We have a health crisis in the developed countries, despite an abundance of food. What is making us sick: the stuff we’re putting in or the stuff we’re not putting in? The answer is both.
We can do cleanses and avoid environmental toxins and eat clean - people are talking about that a lot.
But what about what we’re missing? With the abundance of food and the obesity epidemic, can it be that we’re sick because we’re missing something in our food?
The truth is, one of the reasons we are sick is that we aren’t getting the minerals we need. The food we are eating doesn't have the minerals it used to.
Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped nutrients from the soil.
A landmark study by a team of researchers at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin was published in December 2004 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They studied USDA nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits. They found “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and vitamin C over the past 50 years .
Another study, performed by UCLA in 1997 compared samples of spinach taken from 1953 to samples of spinach taken from the same plot of land in 1997. The researchers found that one would have to eat 43 bowls of 1997 spinach to get the same nutrients contained in one bowl of 1953 spinach.
During the 44 years that elapsed since 1953, spinach’s mineral content dropped significantly:
Potassium dropped by 53 percent.
Phosphorus by 70 percent.
Iron by 60 percent.
Copper by 96 percent.
How did this happen?
Plants take minerals from the soil and build the complex compounds they need to survive and grow. They use active transport to get the minerals from the soil via the carrier molecules on the root hair cells .
Mostly not water-soluble, minerals are rocks and they must be broken down by organic process in order to participate in the plants’ uptake process. Minerals are broken down in the soil via bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa in the soil through a biological process called mineralization. All nutrients must undergo mineralization before they can be used by plants .
In other words, microorganisms must be present in the soil for rock to be broken down into small enough molecules to hitch a ride on the plants’ root hair cells and make their way into the plant.
What if the soil does not have enough microorganisms perform the mineralization?
Plants don’t reach their true potential. Humans who eat these plants don’t get enough minerals and then get sick.
When we started using pesticides at scale, the mineral content in our food went down, at scale. Why?
In the 1940s wartime pressures and economic conditions forced farmers to become more productive. Farm productivity jumped from .4% annual growth to 2% annual growth around 1940 . The growth in farm productivity coincided with the discovery of of DDT, BHC, aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, chlordane, parathion, captan and 2,4-D. These products were cheap and effective at killing slugs, beetles, insects and other pests that inhibited farm productivity. DDT was the most popular, because of its broad-spectrum activity .
These pesticides kill more than just crop pests. They kill the microorganisms that live in the soil and enable plants to reach their true potential. Some of these deficiencies are apparent enough to hurt the marketability of the crop. Most, however, are not visible to the shopper's or even the farmer's eye, and the crop is shipped to market deficient as it is. Humans buy at the market, ingest the plants and are not getting the minerals they need for optimal health.
Although humans need at a minimum of twenty minerals (over sixty have been found in the body), most plants can be grown with only the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds . If other minerals necessary for human health are reduced in the soil, the plant can (and will) grow without them. This means, though, that constantly farming the same ground can result in the reduction of some of the essential minerals we as humans require for optimal health .
Let’s stop and summarize. Pesticides kill the microorganisms that break down minerals in the soil, which prevents plants from reaching their true potential, which prevents humans from getting all the minerals they need. Which is making us sick.
Many people are buying organic to avoid putting the actual pesticide in their bodies. Because if pesticides kill little animals, enough pesticide over time can kill big animals too, right? Eating organic produce is smart. We should all do it. You can wash the produce but washing doesn’t remove all the pesticides , so organic is the way to go.
Eat organic and problem solved, right? Wrong.
Turns out that organic produce does not have more nutrients than produce grown with pesticides. According to studies performed independently by Stanford and WSU, there is no “strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. The study study narrowly defines “nutritious” as containing more nutrients. However it points out that organic foods have significantly more antioxidants and that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria .
Organic foods are better for antioxidants and for avoiding exposure to pesticides, but they do not contain more nutrients than non-organic foods.
If we can’t get all the minerals we need from our food, what should we do
Okay, eat organic and supplement and problem solved, right? Well, yes, but only with the right kind of supplements.
Turns out, most minerals on the market today are just industrially processed rock. Humans don’t eat rock for a reason - we can’t digest rock! Yes, your local vitamin store minerals are really just expensive pee.
You need bioavailable minerals.
Plants, or supplements only made from plants, are the most bioavailable form of mineral supplement for humans. Plants are designed to ingest and break-down minerals, humans are not. Humans need to eat plant or animals that have already done the work to the mineral to make it bioavailable. This is the food chain!
Since humans can’t eat rocks, they need their minerals to be bioavailable in the food. The bioavailability of minerals is subject to a complex set of influences and is dependent upon protein chaperones (chelation) and other factors only contained in food. Unfortunately most mineral supplements are just industrially processed rocks. They are natural but they are still rocks - natural food for plants, but not a natural food for humans.
So do I have to eat 43 bowls of spinach a day to get the potassium, phosphorus, iron and copper I need?
Nope, and most people couldn’t do that anyway - even if they had an organic spinach farm in their backyard! The good news is that you can find minerals on the market that are 99.9% bioavailable: angstrom sized minerals.
Angstrom? Angstrom is a unit of length equal to one ten-billionth of a meter.
Human cells absorb minerals through the cell wall if the minerals are small enough, angstrom sized to be specific. Pretty small - orders of magnitude smaller than industrially processed rock. If the human cell was the size of the period at the end of this sentence, the minerals on the shelf at your local vitamin shop are as big as a basketball. So those vitamin store minerals are not making their way into the cell and our bodies are not building healthy cells.
Angstrom minerals, on the other hand, are smaller than a human cell, which is about 15 angstroms in size and are easily absorbed via the cell wall.
The discovery of angstrom minerals represents a quantum leap in nutrition. They are 99.9% bioavailable and enter the cells directly, bypassing the entire digestive process. There are a few sources on the planet that provide a natural supply of angstrom sized minerals. There is one in Utah near the Great Salt Lake and there is another one in Montana, which is a rich preserve of geologic history.
Find a company that offers angstrom sized minerals, take those minerals daily with your food. , and you’ll be surprised and what ailments start to disappear and what kind of optimum health you begin to enjoy.
Wouldn’t it be great to bring this simple health solution to the world? With the health crisis in this country, why isn’t everyone adding bioavailable minerals to their diet?
I’m on a mission to change that. If you care about someone who isn’t feeling their best, send them a link to this blog post. You can also visit my lifestyle page for more information about reclaiming your true health potential.
Schumann K, et al. Bioavailability of oral vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals in perspective. Arzneimittelforshcung 1997;47(4):369-380
Schroeder HA. The Trace Elements and Man. Devin-Adair, New Greenwich (CT), 1973
Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA. Nutrition and health in relation to food production and processing. Nutr Health, 1994;9(4):237-253