Have you been keeping track of the minerals in your diet? Did you know that having sufficient levels of minerals in your diet is a part of good health and a good way to prevent disease? And did you know, that if you drink a lot of water each day, you may be mineral deficient?
Minerals are often overlooked as a vital part of a balanced diet. The American lifestyle and diet further jeopardizes mineral levels. The modern American diet is not a great source for minerals. This is in part due to our mineral-impoverished soil. In addition, we dilute out the minerals we have with all the liquids we consume. Drinking water is good and necessary, but be aware that if you drink a lot of water (especially in the hot summer months), that all that water actually dilutes out the minerals in your body. Add to that, some common prescription drugs can cause the loss of minerals.
Let’s look at why minerals are so important. The body is remarkable. It takes certain minerals and actually turns them into what it needs to function efficiently. Our job is to make sure we are providing the body with the essential building blocks to do this. There are a few key minerals that are essential to the body and when those are present, the body can make what it needs. Let me illustrate this through some interesting studies done on hens and calcium.
The hens were placed on an exclusively oats-only diet. The amount of calcium in the oats was measured before the hens were fed. And then the amount of calcium in the feces and the eggs laid by the hens was measured. The results were surprising: the hens excreted 5 times the amount of calcium they ate! How did these hens create calcium? In Brittany, France, an area devoid of limestone (calcium carbonate), chickens lay eggs with calcium carbonate shells. The chicks are born with hard bones which, as we know, are made of calcium. But where does the calcium come from? Scientists examined the dirt the hens ate and found that it contained pieces of mica, which comes from granite. Mica is potassium silicate. When the chickens were killed, the scientists found sand (silicon dioxide) in their gizzards. The scientists were able to conclude that the chickens used silicon, to which was added carbon or potassium, to which was added hydrogen, which finally made calcium!
A common assumption is that if we injest calcium, we are able to build strong bones. Hen studies have given us great insight into this assumption. These studies have shown that feeding chickens calcium actually produces weak, fragile egg shells. Whereas, chickens that peck on the ground for mica have hard shells. Interesting and significant. The American diet has so much calcium in it, that osteoporosis should never be problem. However, osteoporosis is at epidemic levels!
Prof. Kervan, a scientist, has shown that broken bones heal slowly and poorly when given large amounts of calcium. However, when magnesium and silicon are given, bones heal rapidly. This is called “transmutation”. The body, with a few basic elements such as iodine, chromium, cobalt, sodium and chloride, can produce elements it will need to optimize itself. A diet stripped of salt, leaves the body incapable of maintaining itself, and as a result, bones decalcify.
Here are a few examples of how the body takes some basic elements and ends up with something else:
- sodium and oxygen gives potassium
- magnesium and oxygen gives calcium
- manganese and hydrogen gives iron
Some common prescription drugs can cause the loss of trace minerals. Diuretics such as Lasix or HCTZ cause minerals to be depleted. The new drugs we use for gastric reflux disease (Nexium, for example) can have a detrimental impact on the body. They are designed to decrease the production of stomach acid. By doing this, the body’s ability to balance its pH is impaired and the body becomes more acidic. With an increase in acid, the body’s cells become starved for oxygen. To overcome this, the body goes to the bones and takes out calcium to make calcium bicarbonate to try to balance its pH. When the bones are being robbed of calcium, they become brittle. It is for this reason that patients on these newer reflux drugs are seeing an increase in osteoporosis.
It is for these reasons that I have really been stressing that my patients take a good mineral supplement. My patients have experienced healthy benefits because of this. Read your labels and look for the minerals. Add them to your water. Use Himalayan salt or sea salt. Your body will thank you.