Americans know more than ever about the benefits of eating a healthy diet and taking nutritional supplements, but new discoveries are proving there's still more to be done. Dr. Oz talks with oncologist Dr. Dwight McKee, author of Seven Deadly Nutritional Mistakes That Millions Make Every Day, about how to correct imbalances in the body and live an even healthier life with vitamins and minerals.
Calcium and Magnesium
Most people are aware of the need for calcium to strengthen bones, but the need for magnesium isn't as well known, Dr. McKee says. In fact, taking calcium without also taking magnesium is a big mistake—calcium ingested by itself suppresses the absorption of magnesium and vice versa. People deficient in magnesium can suffer from an energy deficit and often feel tired all the time. Dr. McKee recommends taking a soluble form of magnesium several times a day, but not at the same time as calcium. He also notes that while a daily supply of calcium can come from a healthy diet, it's harder to get enough magnesium because most people are already working from a deficit.
Copper and Zinc
Over eight years, Dr. McKee studied blood plasma levels in cancer patients and found an intriguing commonality: Every patient had copper levels at the upper end of the normal range and zinc levels at or below the low end of normal. In flipping the ratio, he saw an important shift in patients' immune functions, from antibody-dominant immunity to cellular immunity. This change led Dr. McKee to hypothesize that correcting the body's copper/zinc imbalance to a 1-to-3 ratio would help healthy people avoid the possibility of health problems later in life.
Omega-6 and Omega-3 Oils
Millions of years ago, the ratio of omega-6 oil to omega-3 oil in humans' diets was 1 to 1—today the ratio can be as high as 50 to 1. Because omega-6 fatty acids create inflammatory compounds in the body, this imbalance has led to millions of people living on anti-inflammatory drugs to combat the effects. While many people know to eat fish and supplement their diets with fish oil—both good sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids—other dietary changes can have a significant effect. Dr. McKee recommends avoiding corn oil, soy oil and other warm weather vegetable oils found in processed foods, along with any animals raised on grain. Oils that are good for cooking include olive oil, avocado and macadamia nut oil, and for high-heat cooking, coconut oil, butter or lard. In addition, Dr. McKee says to look for grass-fed beef, wild game, wild-caught seafood and poultry not raised on grain.