Magnesium Deficiency and African American Health

9 out of 10 Older Black Adults Have Low Magnesium

Minerals like magnesium are vital to maintaining good health, and magnesium specifically plays a key role in controlling diabetes and promoting healthy blood vessels. Unfortunately, many people are not aware of the importance of minerals in their diet. Every organ in the body, especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys, needs magnesium to function at its best. Magnesium also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Magnesium activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate levels of calcium, copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body. In short, a good magnesium level is essential for good health, but 9 out of 10 of older Black Americans have low magnesium levels.

Magnesium Deficiency Leads to Diabetes, Heart, and Kidney Problems

Magnesium deficiency can lead to diabetes. Take a look at this article to learn more about diabetes differences in African Americans.

Studies have found that African Americans are at a higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney problems, and a lack of magnesium in their diet can worsen these conditions. In fact, due to their increased risk, African Americans require more magnesium than other groups, and a deficiency in this mineral can contribute to poor diabetes control. Additionally, many of the health conditions associated with magnesium deficiency occur more frequently among African Americans. For example, diabetes is up to three times more common in people of African or Afro-Caribbean origin, and they are also at a greater risk for hypertension, osteoporosis and fractures, and frailty. Given this, addressing racial inequalities in vitamin and mineral deficiencies should be a health priority, and magnesium supplementation in African Americans at risk of deficiency could help reduce established health disparities.

Poor Energy Too?

In addition to its role in controlling diabetes and promoting healthy blood vessels, magnesium is also important for muscle function, energy production, and healthy aging. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to problems such as memory loss, weak muscles, and even broken bones. To prevent these health issues, it is recommended to include magnesium-rich foods or supplements in your diet. For example, taking GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans, which has added magnesium, might help control diabetes, keep blood vessels healthy, and reduce the risk of heart attacks, kidney problems, and strokes.

But PLEASE don’t stop taking your prescribed medication for diabetes or high blood pressure because you started a multivitamin . . . you still need your medicine too. Multivitamins are a way to improve your daily nutrition intake and optimize your health, not correct or cure a disease.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans has added magnesium and potassium.

High STD Chlamydia Rates in Blacks Also Related to Poor Nutrition

Nothing Beats Abstinence & Condom Use, But That’s Not the Whole Story

Public health officials properly stress abstinence from sex and condom use as a way to address the super high chlamydia STD rate in African Americans, but little is said about the impact of improving our nutrition.  Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease and is ONLY transmitted by having sex so the clear solution is not having sex or blocking the exchange of bodily fluids (condoms).

So what about this topic is so complicated?

African Americans have slightly more sexual encounters overall than members of other racial groups, and Black men have the highest number of sexual partners. That many partners expose them to a higher chance of catching and spreading a sexually transmitted disease (STD).  That drives a lot of the increased rate of STDs in the Black community, but not all.  The graph below shows that single White men (the orange bars) have the highest amount of “no” and “one partner” but Black men (the red bars) have more 2-, 3-, and 4+ partners.High STD Chlamydia Rates in African American Men with more sex partners Single Black women (the red bars) show a similar pattern with the lowest “no partner” and second highest “one partner” but then the highest “2-, 3-, 4+ partners.”  Hispanic Latino women (the blue bars) have the lowest multiple partner profile and the highest single partner profile. High STD Chlamydia Rates in African Americans The point of these graphs is THE DIFFERENCE between the race or ethnicities is not great for any of these categories. The bars, while different, are not that different. As you look at the following STD graph, you will see more dramatic differences with African Americans. High STD Chlamydia Rates in Blacks Data also shows that African American men have the highest condom use. The article below examined codon use by race and the results even surprised the authors. Higher condom use should lead to lower STD rates. High condom use in Black Men If African Americans have only a slightly higher rate of having sex and a higher condom use, why are the STD rates off the charts? The answer is found in our poor nutrition which leads to poorer health which leads to a greater risk for CATCHING an infection . . . including an STD. High STD Chlamydia Rates in Blacks As I have written in the past, African Americans have the HIGHEST vitamin D deficiencies and the article shown above reviews how vitamin D is important for a highly functioning immune system.  Having the highest rate of low vitamin D could be driving some of these out-of-control STD rates. African Americans have, by far, the highest rate of the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia, having over six times the rate of Whites. Data shows that communities of color make up the vast majority of infections. Asian Americans have the longest life expectancy and one of the best overall diets and have the lowest rates of chlamydia infections at half the rates of White Americans and twelve times less than Blacks.

