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Let food be your medicine

 

 

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MINERALS

The term minerals refers to elements in their simple inorganic form. In nutrition they are commonly referred to as mineral elements or inorganic nutrients. Minerals are vital to health. Like vitamins, protein and other organic compounds, minerals (inorganic compounds) are essential for regulating and building the trillions of living cells which make up the body. Minerals are especially important for intracellular electrical messages which tells cells when to replicate and when to die if abnormal. Cancer is caused by these messages not being present due to mineral deficiencies. Infection and damage can also stop these messages getting through to these abnormal cells. Many prescribed medications, alcohol and other toxins can block absorption and cause a huge loss of essential minerals through the urine.

The body is made from the following elements and their atomic numbers are included in brackets. The purpose or cause and effect these elements have in the human body and the natural sources of each one can be found on their dedicated pages. Follow the blue links.

 

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The body also contains small amounts of each of the following elements.

Many common foods we already consume contain fair amounts of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. But it is also particularly important to add foods to the diet that contain barium, bismuth, boron, bromine, caesium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, fluoride, germanium, gold, iodine, iridium, lithium, molybdenum, nickel, nitrogen, platinum, rhodium, rubidium, selenium, silicon, silver, strontium, sulphur, vanadium and tin at least once a fortnight.

This is especially important for those doing any strenuous activities, taking any medications or recreational drugs, drinking alcohol regularly or those suffering from diarrhoea and fevers or illnesses such as cancer, HIV/AIDS or immune system, bone, neurological or degenerative disorders and pregnant women. Everyone else should strive to include these foods at least once a month to ensure the correct balance of minerals in the body and prevent any ailments developing. Athletes and anyone that partakes in intense physical activities are often lacking in minerals as they perspire profusely but do not replace lost minerals so they should consume plenty of the foods highest in minerals listed below.

Because legumes, pulses, nuts, seeds and whole grains contain high levels of phytic acid which inhibits absorption of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc it is important to soak, sprout or ferment them before consumption.
For more information see Phytic acid.

Minerals cannot be made in the body and must be obtained in the diet. Pure unrefined sea salt, mineral water, chlorella, spirulina, hemp seeds, oily fish, halibut, krill oil, shellfish, octopus, squid, sea weed and sea vegetables like kelp are the only certain way to gain all the vital elements required by the body because both modern farming and food processing techniques have stripped the soil and food of these vital elements. Naturally occurring, nutrient-rich soil is becoming increasingly rare. Eons of vegetation growth and intensive modern farming techniques have brought many of the earth’s minerals to the surface where they have been washed away. Synthesised fertilisers are routinely applied to farms and fields where minerals have been depleted. But man-made fertilisers provide only enough mineral substance to support basic plant life. Numerous trace minerals essential to human life do not get replenished.

Trace minerals do not exist by themselves but in relationship to one another. Too much of one trace element can lead to imbalances in others and most trace elements need to be in ionic form to be well absorbed in the small intestine. Therefore taking mineral supplements is not the answer. Only readily digestible minerals from natural food sources will provide optimum health and protection.

A typical plant makes its own food from raw materials and a typical animal eats its food. For plants, these raw materials include soil-based inorganic mineral salts. Soil-based mineral salts can be depleted through synthetic fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides, as well as repeatedly growing crops on the same soil. This is why so many people are often unwittingly deficient in certain minerals especially those whose lifestyles deplete their bodily supplies faster and more often such as those on medications, those that drink alcohol regularly and those participating in high energy activates such as sports and dancing or those whose system is less able to absorb minerals due to illness or old age.

Minerals taken as supplements are industrial chemicals made from processing rocks with one or more acids. The consumption of this “other half” of the mineral compound is not only unnatural, it can lead to toxicity concerns. Humans were designed to eat food and to get their minerals from foods. Foods do not naturally contain minerals bound to substances such as picolinic acid, carbonates, oxides, phosphates, etc. When supplementation is required it should be in the form of natural foods only.

Body cells receive the essential food elements through the blood stream. They must, therefore, be properly nourished with an adequate supply of all the essential minerals for the efficient functioning of the body. They help maintain the volume of water necessary to life processes in the body. They help draw chemical substances into and out of the cells and they keep the blood and tissue fluid from becoming either too acidic or too alkaline.

