View Full Version : Our Disappearing Minerals and Their Vital Health Role

09-27-11, 08:51 AM
By Tony Isaacs (http://www.healthiertalk.com/users/dquixote1217) on 09/25/2011

"In the absence of minerals, vitamins have no function. Lacking vitamins, the system can make use of the minerals, but lacking minerals vitamins are useless." - Dr. Charles Northern, researcher and MD
Dating back to the beginning of last century mineral depletion in our soils, and thus in the food we eat, has been horrendous - and it has gotten much worse in recent decades, as we strip the top eight feet of soil throughout the world of the vital major minerals and up to 80 trace minerals that man has adapted to for thousands of years and which are needed for optimum health.
The way nature works in a more or less "natural" state is that tree roots go deep in the soil and bring up vital minerals that are replaced as the trees die and decompose. In addition, animals that eat and contain the minerals themselves die and decompose and are returned to the soil. Similarly, animal and human waste matter is returned to the soil.
In modern times, we have disrupted the natural cycle of mineral replenishment by clear-cutting the forests and trees to make crop land, removing most of the waste and dead animals, and we have over-farmed virtually all of our soil without allowing time for micro-organisms to convert the remaining minerals into usable forms for plants. Thanks to the advent of petro-chemical fertilizers in 1908, we have mostly returned to the soil only petroleum derived nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus - which produce lush growth but nutrient-poor plants.
To make matters worse, we have applied pesticides and herbicides that have killed off vital micro-organisms which help convert remaining soil minerals to usable forms.
Thanks to the extended use of fertilizers and "maximum yield" mass farming methods the soil in the North American continent has had an average of 85% mineral depletion over the past 100 years - the worst of any other country in the world.
The end result is that a bowl of spinach most of us eat today contains perhaps 1/8th the nutrition of the bowl our grandparents and great grandparents ate. Thus it is no surprise that most of us are deficient in one or more essential minerals. A primary example is magnesium, It is estimated that anywhere from 70 to 95 percent of us are deficient in magnesium and the health consequences are enormous. Magnesium plays a role in no fewer than 300 body processes and magnesium deficiency has been linked to a wide variety of illnesses.
The role of minerals and human health is immense, yet seldom recognized. Two times Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling went so far as to state unequivocally "You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment to a mineral deficiency."
I, for one, do not think it is much of an overstatement, because minerals are the most basic of building blocks for proper nutrition and health. Quite simply, without minerals, nothing else works. Amino acids and enzymes don't work and so vitamins and other nutrients don't get broken down and absorbed properly and we end up with major deficiencies in both vitamins and minerals. The end result is a chain reaction of poor health where nothing works as it should.
Another major area where mineral deficiency manifests itself, in addition to poor health and immune system support, is obesity. Similar to the cats and dogs one sees eating grass when they instinctively know they are either deficient in vitamins and minerals or need extra ones to combat an illness or infection, I believe that the human body also sends such instinctive signals at times that it is missing vital nutrients, but we no longer recognize what it is our bodies are telling us and where to find what we need to silence the signals.
Such confused signals often lead to cravings oftentimes, and so we eat and eat to try to satisfy them, but what we really crave is missing nutrition. Instead of turning to a nutritious diet or other healthy way to furnish minerals (such as supplementing with plant derived minerals from sea plants or from the prehistoric clays in Utah), we turn to the SADS diet, fast foods, nuked meals, sweets, junk food, etc. often to no avail. Perhaps many of us can relate to that familiar quandary of eating and eating to the point of being gorged, and yet still feeling hungry for "something". That something may very often be minerals!

About the author

Tony Isaacs is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including Cancer's Natural Enemy. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life (http://www.tbyil.com/) website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup (http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/oleandersoup/) Health group of over 2000 members and the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May" (http://www.curezone.com/forums/f.asp?f=861) forum.


09-27-11, 11:03 AM
The message may not be new, but he explains it very clearly. Good article Islander.

12-21-11, 11:56 PM
On studying about Brix meters, and searching and finding only Mellowsong's and Aaltrude's coverage of that device in HH, http://www.hawkeshealth.net/community/showthread.php?t=5192&highlight=Brix

I also read about Carey Reams who pioneered its use for food testing (as opposed to wine testing) and how he was influenced by Dr. Charles Northern mentioned in the original post here. So I decided to add a little more on Northern, as he broke important ground in the science of soil augmentation in this country, and the whole subject of optimizing food quality intrigues me. Here's some information from this article that shows he was one unusual Medical Doctor and NOT under the influence of big Pharma:

Carey A. Reams, D. Sc. (1904-1985), owned an agricultural consulting service in Orlando from the late 1920’s to the late 1960’s when he took up teaching full time. Although servicing mainly the citrus industry, the company provided high-level consulting to dozens of other crops.

