"Our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories or vitamins, or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein or carbohydrates we consume."
United States Senate document No 264 - 74th Congress - 2nd session. 1939.
"Health of animals & men is linked to the mineral balance of the soil"
- Soil Grass And Cancer - Professor Andre Voisin 1959.
"These observations show that trace-element depletion can occur during embryonic development and the postnatal period. It was found that the trace element deficiency was especially noticeable in young animals receiving the milk from the deficient mothers. It should be noted that human milk normally contains 60 trace minerals, including significant amounts of aluminum, bromine as well as vanadium and nickel. The presence of these elements was previously considered spurious but now may suggest that humans in fact also need these elements. So far as the human body is concerned, detailed analyses revealed that it contains 81 of the 92 natural elements. Not all of these elements are likely to be essential, but many are likely to be partly essential or beneficial".
From a report by Dr G. Schrauzer PhD, Professor Emeritus, Biological Trace Element Research Institute.
I have decided to give minerals a chapter to themselves, because I want to emphasize their extreme importance - the correct type and in the correct balance. (I also wanted this subject to follow the preceding chapter, the reasons, I hope, becoming apparent.)
The natural organic balance of minerals in the soil, has gone seriously amiss in the last sixty or so years. Unfortunately, multi-mineral supplements (other than the ionic form) have not and cannot address this imbalance to any great degree. In fact, they can make matters even worse, due to the fact that only a handful of minerals are supplied and this can create further imbalances.
You are probably familiar with the term, minerals & trace elements. The terminology 'trace elements' seems to suggest that these substances are not of importance. This is not so, quantity is irrelevant in this context. Trace minerals would perhaps be a more fitting term. I will classify minerals and trace elements as 'minerals' in the text.
In the beginning when the 'finished' planet, earth, was brand new and ready to sustain life in all its forms as we know them, a balance of water, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, minerals, sunlight and a myriad other elements existed in a certain ratio. Out of this primordial ratio of substances, the potential for other elements to be formed or manufactured through thousands of other natural processes was in place.
Howsoever life started is not important in this context. The fact is, we are here and we have evolved from a primordial blueprint of elements that indeed brought us into being. We were to evolve, on every level, toward increasing perfection. At a physical level, over millions of years, the human body did indeed become bigger and stronger and more resistant to disease. Natural selection took care of that, inasmuch as only the strongest survived, perpetuating the strengths and diluting the weaknesses in most cases. All was going pretty well until a hundred or so years ago, at which point mankind's ingenuity and greed got the better of him. From a health perspective, we have been going backwards since that time, at an ever-increasing pace. The bottom line is a horrendous, heartbreaking crisis that could have been and still could be so easily changed. The cost in monetary terms is absolutely astronomical, but the cost in human misery is incalculable.
By the 1930s most westernized countries had pretty well depleted their soil of its mineral content, due to intensive farming methods and lack of crop rotation. Around this time, a group of soil scientists presented their findings, which were of serious concern, to the government of the USA via the Department of Agriculture. This report is filed under United States Senate document No 264 - 74th Congress - 2nd session. Initially, the Department of Agriculture was very concerned about this situation, so they set out with good intentions, to do something about it. Out of good intentions, very often come half-witted schemes! Instead of spending public money and overseeing what was one of, if not the most important issue this century, they had a great idea! They handed the job over to the food industry. Big mistake! This industry quickly realized that it would cost more money than they were prepared to spend to remineralize the soil with all the elements, so they instructed their scientists to find the minerals that produced the quickest crop growth with the best yield per acre.
The result was that nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K) were found to impart these qualities to crop. As an aside here, adding these three mineral elements to the soil in quantity kills the tiny microbes that oxygenate and bind it together. To return to our story, the food industry successfully lobbied government to introduce an unwritten law for the use of N.P.K. as a fertilizer. This standard was adopted throughout the world and is still in use today. The other minerals that were lacking were conveniently forgotten, so today, they hardly exist in many soils and therefore they don't exist in the human body (see the Hanes report and my own findings elsewhere in this work). Little was known at that time about the function of many of the minerals, and today we only know the function of around twenty-five. However, it does not take a genius to work out, that they are present in a particular ratio for a reason and that we evolved not only from them, but also to utilize them. So, in this calamitous story, government was off the hook, the food industry didn't lose too much profit and all ended happily ever after, except for you, me and our children and their children.
