Irrespective of how many supplements we consume… if the digestive and other nutrient input mechanisms are off-balance, the body cannot absorb all the ‘good stuff’. The result? Malabsorption.
1. Gut Imbalance
Digestion and absorption occur in three phases
- Bile salts help food break down in the intestinal tract.
- Certain enzymes begin to digest microscopic food particles into substances that cells can absorb.
- The lymph fluid transports these nutrients where they need to go.
“Ultimately it all boils down to the gut. The digestive tract is the ‘first stop’ for a nutrient breakdown. When phase one of this process goes awry, it’s called maldigestion. When any part of the second or third phase is hindered, it’s malabsorption.” Dr. Joseph Mercola
Reaching Epidemic Proportions
52% of women & 67% of men below 30 suffer from gut imbalances globally.
2. Methylation Issues
This is a process that converts chemical compounds into other substances.
E.g. methylation converts serotonin into melatonin and aggressive oestrogens into less aggressive ones.
“Poor methylation is caused by a genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene. This gene metabolizes the enzyme methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or MTHFR. This gene mutation leads to complications in digestion, hormone balancing, and immunity.” Dr. Andrew Weil
12% of women with a BMI greater than 35 and 25% of men with a BMI of greater than 40 report a genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene
3. Specific Disease Conditions
Coeliac Disease, Crohn’s disease, Tropical sprue, or Whipple disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Gallbladder or pancreas issues
- Scleroderma, or diseases related to collagen production
- Hyper or hypothyroidism
17% of women in the age group 38-55 in a study of 3000 respondents were found to suffer from pancreatic cancer due to malabsorption of essential vitamins by the gut.
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Anaemia, caused by malabsorption of iron or B vitamins
- Night Blindness, tied to malabsorption of vitamins K and C
- Carpopedal spasms caused by Magnesium and Calcium malabsorption
- Oedema, associated with protein malabsorption
- Peripheral neuropathy, linked to malabsorption of Vitamin B1 and B12
- Pain in the joints and bones and easily fractured bones, caused by magnesium, calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D malabsorption.
7 Steps to Prevent Nutrient Malabsorption
- Eat a gut-healing diet.Restore gut balance by eating a wholefood diet with plenty of probiotics like sauerkraut, cultured vegetables, kefir and probiotic supplements plus prebiotics like asparagus and garlic.
- Support methylation. The dietary changes mentioned above support methylation pathways, irrespective of the MTHFR gene mutation.
- Get Moving.Regular exercise (even only 15-minutes) can kick-start the production of healthy bacteria in the gut?
- Reduce stress. Chronic stress can affect gut health, weaken immunity and raise inflammation levels.
- Sleep more. Insufficient rest can lead to accelerated ageing, cell damage, weight gain and even depression.
- Drink herb infusions. Aloe Vera, peppermint, fennel and ginger are to encourage nutrient absorption.
- Bioavailable is best. Take supplements in a format the body can easily absorb – e.g. in powder form.