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Nutritional deprivation

Category: Illnesses and disabilities

Type

Involuntary and voluntary

Introduction and description

 

A nutrient is a substance that the body requires in order to 'fuel' itself - both give it energy to operate fuelling muscles, nerves and organs and also help it replace worn out cells.  It also helps us maintain a constant working temperature; as we are not 'cold blooded', nutrients are there to keep our temperature at optimum running heat.  It is also the fuel that helps us fight  parasites, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins, including heavy metals.  Thus it is also fuel for the immune system.

Nutritional deprivation is thus not getting enough nutrients for what we need at the time to keep us going successfully as an organism.  If we are fighting disease, we may need more nutrients to help us.  If we are running a marathon, we may need more nutrients before the event to help us fuel our muscles.  If we are in a very cold environment then we may need more nutrients to keep us warm.

But if we are in a warm room, doing nothing except watching the TV in a sort of mindless way, and not having to fight disease, we need very little in the way of nutrients comparatively speaking.  Nutritional deprivation can thus be too many nutrients for the lifestyle we lead as much as too little. Too many nutrients for our needs becomes a form of poisoning.

Thus we can return to the principal of the pendulum - if we are in balance our intake of nutrients is equal to our need for them.  If we are out of balance, either because we have taken in too many or we have taken in too little, then we are suffering from overload and nutritional deprivation - thus we might better think of nutritional deprivation as nutritional imbalance

RDA

 

On every packet of food these days we see a label that says RDA - Recommended Dietary Allowance [or Intake] and a percentage to show what that food provides of a hypothetical input.  The term is meaningless. 

Everybody's needs are different depending on their age, weight, lifestyle, state of health and subjection to environmental 'stressors'.  A high level of stress from pollutants, toxins, bacteria, for example, requires more intake of the nutrients which help the immune system fight the onslaught. 

I'm not even sure the term RDA has been helpful, as it appears to have produced a sort of paranoia in some, that they are somehow not getting enough of certain supposedly essential nutrients.  RDAs, ironically, may produce obesity.  It has certainly fuelled the mineral supplement, dietary supplement and vitamin supplement market.

Symptoms of imbalance

The symptoms experienced are a summation of the symptoms resulting from the nutrients of which we are depriving ourselves.  So the next obvious question is thus - what nutrients does a human being need?   In order to understand the other chemicals we need it may help to first read the section on Metabolic process.   The following list describes the essential nutrients and what happens if we are deficient in them or have overdosed on them:

The obese are often vitamin deprived
  • Vitamins - too little or too many are called Vitamin imbalance.  The various types of vitamin imbalance are as follows:
    • Vitamin A imbalance - described within the overall heading of Vitamin A itself
    • Vitamin B1 imbalance - vitamin B1 is also known as thiamin.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B1 itself
    • Vitamin B2 imbalance - vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B2 itself
    • Vitamin B3 imbalance - vitamin B3 is also known as niacin.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B3 itself
    • Vitamin B5 imbalance - vitamin B5 is also known as pantothenic acid.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B5 itself
    • Vitamin B6 imbalance - vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B6 itself
    • Vitamin B7 imbalance - vitamin B7 is also known as biotin.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B7 itself
    • Vitamin B9 imbalance - vitamin B9 is also known as folic acid or folate.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B9 itself
    • Vitamin B12 imbalance - vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamin.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin B12 itself
    • Vitamin C imbalance - vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin C itself
    • Vitamin D imbalance - vitamin D is also known as ergocalciferol.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin D itself
    • Vitamin E imbalance - vitamin D is also known as tocopherol.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin E itself
    • Vitamin K imbalance - vitamin K is also known as naphthoquinoids.  The effects of imbalance in this vitamin are described within the overall heading of Vitamin K itself
  • Other miscellaneous nutrients - the lists of vitamins and mineral shown above are the generally accepted ones, but in addition to these we have a few unclassified nutrients which include
    • Choline  - is a water-soluble essential nutrient. It must be consumed through the diet for the body to remain healthy.
    • Cyanide - which has an essential role in very small doses in feeding our friendly bacteria
'The models who die on the catwalk'
  • Essential Fatty acids - Essential fatty acids cannot be synthesized by humans, as humans lack the desaturase enzymes required for their production.  Only two fatty acids appear to be essential for human beings
  • ALA - α-Linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3), an omega-3 fatty acid.  ALA is not used by the body in its original form. It is converted by the body into the required long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6). EPA and DHA can also be consumed from a direct source by consuming fish, fish oil or algal oil (vegetarian source).
  • LA - Linoleic acid (LA, 18:2), an omega-6 fatty acid.  Linoleic acid is not used by the body in its original form either. It is converted by the body into the required long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, 18:3), dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA, 20:3) and arachidonic acid (AA, 20:4).

