I had an epiphany the other day: so many health problems can be linked to deficiencies of minerals. Minerals help with building and maintaining body structures (muscles, tendon, bones); regulating digestion and circulation; and activating enzymatic processes that support your immune and endocrine systems. Even though they are small parts in our overall composition, they are absolutely essential.
So why are mineral deficiencies so common now? This was my big light-bulb moment:
- Because we no longer eat food that is dirty. Our food is almost ridiculously devoid of any dirt. And we really don’t want to be eating our “modern” dirt, anyway. Whereas thousands of years ago, particles of dirt on your food may benefit your health, now you’re probably eating more chemicals than anything. Chemicals we are not deficient in!
- Our water is filtered. This is good and I highly recommend filtering your water because (as in #1) our modern supply is full of … chemicals! Now instead of getting a nice dose of calcium, iron, and sulfer, you get flouride, synthetic hormones, and antibiotics. Yummy. So yes, we filter, but at the loss of valuable trace minerals.
- We don’t eat as much seafood. And again, it is not usually recommended to eat a lot of seafood because of the … chemicals. Mercury to be precise. Farm raised fish is questionable; we don’t know what the farmers are feeding the fish, and it may include (are you sensing a theme here?) chemicals that give them a certain color.
So very few people are able to ingest the amount of minerals needed to function at 100%. Calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur are necessary for multiple body functions. Smaller amounts of iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium (“trace minerals”) are also essential.
In Chinese medicine, we look at minerals from an herbalist’s standpoint. During creation of the Eastern medicine pharmacopoeia, mineral imbalances that we see all the time in the modern clinic were very rare, but did exist. Minerals and shells were typically used to “settle, anchor, and calm the spirit.” Related to the relative weight and density of minerals, they are said to “weigh” upon the Heart to calm the spirit and treat palpitations, anxiety, and insomnia; weigh upon the Liver for treatment of dizziness or irritability; weigh upon the Lungs for cough and wheezing; and weigh upon the Stomach for redirecting rebellious qi (vomiting, hiccups, or belching.)
It has been found that one particular type of environmental toxin, the “heavy metal,” like arsenic, mercury, and lead (not Pantera) may interfere with the absorption of trace minerals. This can lead to serious kidney, blood or reproductive health problems, and children are more vulnerable to these effects than adults.
So here’s where it’s going to get a little weird: our lack of minerals is literally causing us to lose touch with the earth. Think of the minerals like metals that conduct electricity. A good example is copper, which many electrical conduit wires are composed of, and which is essential in our bodies. Our bodies can conduct electricity and our Qi is like electricity flowing in our bodies. The earth is a giant magnet! I told you this was going to get weird.
For us to continue to breathe, we need this metal conduction. This is a big one: for us to feel a sense of connection to other people (and not feel anxious or depressed) we need to conduct “electricity” (or Qi or prana …) between our own bodies, the earth, and other people. The minerals help with this conduction. For our bodies to heal, we need to have a sense of connection to the earth and circulate or conduct our blood to the injured area. The minerals, like metals, foster conduction of this type of electrical current.
You may have just one mineral out of balance and that can throw off a body system’s functioning. Then you have a build-up of electricity / Qi in one area and a deficiency of electricity / Qi in another. Either way, it’s uncomfortable.
So, yeah, we need minerals. Clinically, we see these types of cases:
- Patient with repeated muscle tears and strains from athletics. Starts taking seaweed (great source of minerals), alfalfa, desiccated adrenal, and essential fatty acids; pains subside and muscles heal. Muscle resiliency improves.
- Patient with chronic depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Starts taking mineral blend. Sleep starts to improve. When sleep improves, mood improves.
- Patient with chronic allergies, sinus pressure headaches, and skin rashes. Starts taking mineral blend including zinc. Immune system strengthens. Energy and mood improve.
- Patient with thyroid problem: low hormones, low energy, low mood. Starts taking kelp and desiccated thyroid organ. Doctors are baffled as to why her thyroid is testing “normal” on all tests even without medication!
I normally use Standard Process supplements for minerals and other vitamin sources, because they have a wide variety and I trust their quality. So, does everyone need to be on a mineral supplement? I’m not sure.