Synergy and Our Body’s Balancing Act

Synergy happens when many parts come together to make a whole that is even greater than the simple sum of the individual elements.  In the Bible book of 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul talks about a kind of synergy in the body of Christ’s believers. Paul uses the human body as his example when he says “the body is not made up of one part but many.”  One part is not more important than another, and all parts no matter how seemingly insignificant are necessary to the body. Paul wrote “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!’ 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable,”  Just like the parts of the body work synergistically to make a living, breathing person so do the various nutrients work within our bodies.

Wander down any grocery aisle and you’d likely think that some nutrients were more important than others. “Calcium Fortified!” is plastered across everything from orange juice to chocolatecalcium fortified Orange Juice syrup.  Skim milk, breakfast cereals and margarine carry boldface letters announcing  “Added vitamin D!” The truth is that no single nutrient is more important than another. Just like our feet must cooperate with our toes, our legs and our brains in order for us to walk or run, so must the nutrients we get from our diet work together to keep us strong and healthy.

Vitamin A is crucial for eyesight and a healthy immune system, but taking too much vitamin A on its own over time can be toxic. Vitamin D is critical to life,  guiding the body to make strong bones and a calm, healthy nervous system.  Taking megadoses of Vitamin D over time can also be toxic. But together, when vitamins A&D are present and balanced within the structure of a healthy, nutrient-dense diet, they work synergistically to protect against toxicity.  Look at calcium: Taken on its own in large doses calcium can actually cause osteoporosis and atherosclerosis. This is called the “calcium paradox”. Balance the calcium with magnesium, along with Vitamins D&K2, and you stop the toxicity.

Chris Masterjohn PhD, a researcher with the Weston A Price Foundation, says that we need to take the focus away from trying to achieve a particular concentration of any single vitamin in our bodies and instead realize that ALL of the fat soluble vitamins are important. Eating a good diet, such as the one recommended by Dr. Weston Price, insures that you have balanced levels of all the nutrients allowing for synergistic action between the nutrients.

Dr. Kate Rheaume-Bleue explained this nutrient synergy like a team of gymnasts working together to put on fancy balancing acts, but if one team member lets go the whole pyramid collapses on the ground.  Dr. Kate says that the fat soluble vitamins team up with the mineralsgymnastic balancing act like calcium and magnesium. Working together the vitamins make sure the minerals go where they are needed instead of ending up in a place where they would do harm. She notes that 50% of all heart attack victims have cholesterol levels considered normal or desired. Instead of using cholesterol levels to predict heart disease Dr. Kate suggests testing for the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries, meaning the synergy with A, D, K2 and calcium has broken down.

You also need to know our bodies can’t store vitamin K2. We have to eat it every day or we won’t have enough of it and it won’t be in balance. Unfortunately most people don’t eat the right kind of food anymore to get K2. Industrial farming and CAFOs deplete K2. Trans fats block K2!  Animals produce K2 only as long as they are eating grass and other green foods rich in K1. Then we can get enough K2 by eating their milk, eggs and organ meats. Fermented foods help us produce K2.  Foods with higher levels of K2 include Natto, cheese, egg yolks, butter, chicken liver, salami, chicken breast and ground beef.

Finally, it’s not just the vitamins that work together; fat is also important.  Fat is what allows the fat-soluble vitamins to be absorbed and used. Vitamin E and fat increase our absorption of vitamin A.  According to Chris Masterjohn, the most effective type of fat in aiding the absorption of vitamins A, D, K2 and especially beta carotene, is saturated fat.  The least effective? Those industrially produced polyunsaturated oils such as canola and soy.

Just like the loving body of believers in Ephesians 4 who are “joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  So do our own physical bodies work when we honor the foods created to work synergistically within us as each nutrient does its work to build us up.

This was posted as part of the Sunday Social Blog Hop.

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