Omega-9 fatty acids are not essential in humans, because humans generally possess all the enzymes required for their synthesis.

  • Carbohydrates - A carbohydrate is  - technically speaking - a large biological molecule, consisting of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O) atoms, usually with the  formula Cm(H2O)n (where m could be different from n).  The carbohydrates (saccharides) are divided into four chemical groups: monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides. In general, the monosaccharides and disaccharides  are commonly referred to as sugars and their names  very often end in the suffix –‘ose’ - for example glucose, sucrose, and lactose.

    Carbohydrates perform numerous roles in living organisms. Polysaccharides serve for the storage of energy and as structural components. The 5-carbon monosaccharide ribose is an important component of coenzymes (e.g., ATP, FAD, and NAD) and the backbone of the genetic molecule known as RNA. The related deoxyribose is a component of DNA. Saccharides and their derivatives include many other important biomolecules that play key roles in the immune system, fertilization, preventing pathogenesis, blood clotting, and development.  Thus deficiency or imbalance leads to disease, blood circulatory disorders, infertility and general inability to thrive.
    An excess of carbohydrate when converted is the same as a poison in the blood stream.  Pancreatic amylase converts the carbohydrates glucose.   The principal source of glucose is carbohydrates.  Too much glucose in the blood stream becomes a poison - an irritant and an obesity creator.

  • Proteins - Proteins are a source of amino acids that are used to synthesise new proteins for growth and repair.  Twenty amino acids are needed by human beings, 11 of which can be synthesised by the body.  The remaining 9 amino acids must be obtained from our food and drink and are called essential amino acids.  These are:

Six amino acids are considered conditionally essential in the human diet, meaning their synthesis can be limited under special pathophysiological conditions, such as prematurity in the infant or individuals in severe catabolic distress. These six are

The body cannot store excess amino acids, so we need a regular supply of protein within our diet.  Animal products such as meat, eggs, milk and cheese are good sources of protein because they contain all the essential amino acids.  Most plant foods are incomplete, but if you eat a variety of plants all the amino acids can be obtained.   If you do not eat enough protein or eat too much and get imbalance either you will be lacking in energy  [dietary protein can be used as metabolic fuel] or your cells will start to die off and not be replaced.  An excess of protein when converted acts as a poison in the blood stream. Proteases are enzymes that digest proteins, protein generally gets converted to essential amino acids, but an excess of amino acids is as bad as a deficiency.

  • Lipids -Lipids are a group of substances which are known in a general sense as fats and oils.  They are a key part of the diet and a key part of our overall health having a number of uses in the body.  There are six major groups of nutrients we need in a balanced diet – put very simply -  minerals and vitamins, carbohydrates [sugars and starches], lipids[ fats and oils], proteins, fibre and water.  The main external dietary sources of lipids are:
    • Cholesterol  - essential to health as is explained in the more detailed section

    • Phospholipids

    • Triglycerides  - a saturated fat consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. I realise this flies in the face of much of the established advice, but the reasons for having all these in our diet is unequivocally clear.   The list below shows some saturated fatty acids, as they have been 'outlawed' no one knows what they do, but my understanding is that some of them at least are key to our health:

      Arachidic acid

      Behenic acid

      Butyric acid

      Capric acid

      Caproic acid

      Caprylic acid

      Ceroplastic acid

      Cerotic acid

      Enanthic acid

      Geddic acid

      Henatriacontylic acid

      Heneicosylic acid

      Heptacosylic acid

      Hexatriacontylic acid

      Lacceroic acid

      Lauric acid

      Lignoceric acid

      Margaric acid

      Melissic acid

      Montanic acid

      Myristic acid

      Nonacosylic acid

      Palmitic acid

      Pelargonic acid

      Pentacosylic acid

      Pentadecylic acid

      Propionic acid

      Psyllic acid

      Stearic acid

      Tricosylic acid

      Tridecylic acid

      Undecylic acid

      Valeric acid

       

Causes of nutritional deprivation

Intestinal disease -  The intestine is where all the absorption of nutrients takes place.  In the intestine there are folds and twists which provide a huge surface area capable of absorbing all the nutrients.  There are finger like projections in the wall called villi adding to the surface area.  Each villi is supplied with a blood supply and it is the blood that carries the extracted sugars, amino acids, minerals and other water soluble substances such as vitamins to the liver for further processing.  There are things called ‘lacteals’ which transport any fat soluble substances.  So it is here that differences between people can result – efficient intestine, inefficient intestine or damaged intestine.

