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From controversial diet pills to ridiculous cling film wraps, individuals appear more and more willing to go to extreme lengths in order to achieve their aims. Providing that aim is to lose weight.
However, the answers are rarely found in such gimmicks; your inability to lose weight is rarely caused by a deficiency of herbal stimulants, for example.

Whenever I see a client who appears resistant to weight loss, the first thing I consider is the state of their metabolism. This complex symphony of biochemical processes determines many things, from their cardiovascular health to their energy levels. It also determines whether their body is able to oxidize fat at a rate suitable for weight loss.

Sometimes, clients only need change their dietary balance to something more fitting of that they have evolved with. This means ditching the low-fat snacks and the pasta party they celebrate each and every evening. Sometimes it sees me change their exercise to something more befitting of their aims; replacing aimless cardio for resistance training. More often that not, though, it involves the correction of mineral deficiencies.

Trying to get results from a body that has been left short on a range of essential nutrients is not only unrealistic, but asking for failure. At this is what we see, time and time again, whenever these most basic requirements are overlooked. Because of the government's dogmatic refusal to accept the mineral depletion that has occurred on commercial soils – as much as 80% of some minerals have been lost – the official line remains the same; eat a balanced diet and you will get everything you need. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Magnesium and Zinc Deficiency as Indicators of Weight Loss Resistance

Magnesium makes up more than 300 enzymes in the human body, affecting every single organ system. In short, there is nothing it does not effect. However, magnesium is especially important in maintaining the metabolic rate, as it is required for the production of ATP, the body's energy currency which must be continually generated at all cells. Equally, magnesium-dependent enzymes allow for better hydration by running the sodium pump at each and every cell membrane. Importantly, it also enhances deep sleep; failure to get good quantity and quality sleep can result in reduced output of growth hormone and an antenuated release of cortisol. Growth hormone burns fat quickly and effectively; cortisol turns on fat-storage enzymes and creates insulin resistance. If you are short on magnesium, you will compromise your ability to burn fat.

Symptoms of mangnesium deficiency include waking consistently during the night to urinate, waking up before the alarm clock, cold hands, headaches, cramps and eyelid twitching. Of course, these simply represent symptoms that you can see; for each and every one that you can, there will be a number that you cannot. All are equally important.

Zinc deficiency often carries few symptoms that can be felt by the individual. Poor sense of taste, smell and appetite all remain highly subjective and most of my zinc-deficient clients (which is most of them) fail to notice a difference in this regard until the situation is rectified. Hormonal imbalance and immune system disturbance can also occur in these individuals. Hormonal imbalance can impair mood and the fat burning cascade, as well as giving rise to a whole host of other complaints. The immune system can severely impair the fat burning process by causing systemic inflammation; inflamed cells store fat at an increased rate due to the insulin resistance that occurs during this state. Systemic inflammation also triggers cortisol release. Make no mistake; if your immune system is chronically activated, you will not be able to lose weight. Zinc helps here.

Iodine and Vitamin D3 as Supporters of Weight Loss

Iodine represents another massive supporter of immune system function. Although the human race has evolved eating copious sea vegetables like kelp, few people can even remember when they last ate seaweed. This dietary shift has left the majority of our society severely short on iodine – 96%, according to Dr David Brownstein's research. Iodine exerts a strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effect throughout the body, maintaining a healthy bacterial balance and helping reduce the aggravation of the immune system. As well as reducing the cause of inflammation, zinc also reduces the conversion of histadine into histamine, which plays a big role in reducing the symptoms of allergies like hayfever, as well as dampening down unhealthy imflammatory response. Another major benefit of iodine involves it's requirement at the thyroid gland. Despite a widespread fear of iodine supplementation across mainstream medical circles (which dates back to a flawed experiment by Dr Wolff and Dr Chaikoff in 1958), iodine improves thyroid function, a huge factor in setting the metabolic rate in an individual. Iodine remains a powerful weapon in any weight loss arsenal.

Vitamin D3 stands out as one of the most overlooked yet most important nutrients for weight loss and a whole host of other disorders. The body has thousands of different receptors for vitamin D3 and it's metabolites all over the body, helping to explain the wide variety of benefits attributed to the vitamin. It has been shown to benefit insulin resistance, cancer and autoimmune conditions, as well as maintaining strong bones. However, a vitamin D3 metabolite is also required to activate the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. Without this enzyme, the body cannot make dopamine. Low mood and reduced metabolism are the consequences (incidentally, this is what is commonly 'diagnosed' as Seasonal Affective Disorder and sees patients plied with anti-depressant medication). Vitamin D3 deficiency is on the rise throughout the Western world, as increasing numbers of individuals work through the daylight hours in offices, then cover themselves from head to toe in sunscreen when on holiday.
Many other issues can play a role in the inability to lose weight, such as hormonal imbalance, fungal infection, dehydration, stress, but naturally all these issues are made worse by a lack of minerals. Nourishing your body with the level of vitamins and minerals it has evolved with should remain your first priority in any regime, especially when it comes to weight loss.

  • Photo courtesy of Clean Wal-Mart on Flickr: /