MC LifestyleWellness

Keeping Monaco healthy with Susan Tomassini: Are YOU deficient in these 3 vital nutrients?

Even if you eat a balanced, whole-food diet, there’s a good chance you’re not getting adequate amounts of 3 key vital vitamins and minerals your body needs to function.

Unfortunately, nutrient deficiencies can be difficult to assess and you might not develop symptoms until the deficiency begins to have a negative effect on your health.

Things that influence your nutrient intake

How and where your food was grown strongly affect your nutritional intake. Soil quality, storage time, and processing significantly influence the levels of important nutrients in your food.

Your age and certain health conditions (digestive issues and others) can also impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.

Things the influence your nutrient intake

How and where your food was grown strongly affect your nutritional intake. Soil quality, storage time, and processing significantly influence the levels of important nutrients in your food.

Your age and certain health conditions (digestive issues and others) can also impact your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in your food.

The 3 most common nutrient deficiencies

Here are the three I most often run across with my patients – and how I address them. Eating real food usually works best, but sometimes supplements are necessary, especially if someone already has signs of deficiency.

  1. Vitamin D

Most of the people I see spend plenty of time outdoors, yet Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in people of all ages, especially in those who use sun screens (which block vitamin D production) or limit their outdoor activities.

Additional risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include being over the age of 50, having darker skin, obesity, achy bones, poor mood, excessive sweating and poor immune function.

stuffed eggs with salmon

It’s a good idea to get your vitamin D level tested twice a year. The optimal range for general health appears to be somewhere between 50 and 70 ng/ml. Below 32 ng/ml means you are severely deficient.

How to optimize your vitamin D levels:

Sensible sun exposure is the best way, although vitamin D-rich foods (eggs, oily fish, dairy products and fortified cereals) can help and D3 supplements may also be necessary if you cannot get adequate sun exposure year-round.

  1. Omega-3 Fats

Low concentrations of omega-3 fats are associated with an increased risk of death from all causes.

Most people these days are eating too many inflammatory omega-6 fats (such as those found in processed vegetable oils and convenient foods) and too few anti-inflammatory omega-3s. This sets the stage for health problems that include cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, not to mention all kinds of skin issues.

Classic signs that you may be deficient in omega-3 include dry, flaky skin, alligator skin, or “chicken skin” on the backs of your arms, dandruff or dry hair, soft brittle nails, fatigue, menstrual cramps, poor attention span and decreased cognitive function.

chia seeds

How to optimize your omega-3 levels:

As well as increasing your omega-3 intake, you also need to reduce omega-6 fats in your diet, which means cutting down on processed and fried foods.

Sardines and other oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies are one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fats. They also contain other nutrients that you might be deficient in, such as vitamin B12, calcium, and choline. Nuts and seeds are also good source of omega-3s. A good way to ensure your daily dose is to sprinkle two heaped tablespoons of mixed seeds (sesame, pumpkin, flax and/or sunflower) on your morning cereal, have a handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts) as snacks during the day and eat oily fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines) at least three times a week.

Along with these dietary guidelines, I often recommend my patients take omega-3s in supplement form too.

  1. Magnesium 

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body, yet most people I see are deficient in it. Without sufficient amounts of magnesium, your body simply cannot function at its best. Insufficient magnesium levels in the body’s cells interferes with proper metabolic function and sets the stage for more significant health problems later.

For example, magnesium plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes and therefore is important for minimizing damage from environmental chemicals, heavy metals, and other toxins. Your need magnesium to produce glutathione, the body’s super antioxidant.Magnesium also plays roles in preventing migraine headaches, cardiovascular disease and constipation.

Low magnesium levels are consistently found in those with elevated insulinand researchsuggests that magnesium intake may help reduce your risk of developing diabetes by controlling glucose levels.


How to optimize your magnesium levels:

There’s no easily available commercial lab test that will give you an accurate reading of your magnesium status. However, these are some of the typical deficiency symptoms; irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, low blood sugar, muscle spasms or cramps, migraines, poor sleep patterns, asthma, PMS and constipation.

Most people can ensure optimal magnesium levels without resorting to supplements by eating a varied diet, including plenty of dark-green leafy vegetables. Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds. Avocados also contain magnesium. Juicing your veggies is also a good way to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet.

Unfortunately, most foods grown today are deficient in magnesium (and other minerals). For this reason, I often recommend a magnesium supplement.

Nature’s way 

As much as possible, I recommend getting the nutrients your body needs from whole foods. This means minimizing processed foods as much as possible and instead focusing on healthy fats, fresh produce, grass-fed meats and organic, pastured poultry, raw dairy products, organic free-range eggs, nuts, and seeds, and moderate amounts of fruit.

That said, you may need help. A nutritional consultation with a properly qualified, licensed nutritionist is an excellent place to start.

For nutritional consultations on a wide range of health issues contact Susan Tomassini, Licensed Nutritionist BSc (Hons) Dip BCNH @ 06 17481114 or visit for your personalized nutritional program.

green cream soup

Top up your magnesium levels with this delicious green soup!

Super green soup


1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cups fresh courgettes (zucchini) – you can use broccoli, cauliflower, or any seasonal vegetable.
2 cups fresh spinach leaves (can use any leafy greens: arugula, kale)
A handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
4 cups water or nondairy milk (almond milk works well)
2 teaspoons of curry powder
Sea salt, fresh lime juice and pepper to taste
Optional: garnish with hemp seeds or ground flax seeds.


Heat the ghee or olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped ginger, stirring, until translucent. Add the curry powder and salt to taste. Cook for 1 minute. Add the courgettes (zucchini) and stir to mix well. Add enough water to cover the zucchini, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is just tender.

Using a blender or food processor, purée the zucchini mixture with spinach, coriander, water or almond milk, and hemp seeds. Add more hot water if the soup is too thick. Transfer back to the pot and bring to a simmer and season with black pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

Add-ons: wholegrain toast, eggs, quinoa, or a side of wild salmon. Plenty of variations are possible depending on what you feel like

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