The importance of inorganic minerals, like organic vitamins, is illustrated by the fact that there are over 50,000 enzymes in the body which direct growth and energy and each enzyme has different minerals, vitamins and other chemicals associated with it. Each of the essential food minerals does a specific job in the body and some of them do extra work, in teams, to keep body cells healthy and eliminate abnormal cells. Although as yet, it has not been discovered what the functions of some elements have in the human body, many of these 118 elements are present and many have a purpose of some kind. Those in blue are linked to their known functions, deficiencies, toxicity and natural food sources sections on this page.

Minerals thus play a highly important role in every bodily function and are present in every human cell. Although the amount needed may be small, without even the trace of the mineral, dysfunction is bound to occur at some level in the body. A zinc deficiency may show up in ridged fingernails with white spots. Lack of sulphur can cause lack-lustre hair and dull-looking skin. Less obvious deficiencies may surface as fatigue, irritability, loss of memory, nervousness, depression and weakness. Minerals also interact with vitamins. Magnesium, for instance, must be present in the body for utilisation of B complex, vitamin C and vitamin E. Sulphur also works with the B complex vitamins. The body needs all the trace minerals in proper balance. A constant lack of minerals in the body results in infection and disease and serious disorders of processes including diabetes, bone disorders, organ failures and cancer.

For more information and natural sources see:

Coffee, alcohol, excess refined salt, strenuous exercise, stress, sugar and many drugs can rob the body of minerals or make them ineffective. Industrial pollutants cause toxic minerals to enter the body. Minerals at toxic levels also have the effect of destroying the usefulness of other vitamins and minerals. Exercise improves the activity of certain vitamins and minerals while stress and fatigue work against them. Too much exercise, however, can cause deficiencies in minerals if they are not replaced.

A well-balanced diet provides as abundance of minerals and vitamins. In refining cereals, grains, flour, salt and sugar, the food industry has robbed them of their natural vitamins and minerals. Some dietary sources of these nutrients are whole grains, cereals, bran and germ. It is the bran and germ which are removed in processing. To obtain a balance of nutrients, it is , therefore, necessary to avoid refined and processed foods and consume far more organic fish, vegetables, fruit, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds sea foods and legumes which are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins.

 

Electrolytes

 

Electrolytes are the smallest of chemicals that are important for the cells in the body to function and allow the body to work. Electrolytes especially sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium are critical in allowing cells to generate energy, maintain the stability of their walls and to function in general. They generate electricity, contract muscles, move water and fluids within the body and participate in myriad other activities.


The concentration of electrolytes in the body is controlled by a variety of hormones, most of which are manufactured in the kidney and the adrenal glands. Sensors in specialised kidney cells monitor the amount of sodium, potassium and water in the bloodstream. The body functions in a very narrow range of normal and it is hormones like renin (made in the kidney), angiotensin (from the lung, brain and heart), aldosterone (from the adrenal gland), and anti-diuretic hormone (from the pituitary gland) that keep the electrolyte balance within those normal limits. Keeping electrolyte concentrations in balance also includes stimulating the thirst mechanism when the body gets dehydrated.

Mineral water

Mineral water is a healthy alternative to tap water as it usually contains trace elements that are essential to human health. Depending upon it's source it can naturally contain minerals such as bicarbonate, calcium, fluoride, lithium, magnesium, potassium, silica, sodium and strontium. Water from natural springs, wells and mountain lakes contains minerals which are in the rocks through which it flows and these minerals all have a purpose within the human body. Modern day farming techniques have leeched many minerals from the soil so non organic farmed food often is lacking in them, especially magnesium. The best way to ingest the some of the minerals needed daily is through drinking mineral water, whether carbonated or still, everyday.

Drinking mineral water is especially important for the elderly and those on medications which can force the body to expel essential minerals in the urine such as diuretics.

Tap water has little mineral content except fluoride and chlorine which are added artificially and, in many developed countries, also contains traces of medications administered to humans such as hormone replacement drugs and the contraceptive pill.

