Why Minerals?

Heal Thyself -- Must-Have Minerals
Date effective: December 13, 2006 Content provided by Alternative Medicine Magazine From energy production to proper blood and nerve formation, minerals work synergistically with vitamins to regulate hundreds of essential functions in the body. Like most vitamins -- the exception is vitamin D -- minerals come from the world around us. Our bodies can't produce these essential nutrients, and we can only acquire them through a combination of supplements and food. Obtaining the minerals we need from food alone isn't quite as easy as it used to be, however. Soil erosion, chemical fertilization, and poor crop management have all contributed to a depletion of minerals in the soil, which directly translates to fewer nutrients in fruits, vegetables, and grains and indirectly to less nutritious meat and dairy products as a result of mineral-depleted agricultural feed. For example, one British study compared data from 1940 to 2002 and found iron content in 15 types of meat had decreased by an average 47 percent. All of this means that a healthy diet alone, even one that's primarily organic, may not meet all of your body's nutritional needs. So you have to rely on supplements to take up the slack… Minding the Minerals Healthy & Natural Journal, Oct, 2000 by George L. Redmon Minerals are components of body tissue and fluids that work in combination with enzymes, hormones, vitamins and other vital transport substances. Unless you have been keeping company with Rip Van Winkle over the past months, I am sure you have read many reports concerning the health benefits of antioxidants, phytonutrients, glucosamine sulfate, fish oils, CoQ-lO, lutein, soy, and a host of other products, supplements and dietary regimens. While all of these nutrients have their place in the ever-changing framework of

nutritional science, we may be looking frantically in the wrong place to find the biological keys to health and longevity. Scientists have always known that we can live for an extended period without food, but not without water. This is because water contains minerals, a source of life-giving nourishment for the body. In the 1930s, vitamins were discovered and everyone forgot about minerals. Today, in many respects, minerals are still ignored. Vitamins as well as many other important nutrients play their part, but minerals liberate the vitamins to do their work. Lacking vitamins, the system can make use of the minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless. It is the minerals in their dissolved state (known as electrolytes or ionized minerals) that are responsible for creating and maintaining a healthy internal environment which allows the other nutrients to flourish and do their jobs. Because of this, minerals should be given first consideration in the maintenance and restoration of health. In fact, minerals play a significant role in the continuation of life processes. without proper levels of minerals, our bodies could not function…. Minerals and health Minerals are components of body tissue and fluids that work in combination with enzymes, hormones, vitamins and other vital transport substances. Some minerals are co-factors (helpers) for enzymes, which are catalysts for every reaction that occurs in the body. Many of these minerals participate in nerve transmission; muscle contraction; the maintenance of cell permeability, tissue rigidity and structure, and acid-base balance; blood formation; fluid regulation and movement across cell membranes; protein metabolism; and energy production. Ionized sodium and potassium (atoms having a positive or negative electrical charge) maintain a balance of body fluids inside and outside the cells. Calcium and phosphorus provide structure for the framework of the body. Oxygen-hungry iron composes hemoglobin (protein that gives red blood cells their color). The mineral iodine is a constituent of thyroid hormone, which, in turn, controls the overall rate of metabolism.

Based on past and present data, researchers are just beginning to have a broader appreciation and understanding of the critical roles of these inorganic elements. By no means are these minerals static. They are major players in the maintenance of the body's internal equilibrium known as homeostasis. Investigations into the interactions of minerals within the human body have substantiated the effects of mineral imbalances. If there is too little or too much of one reaction of mineral, all other minerals are affected, starting a chain reaction of imbalances and illnesses. In other words, when minerals are in balance and are in their proper ratios, they neutralize the potentially harmful effects of their counterparts--sort of a check-and-balance system. According to the United States Senate, our mineral intake is more important than our intake of vitamins, calories, proteins, or carbohydrates. Duped into believing that our diets would suffice as a source of nutrients, many medical experts may have failed to mention to you that as a result of past and present farming methods, there are virtually no nutritional minerals in our farm and range soils. Consequently, the crops that are grown there are mineral deficient, and the animals and people who eat these mineral-deficient crops get mineraldeficiency diseases. Many of today's long-term degenerative diseases, such as arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, and arteriosclerosis are caused by nutritional deficiencies. What is most frightening is that the findings of mineral-deficient soils were made public some 61 years ago. These findings were not reported in some obscure medical journal or hidden deep within some historical archives. These findings were reported and made public by the United States Senate and can be found in U.S. Senate Document 264, published in 1936. Recent studies conducted at the Earth Summit in Rio (June 1992), which compared the mineral content of soils today with soils 100 years ago, revealed some startling facts. Researchers found that in African soils, there were 74 percent less minerals present in the soil today than there were 100 years ago. Asian soils have 76 percent less, European soils have 72 percent less, South American soils have 76 percent less, and the soils in

the United States and Canada contain 85 percent less minerals today than they did 100 years ago. These statistics show that our soils are not the "nutrition field of dreams" on which our ancestors flourished. The evidence clearly shows that we as a nation, as well as Document Number 264 reads, "Laboratory test prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grain, the eggs and even the milk and meat of today are not what they were a few generations ago--which doubtlessly explains why our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us!” Past and present research has confirmed that minerals are absolutely necessary to maintain health. They are involved with countless metabolic and enzymatic reactions, which either start, control, or help maintain important bodily functions. They are also involved with providing the necessary materials that help to maintain and build strong bones, teeth, and tissue structures. Data have also established the need to constantly supply the body with these mineral elements through diet, because the human body is incapable of making any minerals. Additionally, current soil cultivation methods are destroying farmlands of these valuable elements. There is conclusive evidence that our farm and range soils are almost void of the necessary minerals we need. Past studies have shown that our soils have 85 percent less of the same minerals they had 100 years ago. Recently, the World Health Organization reported that this figure is now 95 percent less. Based on current data, the unstable variability of minerals within our soils causes severe mineral deficiencies in our food supply. A global need At no other time in history have the people of the world been so exposed to such a wide variety of pollutants in such high concentrations. If the body is healthy and functioning at its peak, it can generally detoxify and eliminate most of the pollutants without a great deal of damage. Three billion cells of the body die every minute. In good health or in youth, when the minerals supply is high, these cells are replaced as fast as they die. However, during aging or illness, when the mineral supply is depleted, the cell growth slows down and

reproduction finally stops, resulting in death. Because prolonged mineral deficiencies cause many internal mechanisms to shut down, and minerals are so vital in initiating the actions of other substances to do their work, they must be given first consideration in acquiring or maintaining health. Current research shows us that even when consuming the so-called balanced diet, our food and water supply will not provide us with all the raw material we need to maintain optimum health. Additionally, many of our prominent nutritional experts suggest, based on current data, that many of today's debilitating and chronic diseases, such as heart disease, strokes, hypertension, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis, are caused by long-term nutritional deficiencies. Because of the body's inability to manufacture the mineral elements, maintaining proper mineral balances through supplementation is believed to be the most important part of the nutritional puzzle. In the grand scheme and in our connection to the soil and our health, it is easy to understand why minerals are truly nature's biological keys to health. George Redmon, Ph.D., N.D., is the author of Energy for Life: How to Overcome Chronic Fatigue and Minerals: What Your Body Realty Needs & Why. Dr. Redmon is a graduate of the Clayton College of Natural Health and received a Ph.D. from the American Holistic College of Nutrition.

