by Steven Horne, RH(AHG)
When we think of health, we usually don’t think of dirt. But dirt, or soil, is the primary factor in maintaining our nutritional health because all of our food comes from the earth. Since our bodies are literally composed of the “dust of the earth,” meaning minerals, healthy bodies are connected to healthy soil. If any element is missing from the soil, then it will be missing from the foods we eat and as a result, we will not be properly nourished.
Unfortunately, our commercial methods of agriculture are not only depleting the soil of precious trace minerals, they are also destroying the ability of plants to be able to utilize those elements. Hence, our food is nutritionally deficient right from the start. To make matters worse, our food gets refined and more of its nutritional content is removed in the process.
While there are still those diehards in the medical community who preach the old dogma that supplements aren’t necessary if you eat a “balanced diet,” it is nonetheless a fact that animal feeds ALL contain nutritional supplements. Agricultural experts recognize that farmers must supplement animal feeds. They know that the grain and other foodstuffs do not contain enough nutrients to maintain healthy livestock without adding supplements. If animals can’t stay healthy eating our modern crops, how can human beings?
Modern Chemical Farming
How did this happen? Here’s the scoop. Prior to the 1800s, farmers all over the world fertilized their crops with organic material. However, in the previous century, a well-meaning chemist burned plant material and analyzed the ashes, which remained. He discovered that the ashes were primarily composed of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and erroneously concluded that these were the minerals plants required to grow. Unfortunately, he lacked the equipment to detect the minute amounts of other minerals present in the plant ashes which are also needed for plant growth. Irregardless, the modern N, P, K fertilizers were born.
When farmers started applying these three elements to their soil, they did get bigger yields at first. However, with repeated use, problems began to arise. This was because the soil was gradually being depleted of its trace minerals.
As the soil became depleted the plants were not as healthy. Insect damage and disease increased. But instead of adding organic matter to the soil to correct the mineral imbalances, chemistry was there to “correct” these problems with herbicides, fungicides and pesticides. Unfortunately, these chemicals compound the problem.
When plants have the minerals they need, then they are able to produce chemicals such as volatile oils, saponins, tannins, etc. which protect them against insect damage and disease. These are also considered the “active components” of herbs. The fact that “medicinal” herbs contain higher percentages of these chemicals than ordinary foods suggests that these chemicals are essential to immune system function in human beings. The fact that they are produced as a part of the plant’s immune system gives credence to the idea that plants with strong immune systems provide the nutrition that people and animals need for strong immune systems.
Balance is the key to mineral utilization in the body. For example, an overabundance of calcium tends to depress the uptake of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Too much phosphorus or magnesium depressed calcium. So taking too much calcium (or any other mineral) can through your body out of balance. Hence, it is best not to take large amounts of single minerals. It’s better to use more balanced sources.
Mineral Supplements for Everyone
Nature’s Sunshine has some great mineral supplements. Mineral Chi Tonic, a blend of colloidal minerals with adaptagenic herbs has helped many people improve their overall health while reducing stress levels and increasing energy.
Nature’s Sunshine’s latest addition to their mineral line is Ionic Minerals with Acai. This blend contains about 70 trace minerals that are ionically charged for better absorption and utilization. This blend also contains the popular antioxidant Acai berry for reducing free radical damage in the body
One of my personal favorites for mineral supplementation is an herbal blend called HSN-W. The herbs in this formula supply easily utilized calcium, silica, manganese, potassium and other trace minerals for healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, joints, teeth and nerves. The herbs in this blend also help maintain cognitive function as you age, making it a great anti-aging supplement.
If you have problems with your hair, skin, nails, joints, muscles or connective tissues, you probably need minerals. Minerals are also necessary for enzyme systems in the liver to work correctly. They even help your body synthesize neurotransmitters and hormones. So, when looking for supplements to improve your health, don’t forget to mind your minerals.