Nutritional deficiencies seem all too common these days, but why is that? Many people like to blame nutritional deficiencies on not getting nutrients from one’s diet, a lack of a certain food that would cause this deficiency, but this is often not the case. In my years as a detox specialist I am here to tell you that nutritional deficiencies can exist in any person, regardless of diet. The root cause goes beyond what one consumes in their diet! In today’s article I want to explain what is behind the myth of nutritional deficiencies and why they occur in the body. With so much focus on the nutrition we are ingesting, and with little emphasis on how the body interacts with those nutrients, it’s too easy to miss the underlying causes of deficiencies. We’ll take a look at the four important phases that are crucial to having vibrant health and four of the most common “nutritional deficiencies” I see with my clients. In understanding the process of what happens in the body when we consume food, and how it is digested, absorbed, utilized and eliminated, we can pin point the root cause of all nutritional deficiencies! Let’s take a closer look!
First off, there’s digestion! Digestion begins in the mouth with the mechanical action of chewing. As you break up the food into smaller pieces, salivary enzymes get released and chemical digestion begins. This is why it’s so important to take the time to chew your foods thoroughly, especially for people with digestive weaknesses! Next, the food travels to the stomach where mainly protein digestion takes place. It takes a lot of digestive energy to break down protein into its usable parts, the individual components of amino acids. In this society, there is a huge myth that is continuously perpetuated - and that myth is that that we need animal proteins for good health. Not only is the protein from animal products (and even many plant-based sources) hard to digest, but the cellular waste created by consuming these proteins creates an acidic environment in the body, leading to endless symptoms and disease conditions. The amino acids we do need are all found in fruits and vegetables in abundance. Nature provides everything we need when we eat our species-specific diet.
Digestion continues in the small intestine, with the pancreas playing a very important role in carbohydrate and protein digestion and the liver/gallbladder involved in fatty acid digestion. If the pancreas, the liver or the gallbladder is lymphatically congested or if they are genetically weak, then their function will be compromised, enzyme production will be impaired and digestion is severely impacted. The pancreas is all too often overworked at every meal, day in and day out, having to do all the hard work of secreting digestive enzymes to break down food that is too heavy, complex, and just not meant to be eaten by a human. It is part of the human condition present day - this food addiction that is plaguing humans. We can blame food companies, or culture, or parasitic/fungal issues in the body for warping our taste buds and making us crave complex and stimulating foods. In order to heal the body, simplifying the diet is necessary. Simple sugars are the optimal fuel source for the human body. Fructose from fruit requires no complex digestion, is easily absorbed, and actually doesn’t require insulin to be used by the cells.
Once the food has been digested, now it needs to be absorbed. So many people have problems with malabsorption, a condition in which someone is not absorbing the full nutrition from their foods. This can be considered a form of internal starvation that many have and are simply not aware of. As an iridologist, I often see the GI tract of the iris congested, weakened, and compromised in these people. Many of them exhibit symptoms and signs such as being excessively thin, having trouble with bowel regularity, seeing undigested food in their stools, experiencing gas and bloating, and so on. We can see the cause of malabsorption lying in the small intestine - where the main part of absorption takes place (with some vitamin and water absorption happening in the large intestine). The small bowel is covered with finger-like projections called microvilli, which increase its surface area to about 2,700 square feet, or the size of a tennis court! When a person has built up mucoid plaque from years of eating the wrong foods—dairy, gluten, processed foods, and foreign protein matter, the mucus produced by the body as a defense mechanism to the acid chemistry of these foods acts like glue on the wall and makes it impossible for healthy absorption to occur! This thick mucus also blocks cellular respiration and causes cell death in the bowel tissue. In addition, when the small intestine is lymphatically congested, it means that it is backed up within the wall itself, not just on its surface. Between each and every one of our cells exists an interstitial fluid that is part of the lymphatic system. The role that the lymph system plays is in being the body’s main sewer system, responsible for carrying away all the metabolic cellular waste that all cells produce. When cellular wastes are not able to leave and be eliminated, the space around all the cells becomes backed up and gets “clogged”, severely impacting the absorptive capacity of the small intestine. The end result is not absorbing the nutrients from your food, and is often what we mistakenly take for having a “nutrient deficiency”.
Now, it is true, most diets are nutrient deficient…with processed grains and carbohydrates, high protein, fats and oils, and complex chemistry the body just wasn’t designed to consume. It’s excessive in things we don’t need and deficient in things we do need: fruits and vegetables.
