Choline Paleo Diet-min

Choline & The Paleo Diet

Continuing looking into deficiencies, this week falls to choline. What actually is choline and what is the effect of being deficient? Even on a strict Paleo diet, is it still possible to be deficient?

The precursor for acetylcholine is choline, which is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for memory and it is a very important part of two important phospholipids. The liver uses this to process fats within the body and to package lipids.

What symptoms should you look for that indicates you might be low in choline?

  • Elevated ATL levels – it’s the elevated alamine transaminase levels which could indicate you have a liver complaint that can be often caused by a choline deficiency. Research has shown that a fatty liver can be caused by low levels. As Choline is the precursor for acetylcholine which is involved in memory – impaired memory can often be a symptom of deficiency. Research carried out showed that patients given a supplement had improved memory.
  • Lower VLDL – while reducing VLDL might improve your lipid panel it can also see you end up with a fatty liver due to the fat not being packed away properly into lipoprotiens for dispersal.

Primal Diet Supplement Vitamin Mineral Deficiency

How can a choline deficiency occur?

Offal is such a good source of choline that avoiding it could inadvertently result in a choline deficiency.

How can you add choline to your diet?

When it comes to choline, it’s all about eggs and offal! Beef liver contains by far the highest levels, as measured per 100 grams of food. In  descending order the food with the highest levels are: veal liver, chicken liver, raw egg, turkey liver, turkey heart, wheat germ, bacon, pork loin and mutton.

You can also gain choline from the following foods, but in much smaller amounts: artichokes, cauliflower, pecans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, macadamia nuts, almonds, pine nuts, cashews, chicken, pistachios, canned prawns, cod, ground beef and turkey gizzard.

Most nuts and seafood seem to be good sources, but when it comes to vegetables the levels vary – for example while Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower are good sources of choline, boiled kale hardly has any.  Fruits and milk contain even less choline than vegetables, but some spices are good sources of choline, but as they are often used in such small amounts, they tend not to be reliable sources.

Unfortunately none of these foods come anywhere close to the amount of choline found in eggs and organs – liver and eggs alone have ten more times the amount present than most vegetables. It is the egg yolk that contains the most choline – not the egg whites. A 100 gram serving of just the egg yolks has 683 mg of choline while the same size serving of egg white only has 1.1 mg. To be able to eat an equal amount of both you would get 3 times more choline from your eggs if you threw the whites away.

Do you have much offal in your diet? I’d love to hear if choline levels are a concern to you – and also how you get offal into your Paleo diet?

Choline Paleo Diet-min

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Vitamin B12 & The Paleo Diet

What are your Vitamin B12 levels like? You might follow a Paleo diet, but are your levels optimal? And if not, what can you do about it?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is still quite common – with this deficiency occurring even amongst  those of us Paleo diet followers who eat the richest source of Vitamin B12 – animals! Some of the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency include depression and anxiety, lethargy, Autism spectrum disorder in children and (unwanted) weight loss. It can also show up with Alzheimer or dementia like symptoms.

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How can Vitamin B12 deficiencies occur?

Sometimes it can be as simple as us setting the bar for “normal” a little too low. While, on paper everything could check out and look normal, Vitamin B12 levels might still be too low and we could still be suffering from B12 deficiency symptoms. In countries like Japan they actually have higher “normal” B12 markers and in having a higher bar set they have less cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. In many cases, as meat eaters, we don’t look for low Vitamin B12 levels – as we assume we eat meat we are getting plenty and Doctors don’t actually check for it.

Another issue is consuming sufficient Vitamin B12, but the body failing to absorb adequate quantities. For some who have stomach disorders such as Crohn’s disease, or have or suffer from diarrhoea it can affect your ability to absorb minerals, vitamins, nutrients from our food – this include Vitamin B12.