Surgery - the notorious gastric bypass, for example, is a known cause of nutritional deprivation, but other forms of surgey can cause accidental damage to the intestine, stomach and so on and our digestive system as a whole. 
For reasons that I cannot fathom, it is still current medical practise to remove the gall bladder if it causes even the slightest hint of trouble.  Most gall bladdder infections heal themselves in time [as I found] with the correct care [which I received].  When food containing fat enters the digestive tract, it stimulates the gallbladder to contract and release its contents into the duodenum. The bile emulsifies fats in partly digested food.  So get rid of the gall bladder and the processing of fats gets disrupted.  It is worth adding that in 2009, it was suggested that the gallbladder can produce several pancreatic hormones, including insulin as a sort of back-up in times of high sugar intake.  If this is true, you really are knocking your system for six by removing the gall bladder.

 

Fasting – an act where a person abstains voluntarily from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period.

Bulimia nervosa - an ‘eating disorder’ which is characterised by restraint of food intake for a period of time followed by a sudden over intake of food which may be accompanied  by self induced vomiting or by ‘purging’ -  laxatives, enemas and diuretics,  - or over exercising

Anorexia nervosa -  an ‘eating disorder’ characterised by refusal to maintain a healthy body weight. People with anorexia nervosa continue to feel hunger, but deny themselves all but very small quantities of food. The average caloric intake of a person with anorexia nervosa is under 600-800 calories per day, but there are ‘extreme cases of complete self-starvation’

Starvation - Starvation is a severe involuntary [as opposed to deliberate] deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient, and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition.

Over-eating and over drinking  - and gorging yourself on huge plates of food you do not need or vast numbers of drinks you do not need.  Alcoholism is in some senses a problem in this category, as it provides large quantities of carbohydrates with little else in the form of nutrients.  Many alcoholics are stick thin because they are nutritionally deprived.  An obese person may, bizarre though it may seem, be nutritionally deprived because their diet consists of large quantities of carbohydrates and fats and little else.

 

Poor depleted soils [and animals] - we may think we are eating a balanced diet plenty of vegetables, fruit, nuts, meat and so on, but what we may not realise is that the way these were grow means they are lacking in any nutritional value.  If you buy food from a supermarket it will tell you on the packet what the food contains.  But how do they know?  They will not have tested that batch of foods, all they can go on is the data produced by governments which show a sample and thus example content.  Poor soils and bad farming practise can produce food that is almost nutritionally useless.  The solutions appear to be:

  • Use the taste as a guide, if it is virtually tasteless it is probably nutritionally useless. 
  • Grow your own - in the UK we have allotments and my Dad had an allotment. 
  • Get food locally from someone you know farms properly
  • Go organic, which stands a better chance of producing nutritionally balanced foods. 
  • Choose a responsible supplier - This last option may only exist in the UK, but there is at least one large food chain and store company who have attempted to source their food from 'good farmers'.
Alan Belmont claims he piled on the pounds after
suffering from asthma and taking asthma medications

Pharmaceuticals - numerous, literally hundreds, of pharmaceuticals can produce nutritional deprivation.  This LINK takes you to a list of pharmaceuticals that have a proven record of causing malnutrition, the list is from the eHealthme website so only includes pharms available in the USA.  If we take a few examples,

  • Proton pump inhibitors inhibit stomach acid secretion, however, hydrochloric acid is required for the digestion of proteins and for the absorption of nutrients, particularly of vitamin B12 and of calcium. Calcium is used in bone formation of course.
  • Diuretics - In general achieve their effects through manipulation of the minerals in the body – the sodium balance in particular – at various stages of processing in the kidneys.  As a consequence they can cause all manner of mineral imbalances
  • Antibiotics  - are known to totally disrupt the intestinal flora that are needed to process food, thus antibiotics can considerably reduce nutrient intake - see below for more details
  • Statins
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Immunosuppressants - which by damaging the immune system's response allows bacteria etc to enter which can disrupt or damage the Intestine and its flora
  • Vaccines - " …Oral vaccination with WC/rBS cholera vaccine affects the intestinal flora in human, and the mechanism as well as the implications needs to be further explored.  PMID: 14965834"