Reams was deeply influenced by the work of Dr. Charles Northern, an Alabama physician who stridently protested against the mineral poor food that clogged commercial channels and markets. Northern entered history when his powerful health-is-dependent-on-minerals research, as recorded by Rex Beach in an article in Cosmopolitan, was read into U. S. Senate testimony. Yes, this is the famous 1936 Senate Document No. 264 that is so widely quoted by hucksters selling liquid minerals. Sadly, those hucksters rarely bother to mention that humans are designed to get their minerals from food, not inorganic solutions. Perhaps we should revisit parts of the original article and see what wisdom we can glean.

Rex Beach speaking…

He [Northern] asked himself how foods could be used intelligently in the treatment of disease, when they differed so widely in content. The answer seemed to be that they could not be used intelligently. In establishing the fact that serious deficiencies existed and in searching out the reasons therefore, he made an extensive study of the soil. It was he who first voiced the surprising assertion that we must make soil building the basis of food building in order to accomplish human building.

"Bear in mind," says Dr. Northern, "that minerals are vital to human metabolism and health - and that no plant or animal can appropriate to itself any mineral which is not present in the soil upon which it feeds."

"When I first made this statement I was ridiculed, for up to that time people had paid little attention to food deficiencies and even less to soil deficiencies. Men eminent in medicine denied there was any such thing as vegetables and fruits that did not contain sufficient minerals for human needs. Eminent agricultural authorities insisted that all soil contained all necessary minerals. They reasoned that plants take what they need, and that it is the function of the human body to appropriate what it requires. Failure to do so, they said was a symptom of disorder."

"We know that vitamins are complex chemical substances which are indispensable to nutrition, and that each of them is of importance for the normal function of some special structure in the body. Dis-order and disease result from any vitamin deficiency."

"It is not commonly realized, however, that vitamins control the body’s appropriation of minerals, and in the absence of minerals they have no function to perform. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless."

Neither does the layman realize that there may be a pronounced difference in both foods and soils - to him one vegetable, one glass of milk, or one egg is about the same as another.

"Dirt is dirt, too, and our layman assumes that by adding a little fertilizer to it, a satisfactory vegetable or fruit can be grown."

"The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren’t worth eating, as food....

Some of our lands, even in a virgin state, never were well balanced in mineral content, and unhappily for us, we have been systematically robbing the poor soils and the good soils alike of the very substance most necessary to health, growth, long life, and resistance to disease. Up to the time I began experimenting, almost nothing had been done to make good the theft.

"The more I studied nutritional problems and the effects of mineral deficiencies upon disease, the more plainly I saw that here lay the most direct approach to better health, and the more important it became in my mind to find a method of restoring those missing minerals to our foods.

"The subject interested me so profoundly that I retired from active medical practice and for a good many years now I have devoted myself to it."

The results obtained by Dr. Northern are outstanding. By putting back into foods the stuff that foods are made of, he has proved himself to be a real miracle man of medicine, for he has opened up the shortest and most rational route to better health.

When Dr. Northern first asserted that many foods were lacking in mineral content and that this deficiency was due solely to an absence of those elements in the soil, his findings were challenged and he was called a crank. But differences of opinion in the medical profession are not uncommon - it was only 60 years ago that the Medical Society of Boston passed a resolution condemning the use of bathtubs – and he persisted in his assertion that inasmuch as foods did not contain what they were supposed to contain, no physician could with certainty prescribe a diet to overcome physical ills.

He showed that the textbooks are not dependable because many of the analyses in them were made many years ago, perhaps from products raised in virgin soils, whereas our soils have been constantly depleted. Soil analyses, he pointed out, reflect only the content of samples. One analysis may be entirely different from another made 10 miles away.

"And so what?" came the query.

Dr. Northern undertook to demonstrate that something could be done about it. By reestablishing a proper soil balance he actually grew crops that contained an ample amount of the desired minerals.

This was incredible. It was contrary to the books and it upset everything connected with diet practice. The scoffers began to pay attention to him. Recently the Southern Medical Association, realizing the hopelessness of trying to remedy nutritional deficiencies without positive factors to work with, recommended a careful study to determine the real mineral content of foodstuffs and the variations due to soil depletion in different locations. These progressive medical men are awake to the importance of prevention.

Dr. Northern went even further and proved that crops grown in a properly mineralized soil were bigger and better; that seeds germinated quicker, grew more rapidly and made larger plants; that trees were healthier and put on more fruit of better quality.

By increasing the mineral content of citrus fruit he likewise improved its texture, its appearance and its flavor.

He experimented with a variety of growing things, and in every case the story was the same. By mineralizing the feed at poultry farms, he got more and better eggs; by balancing pasture soils, he produced richer milk. Persistently he hammered home to farmers, to doctors, and to the general public the thought that life depends upon the minerals.