Chlamydia Rates High in Black Lesbian & Bisexual Women

A study from the University of Alabama looked at chlamydia STD infection rates in African American women who only had sex with women and again found surprisingly high rates of chlamydia. However, these rates were statistically lower than women who have sex with men. Another study from Seattle looked at data from family planning clinics and also found high rates of chlamydia infections in women reporting exclusively “same-sex behaviors.” It is well known that men who have sex with men have high rates of STDs, but many women who have sex exclusively with women are unaware of this very real risk. Let’s learn a little bit more about this highly infectious sexually transmitted disease.

Chlamydia is the MOST common STD in the WORLD

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country (and the world) and is caused by a bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis. Most women (about three in four) have no symptoms or indication that they are infected.  Not having symptoms means they don’t know they are infected, and they don’t know to get it treated.  Those with symptoms notice an increased vaginal discharge (increased fluid), pain with peeing, pain with sex, or increased bleeding after sex. If chlamydia is left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (also called PID), an emergency situation requiring immediate attention. If PID goes untreated, it could impact a woman’s ability to have children. The graph below shows the occurrence of chlamydia in men (purple) and women (orange) per 100,000 cases in the US by their age (listed in the center column). High STD Chlamydia Rates in Blacks

Chlamydia in Men

In men, having symptoms with a chlamydia infection is more common, and they may notice pain with peeing, a white, cloudy or watery discharge (fluid) from their penis, burning or itching in their urethra, or pain in their testicles (genitals or “balls”). And again, if left untreated, chlamydia can cause more serious infections in men too.

Much More Chlamydia Infections in Younger Black Girls

The overall occurrence of chlamydia cases in African Americans in the United States is by far the highest and over six times the rate of White people.  The rate of these chlamydia cases in Black women is 5 times higher than White women. The chlamydia cases were highest for Blacks aged 15 to 24 years old.

Black Women Have a Higher Rate Than Black Men

Overall, Black women have a much higher rate of chlamydia than Black men. That is because women usually don’t have symptoms until they have had chlamydia for a longer time.  Black women aged 20 to 24 have the highest risk. The second highest risk is in teen women 15 to 19 years old. Data also show these younger Black women have the worst nutrition. Poor nutrition leads to poor health and a poor immune system and makes you more prone to infections, including STDs.

STD Rates Go Down With Age

As we age, the risk for all sexually transmitted diseases goes down significantly.  Black women aged 20 to 24 have twice the rate of Black men of the same age. Black women in their late teens have three times the infections that Black men of the same age. Among males aged 15–19 years, the rate of reported chlamydia cases among Blacks was 9 times the rate among Whites. The rate of chlamydia cases for Black males aged 20–24 years was 5 times the rate among White males.  Black men over 35 consistently have higher rates of chlamydia than Black women over 35. High STD Chlamydia Rates in Blacks

Nutrition Goes Up With Age

Comparing the nutrition of younger Black men and women, we see a similar pattern of diets lacking vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and more.  As they age, diets improve, and the infection rates decrease. Overall older Black men and women eat more fruit and vegetables . . . and they take more multivitamins and other supplements. The moral of this story is we are missing some of what contributes to the high STD rates in African Americans . . .  their nutrition. In addition to stressing abstinence and condom use, we also need to ask “When was the last time you had a bowl of fresh fruit?” High STD Chlamydia Rates in Blacks

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

Increased Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in African Americans Linked to Poorer Nutrition

STD Infections?

Do you have trouble with recurrent sexually transmitted disease (STD) infections? Is bacterial vaginitis a recurrent problem? African Americans have the highest rate of HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, and bacterial vaginitis in the country while not having much higher rates of sex or sexual partners.  Why would the Black community have these super high rates of STDs without also having much more sex? The answer may surprise you.  Researchers have shown that people with poorer nutrition have higher infection susceptibility; in other words, they are more prone to “catch something” including a cold, the flu, a chemical imbalance, or an STD. All of these issues are related to your immune system, or your body’s ability to fight off an infection. Your immune system constantly monitors your body’s status in terms of exposure to something that might make you ill.  When it sees something, like a bacteria or virus, it kicks in and attacks it before it can make you sick.  Once bacteria and viruses start to multiply, they are harder to control and kill without added antibiotics.