be properly nourished. Unfortunately, that is the reality of today's soil. It's a fact. Our soils are depleted and depleted soils do not produce healthy, nutrient-rich plants. It's also a fact that crops produced in depleted soils are more prone to the invasion of insects, viruses, fungi, etc. Insects and infectious organisms were designed to get rid of unhealthy vegetation and they do not typically attack truly healthy plants. Much of the modern world is now aware that our industrialized methods of farming have depleted the soils and created a cycle that requires pesticides to protect the unhealthy crops grown on depleted soils. The commercial applications of agriculture have not only depleted the soil of precious trace minerals but also have broken down the ability of plants to utilize those elements. That means our food is nutritionally deficient right from the source. Then our food is refined and processed, which further degrades the nutritional value. And who suffers? We all do! There are more than 70 trace minerals necessary to produce healthy, nutrient-rich crops, yet most current farming methods routinely put back only three to five of them. And that's only part of the problem. Inorganic (synthetic/dead), ammonium-based fertilizers, along with herbicides and pesticides, kill the precious microorganisms in the soil that are essential to the creation of organic (carbon-based/living) mineral complexes. We have done more than simply use up the available trace minerals in our soils (those in the form of organic complexes); we also have destroyed the means of replenishing these soilbased microorganisms. Is there a consensus among health care professionals that depleted soil is a nutritional concern? While there are still some diehards who believe you can avoid the need for supplements if you eat a "balanced diet," it is a verified fact that our livestock feeds contain nutritional supplements. Without supplemental nutrients being added to the feed, far too many animals were getting ill. What does that tell you? The grain does not possess enough nutrients to keep the livestock healthy. If our livestock can't stay healthy by eating our modern crops, how can we?

Depleted Soil and Compromised Food Sources: What You Can Do About It
Dynamic Chiropractic, Jul 4, 2006 by Drucker, Richard

Think of health. Think of wellness. Think of nutrition. What kind of images come to mind? Exercise? Fruits? Vegetables? Lean meat? Supplements? How about dirt? That's right, dirt. Soil is the primary factor in nutrition because all of our food comes from the earth. Our bodies are composed literally of Mother Earth. Minerals in our bodies are directly connected to the state of our soil. If an element is missing from our soil, it will be missing from the foods we eat; hence, we will not

Modern, Inorganic Farming Prior to the 1800s, farmers fertilized their crops with organic substances. But modern, economicbased agriculture has virtually replaced all of the critical organic complexes with inorganic fertilizers, which cause toxicity in water runoff and further imbalance the delicate nature of our soils. In the 1930s, when farmers began to add inorganic fertilizers to the soil, it was presumed that biological organisms could assimilate minerals in any form. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We are now discovering that inorganic (synthetic/dead) minerals and trace minerals cannot be easily assimilated by plants. They must first be combined with carbonaceous matter (organically complexed), before they can be used. No wonder our food is less and less nutritious. No wonder it lacks taste, and no wonder the modern farmer has to apply more and more toxic pesticides, herbicides and chemicals every year in order to get the crops to market. Most scientists would agree we need three basic ingredients to sustain life: water, oxygen and organically complexed (carbonbased/living) trace minerals. Not even vitamins or enzymes can perform without trace minerals, and when trace minerals are lacking, numerous processes either slow down or come to a halt until the mineral banks can be replenished. Knowing this, it is easy to see why both plants and humans are becoming increasingly susceptible to disease. It is also easy to understand what Linus Pauling (twice awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine) meant when he explained to the 74th Congress of the United Sates, "Every ailment, every sickness and every disease can be traced back to an organic trace mineral deficiency." It has become alarmingly evident that we are severely deficient in one of the most basic components necessary to sustain health organically complexed trace minerals. The use of toxic chemicals eventually sterilizes the soil, reducing the microorganisms that keep the soil balanced. In a way, the problem with depleted soil is similar to the problems of using antibiotics. Antibiotics kill the harmful bacteria making us sick, but they also kill the friendly flora in the intestinal tract at the same time. Antibiotics appear to cure the infection, but in reality, the long term use will weaken the immune system making us more likely to suffer from future illnesses. Similarly, as the

"good" microorganisms in the soil are wiped out, the vegetation loses its ability to gain the proper balance of minerals from the soil. The end result: Our bodies take on these deficient foods and become impaired and imbalanced….

Liebig, Marx, and the depletion of soil fertility: relevance for today's agriculture - German chemist Justus von Liebig; Karl Marx
Monthly Review, July-August, 1998 by John Bellamy Foster, Fred Magdoff During the period 1830-1870 the depletion of the natural fertility of the soil through the loss of soil nutrients was the central ecological concern of capitalist society in both Europe and North America,,,, he central figure in this crisis of soil fertility was the German chemist Justus von Liebig. But the wider social implications were most penetratingly examined by Karl Marx. The views of Liebig and Marx on soil fertility were to be taken up by later thinkers, including Karl Kautsky and V.I. Lenin within the Marxist tradition. Still, by the midtwentieth century the problem seemed to have abated due to the development of a massive fertilizer industry and the intensive application of synthetic fertilizers. Today, a growing understanding of the ecological damage inflicted by the reliance on synthetic chemical inputs, the scale of which vastly increased following the Second Word War, has generated new interest in a sustainable agriculture in which soil nutrient cycling plays a central role. The need to devise an ecologically sound relationship of people to the soil is being rediscovered. What follows is a brief outline of the evolution of this issue over the last hundred and fifty years. Liebig and the Nineteenth Century Crisis of the Soil In the 1820s and 1830s in Britain, and shortly afterwards in the other developing capitalist economies of Europe and North America, concern over the "worn-out soil" led to a phenomenal increase in the demand for fertilizer….

