Minerals and Vitamins…….How do they affect your swallow??


In our house, we’ve started a move towards eating healthier.  In eating healthier, we’re looking for vitamins and minerals and how to best fit them into our diet.

I was absolutely astounded by the deficits that can be caused by vitamin and/or mineral deficiency!

Of course, looking into some of these minerals and vitamins…….there is was…….can cause difficulty swallowing…..causes difficulties with neurotransmission.

Who knew?!?!?!?!

Magnesium is the holy grail of minerals.  What does magnesium do???

Magnesium helps to regulate potassium and sodium within the body, helps to release energy, helps to build strong bones, teeth and muscles and helps the body absorb and breakdown other vitamins and minerals.  A decrease in magnesium can cause stroke.

Meds can affect magnesium levels in the body:  diuretics (Lasix, Bumex, Edecrin, Hydrochlorothiazide), Antibiotics (Gentamicin, Amphotericin), Anti-Neoplastics (Cisplatin).

Adults are recommended to have 300 mg of magnesium per day.

Foods rich in Magnesium:  apricots, bananas, figs, prunes, raisins, brown rice, granary bread, wholemeal bread, nuts, pulses, lean meat, green leafy vegetables, sweet corn, peas, cashews, almonds avocado, wheat germ and oatmeal.  Just to name a few.

Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth and plays an active role in the body’s immune system.

Adults are recommended 800mg/day and calcium can be found in foods other than dairy including:  almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, broccoli, kale, spinach, watercress, dried apricots, mackerel, oysters, salmon, sardines, tofu.

Iron is necessary for healthy blood and muscles (remember 55 muscles involved in swallowing alone!) and is essential in the production of white blood cells and helps with immunity.

Adults should have 14mg/day of iron.  Iron sources:  apricots, figs, prunes, raisins, beans, lentils, broccoli, kale, peas, cabbage, spinach, eggs, lean red meat, poultry, mackerel, oysters, sardines, tuna, nuts, wholegrain cereals and wholemeal bread.

Zinc is an antioxidant which helps the immune system.  Zinc can be associated with skin problems and slow healing.

It is recommended 15mg/day of zinc.  Sources include:  brown rice, wholegrain breads, cheese, crab, lobster, mussels, oysters, sardines, duck, goose, lean red meat, turkey and water.

Potassium with sodium help to regulate the body’s water levels, transmission of nerve impulses (vital in swallowing), heart rhythm and muscle function (vital in swallowing).

Adults need 3500mg/day and potassium can be found in bananas, strawberries, fresh orange juice, apricots, prunes, potatoes and green leafy vegetables, almonds, barley, brown rice, chick peas, corn, garlic, ginger, kidney beans and tofu.

Minerals requiring more than 100mg/day:

Minerals requiring less than 100mg/day:


Now onto vitamins:

Vitamins are found in living things such as plants and animals.  They are essential for our bodies to function as they should.

Vitamin A-(8000-10000 IU/day) which is vital for cell reproduction, stimulates immunity, helps vision, promotes bone growth, tooth development, maintain healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes.

Deficiency:  night blindness, dry skin, poor bone growth and weak tooth enamel.

Sources:  cantaloupes, grapefruit, mango, papaya, tomatoes, watermelon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, carrots, cabbage, kale, peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, pecans, chestnuts, tuna, eggs, etc.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)-(1.2mg-1.1mg/day) production of energy, helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy, essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles (swallowing!!) and nervous system (swallowing!!).

Deficiency:  fatigue and weakness

Sources:  avocado, dates, grapes, grapefruit, mango, orange, pineapple, pomegranate, watermelon, asparagus, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, corn, lima beans, okra, peas, potatoes, spirulina, sweet potatoes, brazil nuts, flax seed, macadamia nuts, oats, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pastachios, quinoa, brown rice, rye, beef, herring, salmon, tuna, soy beans, bacon, chicken, black beans, kidney beans, white beans, navy beans, etc.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)-(1.3 mg-1.1 mg/day) body growth, reproduction, red cell production and releasing energy from carbohydrates.

Sources:  avocados, banana, dates, grapes, mango, mulberries, pomegranate, artichoke, asparagus, brussel sprouts, lima beans, mushrooms, pumpkin, spirulina, broccoli, sweet potatoes, peas, almonds, oats, quinoa, rye, etc.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)-(16mg-14mg/day) functioning of the digestive system, skin and nerves, and for conversion of food to energy.

