These Three Nutrients Are Lacking in Your Diet

Surrounded by McDonalds that serve up pink sludge and supersized meals, it is no wonder that Americans have poor diets and poor health. By eating so much processed foods, our bodies are in need of serious help due to lack of proper nutrients essential for everyday function.

Despite the grim state of processed foods that are deficient of nutrients, it is still possible to obtain the vital nutrients we need.  The key is avoiding processed foods and eating a natural, whole foods diet. But there

are 3 major nutrients that can still be deficient if you neglect eating right.  Miss the mighty 3 – vitamin D, iodine and selenium -and you may still suffer aging, fatigue and illness!

Vitamin D

Think you get enough vitamin D in your morning milk? You would have to drink between 10 and 100 glasses of milk a day to benefit from the daily amount of vitamin D your body needs. Vitamin D is a wonderful prevention tool for:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Influenza
  • Cancer

In order for you body to utilize vitamin D, you need sunshine to convert cholesterol from your sweat into vitamin D. But because we work indoors, cover up our skin to shield ourselves from the sun and lather on the sunscreen, it is difficult for us to get adequate sunshine to reap the important health benefits of vitamin D.

The most obvious benefit of vitamin D is the ability to absorb calcium from your food so that it can be put into your bones.  However, when we lack calcium, our body withdraws calcium from the bones – which we know leads to osteoporosis.

One of the more severe forms of osteoporosis is rickets, which is a weak skeletal system.

The cause of these skeletal diseases wasn’t discovered until the turn of the 20th century, when the industrial revolution meant more people were spending more time indoors. Cod liver oil was found to cure and prevent rickets, and its most prominent ingredient was what we know today as vitamin D.  For many years mothers lined their children up for their daily dose of cod liver oil – YUCK!

In today’s medical practice, there are very few cases of rickets. However, osteoporosis is very common.

I had one case of very low vitamin D from a beach volleyball player.  He was outside all day and didn’t wear a shirt and didn’t even put on sunscreen, yet he still had low vitamin D.  You see, when we sweat from the sun, our bodies produce vitamin

D – even 25,000 IU in 10 minutes!  But, when you rinse off all your sweat in a shower your body doesn’t have time to absorb the vitamin D. As a result, I highly recommend a vitamin D supplement. To put yourself in healthy vitamin ranges, try the following vitamin D dosage:

  • 50,000 IU vitamin D per week
  • 2,000 – 10,000 IU vitamin D per day


Iodine deficiency is nothing new. In fact over 100 years ago, the midwest was called The Goiter Belt due to enlarged thyroid glands caused by a low levels of iodine.

As a result of the widespread iodine deficiency, a version of iodine with potassium began being added to salt to supply this nutrient. We even still see iodized salt on tables today.  This was a great help to increase iodine levels, but then modern medicine started warning consumers about the dangers of salt and  goiter problems became prevalent again.  Today, iodine deficiencies are widespread, even up to 50 % of the population.

In the Great Lakes region, one study of high school girls found that thyroid problems were present in almost 50% of the participants. Because estrogen requires iodine for essential utilization, girls can be at risk for iodine deficiency.  The low iodine risks for women include causing cysts in the breasts, potentially leading to breast cancer. Risks for men with inadequate iodine increases the chance of prostate cancer. Believe it or not, but 1 in 6 people worldwide have a disease as a result of iodine deficiency.

If you would like to increase your iodine naturally, then good sources of iodine are:

  • Noris
  • Sushi
  • Seaweed
  • Kelp

If you cannot add these options to your diet, then you should consider taking a iodine supplement. I recommend the following iodine dosage:

  •   12.5mg capsules of iodine once per week


Selenium is the last of the 3 nutrients that Americans are often lacking for good health. An Arizona study group comparing selenium to a placebo showed promise for decreasing the following cancers by 50%:

  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Breast
  • Prostate

Selenium also proved to provide a 70% decline in lung cancer, the #1 cause of cancer death in the U.S.  – a promising decrease even for those who smoke!

Selenium is an essential micronutrient in animals, but plants do not require selenium to grow so it is often lacking in our soil.  Thus, what plants we eat do not contain significant sources of selenium.  One of the best natural sources of selenium is Brazil nuts – because they often grow in selenium-rich soil. It only requires eating 1-2 Brazil nuts per day to fulfill your need for selenium (for the average person).

Selenium is precursor to glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant in the liver, lungs and brain. Many with toxic liver diseases, asthma – and even Parkinson’s disease – can benefit greatly by taking selenium with NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine), an amino acid, to allow more glutathione to be produced. I recommend the following selenium dosage:

  • 200 mcg of selenium with NAC, once per week, for at least 3 months

Damage Due To Lack of Nutrients

Lacking vitamin D, iodine and selenium can be dangerous because their absence can lead to:

  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

Because they aren’t found in our normal diet, it is important to be sure you are getting enough of these nutrients, either by seeking out foods rich in vitamin D, iodine and selenium or by supplementation.


Dr. Scott Saunders is the Health and Nutrition Advisor of Barton Publishing, a company that promotes natural health through teaching people how to cure themselves using alternative home remedies instead of expensive and harmful prescription drugs. Saunders is the director of The Integrative Medicine Center of Santa Barbara, which balances conventional medicine with alternative healing modalities to achieve optimal wellness.

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