Minerals & Nutrition > The Rationale For Optimal and
Balanced Trace Elements Levels
by Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D.
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
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.
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
Average Concentration of 66 Elements
in Sea Water (mg/l)
Hydrogen, Chlorine. Sodium.
Magnesium. Sulphur. Calcium.
Potassium. Bromine. Carbon.
Strontium. Boron. Silicon.
Fluorine. Argon. Nitrogen.
Lithium. Rubidium. Phosphoru.s
Iodine. Barium. Aluminium
Molybdenum. Zinc. Nickel.
Arsenic. Copper. Tin. Uranium.
Krypton. Manganese. Vanadium
Titanium. Caesium. Cerium.
Antimony. Silver. Yttrium.
Cobalt. Neon. Cadmium. Tungsten.
Xeon. Chromium. Thorium.
Gallium. Mercury. Lead.
Zirconium. Bismuth. Lanthanum.
Gold Niobium. Thallium.
Hafnium. Helium. Selenium.
Protactinium. Radium. Radon.
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.
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. . ."
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
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.
is a significant body of evidence
that minerals by themselves and in
proper balance to one another have
important biochemical and nutritional
understand the concept of
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.
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
L. Pike and Myrtle L. Brown
Nutrition: An Integrated Approach
John Wiley & Sons, 1984 l, p. 283
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
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
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
Dependent Minerals That Require
Adequate Stomach Acid to Enhance
Intraluminal Absorption in the
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
provided by Trace
Minerals Research International. Permission by Todd Heslop.