Nutrition Summit part 2: Micro and phyto nutrients

Vit D & Phytonutrients


Key points:
- Vit D2 is the synthetically available substitute for vit D3 which is found in foods and is dependant on sunlight exposure. 
- A lack of Vit D results in inadequate mineralisation of bone and osteomalacia in older people, but is also associated with diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, fractures and muscle weakness. 
- Links with movement disorders and neurodegenerative conditions could be caused by as well as linked to the causes of vit D deficiency, as people with movement disorders such as MS or Parkinson's are less likely to get enough sun exposure due to limited mobility.
- When sun exposure is low, and skin tone is darker, it is important to supplement vit D in the diet with foods such as wild salmon, herring, mackerel, mushrooms and tinned tuna. 
- The Vit D produced by the skin during sun exposure lasts longer and is carried differently in the body, so it is important but needs to be balanced with the risks of sun exposure. 

Phytochemicals & Phytonutrients
- Phenolics are a type of phytochemical which are very useful in plants' response to stressors and typically produce colour as an evolutionary strategy: e.g. berries and coffee. 
- Absorption & bio-availability of phenolics varies greatly between people as 99.9% of the absorption takes place in the colon where they are transformed by gut enzymes to metabolites. 
- Colon gut phenotypes (metaphenotypes) are important in defining whether an individual is able to absorb the phenolics. 

** Hence, to test the effect of phenolics in 'superfoods', the metabolites need to be investigated, as the whole phenolic molecule is not going to be reaching in vivo cells! 

For example, research pointing to the benefits of 1000 micrograms of resveratrol on your lymphocytes is not reflective of what metabolites of resveratrol will be reaching the lymphocytes in a person**

- As polyphenols are converted by the microbiome, reducing diversity of the gut bacteria will reduce the microbiome's ability to convert them into beneficial phytonutrients. Thus disrupting the microbiome by taking antibiotics when they aren't necessary, reducing the variety of foods consumed with a restricted diet or people who suffer with persistent colon diseases cannot benefit from the benefits of consuming polyphenols.

** In addition, consuming phenol containing foods can change the microbiota! So consuming a variety of phenol containing fruits and vegetables could create a better microflora to promote lean mass instead of obesity. **