If you’ve seen the documentary “What the Health”on Netflix about the healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries,you probably found yourself saying “What the [insert desired word here].” In Michael Moore style, the producers did a good job of showing what corruption and dark marketing can do to us as a society. And if you think “dark marketing” is harsh, remember that “doctors preferred smoking Camels” for half a century, while they had studies showing links to disease from day one. On to solutions…

The antidote to dark marketing is education.A well educated consumer makes better choices and better choices feed into Economics 101: Supply & Demand. When consumers demand organic, unadulterated food, the system will supply it. Sounds simple, but educating several billion people takes time and it’s a swim upstream with trillions of marketing dollars pushing downstream.

With all that said, what do we do?Keep sharing and educating. All the documentaries hitting the screen do help. “Food, Inc.,” was probably the first to get to the mainstream in masses.

For many health advocates, the solution is to adopt a plant-based diet - as it was in “What the Health.” “Food, Inc.,” struggled with it, as do 99% of Americans, so it was an accurate representation. Their message was about being a cleaner omnivore (organic, grass fed, etc).

Omnivore or Vegan, There Are Nutritional Deficiencies Across the Board

B12. Infamously tied to veganism, but actually 10-40% of the population is deficient in B12. Since only 1% is vegan at any given time, that concept doesn’t add up.

The fact is animals don’t produce B12, they’re just the carriers from… yes… the dirt housing the plants they’re eating. When you take cows that are supposed to be eating grass and put them in closed facilities, medicate them, and feed them GMO corn - not surprisingly - they’re no longer a source for B12. That’s just one element.

In some cases, it’s a side effect of another health issue, such as hypothyroidism(1), the use of metformin for diabetes(2)(3), or malabsorption, which we often see in the elderly(4)(5) and with autoimmune disease and Irritable Bowel Disease. There are hundreds of reasons we’re collectively deficient in B12.

B12 Tip:Buy Methylcobalamin, not its synthetic Cyanocobalamin cousin which stresses the liver.

Depleted soils,polluted air and waterare creating further problems in the food supply. This is where we see deficiencies in magnesium, iodine, iron, and trace minerals - all leading to adrenal fatigue, thyroid malfunction, anemia, and more. Autoimmune epidemic: no words necessary.

Urban modern lifestylesmean lack of sun, which means lack of Vitamin D. Add that to the critical supplements list.

For those making the leap and go plant based, I suggest adding sea vegetables to their food plan on a consistent basis. Excellent for everyone, but it should be a staple for 100% plant based diets. Just guide your client to products tested and certified to be free of metals because we’ve polluted our oceans, too.

Am I sounding like the Grim Reaper?Don’t shoot the messenger,this isn’t Sparta;) But do take extra care in making up for our temporary food situation by having a precise plan. Ideally, do thorough blood work once a year so you can take exactly what your body needs and monitor progress.

I’d also suggest working with a knowledgeable nutritionist who can guide you to clean sources of nutrients through plant based foods, even if you’re not 100% plant based, to be combined with supplements. Button mushrooms for B12, as an example, or dried apricots for iron.

The tides are turning, but we’ll get through this.

  1. Jabbar A, Yawar A, et al. Vitamin B12 deficiency common in primary hypothyroidism. J Pak Med Assoc. 2008 May; 58(5):258-61.
  2. Haeusler S, Parry-Strong A, et al. The prevalence of low vitamin B12 status in people with type 2 diabetes receiving metformin therapy in New Zealand--a clinical audit. N Z Med J. 2014 Oct 17;127(1404):8-16.
  3. Damião CP, Rodrigues AO, et al. Prevalence of vitamin B12 deficiency in type 2 diabetic patients using metformin: a cross-sectional study. Sao Paulo Med J. 2016 Nov-Dec; 134(6):473-479. doi: 10.1590/1516-3180.2015.01382111.
  4. Camarero-Shelly M, Vitamin B12 levels in the patient population attending an urban health centre in Madrid. Semergen. 2017 Apr 27. pii: S1138-3593(17)30087-4. doi: 10.1016/j.semerg.2017.03.006.
  5. Bernard MA, Nakonezny PA, et al. The effect of vitamin B12 deficiency on older veterans and its relationship to health. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1998 Oct; 46(10):1199-206.

 Jaqui Karr, CGP, CSN, CVD, is a best-selling author, speaker, and corporate consultantJaqui Karr who specializes in educating about gluten, celiac disease, specialty diets, and health through nutrition. Her popular “NakedFood” brand has helped thousands include more power raw and healing greens in their diet. Ms. Karr is a certified gluten practitioner, certified sports nutritionist, and certified vegan/vegetarian educator to dietitians. http://jaquikarr.com

Note: The statements presented in this column should not be considered medical advice or a way to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. Always seek the advice of a medical professional before altering your daily dietary regimen. The opinions presented here are those of the writer, not necessarily those of the publisher. 

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 8/31/2017