Read about the dangers of drinking boiled or distilled water, why it is necessary to prevent heart attacks and signs of a deficiency of water in the body here: Water


A - Z OF MINERALS

 

NOTE: Some nutrients in this section are measured in g which is the abbreviation for microgram and is equivalent  to a unit of mass equal to one millionth (110−6) of a gram or one thousandth (110−3) of a milligram. One IU is the biological equivalent of 0.3 μg or 0.3 micrograms.
 

See also The A-Z of organic nutrients

A

 

Aluminium

Source of aluminium

  • Sumac

  • Tea

  • Teff

  • Whole grains

Read more about Aluminium

Arsenic

Sources of arsenic

  • Apple juice, glues, pigments and wine.

  • Milk and dairy products, beef, pork, poultry and cereal.

  • Many water sources in the world have high levels of arsenic in them, both due to normal arsenic leaching out of the ground and from mining and industrial waste.

  • Arsenic is also often found in rice, which may be a potentially serious source of exposure in certain at-risk populations (especially children).

Read more about Arsenic

 

BACK TO TOP
 

See also The A-Z of organic nutrients

B

 

Barium

 

Natural sources of barium

 

  • Beetroot
  • Black walnut
  • Bran
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cocoa beans
  • Eggs
  • Grapes
  • Milk
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Potatoes
  • Prunes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss cheese
  • Soya beans
  • Sumac
  • Tea
  • Teff
  • Tomatoes
  • Tap water (in some locations)

 

Read more about Barium

 

Bicarbonate See how bicarbonate can help reduce acidity in the body to treat and prevent many health disorders: Bicarbonate

Bismuth

Highest natural sources of bismuth

  • Chaga mushrooms

  • Kelp

  • Maca root

  • Seaweed

Read more about Bismuth

BORON

 

Boron is a chemical element with the symbol "B", atom number 5. Studies show that boron must be added to the list with essential minerals. Boron is responsible for keeping the calcium levels in the body the balanced and also involved in the metabolism of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is responsible for the structure and maintenance of strong bones reducing the chance of developing arthritis and osteoporosis and may help to ease arthritis symptoms. It is also beneficial for regulating hormones, hence reducing symptoms of menopause, psoriasis and rosacea, prevents blood clots and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can raise the testosterone levels in men and help to build up muscles and also plays a very important role in checking growth of germs in the mouth as well promoting the health of bones and teeth.

 

Boron deficiency

 

Boron deficiency can cause growth arrests and an imbalance of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus and increased effect of stress on the body and can contribute to arthritis and  osteoporosis.

 

To gain sufficient boron from plants and vegetables they have to be grown in boron rich soil.

 

Supplements of boron should not be taken as toxicity can be harmful. Symptoms of toxicity are: red rash, vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased blood circulation and shock followed by coma. Symptoms occur at doses of approximately 100 milligram. A dose of 15 to 20 grams is fatal for adults and for children 3 to 6 grams is fatal. 

Natural sources of boron

Almonds, apple peel (red), avocados, bananas, broccoli, carrots, chia seeds, chick peas, grapes (red), hemp seeds, honey, legumes, onions, oranges, pear skins (red), prunes, raisins, potato skins (red), parsnips, sumac, Swede, sweet potato skins (red), teff and walnuts.

BROMINE

 

Bromine (Br) has not been officially designated to be essential for humans at this time, however there have been reports of reduced growth, fertility and life expectancy in some animals as a result of hyperthyroidism secondary to dietary deficiency of bromide. It is used preferentially over chlorine by one anti-parasitic enzyme in humans. Bromine helps to provide a potent mechanism by which eosinophils kill multicellular parasites (such as the nematode worms involved in lymphatic filariasis) and also certain bacteria (such as the tuberculosis bacteria).

 

In humans and animals, bromine, either as sodium bromide, or potassium bromide, has anti-seizure properties and it is an effective trace mineral in the treatment of hyperthyroid conditions. Many marine plants, particularly kelp, are a rich source of bromine and iodine, so depending on their bromine to iodine ratio, and whether someone is hypothyroid or hyperthyroid, this can have a beneficial or unfavourable effect on thyroid functions when regularly consumed.