The key to a healthy life is a strong immune system.  

Your immune system is a system of cells and fluids that are built to fight off infections. A healthy body is the first step to maintaining a healthy immune system. Deficiencies in nutrients like vitamins and minerals can lead to poor immune function, making you more susceptible to conditions such as HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or herpes. People with diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables have lower rates of infections overall and lower sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates. STDs and African Americans

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) Occur Too Often in the Black Community

STDs are too common in African Americans. African Americans have the highest rate of HIV (AIDS), syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes. In fact, the gonorrhea rate in African Americans is 30 times higher than it is in Whites. These alarmingly high rates of sexually transmitted diseases are surprisingly constant when it comes to the Black community.

One STD Leads to Another

It is also true that getting one sexually transmitted disease puts you at an increased risk of getting another sexually transmitted disease. That is why doctors are trained to screen for other STDs when they see one. Everyone who tests positive for chlamydia or gonorrhea gets tested for HIV (and the other way around). Women with bacterial vaginitis have a higher risk of contracting an STD.

Some People Never Get STDs

High STD Rates in Blacks It is also surprising that many people manage to never (or rarely) get sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). What is special about them? Many believe it is their health and nutrition that strengthen their immune system and allow them not to get infected when others not as healthy in the same situation would get infected. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc deficiency are key to a healthy immune system. Ironically, vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc deficiencies are common in the Black community. Is this a coincidence? Absolutely not.

Always Practice SAFE Sex to Avoid STDs: Condoms and Avoiding Sex Always Works!

Don’t forget that practicing safe sex including using condoms and abstinence is key to avoiding any STD . . . no sex, no sexually transmitted disease . . . it is that simple.  And never think you are too healthy to get an STD; there is no evidence of that either.  Get screened regularly by your doctor for STDs because some people have no idea that they are carrying a sexually transmitted disease and may innocently pass it to someone else.

Nutrition Can Also Make a Difference

But beyond those critically true facts, having a strong immune system through having a healthy diet that includes FRESH vegetables and FRESH fruit (NOT canned, packaged, or processed) coupled with a multivitamin and mineral supplement with the extra vitamin D almost all African Americans need can make a difference.  With your health, always start with the basics of diet, nutrition, and exercise. STDs and African Americans  

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

The Unique Vitamin Needs of African Americans over age 50

Because of the increased number of diseases in African Americans over age 50, there are a number of critical vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may be contributing to the increased disease and the premature deaths that we see. 

As we age, our bodies need more attention, as well as compensation for, in some cases, the many years of neglect. Data shows that the older generation, those over age 50, didn’t exercise as much as the younger generations and currently still fall short with much less activity.  The older generation was also much less likely to take vitamin and mineral supplements when they were younger. This means any deficiencies we see have been present for many years.

If You Have High Blood Pressure, You Need More Vitamin D and More

Three out of four Black Americans at age 55 have high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is associated with vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency, and potassium shortages.  Untreated high blood pressure leads to heart disease, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure leading to dialysis. All of which are HIGHEST among African Americans.

As we age, any vitamin or mineral deficiencies we have become more critical.  Because older African Americans tend to live in urban areas, they get much less sun.  This effect, coupled with lactose intolerance (not tolerating milk), makes vitamin D deficiency a fact of life.  A majority of Black Americans have vitamin D deficiency, and the lack of vitamin D is even more important in African Americans over 50. 

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for Over 50

Four of five Black Americans have insufficient vitamin D levels and low vitamin D is associated with:

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with a higher risk for depression and schizophrenia

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins

African Americans Need More Zinc

Zinc deficiency has been linked to poor immune function (fighting infections), including the increased rate of HIV, COVID-19, the common cold, and more.  Older individuals tend to eat diets less fortified with zinc and are more likely to get an infection that results in hospitalization and/or death. 

Zinc also improves the health of your skin and is critical in a number of essential bodily processes.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for Over 50

Up All Night Urinating?