The rise of modern soil science was closely correlated with this demand for increased soil fertility to support capitalist agriculture. In 1837 the British Association for the Advancement of Science solicited a work on the relationship between agriculture and chemistry from Liebig. The result was his Organic Chemistry in its Applications to Agriculture and Physiology (1840), which provided the first convincing explanation of the role of soil nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, in the growth of plants. In England Liebig's ideas influenced the wealthy landowner and agronomist J. B. Lawes, who had begun experiments on fertilizers on his property in Rothamsted, outside London in 1837. In 1842 Lawes introduced the first artificial fertilizer, after inventing a means of making phosphate soluble, and in 1843 he built a factory for the production of his new "superphosphates." Nevertheless, this technology was slow to diffuse outside of Britain. The first factories for the production of superphosphates were introduced in Germany only in 1855; in the United States only after the Civil War; and in France only after the Franco-Prussian War. Moreover, the results obtained from the application of a single nutrient (such as phosphate) to the soft, although initially producing dramatic results, tended to diminish rapidly after that, since overall soil fertility is always limited by the nutrient in least abundance (Liebig's Law of the Minimum). Hence, Liebig's discoveries at first only intensified the sense of crisis within capitalist agriculture, making farmers more aware of the depletion of soil minerals and the paucity of fertilizers…. The decline in natural soil fertility due to the disruption of the soil nutrient cycle accompanying capitalist agriculture, the growing knowledge of the need for specific soil nutrients, and limitations in the supply of both natural and synthetic fertilizers that would compensate for the loss of natural fertility, all contributed, therefore, to a widespread sense of a crisis in soil fertility. In the United States this was further complicated by geographical factors. In upstate New York, which by 1800 had displaced New England as a center for wheat cultivation, the relative exhaustion of the soil was brought into sharp relief by steadily increasing

competition from new farmlands to the West in the decades following the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Meanwhile the slave plantations of the Southeast experienced dramatic declines in fertility, particularly on lands devoted to the production of tobacco. In New York farmers responded to the crisis by promoting a more rational agriculture through the creation of agricultural societies…. Many of these issues were reflected in the work of U.S. economist Henry Carey, who throughout the 1850s laid stress on the fact that long distance trade arising from the separation of town and country was a major factor in the net loss of soil nutrients and the growing crisis in agriculture - a point later developed further by Liebig and Marx…. These concerns of North American agriculturists were transmitted in turn to Liebig, mainly through the work of Carey. In his Letters on Modern Agriculture (1859), Liebig argued that the "empirical agriculture" of the trader gave rise to a "spoliation system" in which the "conditions of the reproduction" of the soil were violated. Soil nutrients were "carried away in produce year after year, rotation after rotation." Both the open system of exploitation of American farming and the socalled "high farming" of European agriculture were thus forms of "robbery." "Rational agriculture," in contrast, would give "back to the fields the conditions of their fertility." But by the 1860s, based on his reading of such thinkers as Liebig, Johnston, and Carey, and in response to the soil fertility crisis, Marx began to focus directly on the soil nutrient cycle and its relation to the exploitative character of capitalist agriculture. Thus, in the first volume of Capital he wrote: Capitalist production ... disturbs the metabolic interaction between man and the earth, i.e. it prevents the return to the soil of its constituent elements consumed by man in the form of food and clothing; hence it hinders the operation of the eternal natural condition for the fertility of the soil.... All progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time is a progress

towards ruining the more long-lasting sources of that fertility.... Capitalist production, therefore, only develops the techniques and degree of combination of the social process of production by simultaneously undermining the original sources of all wealth - the soil and the worker…. As soils became depleted of nutrients and organic matter they became less fertile and there was much concern about what to do with "worn out" soils. At the same time that nutrients were depleted from farmland, sewage containing those nutrients fouled many lakes and rivers, while coastal cities dumped sewage into the ocean. Although sewage treatment systems installed since the 1970s have decreased the problem of water pollution in the United States, a new problem was created - how to get rid of the sludge that is produced. Currently sewage sludge is either buried in landfills, incinerated, or applied to farmland, each of which has significant environmental consequences. Two developments set the stage for a second break in the cycling of nutrients. First, the availability of inexpensive nitrogen fertilizers following the Second World War helped put in motion a number of changes. The production of nitrogen fertilizers uses the same process as the production of explosives, and the end of war production freed up a large capacity to make nitrogen fertilizers. (It is also important to note a further agrichemical connection to the military-industrial complex: many of pesticides used in agriculture were originally developed for military purposes as defoliants and nerve agents.) With the widespread availability of nitrogen fertilizers, there was no longer a need to rely on legume crops, which convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use, to supply non-legumes with sufficient fertility. The legume clover and alfalfa hay crops had previously been fed to ruminant animals such as beef and dairy cows and sheep. Once there was no need to grow those crops to supply nitrogen for non-legume crops (wheat, corn, barley, tomatoes), farms could more easily specialize as either crop or livestock operations. Second, as concentration accelerated in agricultural production, processing, and marketing, corporations began to encourage production of animals near the few large processing facilities that they operated. They selected locations that offered certain

advantages such as lax environmental laws, negligible threat of union activity, and low wages. The large processors were also increasingly marketing their products under brand names and, to have a uniform and predictable product, needed to control as much of the entire process as possible either by producing the animals on their own corporate farms or under production contracts where the farmer might not even own the animals and had to follow strict instructions from their corporate employer. Thus animal production became concentrated in certain regions: beef feedlots in the southern Great Plains, poultry in Arkansas and on the Delmarva Peninsula (composed of parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) and hog production in certain parts of the Midwest and in North Carolina. These two developments in the second half of the twentieth century have led to a new phenomenon that mirrors the separation of people from the farmland which so concerned Marx and others - the separation of agricultural animals from the cropland that produces their feeds [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1C OMITTED]. The large-scale U.S. poultry and hog megafarms (aptly called factory farms) are owned almost exclusively by corporate integrators or by individual farmers under production contracts for corporations such as Tyson and Perdue. And beef feedlots with tens of thousands of animals are not uncommon. More than a third of cattle marketed in the United States come from just seventy feedlots, while 97 percent of U.S. poultry sales are controlled by operations that generate in excess of 100,000 broilers per year. Even on dairy farms that produce a lot of their own feed, it is common to import about half of the animals' needs. This breakdown of the physical connection between the animals and the land producing their feeds has worsened the depletion of nutrients and organic matter from soils producing crops. Crop farms must use large amounts of synthetic fertilizers to compensate for the loss of vast quantifies of nutrients as their products are sold. Environmental Consequences … There are a number of severe environmental consequences of the developments described above:

(1) Large amounts of non-renewable energy sources are needed to produce, ship, and apply the fertilizers. Production of nitrogen fertilizer is very energy intensive. Of all the energy used to produce an acre of corn in the United States cornbelt including fuel, wear and tear on machinery, seeds, and pesticides - nitrogen fertilizer accounts for the largest amount (double the next largest category), approximately 40 percent. 2) Another adverse consequence arises because the fertilizers used are soluble and are thus prone to cause groundwater and surface water contamination. In addition, the high concentrations of livestock produce more nutrients than the surrounding soils can safely absorb. A direct health hazard results as the groundwater many use for drinking is contaminated with high levels of nitrates. Excess nutrients from agricultural production are also implicated in the deterioration of estuaries such as the Chesapeake Bay, and marine environments such as the Gulf of Mexico's dead zone to the west of the Mississippi River's mouth, as well as many fresh water lakes. 3) Even when cities are located near farms, the industrial contaminants, as well as chemicals in many of the products that people dispose around their homes, render most urban sewage sludges unsuitable for use on farmland. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers most sludges safe for use on farmland, there are significant scientific concerns about the adequacy of these guidelines. U.S. standards are by far the most lax of all advanced industrial countries, with permitted levels of heavy metal eight times that of Canada and most European nations. And there are potential contaminants in manures too - for example, routine feeding of copper to hogs raised in confinement to enhance their growth results in manures that have excessive copper levels. Disposal of contaminated sludges and manures causes environmental problems that may affect the future productivity of soils or the quality of air and water. 4) The lack of good rotations on most crop farms, partially caused by the availability of inexpensive synthetic fertilizers, has resulted in a loss of soil organic matter and a decrease in the diversity of organisms in the soil. This degradation of soil quality allows the growth of large populations of disease organisms and plant parasites that would