 

Certain cultures regularly consuming seaweed (such as kelp) seem to have an increase in cases of hypothyroidism. Some scientists believed the high iodine content in those marine plants to be the reason. However, it was most likely the bromine content, or a high bromine / iodine ratio in the plants compared to those of other regions. It could also be that these same people consumed higher amounts of "goitrogenic" vegetables, such as cabbage, cassava, lima beans, sweet potatoes and Swede, which can also result in depressed iodine / thyroid functions. On average, most varieties of kelp tend to increase thyroid functions.

 

Bromides are a common endocrine disruptor. Because bromine is also a halide, it competes for the same receptors that are used in the thyroid gland (among other places) to capture iodine. This will inhibit thyroid hormone production resulting in a low thyroid state.

 

In hyperthyroidism, where milder forms of nutritional therapy such as para-aminobenzoic acid or magnesium have not been very effective, bromine can be very effective in human and animals and, provided the correct amount is used, no side effects are experienced.  Bromine inhibits both, T4 thyroxine and T3 triiodothyronine hormones, and in some cases only a short course of bromine is needed to return (hyper) thyroid functions back to normal. See also Tin and Iodine.


Bromides can still be found in some medications, and despite a ban on potassium bromate in flour by the World Health Organization (it was found that potassium bromate caused renal cancer in rats when they drank water containing KBrO3). Although it's use has been restricted, some companies still use brominated vegetable oil and add it as an emulsifier to some soft drinks such as Mountain Dew. Bromides in the form of simple salts are also still used as anticonvulsants in both veterinary and human medicine.

 

Some nations are still allowing its use as oxidizer in baked goods at very low levels. Bakers associations maintain that potassium bromate is converted to harmless potassium bromide during the baking process.

 

Bromine was also used as a sleeping aid in the past, for which it worked well, however long-term use of bromides can result in brominism, a toxic condition. In addition, even trace amounts of bromine can trigger severe acne in sensitive individuals.


Bromine-based Fire Retardants [30] used in carpets, mattresses, upholstery, furniture and various electronic equipment have become suspect for causing a number of medical conditions, including hypothyroidism. Based on animal research, bromides have also been linked to behavioural problems, neurodevelopment and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADD / ADHD) in children. The European Union has already banned some PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) compounds, and it is hoped that countries still allowing their use will follow suit.

Natural sources of bromine

Chlorella, kelp, seaweed, sea salt, spirulina and sumac.

Search for a mineral

 

A

B

C

D

E

F

G

H

I

J

K

L

M

N

O

P

Q

R

S

T

U

V

W

X

Y

Z

 

 

See also The A-Z of organic nutrients

C

 

CADMIUM

 

Cadmium and zinc are found together in natural deposits and are similar in structure and function in the human body. Cadmium may displace zinc in some of its important enzymatic and organ functions; thus, it interferes with these functions or prevents them from being completed. The zinc-cadmium ratio is very important, as cadmium toxicity and storage are greatly increased with zinc deficiency which is a common condition for alcohol drinkers as alcohol expels zinc in the urine. Good levels of zinc protect against tissue damage by cadmium. The refinement of grains reduces the zinc-cadmium ratio, so zinc deficiency and cadmium toxicity are more likely when the diet is high in refined grains and flours.

 

There may be as much as 40 mg of cadmium in the human body and consumption from foods can be at least 40 mcg daily. Levels vary according to region, as most comes from soil by way of food. There may be some in water from contamination and water pipes and cigarette smoke plus industrial burning of metals puts some cadmium into the air. Cadmium levels in the atmosphere are much higher in industrial cities.

 

Cadmium is not easily eliminated. Besides faecal losses, it is excreted mainly by the kidneys. This mineral is stored primarily in the liver and kidneys. As zinc has an affinity for the testes, cadmium is also stored there in higher concentrations than in other tissues. With zinc deficiency, more cadmium is stored. With aging, cadmium accumulates in the kidneys and may predispose to hypertension.

 

Cadmium can depress some immune functions by reducing resistance to bacteria and viruses. It may also increase cancer risk, for the lungs and prostate. Cadmium toxicity has been implicated in generating prostate enlargement, possibly by interfering with zinc support.