For older African American men, zinc deficiency is linked to prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. Many of my Black male patients report getting up multiple times a night in order to urinate. This is most likely related to an enlarged prostate blocking the complete emptying of your urinary bladder.  Since you cannot fully empty your bladder, and your body is continuing to make urine, you have to wake up multiple times a night in order to not to feel full. Not having enough zinc has been linked to prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. These prostate problems occur more in Black men.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for Over 50

But don’t go crazy because too much zinc can cause trouble too! You need just the right amount to help and not too much to hurt.

Black Men Should Avoid Calcium

Calcium is an important mineral for strong bones, but for older African American men, it could increase their risk for prostate cancer. Yes, several studies have confirmed this link between calcium and prostate cancer and Black men have the HIGHEST risk for this cancer as well as the highest death rate. Another study from the University of North Texas showed that while Blacks consume less calcium overall than Whites, those that did take added calcium (alone or in a multivitamin) had a four-times increased risk for death from prostate cancer. Does your current multivitamin have any calcium in it? Read the label.

“I’m on Blood Thinners”

More older African Americans are on blood thinners that prohibit the use of multivitamins due to the presence of vitamin K which interferes with blood thinners. GNetX SequenceTM has no vitamin K and can be taken by people on blood thinners (with your doctors permission).

Beware of Interactions with Your Current Medications

Older African Americans are also more likely to take prescribed medications, so being aware of interactions is very important. Anything can react and interact with your prescribed medications, so it is always important to confirm the safety of a supplement with your physician. NEVER stop your medicine in the hope that a supplement is going to be better . . . that is almost never the case. Simply inform your doctor of what you are taking (bring the bottle with you) and confirm that it is safe.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for Over 50

Important Points:

  • If you are Black and live in or near the city, you likely have vitamin D deficiency. That deficiency puts you are greater risk for a host of health problems. African Americans need 2000 IU of vitamin D daily just to maintain a normal vitamin D.
  • Zinc is an essential mineral and helps a number of health problems and bodily functions.  Too many older African Americans don’t get enough zinc in their diet.
  • Calcium intake is related to increased prostate cancer, so older Black men should actively avoid calcium supplements as well as regular milk and dairy consumption.
  • Never stop a physician-prescribed medication and start a supplement in the hope that it will work better or is safer . . . that is usually not true. Always consult your primary care doctor before making any changes like this!! And if you don’t have a primary care doctor, please find one. 

Low Potassium and African Americans

Potassium doesn’t get enough credit as a very beneficial nutrient to good health and potassium deficiency (low potassium) has been directly related to high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, muscle weakness, fatigue and much more.

Multiple studies have confirmed that African Americans are much more likely to lack potassium and low potassium can be linked to higher blood pressures, diabetes and a number of other health problems that impact the Black community.

As much as high sodium (“salt”) can be a problem, low potassium can also be a problem . . . a big problem. Potassium is an essential mineral that has many functions in your body. For example, it is central to muscle contraction, it maintains healthy nerve function, and regulates water balance in your body. With all of those essential functions, it is a wonder that so many people, including African Americans are low in potassium. 

Curiously, low potassium has also been linked as a diabetes risk in African Americans. A large study at John Hopkins found that African Americans with lower potassium levels had a higher risk for diabetes.  The author said “”we now know lower serum potassium is an independent risk factor for diabetes and that African-Americans have, on average, lower potassium levels than whites.” 

Previous studies have also found that lower potassium was directly linked to higher blood sugar levels. The higher the blood sugar, the higher the risk for diabetes . . . and high blood pressure. Yet another study found that taking a potassium supplement directly lowered the blood pressure of Black patients. Lowering your blood pressure reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The CDC says that increasing your potassium intake can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering blood pressure. Conversely, consuming too little potassium (and too much sodium) can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Foods that are rich in potassium include beans, leafy green vegetables (greens, spinach, etc.), potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash, beets, broccoli, and bananas.

Low Potassium, African Americans

It is important to note that salt-substitutes are generally swapping potassium for sodium so using them in moderation can also be a benefit.