How can we reduce our risks of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

If you eat animal products regularly along with some offal, such as liver occasionally, you should be getting enough Vitamin B12 in your diet. There may also be no need to supplement your diet, if you don’t suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above. If you do have some of the symptoms mentioned or you do suffer from a gastrointestinal disorder that might be limiting your ability to absorb Vitamin B12, then it is worth asking your doctor next time you visit if you can have your vitamin B12 levels tested. Of course, to be able to extract reasonable levels of Vitamin B12 from your diet, you need to be consuming good quality (grass fed and finished) meat. If the animal didn't have access to good nutrition, their meat won’t provide it to you either.
Primal Diet Supplements Mineral Vitamin Deficiencies







If you're Vitamin B deficient, you might find that you may be more susceptible to heavy metal toxicity, if your diet or body contains them – such as mercury, lead and cadmium. Vitamin B deficiency can also be linked to depression, with the B vitamins crucial for the direct synthesis of the brain neurotransmitters. Apart from the fact they are needed (along with folate) for the homocysteine pathways to provide methylation, which is essential for the making of neurotransmitters. It is these neurotransmitters that are involved with the production of homocysteine as well. Tests have shown that those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have higher levels of homocysteine in their body. When the homocysteine pathway is functioning correctly it produces the depression relieving neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

Have you had your Vitamin B12 levels checked? Do you supplement, or ensure your diet provides optimal levels?

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Magnesium & the Paleo Diet

Following on from last weeks post about Selenium, this week I'm focusing on Magnesium. You might think following a Paleo diet makes it impossible to develop deficiencies – but unfortunately that isn't the case. However, by focusing on common deficiencies, you can adapt your Paleo nutrition to ensure your micro nutrient levels are optimum.

Despite Magnesium being something that is so important in your diet, so many people struggle to get enough in their system through diet alone. In fact research has shown that in the United States alone only half of the adult population actually achieve the recommended daily allowance (though as we know, the quoted “daily allowances” are often woefully low anyway). It is this low intake of magnesium that has been linked to common diseases such as asthma, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.

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Just some of the many and varied symptoms that can show a lack of magnesium in the diet include – cramping, constipation, migraines, insulin resistance, fibromyalgia and hypertension.

So how do you lack magnesium in your system/ and Paleo diet?

It’s become popular to filter drinking water, which removes Magnesium, by filtering and purifying devices on your home taps or filter bottles. A general lacking of minerals in the soil is another culprit. If it isn’t in the soil, it can’t get into the produce grown there. Plants grown in mineral rich soil will have higher magnesium contents then those that are grown in soil with little or no magnesium. In general, lacking magnesium rich foods, especially plant foods, in your Paleo diet, is the main reason for deficiency.

Where can you get magnesium?

Mineral water contains high concentrations. Also, nuts, halibut, espresso, seeds and dark chocolate (a great excuse!) Leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss chard are excellent sources. Supplements those ending in “ate” such as taurate, citrate and glycinate  are what is known as chelated magnesium and they seem to be the best when it comes to being absorbed into the body. Alternatively you can apply magnesium oil for transdermal absorption which absorbs best when applied on the inner arms and rib cage. Bathing in Epsom Salts is another great way to increase levels in the body.

There are at least seven different types of magnesium available (and perhaps many more) that you can buy to take orally and they include magnesium carbonate, magnesium chloride, magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium sulphate and magnesium lactate. With so many variations out there it is no wonder people get confused when shopping! Make sure you do your research and choose the best supplement for your needs, of you think you need to take one.

Magnesium Oxide is one of the most popular supplements which are easily found at supermarkets the reason for this is because it is so cheap to produce. The down side to that is that because it isn’t absorbed into the body well, it will do very little for you. Try for a citric acid and magnesium carbonate blend, which is very popular and can be found in many of the better quality brands – when mixed with water it creates ionic magnesium citrate which has a much higher absorption rate.

How do you think your levels are looking? Do you eat enough Magnesium rich foods, or supplement?

Iodine paleo diet deficiencies supplement-min


So you’re following a “perfect” Paleo diet… surely you can’t be deficient in any vitamins or minerals that your body needs? Well, you might be surprised; have you thought about your iodine levels lately?

I've been looking into some of the popular supplements that people take, and minerals that some are careful to ensure they are not deficient in. I’ll be writing about a few of the popular ones, but iodine is one of the first minerals that regular seems to be spoken about.

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What actually is iodine?

It’s a trace element that has quite a big impact on our health and is especially associated with our thyroid. While iodine deficiency is mainly linked with third world and developing nations, research shows that even those living in developed countries like Australia or the United Kingdom have been found to be deficient. It’s probably no surprise, given the SAD diet so many people in the developed World live on.

