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Suboptimal Levels of Vitamin and Mineral in American Diet: Why?

September 21, 2017 • 2 min read
Summary

Vitamin and mineral intake is suboptimal in many Americans, likely due to declining nutrient content in plants and low consumption.

Vitamin and mineral intake is suboptimal in many Americans. The risk is due to the declining nutrient in plants1 and the significant gap in fruit and vegetable consumption versus the recommendation 2; these two factors are creating a substantial risk of not consuming the correct level of multiple vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Twenty two percent of adults and 37.7 percent of teenagers consume less than one serving of vegetables on average per day, with the median intake of vegetables being 1.6 in adults and 1.3 in adolescents.3 Vitamins D, E, A, and C and minerals magnesium and calcium are consumed at less than 40% of the RDI.4-6

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Nutrients in our conventional plants have shown a continued decline over the past 50 years. Davis et al. showed that 43 foods had statistically significant declines in protein, Ca, P, Fe, riboflavin, and vitamin C which the authors conclude that this was being influenced by the drive to increase yields.7 In 2014 meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed publications, showed that flavonoids, total phenolic acids, phenolic acids flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols, kaempferol, total anthocyanins, and anthocyanins, in organic crops showed were higher than those in conventional crops.8 They also found that there was a significantly higher level of carotenoids, some vitamins, and magnesium with a significantly lower level of cadmium than conventional crops. In 2012 meta-analysis in Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the benefit of organic foods (plant and animal based) was the reduced exposure to pesticides in organic products.9 Reilly et al. found that utilizing organic farming was key to the increased level of flavonoids in Red Baron onions than those of a traditional pesticide and herbicide application.10

With Americans not consuming the level of fruits and vegetables in their diet coupled with the increasing decline in nutrients from conventional crops; we see why we have suboptimal amounts of consumption of Vitamins D, E, A, and C and minerals magnesium and calcium. The human body functions best when we consume optimal levels of vitamins and minerals as they play roles in immune functions, cellular repair, cofactors in metabolic pathways, bone support, wound healing, and much more.

Magnesium: Are you consuming accurate levels?

Magnesium plays a vital role in enzymatic processes, energy production, electrolyte balance, bone health, glucose management, and more. Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, whole grains, wheat bran, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Rosanoff et al. suggest that nearly half of Americans are not consuming a satisfactory level of magnesium.1 Davis showed that magnesium and other nutrients have declined in conventional crops sold in the United States and the United Kingdom over the last 50 years.7 This potential inadequacy in consumption can lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, migraines and other concerns.11 Individuals that are older and have GI concerns or type 2 diabetes have added risk of not consuming or absorbing adequate levels of magnesium.

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Rosanoff A, Weaver CM, Rude RK. Suboptimal magnesium status in the United States: are the health consequences underestimated? Nutrition Reviews. 2012;70(3):153-164. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00465.x.

Moore LV, Thompson FE, Demissie Z. Percentage of Youth Meeting Federal Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, United States and 33 States, 2013. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017;117(4). doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.10.012.

Mcguire S. State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables,2013, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal.2013;4(6):665-666. Doi:10.3945/an.113.004598.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Berner LA, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer JT. Fortified Foods Are Major Contributors to Nutrient Intakes in Diets of US Children and Adolescents. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2014;114(7). doi:10.1016/j.jand.2013.10.012

Fulgoni VL, Keast DR, Bailey RL, Dwyer J. Foods, Fortificants, and Supplements: Where Do Americans Get Their Nutrients? Journal of Nutrition. 2011;141(10):1847-1854. doi:10.3945/jn.111.142257

Davis DR, Epp MD, Riordan HD. Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2004;23:669.

Barański M, Średnicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition. 2014;112(05):794-811. doi:10.1017/s0007114514001366.

Correction: Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives? Annals of Internal Medicine. 2012;157(7):532. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-7-201210020-00021.

Ren F, Reilly K, Kerry JP, Gaffney M, Hossain M, Rai DK. Higher Antioxidant Activity, Total Flavonols, and Specific Quercetin Glucosides in Two Different Onion (Allium cepa L.) Varieties Grown under Organic Production: Results from a 6-Year Field Study. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2017. doi:10.1021/acs.jafc.7b01352.

Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium. (n.d.). Retrieved September 04, 2017, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

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