3.1 The Primary Role of Minerals
In spite of the fact that the role played by minerals in human ecology is a primary one, mineral nutrition is a relatively new field of interest. In 1904, Dr. Harvey W. Wiley wrote to Otto Carque, a celebrated biochemist of that era, as follows: “I regret to say that no one in this country has undertaken a complete analysis of all of the mineral constituents of foods.” A German physician named Dr. H. Lahmann was perhaps the first scientist to direct his attention to the role played by food minerals in human nutrition. Dr. Lahmann wrote extensively on the subject in his book, “Natural Hygiene.” He was rapidly followed in his work by Carque whose outstanding book, “Rational Diet,” was printed in 1923 in this country and is still available in reprints.
Dr. Herbert M. Shelton has called minerals the real “building blocks” of the body. They are basic to the construction of bone, tissue, nerves and muscles; indeed, of every part of the body. Additionally, they are required to sustain every function of the organism. Without minerals we couldn’t move or think. They constitute our main adaptive reserves, they provide us with the means to withstand the common stresses of the day and unanticipated trauma that may come. It would be impossible to recite their manifold functions and even so, there are, undoubtedly, functions innumerable which remain hidden in the closed recesses of the human labyrinth.
Even though minerals are manifestly of great importance to life, they are probably the most neglected area of concern in the scientific community, although in recent years more and more attention is being directed to them and to the role they play in the continuing life process. Dr. Roger J. Williams, a biochemist, in his book “Nutrition Against Disease,” points out to his readers that the thesis of the work is “that the nutritional micro-environment of our body cells is crucially important to our health and deficiencies in this environment constitute a major cause of disease.” The opening chapter in this work is well worth the student’s attention. It presents an excellent critique of present medical thinking and training and the extent to which it is circumscribed by the standardization imposed upon physicians by the American Medical Association. At one point Dr. Williams points out that, “When science becomes orthodoxy, it ceases to be science.” In his emphasis on the “Nutritional Chain of Life,” Dr. Williams simply stresses what should be obvious to all: the cellular need for the entire spectrum of nutrients, known and unknown, including the primary actors in the drama of life, organic minerals.
3.2 Indoctrination of the Public
Because of the growing interest in the field of nutrition by a public disillusioned with the drug, cut, sew and stitch mentality of modern medical practice (as much as one-third being so disillusioned), certain commercial interests have issued a siren call extolling the virtues of adding minerals to a multi-vitamin intake. Such advice is forthcoming on the basis largely of animal experimentation which, as we have already observed, is usually conducted under strictly controlled circumstances on biologically unrelated test animals whose life spans are relatively short when compared to that of man. It is on the basis of this kind of encapsulated research that the public is being wooed to supplement its food intake with a varied assortment of bottled vitamins and minerals even though the experiments are obviously of too short a duration to be worthy of serious consideration.
3.3 Minerals for Humankind
The human body must obtain its minerals in the form of organic salts which are present in all foods. But not all plants are fit for human food. Food is any substance which can be used by the organism, in this case man, to make blood, formulate secretions, construct bones and ligaments and build tissues and nerves without adding anything that might prove overstimulating, exciting, irritating to the cells or destructive thereof, or obstructive to function.
Man eats his food in the form of fruits and certain vegetables which contain the necessary organic salts and then, by the sequential processes of digestion, absorption, transportation and cellular assimilation is able to reorganize them into his own organic substance suitable for growth, repair, healing and for whatever function may be in order to meet the precise needs of the moment. These complex processes are concluded with drainage whereby the metabolic waste byproducts are removed and returned to their point of origin, the soil. All of those complex processes represent the internal cycles of life, which when total and kept in proper balance are capable of maintaining cellular (and thus body) health theoretically for an indefinite period of time.
3.4 The Bio-Ecosystems
All life is divided into three biologically distinct groupings: the Animal Kingdom, the Plant Kingdom and that “in-between” grouping known as the Saprophytes which, properly, do not belong in either of the two familiar Kingdoms.