Intestinal flora damage - Intestinal flora consists of a complex of microorganism species that live in our digestive tract.  The human body carries about 100 trillion microorganisms in its intestines, a number ten times greater than the total number of human cells in the body.  Bacteria make up most of the flora in the colon.  Somewhere between 300 and 1000 different species live in the gut,  with most estimates at about 500.  However, it is probable that 99% of the bacteria come from about 30 or 40 species  Fungi, protozoa, and archaea also make up a part of the gut flora, but little is known about their activities.  Over 99% of the bacteria in the gut are anaerobes, but in the cecum, aerobic bacteria reach high densities.
The Intestine flora's primary benefit to us is as follows, as you can see any damage has other knock on effects not just nutritional

  • the gleaning of energy from the fermentation of undigested carbohydrates and the subsequent absorption of short chain fatty acids. The most important of these fatty acids are butyrates, metabolised by the colonic epithelium; propionates by the liver; and acetates by the muscle tissue.
  • in synthesizing vitamin B and vitamin K as well as biotin
  • metabolising bile acids, sterols and xenobiotics
  • training the immune system
  • preventing growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria
  • regulating the development of the gut
  • producing hormones to direct the host to store fats.
 

Bad farming of animals - For more than 50 years we have known that the administration of low doses of antibacterial agents promotes the growth of farm animals to increase weight gain. If we eat those animals we get the antibiotics.   Antibiotics alter the population of the GI (gastrointestinal tract) microbiota, may change the intra-community metabolic interactions, modify caloric intake by using carbohydrates, and globally affects host metabolic, hormonal and immune homeostasis.  The bad farming of animals doesn't just give us nutritional deprivation it may also produce obesity, auto-immune diseases, and hormonal disorders.

C. difficile …currently infects over 30% of individuals admitted to United States hospitals, making C. difficile colitis one of the most common nosocomial infections. It is estimated that approximately 10-12 million adults are infected with this organism each year in the United States, about a third of whom become symptomatic. The disease burden in the elderly is particularly severe as they are hospitalized more frequently and for longer duration. The pathophysiology of C. difficile diarrhea requires alteration of the colonic microflora by antibiotics, colonization by C. difficile, and release of two potent enterotoxins designated A and B PMID:  12053708

Toxins - which can not only damage the liver, kidneys etc, but if they get through to the intestines also damage the intestine and its flora.

Bacterial infection - which if the immune system has been compromised can enter the intestine, damage the intestine and also disrupt the Intestine's flora.

Viruses - which again if the immune system has been compromised can enter the intestine, damage the intestine and also disrupt the Intestine's flora.

Parasites - the same/ditto

A so-called 'chicken-nugget truck'

Food allergies - there is a very complicated link between the use of antibiotics and vaccines and the existence of food allergies.  Food allergies reduce nutritional intake and can cause disruption, but why are there food allergies?  I have explored the subject in a little more detail in the section on food allergy, however, it is clear that both antibiotics and vaccines disrupt the immunological response by disrupting intestinal flora

The indigenous bacterial microflora colonize the gut at birth and remain there throughout life. Approximately 10 bacteria are present in the ileum and colon and they are clearly immunogenic. .... the flora is responsible for producing the large numbers of T cells which are present in the gut of healthy individuals, the types of T cell response which the flora elicits are less well understood. A major challenge for the immune system is to distinguish between the antigens of the flora and the antigens of pathogens. There is also a growing realization that the normal flora can also influence gene expression in antigen-presenting cells in the gut and so set the context in which T cells respond to food antigen and vaccines.  PMID:  15123069