Always check with your doctor before changing your potassium intake because people with kidney problems, heart problems, or take certain medications may make things worse if their body has trouble processing the increased potassium. People on dialysis or have poor kidney function, for example, have to be vigilant about not getting too much potassium (as well as protein and sodium), and are frequent prescribed a low potassium diet.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans were formulated to replace science-confirmed vitamin and mineral deficiencies seen in our community . . . AND has added POTASSIUM.

Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated with Stroke Risk in African Americans

Recent studies have found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and stroke risk as well as stroke severity. A study just published found that people with the highest vitamin D levels had fewer strokes and if they had a stroke, it was less severe.  People with low vitamin D levels had more strokes with more severe symptoms. 

As you know, we get most of our vitamin D from the sun, but urban living, colder/cloudy weather, and lactose intolerance (so we can’t drink “Vitamin D Milk”) have all resulted in wide-spread African American vitamin D deficiency.

African Americans Have Low Vitamin D Levels

Four of five African Americans have low levels of vitamin D, and we also have the highest rates of heart attack, stroke, and circulation problems. Risk factors for low vitamin D levels include older age, darker complexion, obesity, and limited sun exposure.

Studies have shown that hemorrhagic stroke patients (those strokes caused by a bleed rather than a blood clot) often suffer from low vitamin D levels. Another study suggested that putting stroke victims on vitamin D helped their recovery somewhat.

Biologically, vitamin D reduces total cholesterol and fat in blood as well as improves inflammation which helps your blood vessels stay healthy.

A Direct Effect Has Not Been Shown

To be clear, there has yet to be a study that showed taking a vitamin D supplement led to fewer strokes. These research studies are only able to find correlations and from these associations, they “suppose” that raising your vitamin D level will lead to better health.  Some researchers believe that poor health leads to low vitamin D levels and that is the reason sicker people have low vitamin D. 

Vitamin D levels have been positively associated with improved cardiovascular health, especially with reduction of stroke risk. Until the controversy is settled, everyone agrees that leaving a low vitamin D alone is not a reasonable option. 

Vitamin D is best increased through natural means . . .  sun exposure, a healthy diet, etc. Foods high in vitamin D include salmon, herring/sardines, cod liver oil, tuna, mushrooms, and fortified beverages (milk, orange juice, and cereal).

Good Vitamin D Levels Help in COVID Patients

Another study looked at COVID patients and vitamin D deficiency and found COVD illness directly related to vitamin D level.  COVID-19 is greatly associated with increased stroke and heart attacks so having a normal vitamin D level was somewhat protective against severe COVID disease.  Obviously the absolute best way to avoid COVID-19 is through getting an approved vaccination.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans have a science-based formula to best replace deficiencies in the Black community. Go to SequenceMultivitamins.com for more information on the multivitamin that is best for you.

https://vimeo.com/750344190

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

Multivitamins May Help African Americans Avoid Alzheimer’s Dementia

A new study is showing benefit from taking a multivitamin once a day in slowing the progression of dementia in older individuals.  It has long been known that vitamin D deficiency is directly linked to Alzheimer’s Dementia and African Americans have the highest rate of vitamin D deficiency as well as Alzheimer’s Disease and some have called it a “silent epidemic.”

Research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may be two to three times higher in older African Americans when compared to Whites. Studies also show that the disease progresses much more slowly in African Americans and people with it live significantly longer.  These curious facts lead doctors to think that the cause for the mental decline may be different.

Alzheimer’s occurs in African Americans at a comparatively younger age and robs too many older adults of their independence, dignity, and resources.  It has been linked to hypertension (high blood pressure), depression, diabetes, smoking, and some genetic factors.  In fact, the risk for Alzheimer’s Disease is 44 percent higher if you have a close relative with dementia.

There are also studies that show a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, taking cholesterol-lowering medicine, and high social engagement may help ward off dementia.  A Mayo Clinic article addresses the connection between vitamin deficiency and dementia and given the widespread deficiencies we see in the Black community, there is certainly no harm in taking the right amount of vitamin D. 

The article also outlines that the National Institutes of Health recommends adults age 70 and younger need 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D daily, and adults over age 70 need 800 IU daily.  These recommendations are too low for African Americans who need much higher doses to achieve normal vitamin D levels.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans contains a much higher amount of vitamin D more closely aligned with what the Black community needs. Sequence also replaces deficiencies in vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and zinc that are widespread in the Black community.  Go to SequenceMultivitamins.com or purchase the multivitamin for men over 50 at Amazon or the women over 50 on Amazon here.