The Saprophytes take the organic refuse of the world, dead plants and animals made up of organic molecules and, by the process of metabolism, disorganize it into simpler inorganic mineral elements which are then yielded up again to the soil, thereby becoming available, in an aqueus solution, to the plant where it is processed, reorganized once again into organic molecules suitable for the maintenance of the health of the plant. Suitable warmth, mineralized water and a friendly environment are essential to the efficient performance of this part of the plant cycle.
The inorganic minerals derived from decaying dead organic life, both plant and animal, thus become once again endowed with the life element, they become once again a part of a living structure, in this case of a plant, and are assigned various positions and duties within the plant organic community. Every plant has its own special design and structure, its own peculiar assortment of organized organic molecules.
Roots have their own exact array within the organized mineral community, leaves another, the fruits
still another and so on. Seeds contain the force of life, the ability to reproduce. Together, all the parts of the plant represent the food bank of all the world’s living organisms, from the largest to the smallest, both plant and animal.
In the earth’s carefully programmed ecological sequence, animals are not designed to utilize inorganic minerals. Nor do they have the ability to utilize them in the life processes of building, repairing, healing, replication or in any function of any kind. To the contrary, animals are able to use only organic minerals as food and each species has food which is set apart for its use. Grains keep birds in, perfect health. Each morning here at the ranch we feed the many species of birds that live here: red-breasted finches and the desert owls of little size and haunting cry. They get plump and fat on our seeds and on native plants.
Man, not being a bird and lacking both a beak and a craw, cannot obtain adequate nourishment from grains (seeds). A turkey has a large gizzard and can process and then utilize enormous amounts of seeds, including nuts and the hard shells thereof. Man, on the other hand, is structurally designed to eat abundantly of ripe fruits, plus a few leafy green vegetables and perhaps some few nuts and edible seeds. Such food is suitable for humankind and all these foods are well supplied with all the minerals required to sustain him in superb health.
3.5 Inorganic Salts and Man
Inorganic minerals will be rejected by the human body and, if they cannot be, removed from the body in some way, will remain in the fluids or be deposited as a precipitate wherever convenient, thereby proving to be an impediment to efficient function. Common table salt is such an inorganic salt.
Potassium salts are sometimes prescribed for heart patients, to raise the potassium level of the blood. A temporary elevation is often obtained but, upon discontinuance of the potassium pill, the level soon falls again. Last year we had a dramatic example of the folly of taking inorganic potassium. A client came to us with a potassium blood reading of 2.0, dangerously low (5 being optimum). She had taken an inorganic potassium supplement for many months but, whenever the medication was suspended, her potassium level rapidly fell. At the time she first came to us, she was fainting six and seven times a day. She was fed properly, mainly on fruits, leafy green vegetables, plus a few nuts and an occasional baked potato (not necessary but enjoyed by this particular client) and, within a very few weeks, her potassium level rose to 4.5 and has remained there ever since without benefit of any medication of any kind. She no longer faints and has shown a remarkable resurgence of energy.
If a sufficient amount of inorganic material is taken into the system, it may settle out adding to the viscosity, the thickness, of the fluids to such an extent that, in time, the body will simply have to deposit the “sludge” wherever convenient, in arteries, in joints, around nerve synapses, in muscles causing an imbalance in the solid-fluid ratio, with a gradual stiffening and rigidity of muscles and brittleness of the bones taking place.
Table salt is inorganic. If we add table salt to our food as a condiment and then ingest that food, we may find it to be highly toxic and destructive, especially of nerve tissue.
However, as, an organic component of a healthful food such as Romaine lettuce, produced for our sustenance by the combined efforts of bacteria, soil, air, sun and the plant itself, it will be put to good use within our body. For example, organic salt could be united with free-floating acid radicals which, if left alone to do their mischief, could tear the tissues apart but, when united with sodium, contained in the food salt, are simply eliminated from the body or perhaps just rendered harmless. The salt contained in food, being an organic salt, can be used. It can help keep the body fluids clean and pure. It also forms an important component of many body secretions, the tears and gastric juices among others.
Suffice it to say that to live we require a wide variety of minerals for all kinds of purposes. We require them for all the vital processes but we must remember that the body will reject inorganic salts because it has no mechanism to use them. Not that human design is faulty. It is just that a better arrangement has been made.
