Malabsorption problem when supplement work?

jason30

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Hi all,

Perhaps a rhetorical question but could someone have malabsorption problems (and be deficient in minerals and vitamins) when taking supplements / powders do work?

Thanks!
 

pamojja

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Perhaps a rhetorical question but could someone have malabsorption problems (and be deficient in minerals and vitamins) when taking supplements / powders do work?
I have difficulty understanding your question. But if I understand it right, I have to answer yes. Also when they don't work, because what is sufficient could be very different from one and another.
 
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From what I know malabsorption can be a problem if you are on long term medications that reduce stomach acid . For example Prilosec, nexium etc. I think this is greatly overlooked by doctors.

Sometimes people lack intrinsic factor which can lead to pernicious anemia. This is not that uncommon and would show up on blood test.
 

Mary

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Hi all,

Perhaps a rhetorical question but could someone have malabsorption problems (and be deficient in minerals and vitamins) when taking supplements / powders do work?

Thanks!
Many of us are low in stomach acid and not just due to drugs like Nexium etc. Low stomach acid seems to be another deficiency connected to ME/CFS, and if you are low in stomach acid, you won't absorb nutrients properly. It was one of the first things my chiropractor who does muscle testing picked up on. He told me all the supplements in the world wouldn't help if I couldn't absorb them.

I have to take betaine HCl with pepsin with meals that have protein. It's made a huge difference in my digestion.

Here's a simple test to check your stomach acid: dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of water and drink on an empty stomach. If you don't burp within 2 or 3 minutes, it can be an indication of low stomach acid.
 

jason30

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Thanks all!

Sorry for the late respons (due holidays) and unclear question.

I know about low stomach acid and problems with absorbing nutrients properly.

I wondered why someone could have a malabsorption problem (due low stomach acid) but at the same time he/she is absorbing supplements properly. So this way you could say that stomach acid is not needed to let supplements work?

Hopefully that makes it more clearly.
 

pamojja

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I wondered why someone could have a malabsorption problem (due low stomach acid) but at the same time he/she is absorbing supplements properly. So this way you could say that stomach acid is not needed to let supplements work?
Guess without any stomach acid one would be in serious trouble. Therefore it's more about the degree present. With supplementation one adds on top of that, so with higher total amounts of nutrients and percentage of absorption remaining equal due to a certain amount of stomach acid, more is absorbed.
 

Mary

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Thanks all!

Sorry for the late respons (due holidays) and unclear question.

I know about low stomach acid and problems with absorbing nutrients properly.

I wondered why someone could have a malabsorption problem (due low stomach acid) but at the same time he/she is absorbing supplements properly. So this way you could say that stomach acid is not needed to let supplements work?

Hopefully that makes it more clearly.
I don't think that supplements could be absorbed without stomach acid. So you must have some stomach acid, maybe more than you think?

And as @pamojja said, you would be in serious trouble without stomach acid.
 

renski

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I don't think that supplements could be absorbed without stomach acid. So you must have some stomach acid, maybe more than you think?

And as @pamojja said, you would be in serious trouble without stomach acid.
The strange thing is I have malabsorption and yet pretty much everything I've taken generally shows up in my tests, blood serum, hair etc, so it's still being absorbed despite chronic gut issues.
 

pamojja

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The strange thing is I have malabsorption and yet pretty much everything I've taken generally shows up in my tests, blood serum, hair etc, so it's still being absorbed despite chronic gut issues.
One would have to specify which tests in particular. For examples serum B12 might show high, but active Holo-transcobalamin still deficient. Serum Magnesium normal, but RBC highly deficient. Serum B6 high, but still no dream-recall. So some tests show maybe even an elevation, but somehow through any of the missing co-factors, still could mean not at sufficiency.

Bad absorption could have affected any of any of the cofactors not routinely tested and needed for the metabolism of any nutrient. Or the chosen tests were just not that predictive.
 

renski

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Like the zinc serum reading increases but not plasma, I assumed meant it's being absorbed in the gut just not getting into the cells?
 

pamojja

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Like the zinc serum reading increases but not plasma, I assumed meant it's being absorbed in the gut just not getting into the cells?
Only have experience with zinc serum, whole blood and hair-tissue. In my case they all show similar results (low, despite supplementing high). Have to clarify that 'absorption' to me doesn't only mean in particular tissues tested, but being metabolized in other tissues where they are needed too.
 

renski

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My serum and hair zinc increases with only 7mg of zinc but plasma doesn't change at all (is whole blood and red blood cell the same to you?). I think plasma zinc is rbc or similar. Do you know the cofactors needed to get zinc into cells?
 

pamojja

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My serum and hair zinc increases with only 7mg of zinc but plasma doesn't change at all (is whole blood and red blood cell the same to you?). I think plasma zinc is rbc or similar.
RBC is the fraction of blood containing only red blood cells. Tests of minerals in RBC are usually not available where I live (exception being for example folate, erythrocytes folate called here).
  • Serum is the undiluted, extracellular portion of blood after adequate coagulation is complete.
  • Plasma is a clear, straw-colored watery portion of the blood in which several types of blood cells are suspended.
Whole blood is RBC plus plasma, and seems a good substitute where RBC isn't available, since it tests all fractions of the blood. By the way, serum only contains 1-2%, but erytrocytes about 84% of all zinc. And elevated zinc in hair most often means deficiency in the body.

Do you know the cofactors needed to get zinc into cells?
If I really knew, I probably would have overcome my zinc deficiency by now :bang-head:. Acu-cell.com mentions following co-factors:

Zinc Synergists: Magnesium, chromium, cobalt, tin, Vitamin B2, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, [Vitamin A - small amounts]*.
Zinc Antagonists / Inhibitors: Iron, calcium, phosphorus, selenium, sodium, nickel, copper, Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, niacin / niacinamide, folic acid, choline, lecithin, alcohol, phytic acid, oxalic acid, [Vitamin A - large amounts]*.
Note: Calcium is a zinc antagonist at low, or normal phosphorus levels. However, with high phosphorus levels, extra calcium may be required to reduce zinc loss by helping to lower elevated phosphorus levels. This can also be accomplished by adding Vitamin B5.
My worst deficiency has been Magnesium for the last 10 years. Took up to 2.5 g/d of elemental oral Mg just to alleviate the worst pain-full muscle cramps. Only since November last year could get Mg IVs. And after 5 of those cramps completely ceased. All the time Mg in serum was normal, and been the lowest since getting IVs! While in whole blood it showed significantly deficient, still have to get a follow up on that since getting my IVs.


PS: This Mg deficiency is also a good example for nutrients been absorbed - otherwise it wouldn't have eased the cramps. Just not to the degree necessary to fill up body stores and cease the cramps completely. Working and absorbed, but not sufficiently as IVs were able to.
 
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Gondwanaland

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I think enzyme misfolding (?) might be an issue beyond poor/good absorption.

A couple of years back I took vit B6 and experienced worsening of symptoms, then took P5P and felt cured for 2 weeks.

Many minerals and vitamins need specific enzymes in order to be properly utilized (e.g. biotinidase is needed to release biotin from food).

Most supplements give us nutrients in more bioavailable form.

Additionally, I suppose most of such enzymes are produced by the microbiome, but the microbiome is being depleted by pesticides, abx and other medications.