Dr. Chris Masterjohn: Why You’re Probably Nutrient Deficient – The Genius Life

Dr. Chris Masterjohn (T: @ChrisMasterjohn IG: @ChrisMasterjohn) is an expert in nutrition and specifically micronutrients. Check out his website and podcast.

Note from Podcast Notes – we take notes on podcasts, none of this is personal opinion or support for/against a vegan diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Clams, liver, and oysters are very high in vitamin B12
    • Over 90% of vegans are deficient in vitamin B12
  • Due to genetic reasons in how certain molecules are converted from plant foods, vegans are more likely to be Vitamin A deficient
  • The best sources of zinc are oysters, beef, and cheese
    • “You’re way more likely to become zinc deficient if you’re not eating animal products and you are eating a lot of plant products”
  • The number one source of riboflavin is liver followed by kidney, heart, and almonds
  • If you are vegan, perhaps consider still allowing yourself to eat something like oysters due to their high nutritional content

Books Mentioned

Mental Health and Vegan/Vegetarian Diets

  • “We can see in the literature that veganism and vegetarianism are strongly associated with mental disorders – especially anxiety, depression, and panic attacks”
    • “There are definitely indications that vegetarianism and veganism is probably making people less resilient to mental stresses and more likely to have mental problems”
  • “I think that you could make a very strong case for a general population that they’re nutrients in animal products that are very important for mental health” 
    • Like Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12

  • Deficiency statistics:
    • 15% of the elderly (people over 65) in the general population – this is mainly due to absorption issues which develop with age
    • Over 70% of lacto-ovo vegetarians
    • Over 90% of vegans
  • You can only absorb about a day’s worth of vitamin B12 at a time – the rest is stored (for future use, in case your deficient on certain days)
    • Only 8 grams of liver per day will allow you to hit your B12 needs
  • Clams, liver, and oysters are very high in B12
    • B12 is also found in things like meat and milk, but you have to eat/drink quite a bit to hit the RDA 

Vitamin A

  • Due to genetic reasons in how certain molecules are converted from plant foods, vegans are more likely to be Vitamin A deficient
    • You can get carotenoids from red, yellow, and green vegetables (which can then be turned into retinol – the animal-based form of vitamin A that we need in our bodies)
      • But the problem – many people are genetically bad converters of carotenoids to retinol 

Zinc

  • The best sources of zinc are oysters, beef, and cheese
  • Zinc is about five times more absorbable from animal foods than from plant foods
    • Animal protein increases zinc absorption 
    • A principle inhibitor of zinc absorption is a molecule found in whole grains, nuts, and legumes (sorry, we couldn’t quite hear the name of the molecule mentioned – it’s pronounced “phi-t”)
  • “You’re way more likely to become zinc deficient if you’re not eating animal products and you are eating a lot of plant products”
  • “Beef is a great source of zinc, but you can eat one oyster a day and get your zinc needs”

Riboflavin

  • “Vegetarians and vegans are three times more likely to have biochemical evidence of riboflavin deficiency compared to omnivores”
    • One study found that there’s been a 38 percent decline in riboflavin content in our produce from 1952 to 1999
  • The number one source of riboflavin is liver followed by kidney, heart, and almonds

Vitamin B5

  • The forms of vitamin B5 that we need are highest in nutritional yeast, liver, and organ meats

A Few Important Points if You Decide to Go Vegan

  • You can’t just get by with a vitamin B12 supplement
  • Perhaps consider still allowing yourself to eat something like oysters due to their high nutritional content

Random Yet Important

  • “The main driver of people overeating is our very easy access to hyperpalatable foods”
  • “What we are designed to do to have long-term health is to cycle between the fasted state and the fed state.”
    • In the fasted state, we break down useless junk which is a waste of energy (known as autophagy)
    • In the fed state, we invest energy in the things that are really useful – like antioxidant defense and repair processes 
  • Ketones reduce the likelihood for seizures by lowering glutamate levels and increasing GABA levels in the brain

These notes were edited by RoRoPa Editing Services

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