Iron Deficiency
December 2, 2021
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Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), Why are they Essential?

Essential Fatty Acids + Omega 3: 

Warning these nutrients are heat and light sensitive so take care in how you prepare the foods to improve maximum nutrient quality.

Omega 3– is a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient.

Omega 3 is also needed for cellular signalling when your nerves want to achieve an action like moving a muscle, activating a hormone like serotonin signalling, Omega 3 is also needed for memory and cognitive thinking. Without it we can end up depressed and anxious.


Omega 3 Food Sources are:

Oily fish sources                                                                  Plant Based

Salmon,                                                                                 Chia seeds,

Mackerel,                                                                              Flax seeds,

Barramundi,                                                                          Hemp seeds

Anchovy,                                                                                Walnuts


Oily fish, Mackerel, herrings, sardines are some of the safer sources of omega 3. Salmon and Tuna while high in omega 3 can be contaminated with toxins like mercury or antibiotics if farmed. Smaller fish have lower containments from our polluted sea’s.  


EFA’s and fat soluble Vitamins.

EFA’s or essential fatty acids are as the name suggests essential they do everything from give us glossy hair, to maintaining our cellular membrane and regulating hormones synthesis they are also powerful antioxidants.

EFA’s contain fat soluble vitamins which are vitamin A, D, E and K. Which help with the above actions and much, much more!

Good quality vegetable oils, sunflower, sesame, olive, soybean, peanut oils contain high amounts of omega 6. Walnut, flax seed and hemp seed oil have high omega3 but are heat and light sensitive so don’t cook with them or they oxidise.

Nuts and seeds. Flax seeds, sunflower, chia seeds, hemp seeds, cashews, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans and brazil nuts are all EFA rich

Vitamin A

Foods that are particularly high in vitamin A include:

Carrots, sweet potatoes. butternut pumpkin, cantaloupe.

apricots. spinach, kale, and collard greens

Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining your body’s natural defences.

This includes the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut and genitals which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.


Vitamin A plays a vital role in maintaining your body’s natural defences.

This includes the mucous barriers in your eyes, lungs, gut and genitals which help trap bacteria and other infectious agents.

It’s also involved in the production and function of white blood cells, which help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream.

This means that a deficiency in vitamin A can increase your susceptibility to infections and delay your recovery when you get sick.

Vitamin A is essential for preserving your eyesight.

The vitamin is needed to convert light that hits your eye into an electrical signal that can be sent to your brain.

In fact, one of the first symptoms of vitamin A deficiency can be night blindness, known as nyctalopia.


Vitamin E

Foods;  Wheat Germ Oil, Almonds, Sunflower seeds, Pine nuts, Avocado, Peanut butter, Fish, Red Bell peppers.

Balances Cholesterol; Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of your cells, nerves and hormones. When cholesterol levels are in their natural state, they’re balanced, normal and healthy. When cholesterol oxidizes, it becomes dangerous. Studies have shown that certain isomers of vitamin E serve as a protective antioxidant that fights cholesterol oxidation.

Reduces Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals which will reduce disease from developing

Free radicals cause an increase in oxidative stress which breaks down healthy cells in your body. This can lead to inflammation which is the cause of many diseases such as cardiovascular (heart) disease, depression, cancer and so much more

Free radicals are a natural by-product of your body, but when there is too much they can cause an increase in systemic inflammation . Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which can reduce free radical damage and have the flow on effect of reducing inflammation.

Vitamin E helps to repair your skin cells which helps naturally slow aging in your cells, it also repairs damaged skin cells. As vitamin E repairs your cells it also improves elasticity and moisture which has an anti aging effect.

As mentioned vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which reduces inflammation, it is very helpful when exposed to sunlight in reducing the suns oxidative stress on the body and well as airborne chemicals like cigarette smoke.

Vitamin E modulates and balances your hormones via the hypothalamus in the brain.

Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance may include PMS, weight gain, allergies, urinary tract infections, changes in the skin, anxiety and fatigue. By keeping your hormones in balance, you will find it easier to maintain a healthy weight, keep a regular menstrual cycle and find yourself feeling more energetic.

Vitamin E increases immune function by modulating the inflammatory response and the T cells in the immune system. Vitamin E modulates T cell function through directly impacting T cell membrane integrity, signal transduction, and cell division.

Adequate dietary intake has been shown to enhance the function of the immune system and reduce risk of infection.


Vitamin D

The sunshine Vitamin. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in our body and we are heavily reliant on it. The way most attain Vitamin D is by sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is produced by the epithelial (skin) cells from the exposure to ultraviolet light.

Getting around 15 minutes of sunlight 3 times per week, generally produces enough vitamin D for a human adult.

Vitamin D is easy enough to obtain however deficiencies remain high. Testing for Vitamin D deficiency is a routine blood test that you can obtain in Australia for no extra charge from your GP.