Nature has developed so that the human body depends upon only naturally chelated minerals, minerals organically organized within living food molecules. It will reject the inorganic molecules because they are unusable. They contain no life. Food molecules, and especially plant food molecules, have incorporated within their complex structures the very essence of life. Man, having his own niche in the bio-ecosystems, is required to eat of the foods specifically adapted to his needs.
3.6 Chelated Minerals
Laboratory-synthesized chelated minerals have become a big thing in recent years, their “virtues” being extolled in just about every popular health magazine on the market today. Chelated minerals are minerals that have been bound to or bonded with amino acids or to a more complex protein molecule. The idea seems to encourage people to “live symptom-free, but to keep the disease.” The word is that if an individual will supplement his faulty diet with man-made chelated minerals, he will be free of his annoying symptoms.
3.7 Deficiencies and the Fallacy of Therapy by Supplementation
Hair analyses are routinely made to detect mineral “deficiencies,” as are blood readings. Unfortunately, perhaps, neither the hair nor blood is static. Their composition is always in a state of flux. But, be that as it may, many such “deficiencies” are attributed to poor digestion which, in turn, is simplistically ascribed to a lack of sufficient hydrochloric acid in the stomach. When this latter is suspected, it is the modern practice to perform the Heidelberg Gastric Analysis, a means of determining how much acid is secreted in the stomach via evaluation of radio signals sent out from a small capsule which has been swallowed, these radio signals being recorded by a special sensing device contained in a belt wrapped around the abdomen. In the event that a deficiency is recorded, the common practice is to provide in a little capsule the missing amount of hydrochloric acid. This “therapy” is intended to improve the digestion of protein and, thus, in due course, the mineral availability to the body. To ensure that the patient secures an adequate mineral intake in the interim, he continues to pop his chelated pills.
The basic fallacy of this type of “therapy” is that a lack of sufficient hydrocholoric acid in the stomach indicates a deterioration in the health of the stomach acid-producing glands, these having been enervated by multiple errors in eating and living. As a result they may be burdened down with catarrh and be incapable of efficient production. Not only are the stomach glands affected by enervation but the entire system suffers. When any part of the body is tired, overburdened with toxic waste, efficiency of function is lowered.
3.8 A Better Way
Hydrochloric acid capsules and chelated pills are not usable. They further cripple the body. Swallowing acid and popping pills is anti-health. The better way is to begin to cleanse the body, to get rid of the morbid wastes, to disorganize and remove the fat, to autolyze the cysts and the tumors and then to rebuild a healthier body, a superbly functioning organism, using all the fundamental requisites of organic existence. When this has once been accomplished, the symptoms will long since have departed, the blood and fluids will no longer be deranged or scant in supply, and they will be abundant and free-flowing, pure, and will run in their channels carrying mineral and other nutrients to service the needs of the cells.
3.9 The Law of Economy
The Law of Economy states that where there is no demand for the production of a product (secretion, etc.), the body will not produce said product. If supplements are substituted for a product which is normally the result of a life process within the body, the time will soon come when the supplemented individual will become supplement-dependent, no longer able to manufacture the product so vital to his life. Without the supplement, his health will rapidly deteriorate. No “cure” has been affected, therefore the lack will reassert itself.
When supplements are taken, the body is and will continue to be stimulated while the dosing continues. Supplement-taking cripples the system’s powers of synthesis while the internal deterioration proceeds unabated. The process can be somewhat compared to the addiction that results when so-called “hard” drugs become a way of life. After a time, the individual more often than not finds that he must have recourse to an increased mineral intake in order to obtain the same feeling of well-being. But dosing, of course, has its limits since no healing has taken place.
3.10 Imbalances Within The Body
Another point illustrates how futile it is to dose the body with this, that or the other mineral pill, chelated or not, and that is the fact that the human being must have all the nutrients present as and when required but, more than that, it must have them in their proper synergistic organization, proportions, if you will, one to another and each to all. The body will simply not put up with imbalances of any kind. In fact, when an imbalance exists, the body is in trouble and it will let us know by one method or another, by this symptom or that.
When an excess (or a deficiency) of any one material (or other nutrient) exists, an imbalance is present. Such an imbalance may cause the nutrient in question, mineral or other, to be worthless or, what is even worse, it may prove to be a handicap to the proper utilization of all the other nutrients! This is the Law of the Minimum.