Iodine deficiency is not a good thing and can cause a number of health issues.

Conditions such as Goitre can be caused by iodine deficiency. The thyroid gland enlarges, as it lacks the necessary iodine in order to compensate for the imbalance. This produces a large and highly visible lump in the neck. Not pretty.

Cretinism occurs when a woman is iodine deficient during a pregnancy. This can result in the child being born with a lower IQ and abnormal neuro-development.

Another result of iodine deficiency is Hypothyroidism.  Iodine is one of the major ingredients in the thyroid hormone, so where thyroid lacks enough, it will reduce the thyroids ability to makes the hormone. Symptoms of a thyroid lacking iodine include – elevated blood lipids, infertility, weight gain and the inability to lose weight, dry skin, hair loss and a lack of libido – just to name but a few.

So why do iodine deficiencies occur?

Especially on a Paleo diet, when you eat natural, real foods? Foods such as sea food and seaweed are rich in iodine – so not having many of these foods in your diet, makes it harder to get decent levels of iodine.

A common source of iodine is iodised salt – which of course on a Paleo diet, is often replaced with mineral and sea salts – naturally iodine free!

Mineral Deficiency

Some foods are rich in Goitrogen, such as broccoli. If eaten to excess, these foods may interfere with the iodine uptake needed by the thyroid gland. While this doesn’t lead to a whole body deficiency it does limit the thyroids ability to get the amount of iodine it needs.

Where can you get iodine from?

Seaweed is a great source, especially from kelp (or Kombu) and hijiki, just add a strip to your next pot of chili, soup or curry. Eat more seafood – crustaceans, fish, and shellfish – anything that lives in the ocean, provided it is high quality. While the iodine content of fish varies you can get the most from abalone, codfish and pollack. The way you cook also determines how much iodine will remain. If you boil fish it will lose most of its iodine content but if you fry it most of the iodine content will remain. Grilling retains more than boiling does, but a little less than frying.

Free range eggs are another great source – although the specific amount will depend on the laying hens diet – if there is iodine in the chicken’s diet it will show up in the yolk.

Finally supplements are a popular alternative to ensure you are getting sufficient levels of iodine in your paleo diet.

So how do you ensure you get enough Iodine?

paleo diet magnesium supplement vitamin D3 deficiency-min


I spend a lot of time reading about various supplements, trying to work out what I should or shouldn't take.  I really don’t like the idea of taking supplements – it’s not exactly a Paleo activity we've evolved to do!  However, I know it is a lot harder not to get all of the micro nutrients we need today than ever before.  Mineral content in soils is severely depleted due to modern farming methods, meaning the produce that grows in that land and animals grazing on the land are also far lighter on mineral content. I've been especially interested in Magnesium.

 I'm fairly sold on taking Vitamin D3 and fish oil, but after reading “The Magnesium Miracle” and researching the mineral,  I recently decided to buy some Magnesium Citrate.

I had a lot of blood work done recently and whilst I don’t appear to have a Magnesium deficiency my magnesium mmol/L levels look to be lower than desirable.  Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in so many of the biochemical processes in the body, it is claimed to help with sleep, stress and help regulate blood sugar levels.  It's role in insulin sensitivity is especially interesting to me, with my current weight loss objective.

paleo diet magnesium supplement vitamin D3 deficiency-min

There are so many different types of magnesium supplements – I found magnesium oxide, magnesium hydroxide, magnesium carbonate, magnesium citrate, magnesium lactate, magnesium chloride, and magnesium sulfate!  I decided to try Magnesium Citrate as apparently it has a better bio availability, which means it should be better absorbed.   I believe this is the same form as found in the ‘Natural Calm” brand.

A lot of people get magnesium through skin absorption, either by bathing in Epsom Salts or apply magnesium oil – I might try this route in the future, but for now, I'll see how I fair with the supplement.  There are food sources of magnesium, such as green vegetables, bone broths, almonds and fish – but to achieve reasonable levels I'd have to eat such high amounts from the food source, that I don't think it would be realistic at the moment.

Do you supplement with Magnesium?  Interested to hear what benefits – or even downsides you've experienced with Magnesium supplementation!