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Minerals & Nutrition > The Rationale For Optimal and Balanced Trace Elements Levels
by Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D.

There are 92 elements found in nature, and an additional 22 theoretical and/or observed elements. In addition, there are hundreds of isotopes of the elements, any one of which may play an as yet undiscovered role in human health.

It becomes increasingly evident that keeping the level of minerals balanced in every tissue, fluid, cell and organ, in the human body may be the key to maintaining human health.

Listed below are 66 elements that have been identified to date in sea water. A few surviving inland seas such as the Great Salt Lake of Utah have concentrated many of the same minerals found in the sea through geothermal and evaporative processes. These natural sources of the elements can provide a rich source of minerals compatible to human physiological needs.

Decreasing Average Concentration of 66 Elements in Sea Water (mg/l)

Oxygen,  Hydrogen,  Chlorine. Sodium. Magnesium. Sulphur. Calcium. Potassium. Bromine. Carbon. Strontium. Boron. Silicon. Fluorine. Argon. Nitrogen. Lithium. Rubidium. Phosphoru.s Iodine. Barium. Aluminium Iron. Indium. Molybdenum.  Zinc. Nickel. Arsenic. Copper. Tin. Uranium. Krypton. Manganese. Vanadium Titanium. Caesium. Cerium. Antimony. Silver. Yttrium. Cobalt. Neon. Cadmium. Tungsten. Selenium. Germanium. Xeon. Chromium. Thorium. Gallium. Mercury. Lead. Zirconium. Bismuth. Lanthanum. Gold Niobium. Thallium. Hafnium. Helium. Selenium. Tantalum. Beryllium. Protactinium. Radium. Radon.

These are average concentrations. Variations will exist depending on the collection site of the sample.
Ref. Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 65th Ed. 1984-1985, CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fl., p. F-149.

It is interesting to note that the famous environmentalist, Rachel Carson, recognized the importance of protecting the ocean and these delicate inland seas. In the Sea Around Us, she wrote:

"Fish, amphibian, and reptile, warm-blooded bird and mammal - each of us carries in our veins a salty stream in which the elements are combined in almost the same proportions as in sea water. This is our inheritance from the day, untold millions of years ago, when a remote ancestor, having progressed from the one celled to the many celled stage, first developed a circulatory system in which the fluid was merely the water of the sea. In the same way, our lime hardened skeletons are a heritage from the calcium rich ocean of Cambrian time. Even the protoplasm that streams within each cell of our bodies has the chemical structure impressed upon living matter when the first simple creatures were brought forth in the ancient sea. . ."

In almost every chemistry textbook one can find a copy of the "Periodic Table of the Elements." This table shows each known element's particular physical characteristics. Scientific study of these elements has discovered that many of them are absolutely essential to life on this planet.

A number of factors have been associated with the occurrence of a deficiency of a mineral in humans: deficiency in the soil; water and plants; mineral imbalances; processing of water or soil; and, inadequate dietary intake.

There is a significant body of evidence that minerals by themselves and in proper balance to one another have important biochemical and nutritional functions.

To understand the concept of "biochemical individuality" we have to get away from the mistaken assumption that every person utilizes and absorbs minerals the same way. The absorption of minerals is dependent on so many different factors, not the least of which is age, adequacy of stomach acid output, balanced bowel flora, lack of intestinal illnesses and parasites, and dietary fibre intake.

"Whatever the nutritional potential of a food, its contribution is non-existent if it does not pass the test of absorption. Those nutrients that have not been transferred through the intestinal mucosal cell to enter the circulation have, for all nutritional intent and purpose, have never been eaten. The variety of nutrients from the organism's environment that have been made available by absorption must be transported through the circulatory system to the aqueous micro environment of the cells. There, they serve their ultimate purpose: participation in the metabolic activities in the cells on which the life of the total organism depends."

Ruth L. Pike and Myrtle L. Brown
Nutrition: An Integrated Approach
John Wiley & Sons, 1984 l, p. 283

Listed below are eight minerals that should be ionic in order to be readily absorbed into the body through transfer in the small intestine (intraluminal absorption). These minerals become ionic after their food bound forms, whether organically or inorganically bound, have been exposed to hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid helps liberate these minerals into ionic (charged) minerals.

Ageing increases the risk of gastric atrophy, a condition that commonly is associated with a decreased secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. As the level of hydrochloric acid output decreases, the body's ability to absorb these minerals from their food bound form diminishes. This inability to adequately absorb these minerals may be one of the causes of age associated degeneration. It is for this reason that careful attention must be given to the form a mineral takes, since the less dependent it is on hydrochloric acid to be absorbed, the more likely it will be able to be utilized by the body.

As will be discussed later, three of the minerals listed below can be intraluminally absorbed in some complexed forms without first becoming charged ions . However, all eight of these minerals are best absorbed when they are in their ionic form. The important point is that gastric atrophy or conditions such as achlorhydria (lack of stomach acid) or hypochlorhydria (inadequate stomach acid) can impair the body's absorption of important minerals. Achlorhydria has been found in children as young as five or six years of age. Hypochlorhydria, however, is more commonly seen after age 35. It is estimated that between 15 and 35 percent of adults age 60 have some degree of gastric atrophy, including hypochlorhydria. Finding a source of minerals in ionic form would clearly be of benefit to such individuals.

Acid Dependent Minerals That Require Adequate Stomach Acid to Enhance Intraluminal Absorption in the Small Intestine.

Chromium (Cr)
Copper (Cu)
Iron (Fe)
Magnesium (Mg)
Manganese (Mn)
Molybdenum (Mo)
Selenium (Se)
Zinc (Zn)

One of the minerals listed is zinc, a mineral found in every fluid, tissue, cell, and organ, in the human body. Inadequate intake of this essential mineral can effect any of over 200 enzymes in the body, such as the enzyme, alkaline phosphatase. In patients with either bulimia nervosa (binge purging behaviour) or anorexia nervosa (self-induced starvation), zinc deficiency can directly affect cognitive and perceptual processes that help maintain these insidious eating disorders. Recently it has been shown that there is an inverse relationship between morbid obesity and zinc, meaning that the more morbidly obese the individual the lower their zinc status. This suggests that zinc plays an important role in the entire continuum of eating disorders, from obesity to anorexia nervosa. A similar example would be the mineral magnesium which plays a role in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, many of which are directly related to cardiovascular health.

Information provided by Trace Minerals Research International. Permission by Todd Heslop.

Minerals Index
Minerals and Human Health
Why We Need Mineral Supplements
Mineral Nutrition of Coastal Cultures In Pre-Historic Times
Minerals And Chi
The Thesis of Body Mineral Balancing
Ionic Versus Colloidal Minerals
Doctors Mistakes
Minerals & Trace Minerals,
A Clarification of Definitions
Mineral Facts
Minerals from Sea Water
Individual Minerals A-Z



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