Sources:  avocado, dates, guava, mango, nectarine, passion fruit, peach, artichoke, butternut squash, corn, mushrooms, okra, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, spirulina, sweet potatoes, peanuts, rye, spelt, sunflower seeds, beef, chicken breast, eggs, herring, perch, salmon, tuna, black eye peas, lima beans, soy beans, split peas, etc.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothemic Acid)-(5 mg/day) metabolism of food and in the formation of hormones and good cholesterol.

Sources:  avocado, dates, grapefruit, guava, pomegranate, raspberries, watermelon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, corn, mushrooms, okra, potatoes, pumpkin, spirulina, oats, rye, sunflower seeds, black eye peas, lima beans, soy beans, split peas, sweet potatoes, trukey breast, yogurt hamburger, ground turkey, ground chicken, etc.

Vitamin B6 (Pryidoxine)-(1.3-1.7 mg/day)-creation of antibodies for immunity, maintenance of normal nerve function and helps in the formation of red blood cells, chemical reactions of proteins.

Deficiency:  dizziness, nausea, confusion, irritability and convulsions.

Sources:  avocado, banana, dates, grapes, guava, mango, pineapple, watermelon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, corn, green pepper, kale, lima beans, peas, potatoes, spirulina, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, brown rice, rye, sunflower seeds, walnuts, chicken breast, catfish, cod, herring, salmon, sardines, tuna, pork, soy beans, turkey brest, black eye peas, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans, soy beans, white beans.

Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)-(400mcgs/day) (Folic Acid is the synthetic form) production of red blood cells, components of the nervous system production, formation and creation of DA and maintenance of normal brain function, critical in spinal fluid, vital for cell growth and development of the embryo.

Sources:  avocado, blackberries, dates, guava, mango, orange, papaya, pineaple, pomegranate, raspberries, strawberries, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lima beans, okra, peas, potatoes spinach, spirulina, winter/summer squash, etc.

Vitamin B12-(2.4mcg/day) metabloism, formation of red blood cells, maintenance of the central nervous system.

Sources:  cottage cheese, eggs, cod, herring, perch, salmon, tuna, pork, yogurt, hamburger, hot dog, ground chicken.

Vitamin C-(60 mg/day) antioxidant, protects body tissue from the damage of oxidation, protects your cells against the effects of free radicals, antiviral agent.

Sources:  Grapefruit, lemon, kiwi, mango, orange, pineapple, strawberries, passionfruit, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash, green pepper, kale, swiss chard, cod, perch, soy beans, yogurt.

Vitamin D-(5mcg/day) manufactured by the body after being exposed to sunshine, promotes absorption of calcium and magnesium, helps to maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

Sources:  mushrooms, beef, chicken breast, eggs, cod, herring, yogurt, turkey bacon, hot dogs, hamburger, bacon, ground turkey, etc.

Vitamin E-(30 IU/day) antioxidant, protects body tissue from oxidation, formation of red blood cells, use of vitamin K, helps to heal scars and soothes broken or stressed skin tissue.

Sources:  avocado, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, guava, kiwi, mango, mulberries, nectarine, papaya, peach, pomegranate, raspberries, butternut squash, parsnip, potatoes, pumpkin, spirulina, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, turkey bacon, herring, pinto beans, etc.

Vitamin K-(70-80 micrograms/day) fat soluble, blood clotting, regulates blood calcium levels, bone health.

Sources:  avocado, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, kiwi, mango, grapes, pear, plum, pomegranate, raspberries, tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, cucumber, okra, peas, spinach, spirulina, swiss chard, pistachios, rye, turkey bacon, lamb, turkey leg, asparagus, chestnuts, cashews, pine nuts, beef, eggs, kidney beans, split peas


Now, think about those patients that you’ve had, there is no explanation for their dysphagia.  They had some problems swallowing and started limiting their diet, to the point, they were only eating certain foods.  Which kept decreasing and decreasing. 

With the amount of vitamins and minerals playing a crucial role in central nervous system function, muscle function and nerve impulse transmission, maybe it’s a deficiency that will improve with improved diet??

2 thoughts on “Minerals and Vitamins…….How do they affect your swallow??

  1. I am a 39 year old female, history of a nissen 8 years ago. In the past 7 months I have experienced severe dysphagia, requiring multiple EGD's, a bravo test, and upper GI. The bravo showed excessive GERD, although the upper GI did not. I started the process for a gastric bypass to help with the GERD, which has been determined as the cause of the severe dysphagia. (I can't eat any kind of meat, raw vegetables, bread, and many other foods) I recently had almost every blood test done for the gastric bypass process. I have learned that I have a severe vitamin D deficiency. Could this be causing some the the dysphagia. Magnesium and potassium levels are great!

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