Our staple crops were not only lacking in dozens of vital substances (not just minerals), but for good measure, insecticides and pesticides that we now know to be estrogenic, were added to further improve yield and profit. Some time ago I had an interesting conversation with an old country farmer, who farmed his land according to the traditional laws of rotation, fallow periods and natural manuring, etc. He told me, that around 10% at the most, of crop that was grown without the use of pesticides & insecticides, tended to be eaten by bugs. With modern methods of poisonous (to bugs & us) crop treatments, guess what? 10% is still lost to the bugs!
Virtually everyone knows how important calcium, magnesium & zinc are for supporting health. These are some of the minerals that are required in far larger quantities that say, boron, chromium and vanadium. Circulating chromium in the body weighs about the same as a grain of sand, yet without it, serious blood sugar fluctuations will occur.
Vitamins do not work in the absence of minerals and the manufacture of hormones within the body is dependent on the availability of them. Metabolic enzymes require minerals among other substances, for their manufacture. The body requires mineral salts to be able to be able to produce sufficient stomach acid and stomach acid is needed to liberate minerals from foods. Some minerals such as iodine are needed in minuscule amounts, without which, severe thyroid problems will occur.
Human beings generate around 1.5 volts of electricity due to the charge carried and imparted by minerals. This ionic charge helps the brain and nervous system to shuttle millions of messages throughout the body, to ensure its correct operation. My feeling is, that minerals together with another substance named 'Somatids' by Gaston Naessens*, are the interface between gross physical matter and the organizational subtle energy matrix. This is in addition to the vital physiological role, played by minerals.
Farmers always leave a mineral block for their grazing livestock and/or add multi-nutrients to feed. Without such nutritional support, farmers know that their livestock will sicken, veterinary bills will soar and before long, bankruptcy will loom. Why is it that most good pet foods have many more nutritive substances added to them than human food? This is nonsensical, how can we have allowed a situation where we really would be better off eating our pet's (non-meat) food. In dog food you can find as many as 40+ added nutrients such as minerals, trace elements, vitamins, fatty acids, etc. In baby foods you might be lucky to find 11 or so added nutrients and in the 'normal' adult processed food chain, virtually none.
Because we do not know the function of a particular substance within our natural food chain, it is no excuse to ignore it. Further, by identifying the use of some of the substances and then administering them without consideration to their natural ratio to others, we often create further problems. For instance, too much magnesium can antagonize calcium. Too much zinc can antagonize copper. Too much sodium can antagonize potassium. Too much vitamin C, because of its diuretic properties, can flush other water-soluble vitamins out of the body. Too little water and we virtually dry out, too much can cause the cells to become waterlogged and so on. It is all a question of balance, every nutrient in the correct amount, rather than indiscriminate use of this here and that there.
Millions of people the world over take multivitamins; by comparison, the numbers who take multiminerals are small. Most mineral formulas contain perhaps six or eight insoluble minerals, many of the cheap versions utilize minerals in their oxide forms. For instance, iron oxide is literally rust! We may as well scrape some off a rusty old bike and eat it! Minerals (unbound from food) such as oxide, carbonate, gluconate, lactate and citrate forms for instance, have the lowest bioavailability of around 5-10%. Amino Acid chelates (chemically bound to a protein carrier) have a higher bio availability of around 40%, however only a few minerals in the more expensive formulas are available in this form.
Recently, ionic minerals in liquid and powder form (for capsules) have become available. These products contain over 70 lake-derived water-soluble ionic minerals in natural balance - they comprise the ratios found in the blood and lymphatic tissue of nutrient-rich healthy people. Please see the services section for suppliers of this vitally important product.
Please don't think that minerals are a panacea because I have devoted a chapter to them. Yes, they are terribly deficient in our food chain and yes they are vitally important to life and health; but so are vitamins, essential fatty acids, fiber, good quality protein, simple and complex carbohydrates and enzymes. Again, ratio and balance of all nutrients is the rule. However, if you are deficient in minerals, which is virtually a foregone conclusion for most people, adding them to your diet through better food choices or as a supplemental regimen, will bring important health & longevity benefits.
We have learned so much about the functioning of the human body and some of the nutrients that sustain it, yet it's my belief that this knowledge constitutes only a tiny proportion of what we have yet to learn. In the meantime however, I can't wait for medical science to 'prove' to me that nature had it right in the first place!
*The Persecution and Trial of Gaston Naessens - Christopher Bird - H.J. Kramer Inc. A 'must read'.