have been held in check by a diverse community of competing organisms. Also, plants that are unhealthy tend to attract more insect pests than healthier plants. The upshot of this is that greater amounts of pesticides are used in an attempt to combat the increased pest pressures resulting from soil degradation. Thus much of the pesticide poisoning of farmers and farmworkers as well as the contamination of many foods and groundwater is a result of soil degradation. (5) The cruel conditions under which animals are raised in large-scale production facilities create conditions in which disease can easily spread, necessitating frequent use of antibiotics. In addition, the routine use of low levels of antibiotics in feeds, which function somehow as a growth stimulant, accounts for most of the 40 percent of total antibiotics that are used on animals. The constant use of medicines causes both antibiotic contamination of food and the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria which can then become a human health hazard. (6) Mining operations undertaken to supply nutrients have resulted in substantial environmental damage. The fate of one of the victims of guano imperialism gives some indication of what can happen. The small South Pacific island nation of Nauru was under German control from 1888 to the First World War, after which it was under the control of Australia (except for Japanese occupation during the Second World War) until independence was gained in 1968. Strip mining of the phosphaterich deposits began around 1908 and the deposit is expected to be exhausted by about 2000. According to a New York Times article "four-fifths of the island has been mined out, leaving behind a pitted, ghostly moonscape.... The only habitable land is a narrow coastal fringe shaded by coconut palms. Because of the mining, even the weather has deteriorated. The waves of heat that rise from the mined-out plateau drive away rain clouds, leaving the sun-baked island plagued by constant drought." Experiences of the Noncapitalist World The history of the noncapitalist world offers a few glimpses of other possibilities. The Soviet model, followed by most other countries in eastern Europe, offers no help on this issue because it closely copied many of the methods used in the United States, lack

of attention to cycling of nutrients and care of the soil was partially offset by applications of fertilizers and pesticides. However, in China during Mao things were different. China has an extremely low amount of arable land per capita, but has had a long tradition of carefully cycling nutrients to maintain soil fertility (as noted by Liebig in the nineteenth century). Mao's emphasis on local food selfsufficiency in each region helped to reinforce these practices and, together with the encouragement of local industry, slowed down urbanization at the same time as impressive advances were made in agricultural production. But in the transition to capitalist relations that is now far advanced, nutrient cycling and careful soil management has decreased substantially (see Bill Hinton's article, this issue for a discussion of the burning of crop residues in China) and there is a new emphasis on building fertilizer factories to supply the nutrient needs of agricultural production. In Cuba, the economic crisis of the Special Period has been caused by the cancellation of favorable trade agreements with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Lack of funds to purchase fertilizers and pesticides from abroad created an interest in reducing the use of such materials, and organic production techniques have become a mainstay of Cuban agriculture with attention paid to nutrient cycling issues (see Peter Rosset's article, this issue). What Can Be Done? What can be done to remedy the break in the cycling of nutrients in the advanced capitalist countries and the resulting environmental consequences? Without a major challenge to the structure of agriculture and corporate decision making, a profound change in the nature and sizes of cities and the curbing of suburban development, and a moratorium on the continued introduction of new synthetic chemical compounds until their environmental safety is proven beyond a doubt (all unlikely in the near future), there remain few options. These include encouraging the consumption of locally grown food and the recycling of clean food wastes from homes, restaurants, and markets back onto farmland. And seeking out of farmers that follow environmentally and socially sound practices at farmers markets and through the new Community Supported Agriculture farms (CSAs, where individuals and families buy shares in the production of the farm before the

season starts) can help as well. A massive effort can also be undertaken to clean up sewage sludges by eliminating the contamination of sewage with potentially toxic wastes from industries as well as individual homes. This will be resisted by industry because of the large expenditures required for most to have zero discharge of toxic materials. Although such activities will not solve the problems, they will make a difference. And during the struggles, the mutual education of those interested in broader societal issues, on the one hand, and those concerned with sustainable agriculture and environmental issues, on the other, could lead to more permanent future alliances. [NOTE: The answer to the problems of soil depletion lays in our two products ASAP Organics Plant Mineral Supplement and My Minerals.]

Do today's foods = ZERO nutrition?
Dynamic Chiropractic, Mar 26, 2006 by Drucker, Richard A fact: Because of modern worldwide economic-based agriculture, our soils are depleted of essential organic nutrients and complexes. It is a fact "99% of Americans are deficient in organic minerals because inorganic (i.e., toxic, synthetic, dead, & inert) chemicals, pesticides, and herbicides have destroyed nearly all the critical organic complexes, elements, and minerals in our soils."** Our soils are depleted, and depleted soils do NOT produce healthy, nutrient-rich plants. It's also a fact that crops produced in depleted soils are more prone to the invasion of insects, viruses, fungi, etc. It is important to recognize that insects and infectious organisms were designed to get rid of unhealthy vegetation, and they do not typically attack truly healthy plants. Much of the modern world is now aware that our industrialized (hightech) methods of farming have not only depleted our soils, but also they have created a cycle which requires pesticides to protect the unhealthy crops grown in depleted soils. And who suffers? We all do! There are approximately 70 organic trace minerals necessary to produce healthy, nutrient-rich crops, yet the most current farming methods routinely put back only 3 to 5 of them. And that's only a part of the problem. Inorganic (toxic, synthetic, dead, & inert), ammonium based fertilizers along with

herbicides and pesticides kill the precious microorganisms which are absolutely essential to the creation of organic (meaning carbon-based, containing life & living) complexes in the soil. Having consumed (eliminated) these precious organic complexes decades ago, our soils cannot produce critical organic minerals and complexes which in turn directly affects our food supply that is vital to our health. Not only have we used up the available organic trace minerals and complexes in our soils, but also we have destroyed the means of replenishing them (soil-based microorganisms). And if that were not enough, modern "economic-based" agriculture has virtually replaced all the critical organic complexes with inorganic (synthetic) chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. which cause toxicity in water run-off and further imbalance the delicate nature of 1) our soils (ecosystem), 2) our food supply, and 3) our immediate and long-term health. How and when did this happen? In the 1930's, when farmers began to add inorganic fertilizers to the soil, it was presumed that biological organisms could assimilate minerals in any form. Unfortunately research has proven this is not the case! We are now discovering that morganic minerals (i.e., synthetic, "colloidal" trace minerals) cannot be easily assimilated by plants or humans. Minerals must first be combined with organic (carbonaceous) complexes and elements before they can be assimilated and utilized at the cellular (mitochondria) level. No wonder our food has become less and less nutritious. And, no wonder it lacks taste and it should be no surprise the modern farmer has to apply more and more toxic pesticides, herbicides and chemicals every year in order to get his crops to market. Let's look at a similar dilemma. The human body is also meant to derive minerals from organic complexes. However, in our case, these complexes were meant to be supplied in the foods we eat. Unfortunately, these critical, disease preventing. organic nutrients are not present when our food is grown in organically depleted and toxic soils! And, just like the farmer who has attempted to alter the soil with inorganic toxic chemicals and fertilizers, we have tried to add inorganic trace minerals to our diet in the form of "colloidal mineral" supplements with devastating health consequences!...