Minerals are required by the living system; vitamins and enzymes are required, all the nutrients are essential to support the life systems but they must be present in a balanced synergized organic context as contained in the various food packages designed for man’s use or they are worthless. Not only worthless, in and of themselves, but the imbalance created because the system cannot fully utilize isolated man-made minerals, chelated or not, reduces the effectiveness of all of the other nutrients, including perhaps even the organic minerals that are present in the dietary intake perhaps by as much as one-half and, if other deleterious factors are also present, possibly even more.
3.11 Selenium—To Illustrate a Point
Selenium is a mineral that has come into prominence especially since the publication of Selenium, As Food and Medicine written by Dr. Richard Pass water, Ph.D., and published by Keats Publishing, Inc.
Dr. Passwater relates how important selenium is in maintaining health. The inference is certainly given that adding a little selenium to the diet may just help prevent a person’s coming down with serious diseases. Following the publicity on the attributes of selenium, health food stores were invaded by persons eager to escape all the ills of the world’s sick simply by adding a little pill containing this trace mineral.
Selenium is now included in most multivitamin and multimineral supplements. Oddly enough nothing is said about selenium’s toxicity as added to supplements in an inorganic state. And even more, little is said about how the roots of certain plants, like the many fruit trees and the alfalfa plants, have roots which penetrate down through the surface oil deep into the sub-soil where they seek out and take up dissolved minerals of all kinds, gross and trace, these to be reorganized into plant substance to sustain the plant’s specific needs. When man eats the fruit of such plants or parts thereof which are adapted to his body design, he receives all the minerals he can use, including the trace mineral selenium.
Fruits, the product of trees and vines, are the best of all foods just because their root systems are far-reaching and deep-searching. When fruits are formulated they contain within their rich goodness, all that man requires to live in health. Fed by the soil and air, they are man’s finest food. When vegetables and a limited amount of nuts or edible seeds are also occasionally eaten, fruits will amply fulfill man’s nutrient needs.
3.12 Minerals as a Nutrient
As we have previously noted, minerals are one of a group of nutrients. They are a part of every cell, tissue, organ and system of the body. They are especially concentrated in the bones, teeth, hair and nails. Without minerals, the alkalinity of the blood and other fluids of the body would be in extreme jeopardy because a correct mineral presence is required not only to sustain this alkalinity but also the viscosity (the stickiness, fluidity) and the salinity (saltiness) of all systemic fluids.
Minerals serve to detoxify the system whenever solid wastes threaten it. Therefore, whenever the human organism has a full complement of minerals, all readily available at the required time, it is protected against decay and rot. The proper concentration of mineral salts in the interstitial fluids keeps cellular membranes from bursting and spilling forth cellular contents. The proper proportion of mineral to mineral keeps the plasma membranes and cell walls intact with full selective power, the ability to accept or reject nutritive material as it passes by in smorgasbord style, offered up by the fluids as they journey on their course to every cell within the organic domain. These membranes also retain the ability to pass all obstructive debris which by its presence could disrupt cellular activity through and out of the cell.
Let us briefly explore another aspect of mineral balance. We have already pointed out that the blood
and other fluids must keep a rather carefully prescribed quota of minerals at all times to maintain rather narrow parameters of pH (alkalinity). If the pH varies even minutely, sickness and even death can follow, and quite rapidly. In order to keep the pH stable, the homeostatic mechanisms of the body will take from those organs which are adequately provided with the minerals the system requires to perform specific duties and to take whatever amount is needed to continue the life process. The body makes the best use of its resources.
The mineral selected most often is calcium, this being in time of grave need, rudely obtained from the teeth (producing caries) bones (leading to sponging, osteoporosis). That mineral deficiencies are widespread is evidenced by the fact that over 99 percent of Americans have one or more dental caries and most persons over the age of 50 give evidence of osteoporosis. Taking calcium supplements which are inorganic cannot solve this problem. Rather, supplements may lead to faulty systemic managements, not only of calcium but also of other minerals according to the Law of the Minimum, demonstrating again how poorly the body can tolerate imbalances of any kind.