Vitamin D and our gastric defence.

Vitamin D plays a vital role ensuring our gut barrier defense remains resistant to invading germs (pathogens).

When it comes to food intolerance gut resistance plays a vital role in keeping food in the intestines and out of the interstitial spaces where it shouldn’t be. Think of our intestines like a tube that food goes through that tube is made up of millions of cells held tightly together.

Vitamin D increases proteins that “glue” our intestinal cells together. This glue is called gap junctions and they hold our intestinal skin (epithelial) cells together, without Vitamin D our intestinal wall becomes permeable letting in food particles.

These particles trigger an immune response to that food, causing inflammatory cells to become activated, inflammation causes more gap junction to loosen and then we react to more foods and this vicious cycle continues until we heal the eliminate the food that is causing the problem, heal the gut lining and reduce the inflammation.

Vitamin D also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, supplementing will  definitely go a long way in reducing your inflammation.

Vitamin D excess has also been linked to food allergy however you would have to take a large amount of supplement per day to get to the dosage of over 5000iu. Most supplements have 1000iu so you would have to dose yourself 5 times per day every day for a length of time to achieve this for most 1000iu is more than adequate.

Vitamin D the Immune Response and Food Intolerance.

Vitamin D modulates our immune system helping it achieve balance. Our immune system has white blood cells which form our immune defence. White blood cells are made up of various components T cells, B cells and natural killer cells. They all work differently in our immune system.

T cells have different divisions called the T helper cells (Th1 and Th2). If these cells are in balance they keep everything operating in equilibrium.

However if Vitamin D is deficient we can see over activated Th cells and they can cause autoimmunity or atopy for example

Th1 can cause autoimmune conditions such as IBD, Coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis

Th2 over activation can result in food intolerance, hay fever, asthma and eczema

If you are deficient in vitamin D this fine-tuned balance goes out the window.

Vitamin D, hormones and acne.

Vitamin D is a hormone in its own right but Vitamin D also helps to regulate other hormones (which is why it’s useful for PCOS) and creates balance, when there is an imbalance among the other hormones and if vitamin D is deficient, it can result in an increase in sebum (oil) which can result in acne. Many people don’t know that hormones are made with a lipid (oil) base.

Vitamin D regulates the cells that produce oil ensuring there is  an adequate amount but not an excess air growth

Vitamin D, hormones and PCOS

Vitamin D is a hormone in its own right but Vitamin D also helps to regulate other hormones (which is why it’s useful for PCOS) and creates balance, when there is an imbalance among the other hormones and if vitamin D is deficient the extra modulating aspect for other hormones is gone and can result in unbalanced hormones.

Vitamin D deficiency and depression

Many studies have shown Vitamin D deficiency can exacerbate or even contribute depression and those that have vitamin D deficiency have an increased risk of experiencing depression.

Studies have also found cognitive decline was associated with Vitamin D deficiency. This is due to Vitamin D receptors which control mood and behaviour in the brain not being activated as they should if there was enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D and the Liver

Studies have also shown vitamin D deficiency exacerbates inflammation in the liver. Those with a Vitamin D deficiency experience greater amounts of fibrosis in the liver and hepatic inflammation. The severity of liver disease increases with vitamin D deficiency.


Vitamin K

Plant-based foods rich in vitamin K include:

Dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower)

Some oils like seed and vegetable oils (such as soybean, rapeseed, and olive oil), spreadable vegetable fats

Animal-based foods rich in vitamin K include:

Meat and meat products (particularly liver products), poultry, cheese and other dairy products, blended fats and oils.


Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that has three forms: vitamin K1, K2 and K3.

Vitamin K1, also known as phylloquinones, is the most abundant in foods and we can find it mainly in plants.

Vitamin K2, also known as menaquinones, is produced by bacteria and yeast and we can find it mainly in animal products such as meat, cheese and eggs.

Vitamin K3, also known as menadione, is the synthetic form of the vitamin and can only be found in supplements.

What are the functions of vitamin K?

Vitamin K is involved in many bodily functions. Our bodies use vitamin K to form key proteins that keep the normal coagulation and to form and maintain the structure of our bones.

Vitamin K interacts with vitamin D to help keep good levels of calcium in our bones, which is why we need a good balance of all these micronutrients to keep optimal bone growth and health.

In turn, excessive intakes of vitamin E can lower levels of vitamin K, by causing our bodies to break down and remove more of this vitamin.

Vitamin K Deficiency  is not common in healthy adults with a balanced diet, but it can happen in people with specific health conditions that impair the absorption of foods and nutrients or that use specific medications that block the metabolism of vitamin K in our bodies, such as anticoagulants.

Vitamin K deficiency affects blood clotting and can cause easy bruising and bleeding.


If you need help with your diet a naturopath can help you work with you as an individual for your health.