Table of Contents
What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition may not be what you think and even worse, you may not realize you are malnourished! There is a definitive line between nutrition and malnutrition. The following are defined by Mosby’s Medical Dictionary 7th Edition:
Malnutrition, as defined, “any disorder of nutrition. It may result from an unbalanced, insufficient, or excessive diet or from impaired absorption, assimilation, or use of foods.” Compare deficiency disease.
Deficiency disease, as defined, “a condition resulting from the lack of one or more essential nutrients in the diet, from metabolic dysfunction, or from impaired digestion or absorption, excessive excretion, or increased biologic requirements.”
Subclinical, as defined “pertaining to a disease or abnormal condition that is so mild it produces no symptoms.”
Subclinical deficiency, as defined, “in orthomolecular medicine, deficiency of a nutrient sufficient to affect health but not severe enough to cause classic deficiency symptoms.
Look at the photo to the right. Is either person suffering malnutrition or are they both subclinically malnourished?
What is the difference between clinical malnutrition and subclinical malnutrition?
There is a difference between malnutrition and subclinical malnutrition albeit it may be a fine line in some instances. Clinical malnutrition is a serious clinically diagnosed problem whereas subclinical malnutrition is rarely observed or addressed by our current medical system.
Subclinical malnutrition simply implies that you may have relative nutrient excesses and deficiencies of one or more essential nutrients that include minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids.
However, the relative deficiencies are not at a sufficient level (an absolute deficiency) to create a medically diagnoseable condition (e.g., scurvy due to an absolute deficiency of vitamin C). As said a moment ago, there can be an exceptionally fine line to go from one condition to the other.
“Obvious or overt malnutrition is diagnosed from characteristic clinical signs. Subclinical malnutrition is revealed only by biochemical changes but is an unstable state which, if untreated, will develop to clinical malnutrition.”Bender AE. Subclinical and covert malnutrition. Bull Schweiz Akad Med Wiss. 1976 Mar;31(4-6):279-90. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/990570/
Subclinical malnutrition is extremely deceiving and here’s why…
Subclinical malnutrition may be present for years or even decades before any symptom or even a sudden onset of a degenerative disease manifests. Have you ever wondered how someone you know went from being “perfectly healthy” one day and diseased the next? This simply does not happen overnight.
However, the deceiving aspect is:
- You may look and feel perfectly healthy,
- You may easily show excellent results using current blood panels (e.g., CBC, thyroid, etc.)
- You may not be experiencing any symptom whatsoever,
- You may occasionally experience annoying symptoms – clinically undiagnosed.
Subclinical malnutrition is ultimately predicated on nutrient excesses and deficiencies and the degree of the imbalances between all nutrients (biochemical changes). This is the fundamental importance of nutrient interrelationships.
Note: Throughout the remainder of this page, we will continue to use the term Malnutrition in the context of Subclinical Malnutrition.
Malnutrition is not a poverty condition!
Unfortunately, if you are like most, you would never consider yourself as being malnourished because you normally associate malnutrition with poverty nations. After all, no one shows an American as being malnourished.
However, malnutrition is an equal opportunity and nondiscriminatory condition. It crosses all socioeconomic boundaries and includes people that only consume the highest quality foods such as meticulously grown organics.
For the most part, Americans are over-fed and undernourished because we live in a society where fast and processed foods are dietary staples.
“We are what we eat” and “what we eat depends on the soil that produces it,” declares Dr. William A. Albrecht, University of Missouri. “Human health troubles often come from poor nutrition which weakens the body. With its defenses down the body is less able to resist the attacks of bacteria and other forces.” CASS CITY CHRONICLE—FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 1947.
What contributes to malnutrition?
Many things have changed since the time Dr. Albrecht made the statement we are what we eat. Today, there is a long list of factors contributing to malnutrition. Some include:
- Your neuroendocrine systems (nervous and glandular control of nutrients)
- Improper or poor food selection (fast foods, processed foods, etc.)
- Improper dietary supplements (arbitrary consumption without lab analyses)
- Toxins (chemicals and heavy metals)
- Medications (prescription and OTC)
- Unhealthy lifestyle habits (alcohol, lack of exercise, etc.)
- Nutrient deficient soils
- Disease processes in the body
- Microbiome and Parasites
This is a brief list, however, any factor that interferes with your nutritional status should be considered. Fortunately, many common factors contributing to malnutrition may be corrected with a healthy eating plan based on healthy foods specific to your personal needs and simple lifestyle changes.
The “Western Diet” IS malnutrition!
The Western Diet is associated with the term Western Diseases!
The Western diet, predicated on convenience and profit, consists of fast foods, processed foods, and genetically modified foods. Obviously, Americans are surviving on these foods as dietary staples even though their nutritional value is lacking.
As you know, we have the most expensive medical system in the world yet so many diseases are epidemic. In fact, many of which are referred to as “Western diseases” such as cardiovascular disease and a variety of cancers. Obesity, recently declared a disease by the AMA, can now be included.
As you know, most of these common degenerative diseases are closely associated with myriad nutrients such as osteoporosis is normally associated with a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D. This is grossly misleading because America over-consumes calcium and vitamin D and yet osteoporosis remains a problem!
Malnutrition also creates a tremendous potential for generational health problems as seen in family planning and Healthy Foods for Kids. In addition, your reproductive and sexual health (both male and female) are also affected.
Ask yourself the following question. Why do we worry about cigarettes when our current foods are contributing too more disease than cigarettes ever did? It’s ironic the quality of our foods are never mentioned for any reason.
However, when it comes to food selection in the Western diet, remember this important rule:
Convenient foods are not healthy – Healthy foods are not convenient!
Can you survive if you are malnourished?
Interestingly, yes you can!
In fact, you may be in a state of malnutrition (subclinical) and not even realize it.
Fortunately, you possess a tremendous margin of safety for survival. This simply means you can survive even though your biochemistry is suffering. There is, however, a definitive line that when you cross, things will begin to go wrong (manifestations of symptoms and disease).
Is malnutrition gaining ground on your health and your children? Every day, more fast foods, processed foods, pharmaceuticals, OTC meds, toxins, genetic inheritance, and stress are beginning to show the long-term ramifications of various states of malnutrition.
Think for a moment, you now have a pharmacy on almost every corner in America and in every major supermarket chain. In addition, medical facilities are being built at a record number.
Are these the results of a healthy or malnourished society?
Are you in a current state of malnutrition?
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