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

Displaced: Why African Americans Need Their Own Multivitamin.

As descendants from Africa, African Americans were genetically conditioned to best survive in a hot, sunny, mineral rich land.  The continent of Africa is known for its fertile land and renowned as the “richest continent in the world” in terms of natural resources. The days are sunny and generally consistent in length throughout the year.  Living in a mineral rich land, your body adjusts its absorption of vitamins and minerals according to it’s exposure in the environment.  In Africans, their absorption is blunted because the environment is so fertile with sun, nutrients and minerals. When relocated to North America, with its variable daylight, urban dynamics, and processed food and water, African Americans are now displaced from the environment that their system was best designed to thrive.

Low Vitamin D and Increased Health Problems

With vitamin D generally coming from the sun, the shift from Africa to North America was dramatic . . . and so was the drop in vitamin D in Black Americans.  Low vitamin D has been linked to more severe COVID illnesses, increased diabetes (type 2), increased prostate cancer, increased colon cancer, worsened asthma, and more.  The graph below from a study done at the University of California at Berkeley shows significantly higher vitamin D levels in both men and women in Africa and Jamaica that are consistent with those of white Americans . . . whereas the levels in Chicago Blacks were much lower.

Low vitamin D levels in African Americans

Vitamin D levels in people of African ancestry living in 4 cities compared to white Americans

Blacks in America need vitamin D supplementation to offset the significantly decreased vitamin D we get from the diminished sun in North American cities. It is proposed that the added vitamin D will help to offset some of the worsened diseases we see in African Americans.

Zinc

Africa has also been known to have high zinc reserves. In fact in some mining areas in African, the mineral content of “heavy metals” in the water was too high.  From a biological perspective, the people living in these high mineral content areas needed to develop a way of decreasing their absorption of too much minerals, including zinc.  In a study done looking at prostate cancer tissue in Black Americans versus whites, researchers found significant fewer zinc absorption (“transport”) channels in the prostates with the more aggressive cancer, and this decreased zinc transport occurred much more often in African Americans than whites.  Overall, zinc has the highest concentration in the body in the prostate, and scientists report that the high zinc in the prostate acts to suppress tumor formation.  The graph below shows the higher prostate cancer incidence in green as well as the higher mortality (red) by race/ethnicity.

Increased prostate cancer in Black American men

Prostate Cancer Incidence & Mortality

African American men should take zinc daily.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C has long been known to benefit a number of health conditions including boosting immunity (your ability to fight infections), slowing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), decreasing gout attacks through lowering uric acid levels, as well as improving lead clearance from the body.  Taking vitamin C on a daily basis either in the form of high vitamin C foods or supplements is highly recommended.

Avoid Vitamin K

Increased blood clotting in African Americans

A blood clot in an artery.

It has long been known that African Americans have a higher tendency to form blood clots.  These increased blood clots can lead to several problems:

Vitamin K promotes blood clotting. While biologists have insisted that vitamin K doesn’t cause “too much clotting” there have been no studies in African Americans to confirm this.  Given the lack of vitamin K deficiency in the US, there is no reason for an African American to take added vitamin K.

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans

I developed GNetX Sequence Multivitamins with these and many other facts in mind.  It is the first science-based multivitamin for African Americans and uses research, population data, and 25 years of treating Black patients as evidence. Sequence Multivitamins were developed for men, women, men over 50, and women over 50.   

MD Newsline just featured GNetX Sequence Multivitamins on their website as a game-changing approach to nutrition in the Black community.

https://mdnewsline.com/sequence-multivitamins-a-multivitamin-for-african-americans/

GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans have increased vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and zinc to compensate for the migration from Africa to North America and the dramatic adjustments that many of our bodies are still making! And it leaves out vitamin K to potentially avoid an increased risk for blood clots.

Go to SequenceMultivitamins.com.