Why are organic minerals so important? Organic minerals are systematic intracellular catalysts and activators (i.e., intra-cellular "spark plugs"). They either "kick-off" or "speed-up" most of the biologic and physiologic chemistry that goes on in our bodies. Thus, without organic trace minerals there is NO LIFE! Organic minerals are responsible for carrying most of the nutrition into our cells. Hence we need three basic ingredients to sustain life: 1) water, 2) oxygen, and 3) organic minerals. If there is an acute and/or chronic deficiency of organic minerals, numerous processes either slow down or come to a halt until the mineral banks are replenished. Moreover, vitamins, enzymes, glycogens, etc. cannot function without an adequate supply of organic minerals. Knowing this, it is easy to see why both plants and humans are becoming increasingly susceptible to disease. It is also easy to understand what Linus Pauling, (twice awarded the Nobel Prize) meant when he stated "Every ailment, every sickness and every disease can be traced back to an organic trace mineral deficiency." * It has become alarmingly evident that we are severely deficient in one of the most basic components necessary to sustain health - organic minerals and complexes.

Nutritional deficiencies
Journal of the American Chiropractic Association, Jun 2001 by Schetchikova, Nataliya The Problem The U.S. Senate issued a warning to the American people in 1936, stating, "Most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought into proper mineral balance."' The bad news is, 65 years later, soil depletion continues. Reports during the 1970s indicated that large-scale agricultural techniques in the United States depleted the soil about eight times faster than nature was able to create it.2 The good news is, "Very few people in this country have a complete nutritional deficiency," says Juanee Surprise, DC, DACBN, and president of the ACA Council on

Nutrition. "For example, scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency, is not common at all. However, we can see a lot of signs of vitamin C insufficiency." There are a number of nutritional deficiencies in people, depending on the age group," says Alan Adams, DC, DACBN, professor of nutrition and vice president of professional affairs at the Southern California University of Health Sciences. "For example, elderly people are most commonly deficient in calcium, vitamins D, B12, and folic acid. Women of childbearing age are often deficient in iron. In general, many studies show that people in the U.S. don't eat a good diet, and are not getting Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for many vitamins and minerals." The Symptoms "Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can result in anything from fatigue and not feeling well to serious diseases," says Dr. Surprise. "Vitamin B6 deficiency can lead to anemia, carpal tunnel syndrome, PMS, neurological and cardiovascular diseases." Folic acid deficiency can lead to cardiovascular diseases and neural tube defects. It is also beneficial for patients with increased risk of cervical cancer."" Dr. Adams continues, "Iron deficiency may have an influence on cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that it affects learning ability and the ability to perform cognitive tasks in schoolchildren and in the elderly."6-9 Richard S. Lord, PhD, director of education at Met&Metrix, a nutritional and biochemical clinical diagnostic laboratory, considers magnesium and essential fatty acids deficiencies common enough to be classified as epidemic in the United States: "Both magnesium and essential fatty acids are chemical factors that are the basis of every cell in the body. We've had patients with different symptoms -from depression and chronic fatigue to heart muscle problems. In patients whose magnesium has been corrected, the risk of heart disease is improving." In children, we have seen improvements in attention and in Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)." Sometimes it's possible to see improvement in more severe cases-with autism and Down syndrome."2 Dr. Lord explains that for generations, people have been deficient in fatty acids and didn't notice that

there was something wrong. The national diet of hamburgers and fries contains primarily proinflammatory polyunsaturated fatty acids and hydrogenated oils. The trans fatty acid content of the American diet has risen steadily since their introduction about fifty years ago. As a result of such dietary changes and other lifestyle factors, younger people are starting to suffer from heart disease….13 The body needs vitamins that are essential for normal health, metabolism, growth, and the proper functioning of cells. It also needs minerals -chemical elements required for numerous biological and physiological processes related to health maintenance (see Table 1, 2, page 32, 36).14 Everyone knows about the importance of eating a wide variety of foods to absorb necessary nutritional elements, but, as Brad Rachman, DC, DACPM, director of medical science at Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, points out, "It is difficult to sustain a healthy life from the diet alone as foods are robbed or devoid of essential elements. Additionally, due to modern farming techniques, foods are contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, poisons, antibiotics, etc. Foods are no longer our best `medicine.' In modern Western society, it is necessary to use supplements to provide essential elements to help people cope with stress levels. Just eating a `healthy diet' may not be enough."…

Soil crisis is holding back African recovery
Independent, The (London), Mar 31, 2006 by Steve Connor Science Editor The fertility of Africa's soil is being depleted at a rate that threatens to undermine the continent's attempts at eradicating hunger with sustainable agricultural development. A study has found three-quarters of Africa's farmland is plagued by severe soil degradation caused by wind and soil erosion and the loss of vital mineral nutrients. This degradation can partly explain why agricultural productivity in Africa has remained largely stagnant for 40 years while Asia's productivity has increased

threefold, the authors claim. Julio Henao and Carlos Baanante of the nonprofit International Centre for Soil Fertility and Agricultural Development in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, found bad farming practices have damaged soil health on the continent between 1980 and 2004. Farmers in Africa have traditionally relied on clearing land to grow crops then leaving it fallow to regain some of its fertility. "But population pressure now forces farmers to grow crop after crop, 'mining' or depleting the soil of nutrients while giving nothing back," the report says. …. Mr Henao and Mr Baanante found that during 2002 to 2004 about 85 per cent of African farmland was haemorrhaging mineral nutrients at an annual rate greater than 30kg per hectare, and 40 per cent of farmland was losing nutrients at the higher rate of 60kg per hectare a year. "The very resources on which African farmers and their families depend for welfare and survival are being undermined by soil degradation caused by nutrient mining and associated factors, such as deforestation, use of marginal lands and poor agricultural practices," the report says. The worst-affected countries in terms of soil depletion are Guinea Bissau, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. With a population growth of 3 per cent per year, the number of malnourished people in subSaharan Africa has grown from about 88 million in 1970 to more than 200 million by the end of the last century, the report says…. Mr Henao and Mr Baanante say African farmers must have access to affordable mineral and organic fertilisers if they are to stand any chance of reversing the decline of soil fertility.

alternative water sources, " reports the BBC's John Waite, "and only extract amounts of water from its Kerala plant equivalent to those used by any other landowner with 34 acres." Since the plant opened, spring water in the area is chalky and unhealthy for drinking, even after boiling. Area farmers found that their soil is contaminated with high levels of cadmium and lead, after Coca-Cola donated manufacturing waste as a "fertilizer" to local farms. Coca-Cola's rapid extraction of water is quickly depleting Kerala's deep aquifer. The company uses the water for Coke, other carbonated beverages, and branded bottled water. Coca-Cola India president Sanjeev Gupta said the issue is "about being a positive contributor to the environment." The company is appealing the Kerala court ruling.

