In today’s interview, I get to speak with nutritional scientist, Dr Chris Masterjohn, PhD, about the best ways to asses your nutritional status and how he came up with a tool to help us figure it all out called Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet.
Chris is very passionate about using scientific information to create practical solutions to help people improve their health.
Today we get a chance to talk about the challenges people face when figuring out how to improve their nutritional status. Figuring out what the lab tests are telling us and how to fix imbalances is not always straightforward and as usual, a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works.
This is why Chris was inspired to create a ‘cheat sheet’ to help guide people through all the confusing information and help them create a cost-effective strategy.
If you know someone who is interested in learning more about the best way to test their nutritional status and how Chris’ Ultimate Cheat Sheet can help them make sense of all the information, this interview is for them.
I really enjoyed this interview with Chris who shared some great tips on where to start if you think you might have a deficiency or just want to see where you are at with your current diet.
Special thanks to Chris for joining me on the show. Enjoy the episode!
Show Notes with Timestamp Links
Highlights of what we talk about during the interview:
Click on one of the timestamp links in the brackets to jump to that point in the interview audio[00:37] – Introducing, Dr Chris Masterjohn, who has a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut, served as a postdoctoral research associate and was an Assistant Professor of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College before starting his own consultancy. He also produces nutritional information on his website, YouTube and Podcast: Mastering Nutrition. [01:11] – A few years back Chris had some health issues due to mould and fungal infection; we catch up on how his recovery has been going. [Biohackers Lab tip: if you haven’t already check out our previous interview with Chris on Toxic Mold] [04:03] – Defining micronutrient (vitamin or mineral) deficiency; simple definition is having less than you should have. [05:07] – Are lab test using reference ranges the best way to see deficiencies or are these ranges just showing a minimum RDA rather than the optimal? Chris explains how RDA’s are defined and its flaws. [11:28] – Chris explains how the lab ranges are based on normal ranges using apparently healthy people for reference and there is a lack of data for a lot of the nutrients. He describes depletion and repletion studies, which define a good test of nutritional status and the values for that. [15:07] – We don’t actually have the depletion/repletion studies for most of the vitamins and minerals that we believe we should have. Chris talks about the meta analysis that attempted to collect all the markers and nutritional status for all the nutrients and the type of data we currently have from depletion/repletion studies. [18:54] – Chris explains how he came about creating a cheat sheet to help us understand all these values; a system for assessing and managing nutritional status he calls, Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. [20:20] – He explains why in addition to the laboratory evidence, we should also use genetic information, dietary and lifestyle information, as well as individual signs and symptoms to help us figure out our nutritional status and (the most likely) best course of action for you. [26:45] – Chris had this approach in mind when creating the “cheat sheet” to assist people in figuring it all out as simply as possible. [29:08] – Using this sort of before and after testing could be useful for people adopting a new way of eating to see if it is right for them. Chris explains how in order to make it more cost effective (as testing can be fairly expensive) after the initial testing, the focus should be on the things that need improving. What are some other testing tips? [37:58] – In case of deficiencies, can food fix the problem or are supplements necessary? Chris explains that that depends on a number of factors: how bad the deficiency is, what the cause is, compliance issues etc. Chris shares some examples where supplements are necessary. [43:25] – In terms of multivitamins, the best one would be one oyster a day, one clam a day, half an ounce to an ounce of liver per day and three tablespoons of nutritional yeast per day. However, exceptions that would still be missing include more calcium and more potassium; foods rich in both need to be eaten in bulk! Enough folate would also be lacking but one serving of sprouted legumes and pasture raised egg yolks would fill the gaps. [44:55] – Do people on low-carb or ketogenic diets need to be more aware of deficiencies? Chris explains that this will depend on the degree at which people are avoiding/seeking out protein. Keto also results in a need for more electrolytes such as salt and potassium. [49:07] – At the other end of the spectrum, there does not seem to be any risk of toxicity on the low-carb or keto diets. In saying that, there are things you can get toxic levels of from food such as too much cooper or vitamin A from liver but toxicities from food are improbable. [51:47] – To follow Chris and find out more he recommends visiting his website chrismasterjohnphd.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube pages. He currently has a Free 30 day vitamins and minerals 101 course for each nutrient available through Facebook messenger here.
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