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

The Best Multivitamins for African Americans

Which multivitamin should I take?  As a physician, I get this question multiple times a day, every day. And the answer would frequently depend on who was asking.  Are they younger or older?  Male or female?  How is their diet?  What race are they? What family disease risks exist? All of these issues influence my answer, and the final answer is yes, there is one best multivitamin for African Americans to take:  GNetX Sequence Multivitamins.

Sequence Multivitamins were designed to meet the needs of African American men, women, and the unique needs of older adults.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Because my patient practice is 90 percent African American, the vast majority are severely vitamin D deficient.  The normal range for vitamin D levels in the blood is 20 to 80 pg/ml.  As an example, I am African American and my initial vitamin D level was 9 pg/ml. Most of my patients also have very low vitamin D levels . . . in fact I’m surprised when I see a normal level in a Black patient. In contrast, most of my patients of other races/ethnicities generally have normal vitamin D levels. 

A study published by the University of Pennsylvania looking at vitamin D deficiency by race/ethnicity showed:

  • 82% of African American had vitamin D deficiency
  • 62% of Hispanic Americans had vitamin D deficiency
  • 31% of White Americans had vitamin D deficiency

Four of five African Americans are vitamin D deficient compared to less than one in three White Americans.  The majority population, who most vitamin companies naturally target, have nutritional needs that are substantially different.  Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with increasing diabetes, hypertension, prostate cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and more.  African Americans have the highest risk for all of these diseases.  

Given these stark differences in blood levels of this critical vitamin, the approach to its replacement is also different.  The USDA currently recommends 600 international units daily for vitamin D for everyone age 1 to 70 years.  Most multivitamins start with the USDA recommendation when designing their content. 600 IU is entirely too low a replacement dose for most African Americans.  The amount of vitamin D to take to correct these significant deficiencies is over three times higher.  African Americans should take 2000 IU daily.

Vitamin C Deficiency

Other vitamin deficiency patterns exist as well in African Americans.  A study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that “in African Americans, but not whites, lower levels of beta-carotene and vitamin C were significantly associated with early markers implicated in cardiometabolic conditions and cancer.”

Higher vitamin C levels were also protective against lead exposure due to the vitamin’s ability to inhibit the intestinal absorption of lead as well as its ability to promote urinary excretion of lead.  Essentially vitamin C acts as a barrier to lead absorption.  Environmentalists confirm that urban air, soil, and water tend to hold comparably higher lead levels due to a history of industrial presence in cities and their closeness to neighborhoods mostly populated with African Americans. Increasing the vitamin C content in a multivitamin for an urban population disproportionately exposed to lead is a sound approach to population health.

Vitamin E May Be Bad for You

Interestingly, there are also significant risks and poor health outcomes associated with certain vitamins.  Vitamin E supplementation was studied in over 130,000 people and those that took 400 IU (the most common supplement dose) or higher, had an overall higher risk of dying from any cause. Vitamin E supplements were also shown to significantly increase the risk of prostate cancer in healthy men.  Given that African Americans have the highest death rate of any racial/ethnic group (including prostate cancer) in the United States, taking a vitamin that potentially increases these already bad outcomes, makes no sense. Unlike most other multivitamins, Sequence Multivitamins has no vitamin E.

Vitamin K Promotes Blood Clotting

Vitamin K is critical for normal blood clotting but African Americans have an increased propensity to form adverse blood clots after surgery and associated with strokes, heart attacks, and other embolisms, therefore additional vitamin K in a multivitamin for this population should also be avoided. Unlike most other multivitamins, Sequence Multivitamins has no vitamin K.

Help Avoid Diabetes ?

There are also vitamins and minerals that provide glucose stability to people with diabetes. According to the National Institute of Health, African Americans are twice as likely to develop diabetes than White Americans, and first line treatment involves metformin for over half. Metformin can lead to folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies. Sequence Multivitamins has the added folate and vitamin B12 that older African Americans with high diabetes risk need.   Keeping diabetes stable helps to avoid the related bad outcomes including heart, kidney, and stroke-related risks.  Magnesium has also been shown to improve diabetes control and stabilize blood vessels. Sequence Multivitamins has significantly more magnesium.

Heart Risks in African Americans

Potassium has shown benefits in cardiac rhythm stability, blood pressure control, and electrolyte balance. There has been data that suggests African Americans have lower potassium levels overall which could be related to the increased incidence of diabetes, and helpful in preventing heart or stroke problems. Sequence Multivitamins has added potassium for this purpose.