U.S. wins additional pesticide use
Deseret News (Salt Lake City), Nov 4, 2006 by Rita Beamish Associated Press The Bush administration on Friday won international approval for U.S. farmers to use thousands of tons of a potent ozone-destroying pesticide without having to dip substantially into large stockpiles that were recently revealed. The pesticide, methyl bromide, was banned under an international treaty nearly two years ago except for uses deemed critical. U.S. officials have secured exemptions to the ban so that growers can use it to kill soil pests for tomatoes, strawberries and other crops in agricultural states like California and Florida. The decision came over the objections of European nations and despite the recommendation of the treaty's own technical committee. That panel had urged a more substantial cut in the U.S. request on grounds that other countries have proved that alternative chemicals and methods can successfully replace methyl bromide. European delegates voiced concern about the U.S. stockpiles, measured by the administration at nearly 11,000 tons at the end of last year.

Coca-Cola or Clean Water?
Sojourners Magazine, Apr 2004 by Berger, Rose Marie, Bolton, Brian Local residents of Kerala, India, are winning a battle against CocaCola India for clean ground water and soil, after months of collaboration with a BBC investigative reporter. "The Kerala high court has now ruled that the company must find

Food and Supplementation Benefits and Risks in Carcinogenesis
Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Nov, 2001 by Paul Yanick In part I of this article, carcinogenesis was defined as the prolonged accumulation of injuries at multiple biological levels that can be counteracted with the antioxidant power of whole foods and nutraceuticals. The stunningly complex biomolecular puzzle that underlies carcinogenesis remains incomplete, but parts that seemed unrelated a decade ago are now fitting into place. As discussed in Part I of this article, human metabolism and immune mechanisms function best with antioxidant- and enzyme-rich foods consumed in their natural, raw state. In comparison, a low intake of fresh fruits and vegetables prevents the body from counteracting the daily oxidative assault of the environment, promotes toxicity and acidification of the extracellular matrix and lymphatic system, thus facilitating carcinogenesis. The book Empty Harvest documented the widespread demineralization of our soil, the declining nutritional (enzymes) values of our food supply, and the resulting weakening of our bodies' immune systems. In the 1980s, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that 185 million acres of American farmland were eroding at more then twice the level at which soil can be replaced naturally. [1] Indeed, the overwhelming majority of American food is depleted of vital antioxidants, enzymes, trace minerals, and phytochemicals and contains carcinogenic chemicals that contribute to carcinogenesis. [2-3] The Search for a Solution: Eliminating Food Additives, Contaminants and Toxic Supplements Food additives are almost ubiquitous in manufactured foods and drinks. Mass manufacture and distribution of processed foods at prices people can afford cause the food industry to use additives and processing techniques that degrade the plants critical, health-promoting nutrients. While organic food may be richer in minerals and antioxidants than commercially-grown food, many organic farms are located in highly polluted areas and/or use contaminated water to irrigate their crops. As a result, significant levels of carcinogenic agents may

be found in organic foods. Not surprisingly, these carcinogenic agents infiltrate the soil along with acid rain and alter the natural nutrient content and bioactive microconstituents of organic foods. Foods are extremely complex mixtures of bioactive constituents that work together to promote health in the human body. When they are grown on depleted soil and in polluted environments or subjected to handling and storage practices and methods of food preparation, the teamwork of these bioactive microconstituents are lost. Thus, daily supplementation with pure, raw whole foods in addition to identifying and eliminating specific carcinogens in foods and drinks, supplements, and body care products is an important and timely goal in preventing carcinogenesis. [4] A wide variety of bioactive phytonutrients have been shown to inhibit carcinogenesis in a number of experimental systems involving initiation, promotion and progression. [5,6] Plant foods that contain abundant quantities of these substances have consistently been shown to be associated with a lower risk of cancers at almost every site, and studies show they activate critical detoxification enzymes to decrease the bioavailability of potential DNA-damaging carcinogens. Plant flavonoids such as lycopene from whole tomatoes, carotenoids from whole carrots and glucosinolates and isothiocynates from raw broccoli offer superior ways of treating carcinogenesis by reducing the bioavailability of carcinogens and upregulating cellular levels of glutathione, glutathione transferase and glucuronyl transferases which facilitate the destruction of reactive electrophiles and oxidants into innocuous, excretable metabolites. [7] Despite the fact that many of these food additives have been found to be carcinogenic or mutagenic in laboratory animals, they are continually used in a wide array of processed foods because experts insist that they have never been tested for human safety. For example, added colors or dyes are found in cereal products, baked goods, snack foods, meat, fish, poultry, cheese, butter, and other dairy products, and alcoholic and soft drinks with the average consumption estimated at 100mg/day. [8] Mycotoxins (metabolites of molds), increase the risk of liver cancer and may promote carcinogenesis by stressing the immune system as over 300 mycotoxins have been reported in foods and animal

feeds. In fact the Food and Agriculture Association in 1985 estimated that 25% of the world's food crops are contaminated with mycotoxins (high levels of mycotoxins were reported in peanuts, tree nuts, cereals (grains), beans, and apples). [9] Over a dozen studies citing the high carcinogenicity of mycotoxins on animals were reported by the Institute for Cancer Research. [4] Supplements, especially aspergillus-derived digestive enzymes, also contain high levels of immunosuppressive mycotoxins that increase one's risk of developing fungal infections. In fact, in our clinical research on digestive enzyme products, we found only two out of fifty products that were pure and completely free of remnant aspergillus residues. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) found in cooked meats and fish yield high mutagenic activity and result in more frequent colorectal cancer than in control subjects. [10] Humans are exposed to HCAs continuously especially in diets that are high in dietary fat. Studies now show that short-term feeding (6-12 weeks) of HCAs is enough to induce tumors in experimental animals. [11,12] Faced with a vast number of additives now used in commercially-manufactured foods, regulatory agencies must wait for established evidence of toxicity on humans before they are removed from manufactured foods. Yet, animal studies suggest these additives can pose a serious threat to human health. One major limitation of research on additives and human cancer risk is that there are no studies that have assessed the combination of thousands of food additives consumed together in food and drink and how their combined effect may be more toxic than the sum of individual additives tested in animal studies. Guidelines for Preventing Carcinogenesis Evidence of dietary protection against cancers of many sites is strongest and most consistent for the plant-based diets. [4] According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research panel, prevention of cancer involves choosing "...predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes and minimally processed starchy staple foods." The panel reported 20 studies where cancer had been experimentally induced via a chemical carcinogen or irradiation in animals. In these

