enough and supplementation with additional EPA and DHA is needed.

Signs of deficiency:

Poor Memory & Concentration, Dry Skin, Mood Swings, Fatigue, Brittle Nails, Anxiety, Dry Eyes, Joint Pain

Good food sources:

Salmon, Krill Oil, Sardines, Anchovies, Flaxseed Oil, Chia Seeds, Walnuts, Oatmeal, Kale, Brussels Sprouts, Parsley, Watercress

3) Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral used by every organ in your body, especially your heart, muscles, and kidneys . According to recent statistics, up to 80 percent of Americans are lacking in this essential macro-mineral, which is needed for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Standard blood tests are not sufficient for identifying Magnesium deficiencies since only 1 percent of the Magnesium in your body is distributed in your blood.

It is difficult to get enough magnesium through your diet, so supplementation is needed. Taking a minimum of 100mg per day of Magnesium is recommended for overall health. There are several forms of magnesium supplements on the market  with Magnesium Glycinate being the form that is most easily absorbed by the body. Taking Magnesium at night is preferred as it can also help with sleep.

Signs of deficiency:

Loss of appetite, Headaches, Muscle Cramps, Abnormal Heart Rhythms, Numbness and Tingling, Anxiety, Insomnia, Constipation, Hypertension

Good food sources:

Dark Leafy Greens, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, White Beans, Black-eyed Peas, Avocado, Figs, Dark Chocolate, Bananas, raspberries

4) Vitamin B12

B12 is known as the energy vitamin. Your body requires it for a number of vital functions, including energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis, and myelin formation. The two ways you become deficient are through a lack of vitamin B12 in your diet, or through your inability to absorb it from the food you eat. About one in four American adults are deficient in this important nutrient, and over half the population has sub-optimal blood levels. Vitamin B-12 is mostly available only in animal foods: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Vegans are particularly susceptible to deficiency and should take a B Complex supplement daily.

Signs of deficiency:

Fatigue, lack of energy, muscle weakness, tingling in your extremities, Mood swings, lack of motivation, insomnia, mental fogginess, depression

Good food sources:

Liver & Other Organ Meats, Red Meats, Salmon, Clams, Crab, Eggs, Sardines, Dairy

5) Iodine

Iodine is necessary for the proper function of many of the body’s tissues including the breasts, pancreas, brain, stomach, adrenal glands, skin, salivary glands, and cerebral spinal fluid. Iodine is particularly critical for proper thyroid function. In fact, more than 75% of the iodine in the body is stored in the thyroid gland. Depleted iodine levels in soils, the over-consumption of processed foods, and increased exposure to iodine blocking substances called Halides, commonly found in baked goods, tap water, toothpastes, pesticides, and vegetable oils have all lead to a severe decrease in the average American’s Iodine levels. Supplementation of 5-10mg of Iodine per day is highly recommended. You can read more about why Iodine is so critically important for your health here.

Signs of deficiency:

Dry mouth, dry skin, reduced alertness, brain fog, fibromyalgia, fibrocystic breasts, anxiety, depression, insomnia, brain fog, loss of concentration

Good food sources:

Seaweed & Other Sea Vegetables, Shrimp, Prunes, Navy Beans, Bananas, Cranberries, Green Beans, Turkey Breast

6) Iron

Iron is essential for human life. One of the most important roles of iron is to provide hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells), a mechanism through which it can bind to oxygen and carry it throughout your tissues. Without proper oxygenation, your cells quickly start dying.

Since your body has a limited capacity to excrete iron, it can build up in your body. Too much iron can be worse than not having enough, so it is important to get tested to make sure you have optimal levels. Testing is done with a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. Levels below 20 ng/ml are considered low, and levels above 80 are considered high. An optimal level would be between 40 and 60. Iron deficiency is actually the most common deficiency among women.

Signs of deficiency:

fatigue, decreased immunity, anemia, dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, anxiety, hair loss

Good food sources:

Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Liver, Lentils, Kidney Beans, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Dark Chocolate, Oysters

7) Vitamin C

vitamin C is an essential nutrient, meaning that we cannot produce it in our bodies so we must get it through our diets or supplementation. Most people are aware of the immune boosting effects of vitamin C, but its effects go beyond that. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that can help to reduce the occurrence of major diseases including cancer and heart disease. Vitamin C is required for the production of collagen and other soft tissue in the body.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Vitamin C is drastically low (60 mg), leading to a false sense of security. In the animal kingdom, all other mammals except for humans, guinea pigs, and some bats and primates, make their own vitamin C. As a percentage of their body weight, these animals produce much higher levels that our RDA recommends. If we were to apply this ratio of vitamin C product to the average 154 lb human by body weight the proper daily amount would be closer to 6,000 mg per day. Spacing the dose out into two or three portions and working up your dose over time will help reduce the chance of loose bowels.

Signs of deficiency:

Decreased ability to fight infection, skin bruises easily, slower wound healing, nosebleeds, dry skin, weakened tooth enamel, dry hair

Good food sources:

Oranges, Red Sweet Peppers, Chili Peppers, Kale, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Papaya, Strawberries, Mango

Nutritional Deficiency Testing

One of the things I recommend to may patients is Nutritional Deficiency Testing. Until recently, it was difficult to detect what patients were deficient in but science and technology have provided us with cutting edge testing that allows us to see deficiencies on a cellular level. The test I use is called a SpectraCell Micronutrient Test, which actually looks within the white blood cells at 35 nutritional components including vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids. This is a great test to help you identify where your specific deficiencies are and allow you to monitor your improvements as you supplement accordingly. If you are not within reach of the Dr. Shel Wellness & Medical Spa you can locate a SpectraCell provider in your area here.

Mckala Reed

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