It’s a misconception that these missing nutrients can be addressed with the addition of supplements. The body is meant to use synergistic chemistry from whole foods, not isolated chemistry. So often, I see the result of what taking isolated vitamin and mineral supplements does to the body. The body views all isolated chemistry such as foreign and acid forming. This is especially true with Vitamin C supplements. In those with lymphatic stagnation and kidney weakness, we can see the result of taking isolates in the iris itself. It shows up as a chemical or drug deposit in the iris. When taking an isolated supplement, you run the risk of doing damage to the kidneys, irritating different tissues and organs if the body is unable to eliminate this foreign “supplemental” chemistry, and the body often needs to leech an element that is antagonistic to the one that was taken in order to balance itself out. This can be seen in people that take Vitamin C and leech calcium from their bones to put the acidic fire of isolated vitamin C out! Therefore, it is best to turn to nature to get your vitamins and minerals! Nature made it just perfect (and while yes, humans have tinkered with some fruits and vegetables a bit with hybridization), we still get everything we need from raw food and fruits. They come with all the nutrition and chemistry, designed with just the right ratios and varieties of antioxidants, vitamins, simple sugars, amino acids, polyphenols and more that will never be able to be replicated in a man-made pill full of isolated chemistry!
Now we move onto the next process - Utilization! Once the nutrients have been digested and absorbed, the body must be able to use the nutrients. When a person has been consuming an acid-ash diet from dairy, animal proteins, complex starch and cooked foods, this creates an acidic environment in the body. Acids cause things to congest, stagnate, clump and stick together, resulting in impaired nutrient delivery. Even if you are eating a raw vegan diet, but haven’t healed specific weaknesses in the glands responsible for utilizing those nutrients, then it could be mistaken for “nutrient deficiency”. Many people in today’s society like to blame nutritional deficiencies on eating a vegetarian, vegan, and raw vegan diet, however we must realize that deficiencies can occur with any diet - and do also occur in those who consume meat and animal products. Therefore, nutritional deficiencies must come from another causative factor.
The incredible gland responsible for utilizing most minerals in the body are the adrenal glands. They produce mineralocorticoids, steroids that pair with the minerals to perform countless roles in the body. If the adrenal glands are interstitially backed up from lymph stagnation or are weakened genetically, then they won’t be as efficient in producing these mineralocorticoids, and the body can’t make use of those minerals we have digested and absorbed from our foods! The pituitary gland could also be involved as a weakness, as it governs the adrenal glands and all other glands in the body. If one does not have an adrenal weakness, but does have a pituitary gland weakness, utilization can be impaired! An iridology analysis and complete health assessment from a well-trained detox specialist can help determine if there is any pituitary gland involvement, in which case powerful herbs or a glandular can be used to support the healthy functioning of the gland in order to heal. Now, Calcium is the one mineral that doesn’t use the adrenal glands for utilization, but instead uses the parathyroid glands that sit just on top of the thyroid gland. Again, it would be important to know if a person has pituitary weakness, as it also governs the parathyroid glands. This is the benefit of working with a skilled detox specialist that can pin-point the root cause of all health issues within your body. By taking a look at your symptoms, the signs seen in the irises, as well as genetic family history and health history, the perfect diet and herbal protocol can be created and set in place to heal the body.
The fourth phase, elimination, is often overlooked when considering nutritional deficiencies as well. Ultimately, if the body’s eliminative processes aren’t working optimally, digestive and cellular wastes will back up and congest the functioning of everything else - leading to improper digestion, absorption, and utilization! The eliminate process is the first to be affected when it comes to nutritional deficiencies, and like a domino-effect, all the other processes are encumbered In its wisdom, the body has multiple ways to get rid of waste. Two of the most important are the digestive wastes that are eliminated through stool in the colon, and the elimination of metabolic/cellular wastes through the lymphatic system and kidney channels. Remember, under acidosis, everything becomes agglomerated and congested and wastes can not be properly eliminated. The gateway to the lymphatic system and responsible for elimination of these wastes are the kidneys. What most people do not realize is that the Kidneys are continuously hit hard with high protein diets and are compromised to some degree in almost everyone. Some level of kidney weakness exists in every person, and sadly most people in their 20’s, 30’s and younger age were born with weak kidneys. I see this practically every time in my clients. The kidneys must focused on during one’s healing journey. It is essential that the kidneys heal in order to do the very important job of filtering out this waste, the key to health and vitality! In this way, completely healing and regeneration can take place in the cells, glands and organs - and ultimately any weaknesses that are affecting the elimination of wastes in the colon and kidney channels! For instance, it is so common to see adrenal weakness play a role in the issue of constipation. At the same time, adrenal weakness can and often does affect kidney filtration of wastes out of the body.
Everything is connected in the body, it’s like this very large orchestra where things work in relationship to one another to create harmony. When the body is in an acidic condition these four essential phases get impaired, but are often mistaken for nutritional deficiencies. Taking a supplement to try and fix a nutritional deficiency will never get to the root cause. Sometimes a person’s body is so weak and deficient, that taking a supplement can temporarily relieve some of their symptoms. But true detox is the only thing that will address the acidosis that is causing all the problems in the first place. Now let’s take a deeper look at some of the most common “nutritional deficiencies”.
We make vitamin D from sunlight, but in order for vitamin D production to take place, we need healthy skin, liver and kidneys! If a person has a skin ring in their irises, indicating a weakness in optimal functioning of their skin, then he or she may have a hard time producing vitamin D. In addition, we need healthy parathyroid glands because the last step in producing the active form of vitamin D happens in the kidneys with the help of parathyroid hormone. With the complexity involved in vitamin D production, it’s easy to see how taking a supplement doesn’t address the reason why a person is deficient in the first place.