12-22-11, 12:50 AM
Seemingly the debate continues between those who insist that conventional food supplies all our nutritional needs and those, like Dr. Northern, a man ahead of his time, who pointed out what Stoneharbor has summarized above. Members here will take it for granted, but there is still a huge deluded population that thinks vitamins and minerals are a colossal waste of money, and fail to take into consideration that sorry depleted condition of our soils. Meanwhile the animal manure that could do so much to return organic matter and fertility to our soils, is collected and stored as waste in "lagoons" that periodically contaminate groundwater, drinking water, rivers and the ocean itself.

Northern must have been researching and writing about the same time as Dr. Weston Price. (My copy of Price is out on loan, can't check dates). I wonder whether they were aware of each other?

12-22-11, 12:54 AM
Thank you Julieanne and Stoneharbor. The timing is great too. I just watched a movie called Ingredients via netflixs today which is a documentary about local farming. Funny enough, there was a discussion on the importance of healthy soil. One farmer talked about how farming revolves around creating healthy soil first with growing food as a second thought. It make so much sense that we eat whatever the thing we are eating has eaten (am I talking in circles?). If vegetables are grown on a junk food diet it stands to reason their nutritional value will be sub par. I do believe however, you are still way better off cooking meals from whole sub par foods rather than eating a SAD diet. I say this because I have heard people using the idea that food is not as nutritious as an excuse to give up on trying to eat in a healthy manner at all.

12-22-11, 02:09 AM
I've thought of putting some of this discussion under the "organic" heading, but I think it is really still proper to leave it under minerals.

It won't be easy to measure even a significant number of the minerals, let alone determine a proper balance of them in a particular soil / climate / humus / pH environment, to come up with what will optimize the food grown from that soil.

As stated in this contribution in SoilandHealth: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/soilandhealth/message/29956

"Dr Arden Anderson has proposed a 4 element process for determining food quality which hopefully I'm remembering correctly.

1. Certified organic (to prevent poison residues and GMO)

2. Plant mineral profiles equal to or better (150%?) than those measured by the USDA in the 1940s.

3. High ORAC values (anti-oxidants)

4. High Brix consistent with Reams' scale

"The down side of Dr. Anderson's method would appear to be cost (mineral profile and ORAC testing) and timeliness.

"Others (Albrechtians?) have suggested that the only real way to answer the quality question is with feeding studies. Again cost and timeliness would seem to be issues as well as the question of whether the animal species used for the feeding test really correlates with expected human results."

That is just the original post. There was more under that thread.

But moving on, since there may be some more interest in what Carey Reams began with his use of the refractometer to give what are now known as "Brix Measurements", there is getting to be a lot out there on the internet about this. Cattlemen and especially dairy farmers are finding it very handy for optimizing milk production from range-fed cattle.

It seems that the measurements must be taken very carefully to have any relevance, as say, the sugar content of grasses changes by the hour of the day, and that is mostly what is measured, day-to-day, or month-to-month with brix. However, if you measure exactly the same variety of plant (grass, vegetable, weed, etc.) at exactly the same time of day, one year to the next, the difference in the brix measurement can be affected by what you've done to the available mineral content of the soil. So brix can be a very cheap, quick way for one to measure what they are doing to the nutritional content of, say, vegetables. But it will just be measuring an overall increase or decrease in minerals, and not specific minerals.

But if you want to measure the difference in what you just picked from your garden and what you just picked up off the grocer's shelf, it will do that too. It's generally accepted that the higher the brix reading, the tastier and more healthy the food will be. But how much is due to sugar content and how much is due to mineral content, the brix measurement won't tell you.

Here is a whole on-line book on Brix: http://highbrixhome.com/brix-book.html (http://highbrixhome.com/brix-book.html)

A simple rule though: Brix may tell you how healthy your crop is, but if your crop tests LOW Brix or HIGH Brix, it will give you no indication of what minerals are needed in your soil, or what you may have too much of. It is not a substitute for testing the minerals in your soil before you begin to amend the soil. And an over-supply of a mineral to the soil is a worse mistake than an under-supply, in that it is not easily corrected. So there is no evading the need to soil-test if you have any thought of improving your soil.

12-28-11, 10:24 AM
At one of our Transition Town* meetings, a local farmer commented on the different brix reading between his own tomatoes and those grown by a large but local hydroponic greenhouse operation. As Stoneharebor points out, though, the brix reading may tell you your tomato is more nutritious but not exactly why.

To home gardeners: the best resource I am aware of for testing soils is the county Cooperative Extension Service of your state university. For a reasonable fee ($15-20), they will give you a complete soil analysis along with recommendations as to type and quantity of soil amendments to apply.

* Transition Towns are part of a network of local groups working on creating a future independent of fossil fuels. Google Transition Towns for details.

12-28-11, 10:41 AM
See article on fulvic acid. This also explains some of the differences. http://www.hawkeshealth.net/community/showthread.php?t=8474&highlight=fulvic+acid