High Sugar Intake
Adverse effects on vitamins and minerals
BY STEVE BORN
As if consuming too much sugar isn’t bad enough, did you know that high sugar intake depletes and reduces the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals? It’s true. While we don’t know with 100% precision whether this is the “starting point” for sugar’s negative effects on the body, interfering with nutrient absorption is definitely not a beneficial effect. It could very well play a role in decreased immunity and other health consequences. Here are the vitamins and minerals that are adversely affected by high sugar intake:
Unlike most mammals, humans are unable to synthesize their own vitamin C. We must obtain it from outside sources. This is because the human body has a mutation in a specific gene that is required for the production of vitamin C from glucose. The reason this is important is because both glucose and vitamin C use the same transporters to enter cells. Research by Dr. John Ely (The Glucose Ascorbate Antagonism theory) has shown that high glucose levels inhibit vitamin C from entering the cells, resulting in decreased absorption of this particular vitamin.
Sugar, particularly fructose, has a negative “double whammy” effect on vitamin D. Research has shown that high intake of sugar increases the production and activity of a specific enzyme that is responsible for degrading vitamin D. If that wasn’t bad enough, sugar—again, fructose in particular—also decreases the production and activity of an enzyme that is necessary to synthesize vitamin D. The result? Decreased vitamin D levels which suppress immune system functioning, potentially leading to numerous health problems including increased rates of certain cancers. Since it has been suggested that approximately 75% of people in Western countries are deficient in vitamin D as it is, consuming excess sugar only exacerbates the problem!
Excessive sugar intake results in high blood sugar and elevated insulin levels. This not only decreases magnesium absorption, it also causes increased release of magnesium by the kidneys. A vicious cycle ensues. Among the several hundred roles it plays in human health, magnesium is important in stabilizing blood sugar. When magnesium is excreted and levels are low due to high sugar intake, blood sugar regulation is impaired. This can lead to even more magnesium being excreted. Because magnesium is so essential for nearly every bodily function, the body must keep optimal levels of this key nutrient available. Cutting the sugar helps ensure that ingested magnesium is absorbed and that magnesium stores are not depleted/excreted.
Everyone knows that calcium is vitally important for bone health and numerous other areas, but it too is negatively impacted by high sugar intake, primarily because of sugar’s negative influence on vitamin D synthesis mentioned previously. Because vitamin D plays a major role in calcium absorption, decreased levels of this vitamin will have a negative “ripple effect” on calcium’s absorption and utilization rates.
The trace mineral chromium is involved in many bodily functions, especially blood sugar regulation. As is the case with magnesium and calcium, high sugar consumption causes higher amounts of chromium to be excreted, increasing the likelihood of a deficiency. In fact, one study published in the journal, Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, showed that consuming a diet that consisted of 35% simple sugars increased natural excretion rates by 300%! Depletion of chromium stores contributes to decreased glucose tolerance, which can lead to diabetes.
The negative influence that excess sugar intake has on key vitamins and minerals compounds the existing body of evidence that too much sugar is undeniably bad for athletic performance and, more importantly, extremely harmful to overall health. To maintain optimal health, it is absolutely imperative that we take drastic steps to decrease our daily consumption of sugar. Use Hammer Nutrition fuels during your workouts and events and ensure that you are getting enough of the key vitamins and minerals mentioned above, turn to Premium Insurance Caps to fill possible nutrient gaps. Hammer on!