studies, animals that were fed vegetables and fruits experienced fewer tumors, smaller tumors, fewer metastases, less DNA damage, higher levels of enzymes involved in the detoxification of carcinogens, or other outcomes indicative of a lower risk of cancer. [4] Although vegetables and fruits contain a great variety of microconstituents that protect against cancer, the quality and quantity of these microconstituents vary greatly depending upon agricultural practices, water and air pollution levels, and soil ecology. As far as carcinogenesis is concerned, there is a strong theoretical possibility that consumption of commercially-grown vegetables and fruits might increase risk because of the lack of certain key synergistic microconstituents and/or the high levels of contaminants. Moreover, many carcinogens are synergists whose combined toxicity causes a greater additive effect. Potentiation can occur when a chemical that does not produce a specific toxicity may increase the toxicity or carcinogenicity caused by other chemicals. Since the major routes by which toxins gains access to the body are through the gastrointestinal tract (ingestion), the skin (topical) from cosmetics, and the lungs (inhalation), studies are needed to fully discern all the combined modes of chemical interaction on the genetic makeup of individuals, especially in people who lack glutathione-Stransferase or are poor sulfoxidizers. … Avoidance of suspected and known carcinogens while enhancing one's intake of plant antioxidants and phytochemicals is a reasonable and achievable goal in preventing, slowing down, or halting carcinogenesis. In an effort to meet this goal, … use dietary supplementation … defined by the following criteria: … Toxin-free and biologically active: Since there is a 97.5% chance of using a nutraceutical or food supplement that is either toxic or ineffective, [1416] … provide highly bioactive ingredients that are fresh and grown in ideal locations, and that are not irradiated, fumigated or contaminated with pesticide/insecticide residues. Routine herbal contamination occurs because many product manufacturers accept the Certificate of Analysis from their suppliers which only requires the testing of harmful bacteria and mold and that rarely tests for toxic contaminants. [17] The toxicity of

supplements is related to the fact that a high percentage of supplements contain synthetic, isolated vitamins and inorganic minerals that stimulate rather than balance and support weak physiology, deplete enzymes, and contain toxic binders, fillers and flowing agents such as the suspected carcinogen talcum powder… … Grade 10, Beyond Organic: Growing locations and harvesting methods can vary a plant's mineral content by over 900%. [17] When mineral levels decline, enzyme levels in plants also diminish. This is because an enzyme is a large protein molecule containing trace minerals such as zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper. Mineral deficiencies and imbalances in plants grown in polluted areas with contaminated water contribute to enzyme deficiencies in the general population.

and vitamins in whole foods. And, while there are few enough minerals and vitamins existing in foods, some people unwittingly short-change themselves even more by following restrictive "weight-loss" diets or -- as with many of us, especially the elderly -- failing to eat nutrition-dense, well-balanced meals. James Privitera, M.D., a long-time nutritionoriented physician in Covina, Calif., expands on this problem, saying, "Many prescription and over-thecounter drugs bind with minerals and make them unavailable -- penicillin, among them. Diuretics steal potassium and magnesium from the body. Antacids disturb metabolism of calcium and phosphorus."… Why are minerals so important for health? This is answered well by James F. Balch, M.D., and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., in their perennial bestseller, Prescription for Nutritional Healing: A-to-Z Guide to Supplements. "Every living cell on this planet depends on minerals for proper function and structure," they say. Specifically, "minerals are needed for the proper composition of body fluids, the formation of blood and bone, the maintenance of healthy nerve function, and the regulation of muscle tone, including that of the muscles of the cardiovascular system," the Balches explain…. The Macrominerals. Calcium. Most of us learned early on that calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. In addition, this mineral is also essential for contraction of muscles and regulation of heartbeat. Many studies show that it can help lower elevated blood pressure, as well. Let's look at the results of two such studies. James H. Dwyer, Ph.D., and associates, at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, analyzed diets of 6,600 men and women and found that the risk of developing high blood pressure was lowered by an average 12 percent for each 1,000 mg of calcium ingested daily, as reported in the Medical Tribune. Population studies by biochemist H.J. Henry, reported in the Journal of the American Diabetic Society, indicate that patients with high blood pressure in less calcium than those with normal blood pressure.

Multi-Minerals MULTI-BENEFITS
Better Nutrition, Nov, 1998 by James F. Scheer Many of us grew up with our mothers prompting us to "take our vitamins" and handing us a chewable vitamin supplement in the shape of a cartoon character or jungle animal. Admittedly, this still happens today. You may rarely, if ever, hear the advice: "Take your minerals." Deficiency dilemma. Those most likely to be deficient (in vitamins and minerals) are those on low-calorie, weight-loss diets, the elderly, pregnant women, people on a variety of medications -especially diuretics that draw key minerals out of the body -- and those living where soil is deficient in minerals, writes Sheldon Saul Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., in the Doctors' Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia There's even more to the story. Three commonly used synthetic fertilizers in the giant agro-business -- nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium -- return to the soil only a fraction of the minerals and trace minerals taken out by growing vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. In addition, just as inflation invisibly steals value from dollars, so does food processing -- milling, boiling, canning, drying, freezing, thawing, pasteurizing and preserving, slicing, dicing -remove many of the already low levels of minerals

Another benefit of calcium is its role in brain function. It would be impossible to transmit nerve impulses without calcium, as it helps trigger the release of certain neurotransmitters. It also sparks enzymes that stimulate the generation of neurotransmitters. Although calcium is the main component in bones and teeth, it needs teammates, such as vitamin D, necessary for better absorption of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins A and C. Calcium is also finding prominence as a key nutrient in helping sufferers of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). One recent study targeting PMS merited front page coverage in major newspapers nationwide. One such newspaper article, in the Los Angeles Times, donned the headline: "Calcium Cuts PMS Effects." This was received as great news by women who suffer each month from the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS: cramps, breast tenderness, back pain, depression, irritability, and mood swings. In the study, 1,200 mg of supplementary calcium daily had reduced, by nearly 50 percent, moderate to severe PMS symptoms of 720 women (ages 18 to 45) in 12 of the nation's foremost hospitals. The lead author of the study, published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Susan Thys-Jacobs, of St. Luke'sRoosevelt Hospital Center in New York, reported that, after three months, women who took the calcium supplements noted a decline by 48 percent of PMS symptoms, compared with 30 percent for the control group. "This tells us something," Thys-Jacobs said. "The symptoms are a signal that [these women are] not getting enough calcium." James G. Penland, Ph.D., in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Service in Grand Forks, N.D., told Maugh that "this lends a lot more credence to the idea that calcium deficiencies are linked to PMS." Penland conducted an earlier, but smaller, study of PMS with similar results.