As you detox your body and regenerate the glands necessary for healthy vitamin D production, your internal environment turns from acidic to alkaline. You’ll be able to handle the sunshine without burning. These are one of the many benefits that those following a detox diet first notice! Be sure to get plenty of natural sunshine exposure daily to increase your internal production of vitamin D, even if it is a cloudy day or winter time, or you live in a region with not much sunlight. One can still get sun! I will also say this - It is wise to protect yourself with hats and clothing if needed, instead of using harmful sunscreens that add to the chemical burden of the body and skin congestion!
When I was sick with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, I would take a vitamin B12 supplement in hopes of increasing my energy to live and function normally. However, to my surprise, it had short-lived effects, It wasn’t until I detoxed my body and regained my health that I truly understood that taking supplements are simply just a band aid approach. Although it seems more natural, and many do turn to supplements to relieve their health issues instead of turning to medications, it creates an acidic burden in the body nonetheless, and does not address the root cause of the condition. In order to address fatigue, feeling tired all the time and regain true energy and vitality, the adrenal glands and GI tract must be healed! Vitamin B12 is not meant to be consumed as a food source. It is fallacy that we need to get our vitamin B12 from meat and animal products, or even vegan products like nutritional yeast, or fortified cereals. Vitamin B12, like many of the vitamins comes from microbes. B12 in actuality does not act so much like a vitamin, but more as a co-factor within the body. A healthy gut will be populated by a healthy microbiome and will produce many of the vitamins we need to be used as co-factors in metabolic reactions! Now, if we can Imagine what taking antibiotics do in not only adding to the destruction of our healthy gut flora, but to our very own vitamin production factories!
Calcium is one of the most important and abundant minerals in the body, having numerous roles in bone development, muscle contraction, connective tissue integrity, nerve transmission, blood clotting, fluid balance and much more. It is also one of the body’s main acid buffering systems. When the body is too acidic from an acid ash diet, it will pull calcium, an alkaline mineral, from the bones and connective tissue, leading to all sorts of problems from osteoporosis, scoliosis, hemorrhoids, depression, muscle cramping, hernias and varicose veins. The solution is not to take a calcium supplement! This is harmful, as taking isolated compounds doesn’t honor the synergistic relationship calcium has with other compounds like magnesium and phosphorous. It causes more problems in fact as those that take isolated calcium supplements often experience calcifications in acidic areas - most commonly the joints, arteries and in the creation of bone spurs. I have seen this occurring in countless of people. The body always uses and readily accepts chemistry from whole, alkaline ash foods, not isolated compounds.
It’s rarely a lack of calcium in the diet that causes these issues, but is more likely that proper calcium utilization is impaired, which is governed by the parathyroid gland. If you’re having symptoms of calcium utilization issues, a thorough health assessment and iris analysis can show what level of congestion is present and if there are genetic weaknesses in the parathyroid gland. It is also important to address any pituitary issues as it secretes hormones that govern the parathyroid glands. Without proper calcium utilization, all cells of the body will be affected.
Low iron is another common issue, especially in menstruating women. Unfortunately most people are led to believe that if they increase their intake of red meat or take supplemental iron, that they will boost their iron stores. This is actually the opposite of what ends up happening because red meat is highly acidic in the body, contributing to lymphatic stagnation and acidosis. This ultimately leads to more health complications. While iron is very important, we actually don’t absorb much from food and too much is in fact harmful. The adrenal glands are responsible for properly utilizing iron in the body and this is usually where the root of the problem stems from. If for any reason the body is loosing to much blood and iron from heavy menstruation flow for instance, then the health of the reproductive system needs to be addressed and taken care of. I often see people turning to birth control to help with this, but ultimately this becomes a double-edged sword as the hormones in birth control pills actually weaken all glands in the body in the long run - causing more of a deficiency. A detox program that is designed personally for you will get at the source of iron deficiency, whatever it may be, by cleaning out the body and addressing any congestion or weakness in the adrenal glands. One must also remember that it can be important to address the liver as well, as iron is stored here. If a person does well with consuming green drinks, depending on what stage they are in during their detox journey, adding in a vegetable juice of dandelion, parsley, beet root and greens can clean and enhance liver function.
There is a pervasive belief that health can be fixed by just adding more—adding more nutrition or supplementing with what is lacking in the person or the diet. This is a mistaken approach. Without addressing the four phases discussed in this article, anyone could be considered deficient in nutrients without understanding the true cause—malabsorption and utilization issues ultimately caused by congestion of the lymphatic system and the effects of acidosis plaguing the body. Detox your body, fix your health, regenerate your cells and supplementation won’t be necessary. I see this over and over again with my clients through the years. What were once believed deficiencies, disappearing just by cleansing the body and addressing the true causes. We just can’t replicate and do it better than nature: fruits, raw foods, and herbs for healing. ☺
Until next time,
-Ailin Duran D.S.