Heavy metal poisoning - the state of the soils in which we grow plants  and the seas and rivers in which we may obtain fish and other sea food, are the start of a food chain we never see, but if anything here gets out of balance, everything down the line is out of balance.  Let us take a less obvious example.  Zinc is rarely looked on as being a problem.  But the production for sulfidic zinc ores produces large amounts of sulfur dioxide and cadmium vapour. Smelter slag and other residues of process also contain significant amounts of heavy metals. About 1.1 million tonnes of metallic zinc and 130 thousand tonnes of lead were mined and smelted in the Belgian towns of La Calamine and Plombières, for example, between 1806 and 1882. The dumps of the past mining operations leach significant amounts of zinc and cadmium, and, as a result, the sediments of the Geul River contain significant amounts of heavy metals.
Levels of zinc in rivers flowing through industrial or mining areas can be as high as 20 ppm. Effective sewage treatment greatly reduces this; treatment along the Rhine, for example, has decreased zinc levels to 50 ppb. Concentrations of zinc as low as 2 ppm adversely affects the amount of oxygen that fish can carry in their blood.
Soils contaminated with zinc through the mining of zinc-containing ores, refining, or where zinc-containing sludge is used as fertilizer, can contain several grams of zinc per kilogram of dry soil. Levels of zinc in excess of 500 ppm in soil interfere with the ability of plants to absorb other essential metals, such as iron and manganese. Zinc levels of 2000 ppm to 180,000 ppm (18%) have been recorded in some soil samples.  So the fish and the plants will both be unbalanced and as a consequence, the animals feeding on these will also be, including us. 

How it works

It may be helpful to have the Model of spiritual experience open with its definitions and to have read how spiritual experience works.

Depriving yourself of nutrients is understandably regarded by the body as a threat.  The messages being received from all the sensory systems is HELP HELP HELP – you are killing us, we are dying!!!!  DO SOMETHING!!

Thus functionally there is initially overload of all the bodily functions as they fight to survive.  But over time every function starts to sink into a nutrient deprived torpor.  It is like gradually removing the power from a computer, or letting its battery run down, programs will malfunction and eventually stop altogether.

Nutritional deprivation ultimately causes death.  Occasionally, having realised we are dying the Will releases endorphins, on the basis that if we are going to die, we might as well die happy, but up until then, and if the deprivation is severe and long lasting, there may be extreme pain.    

A body deprived of nutrients and hence energy is, in effect, gradually shutting down. And in cases where the body is shutting down it reverts to core autonomic system functions – the functions it needs to maintain itself.  Again, if we use the analogy, all the applications on the computer that is our body would be closed down and all you would be left with is the ‘operating system’ [autonomic system].

You do not lose your perceptions, so a starving person may end up having heightened perception rather than reduced perception.

Any function which is closed down may never be capable of being revived again.  Thus people who have voluntarily starved or faced starvation may have permanently damaged memories and reasoning power.  Furthermore there may also be permanent damage to other organs of the body – kidneys, heart, liver etc.

Nutritional deprivation affects both the body and the brain.  Within the brain,  memory and reasoning power will be affected just as much as the kidneys and liver, for example.

So here we have the reason why nutritional deprivation of any severity produces hallucinations, visions, out of body experiences and near death experiences.  In effect, during the latter stages memory is dulled and reasoning power - two blocks to spiritual experience.

The Will gets all these messages, but is unable to do anything.  If we are starving because there is no food or water, the Will may attempt to push us into finding food, but after a time, the body will be too weak to be able to forage anymore, so in fact it can do nothing, at which point it will simply tell the body to lie down and conserve whatever energy it does have left. 

If this is an act of ego – the Personality is forcing starvation - then again, the Will can do nothing.  But it is being bombarded by messages of total panic from the body – YOU ARE KILLING US, HELP HELP HELP.  So it is, as it were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

At which point it gives up and the Composer takes over.  And we have a spiritual experience.

References and further reading

Pinch of poverty - Kennington
  • Science 11 May 2001: Vol. 292 no. 5519 pp. 1115-1118 DOI: 10.1126/science.1058709 Commensal Host-Bacterial Relationships in the Gut - "One potential outcome of the adaptive coevolution of humans and bacteria is the development of commensal relationships, where neither partner is harmed, or symbiotic relationships, where unique metabolic traits or other benefits are provided. Our gastrointestinal tract is colonized by a vast community of symbionts and commensals that have important effects on immune function, nutrient processing, and a broad range of other host activities".
  • Bibl Nutr Dieta. 1975;(22):101-8.  The influence of the gut microflora on the nutrition of its host. Coates ME  PMID:  237502

  • National Eating Disorders Association - If you have a concern about eating disorders I recommend you contact the Eating Disorders Association

Observations

There are a very large number of clinical cases on PubMed too numerous to include here, I have picked a small number of examples [relatively small considering the overall number]

Related observations