Health Damaging Mineral Difficiencies: Why Most People Have Them and What to do About it

Minerals are the building blocks of life, and in today’s society, agriculturally dominated by “mono-cropping” and the widespread use of pesticides and fertilizers, many people have severe mineral deficiencies which are adversely affecting their health. Most people know that food is composed of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, and many people are also aware of the presence of other nutrients such as Vitamin C in their food. An additional component to our food which some people may not be aware of are minerals, which we probably all remember from the periodic table of elements studied in chemistry class.

I never realized how important minerals are to so many different biological processes in the human body until relatively recently. I was like most people and lumped minerals together in my mind with vitamins. As I have discovered, these is major difference between the two and actually without the proper trace minerals present in the body, vitamins become completely obsolete! [1]

Why Our Bodies Need Minerals.

There are 118 elements known to man and the human body needs many of these elements--most of them in only trace amounts--to properly function. [2] Every second inside the body there are billions of tiny chemical reactions taking place. For example, cells breath just like humans do and there are a lot of chemical reaction that take place to make this happen. Without the mineral phosphorus for example, the process of cellular respiration would be impossible. [3]

Without the proper amounts of trace minerals the body cannot for example maintain healthy bones or effectively regulate transmissions between nerve cells. [4] So plain and simple, without minerals our bodies cannot operate efficiently! The question then arises, where are we supposed to get these minerals from? In past centuries we would have received them from our food, however, because of the current soil conditions on the planet, most people are only getting three minerals from their diet. Yes, that’s correct, most people are only getting three minerals in the proper amounts from their diet of the many which are required to maintain a balanced body.

Why Minerals Aren’t In Our Food.

How is this possible? There are two major reasons for this and they both relate to the agricultural industry. The tendency in the agricultural industry is to grow one crop at a time on a specific area of land, typically referred to as a mono-crop. Farming mono-crops is easier and cheaper for farmers because different species of crops need to be planted and harvested at different times. Different species of plants also have unique water requirements and require different levels of exposure to sunlight. Because of this, managing many crops at once on the same tract of land would require a lot more work. There is also an art and a science to planting crops in the correct groups, which can facilitate symbiotic relationships. This art has been lost to the practices of modern agriculture.  [5] [6]

The major issue with mono-cropping  is that it completely goes against nature. In nature we see a vast array of plants and animals living in the same space. There exist complex and symbiotic relationships between all of these species which contribute to soil fertility. Without going into too much detail, each plant, animal, insect and micro-organism, play a part in the system. A simple example of this is that plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and emit oxygen for humans to breath. These types of symbiotic relationships exist everywhere in nature. [5] [6]

The point is that when there is only one crop on a piece of land such as corn, and on top of this pesticides are being sprayed which kill insects and microorganisms, the symbiotic relationships which create healthy topsoil are destroyed. To “fix” the issues created by monocropping, humans invented fertilizers.

Most people know that fertilizers are used on farms to boost productivity of crops and enhance soil. These fertilizers tend to contain primarily three minerals, which are N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus), and K (Potassium), commonly referred to as NPK. [7] This is because these three minerals alone will make crops look healthy and colorful. The problem is that these three minerals by themselves do not create healthy and natural topsoil and as a result, most crops end up only containing NPK at the proper levels.  This leads to crop yields which look attractive, but are mostly void of real nutritional value. Some farms do use other minerals in addition to NPK but typically still fail to create truly healthy topsoil. The conditions for healthy topsoil and crops require a biodiverse environment as well as an abundance of minerals in the soil. [5] [6]

How We can get the Minerals That we Need.

So the point about all of this is that even if we are eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables, chances are the crops were grown in soil pumped up with fertilizers containing NPK and are nearly void of most of the minerals that our body needs. Many of us have had the experience of eating a meal and still feeling hungry soon afterward. This is our body trying to communicate with us! Our body is saying, “Hey, thanks for that, but where is the rest of the stuff I need? Where are all of the minerals?!”

Accepting this can be overwhelming and could lead to thoughts such as, “Geez! It’s hard enough to eat fruits and vegetables and now I find out that even if I do, I’m still not going to be healthy?” These were the exact thoughts I was having when I originally came across this information so don’t worry because there is a simple solution to this problem!

There are a wide array of mineral supplements available on the market today. Mineral supplements are different than vitamins and this is an important point. Look for supplements which contain a high amount of minerals derived from a natural source. Soon after beginning to take mineral supplements many people notice a drastic decrease in food cravings. I know I did!

Minerals also facilitate in the absorption of vitamins, and actually without minerals, vitamins are basically obsolete because minerals are needed to facilitate the chemical reactions which allow them to do their job! [1] [8] One of the best mineral supplements I have found is called TRC minerals and can be purchased on Amazon. This brand contains 75 trace minerals derived from fossilized plant matter. The bottle will last one month, which equates to a cost of about 50 cents a day! By supplementing our diets with minerals we are taking a major step towards increasing our vitality and overall health.

Certified Organic Doesn’t Mean What we Think it Does.

But what about organic vegetables and herbs? Don’t these contain enough of the minerals that we need? The answer is maybe, but probably not. “Certified organic” does not mean what a lot of people think that it does. In fact, there are a long list of chemicals which can be legally used on farms today which are “certified organic”. [9] These chemicals damage topsoil and contribute to crops being depleted of vital minerals. The strongest correlation contributing to healthy or unhealthy crop yields is the size of the farming operation itself.

Larger commercial farms tend to use more pesticides, rotate their crops less and practice mono-cropping almost exclusively. Smaller local farms, which might not even be “certified organic” because the certification process itself is highly costly, tend to practice more sustainable farming. The best of these small farms, although they are very rare, use “biodynamic” regenerative farming techniques which help to facilitate and recreate the symbiotic relationships existing in nature, creating much higher quality crops which actually do contain enough of the minerals our bodies need. [5] [6]

The main takeaway here, on top of taking mineral supplements, since most people do not have access to “biodynamic” crops, is to always try to buy from local farmers whose crops are usually higher in quality compared to commercial operations. There are other health benefits of fruits and vegetables such as fiber so knowing that our produce might be low in mineral content does not mean we should drop fruits and vegetables from our diet altogether.

For me seeking out farmers markets and actually talking with the men and women who grow my food has helped me develop a closer relationship with what I’m eating. This heightened awareness about where our food comes from is something anyone interested in a healthy lifestyle should try to cultivate. When buying locally we have the opportunity to actually communicate with our farmers. We can tell them that we don’t want pesticides in our foods, and that we want foods rich in minerals and grown using sustainable practices.