Maugh offered the latest U.S. government findings on calcium needs for various groups: women require at least 1,000 mg daily; teenagers need 1,300 mg; and women over the age of 50 require 1,200 mg. "USDA studies have shown that three-quarters of women don't reach those levels, and more than 50 percent don't even consume half the recommended amount," Maugh reported. This is an important study for building a new and effective solution for coping with PMS -- over and above taking B-complex vitamins, vitamin E, evening primrose oil, and milk thistle, and avoiding alcohol, coffee, and sugar. Most people consume dairy products for their primary source of calcium. However, for vegans, and those who are allergic to milk and/or dairy products, calcium is best derived from leafy greens, kelp, sesame seeds, brewer's yeast, and sardines, as well as supplements…. Magnesium. One of this mineral's most supportive functions is helping the body to utilize calcium. A well-known aid for those coping with PMS, magnesium is also important to the health of the heart and arterial system. A deficiency of magnesium often causes irregular heartbeat. In addition, some studies show that magnesium can help to lift depression in elderly people. Alcohol is another enemy of magnesium, depleting the body of this mineral…. Manganese. Compared with calcium and magnesium, this mineral's contribution to bone health is small; however, it is no less important Bill Walton, a former all-pro-basketball center and now a TV announcer for pro-basketball games, had a series of disabling ankle bone injuries while playing, Eventually, the reason was traced to his vegetarianism that furnished all the essential bone components, except manganese. A manganese supplement healed him fast, enabling him to finish a brilliant playing career. n addition, manganese is a key component of enzymes, helping to release energy, and it is an antioxidant that is particularly protective of brain cells.

We couldn't coordinate muscles for walking, running -- even standing -- if it were not for manganese, nor could we process carbohydrates well enough to derive energy from them…. Phosphorus. This mineral is a rich ingredient in many popular and frequently eaten, foods: eggs, liver, beef, walnuts, oats, peanuts, peas, whole grains, salmon, sardines, tuna, and sunflower seeds. Calcium needs phosphorus for building strong bones and teeth. This macromineral is also a must for repairing body tissues and for helping change fats and carbohydrates into nutrients the body can use for creating energy. Phosphorus also strengthens the immune system, and helps us to retain the proper level of fluid in our trillions of cells…. Potassium. This major mineral performs many key functions, including helping to lower blood pressure, as demonstrated by many studies, consequently, lessening the risk of strokes. Many individuals who exercise strenuously on occasion can usually prevent muscle cramps with a potassium supplement or with potassium-rich foods: a banana, an orange, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, avocados, wheat germ, or brewer's yeast, or with supplements. Poultry and fish are also rich sources of potassium…. The Trace Minerals. Chromium. Needed only in amounts of 100-200 mcg (micrograms) daily, chromium is one of those trace minerals that accomplishes a lot with very little. One of chromium's powerful effects is increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin. Chromium appears to control adult-onset diabetes, help to lower elevated harmful cholesterol, and raise protective cholesterol. Some studies show that it may help in some weight-management plans…. Copper. Over the summer, Better Nutrition had the opportunity to interview copper expert Susan S. Percival, Ph.D., of the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Percival says the elderly are among those most at risk of being copper deficient. She says that copper may play a role in heart disease, raised LDL

cholesterol levels, and osteoporosis. She also notes that some cases of iron-poor anemia may actually be severe copper deficiency. She stressed, "I don't want to say that copper's responsible for any of these diseases, but coupled with other problems -either nutritional deficiencies or nutritional excesses -- these three diseases, anemia, heart disease, and osteoporosis, could, we don't know for sure, have a copper-related component." … Other groups at risk of copper deficiency are premature infants and those who chronically take megadoses of zinc (this does not refer to people taking zinc lozenges for a few days to fight a cold)…. Iodine. It is difficult for some people to think of iodine as a mineral, because they have seen it in solution used to dab on wounds to prevent infection. Shari Lieberman, Ph.D., and Nancy Bruning, in their Second Edition of The Real Vitamin & Mineral Book, caution that, "The topical antiseptic known as tincture of iodine is not to be used orally because it is poisonous if ingested." They recommend supplementing the diet with iodine in iodized table salt or with supplemental sea kelp, available in tablets, drops, or concentrated liquid. Infinitesimal amounts of iodine are used by the thyroid gland, an organ that contains 20-30 mg of the mineral, to regulate body metabolism and enable us to generate energy and heat. Approximately 64 health-related symptoms can originate from insufficient iodine -- among them, low energy, cold hands and feet, sluggish thinking, faulty memory, and myriad female and sexual problems. The best known iodine-deficiency disease, Lieberman and Bruning note, is goiter, "a condition in which the thyroid gland becomes enormously enlarged in an effort to compensate for insufficient hormone production." Iron. Women of childbearing age are most at risk of iron deficiency. While relatively few women actually develop anemia -- the end-stage of iron anemia, many may be iron deficient. The symptoms of both conditions are essentially the same -fatigue, poor concentration and reduced cognition, and susceptibility to colds and infections….

Selenium. Research by biochemist Gerhard Schrauzer, Ph.D., of the University of California at San Diego, established selenium as a prime contributor in defending us against various cancers: breast, colon, ovary, pancreas, and prostate. This trace mineral works closely with vitamin E as a superantioxidant to protect cell membranes. It also guards us from toxic heavy metals, stimulates the immune system, helps lower the risk of heart attack, and seems to benefit some arthritis sufferers. The most recent issue of the Nutrition Research Newsletter discusses a study conducted by the University of Arizona's Arizona Cancer Center involving 1,312 patients and their daily intake of 200 mcg of selenium. Larry Clark, Ph.D., M.P.H., led the study. Clark, and associates, found that selenium B in -- comparison with a placebo -- reduced the number of new cases of lung cancer by 48 percent, colorectal cancer by 58 percent, and prostate cancer by 63 percent. Zinc. It is often called "the sexy mineral," because it contributes to the development and function of male sex organs (especially the prostate), to fertility (including hormone metabolism, sperm formation, and sperm motility), and growth and body development. Zinc is also known for revving up the immune system, speeding wound healing, and, as an antioxidant, protecting cells against damage from free radicals. Recent research has indicated that zinc gluconate lozenges can help ease colds and flu, too. It also keeps our senses of smell and taste normal. A little-known function of zinc is revealed in the new book, The Natural Pharmacy, edited by Skye Lininger, D.C., and written by five prominent nutrition-oriented doctors, who say, "People with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM) tend to be zinc-deficient, which may impair immune function. Zinc supplements have lowered blood sugar levels in people with IDDM.... Many doctors of natural medicine recommend that people with NIDDM [non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus] supplement with moderate amounts of zinc: 15-25 mg per day as a way to correct for the deficit." So, as you can see, "Take your minerals" is very good advice, indeed.

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