Chromium has promising data that it positively impacts diabetes control across populations.  With African Americans having significantly higher risk for diabetes, adding chromium to the Sequence Multivitamins formula was a plus.

Due to its distinctive ability to neutralize free radicals, lycopene is believed to give measurable protection against cancer, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and other inflammatory diseases.  Evidence suggests that lycopene consumption is associated with decreased risk of various chronic diseases that disproportionately impact African Americans.

As you can see, a good deal of thought and research went into developing the formula for GNetX Sequence Multivitamins. Their formulas for men, women, men over 50, and women over 50 means there is a multivitamin best for almost anyone. Health disparities, premature death, and chronic illness has been a way of life for too many African Americans. GNetX Sequence Multivitamins hopes to make a difference . . . making them the single best multivitamin for African Americans.

The MD Newsline, a national publication for physicians is now recognizing GNetX Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans as a preferred multivitamin for the Black community.

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.

Low Vitamin D in African Americans

Low Vitamin D in African Americans

Vitamin D is acquired through diet and skin exposure to ultraviolet B light. The skin’s production of vitamin D is determined by length of exposure, latitude, season, and degree of skin pigmentation.  African Americans produce less vitamin D than do White Americans in response to equal levels of sun exposure, and have dramatically lower vitamin D concentrations with some studies indicating up to 96 percent of the African American population as low.  Yet both races tend to have similar capacities to absorb vitamin D and to produce vitamin D when exposed to light. 

Low Vitamin D in African Americans

Overall when measured, African Americans tend to have lower vitamin D3 levels and are very frequently labeled “vitamin D deficient”, but also have confirmed stronger bones and fewer fractures. Powe and colleagues at the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Cambridge Massachusetts looked specifically at this paradox and looked at vitamin D3 and vitamin D-binding proteins.

“Lower levels of vitamin D–binding protein in blacks appear to result in levels of bioavailable 25-hydroxyvitamin D that are equivalent to those in whites. These data . . . suggest that low total 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels do not uniformly indicate vitamin D deficiency “

The result of these studies suggest that having both a low vitamin D level and a low vitamin D-binding protein in African Americans actually causes a ‘re-set’ of true deficiency.  With both being low, it is vitamin D’s bioavailability that drives calcium levels, parathyroid hormone levels, and true bone risk.

Do we need additional Vitamin D or not??

Four of five African Americans are vitamin D deficient compared to less than one in three White Americans.   Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increasing diabeteshypertensionprostate cancerbreast cancercolon cancer, and more.  African Americans have the highest risk for all of these diseases.  

Ken Batai and colleaguesLow Vitamin D in African Americans at the University of Arizona, after studying over two thousand people, found a direct benefit to Vitamin D supplements to preventing prostate cancer in African American men and a pro-carcinogenic effect (inducing effect) of calcium supplementation on the prostate. These findings were strongest in African Americans.

“Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients, and they may have preventive effects against many health conditions. Although toxicity from high vitamin D supplementation may be low, high calcium intake is associated with increased prostate cancer risk as well as risk of cardiovascular disease and kidney stones. High calcium consumption might be harmful and for prostate cancer prevention, high dose calcium supplementation and fortification should be avoided, especially among AA (African American) men.”

High calcium intake in African American men may actually increase the risk for prostate cancer, but taking vitamin D can reduce the risk.

There is a multivitamin designed just for African Americans. GNetX Sequence Multivitamins has high vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium and much more of what African Americans need, while leaving out those substances that may be harmful.

Sequence Multivitamins for African Americans — “Because our needs are different”

About Dr Greg Hall

Greg Hall, MD is a physician, author, speaker, inventor, professor, and public health professional, specializing in urban health and the clinical care of African Americans. Dr. Hall’s extensive research in the care of African Americans lead to the development of GNetX Sequence Multivitamins a supplement developed to support African American needs. Most recently, Dr. Hall established the National Institute for African American Health, which is a nonprofit designed to promote health-related education, support students interested in a career in medicine, and serve as an advocate for African American patients. You can keep in touch with Dr. Hall by tuning into his Better Black Health Podcast where he covers Black American health topics.