Cadmium also affects the bones because copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D, the vitamin which aids in the absorption of calcium and cadmium’s displacement of zinc has been known to cause bone and joint aches and pains. This was first described in Japan caused by cadmium pollution there. It was also associated with weak bones that lead to deformities, especially of the spine or to fragile and easily broken bones and was fatal in many cases.

 

Cadmium, copper and lead concentrations increase in the lens of the eyes in tobacco smokers leading to cataracts and vision impairment.

 

Long term cadmium exposure can also lead to cancer, hypertension, heart and kidney disease, emphysema and anaemia.

 

No cadmium is present in newborns because it does not cross the placenta-foetal barrier nor the blood-brain barrier as lead and mercury do, so it is not toxic to foetuses, nor does it cause the mental and brain disorders associated with lead and mercury.

During the growth of grains such as wheat and rice, cadmium (from the soil) is concentrated in the core of the kernel, while zinc is found mostly in the germ and bran coverings. With refinement, zinc is lost, increasing the cadmium ratio. Refined flours, rice, and sugar all have relatively higher ratios of cadmium to zinc than do the whole foods.

One pack of cigarettes contains about 20 mcg of cadmium or about 1 mcg per cigarette. About 30 percent of that goes into the lungs and is absorbed and the remaining 70 percent goes into the atmosphere to be inhaled by others or to contaminate the environment. With long-term smoking, the risk of cadmium toxicity is increased. Though most of it is eliminated, a little bit is stored every day. Marijuana may also concentrate cadmium, so regular smoking of cannabis may also be a risk factor for toxicity from this metal.

 

Reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking tobacco and cannabis plus consuming zinc rich foods can help reduce cadmium toxicity and vitamin D and calcium deficiency. High intake of zinc as well as of calcium and selenium will protect against further cadmium absorption and adequate body levels of zinc may displace some tissue cadmium. Iron, copper, selenium and vitamin C have been shown to increase cadmium elimination as can be measured by urine levels. Hair analysis is a good way to follow cadmium levels.

Sources of cadmium

Tobacco and cannabis smoke, refined flour, rice and sugar, root vegetables, shellfish, sumac, water pipes, coffee and tea.

Cadmium is also a component of alloys, used in electrical materials and is present in ceramics, burning coal, dental materials and storage batteries.

See Heavy Metals

CAESIUM

Caesium, like potassium, enters cells and helps to maintain a balance of electrical charges between the inside and the outside of cells so that cells can perform tasks that depend on those electrical charges. Muscle and nerve cells require changing electrical charges in order to function properly and allow humans to think and move.

Caesium has shown a remarkable ability in fighting and killing cancer cells. Cancer cells need acidic conditions for survival and caesium  works towards creating an oxygen rich environment for the cells. There are three conditions within the human body; alkaline, acidic and neutral. When the oxygen content in a particular part is very low, then it leads to an acidic condition. Caesium travels to such areas and helps to increase the oxygen inflow. Caesium can also block the access of glucose to cancerous cells and effectively shut them down for good.

Once caesium enters the body, the kidneys begin to remove it from the blood; some caesium is quickly released in the urine. A small portion is also released in the faeces. Some of the caesium that is absorbed can remain stored in the body for many months.

Harmful exposure to radioactive caesium may occur from a nuclear accident or detonation of a nuclear weapon or to workers at a nuclear facility but normal caesium that occurs in water, soil, plants, rocks and the air is stable and not radioactive.

Natural sources of caesium

Milk, mineral water, oily fish, shellfish, most fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and vegetables.

CALCIUM

The human body needs calcium more than any other mineral. A man weighing 70 kg. contains one kg. of calcium. About 99 per cent of the quantity in the body is used for building strong bones and teeth and the remaining one per cent is used by the blood, muscles and nerves. Calcium performs many important functions. Without this mineral , the contractions of the heart would be faulty, the muscles would not contract properly to make the limbs move and blood would not clot. Calcium stimulates enzymes in the digestive process and coordinates the functions of all other minerals in the body. 

Calcium also helps to protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals, prevents the bone loss that can occur as a result of menopause or certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, helps to prevent migraine headaches, reduces PMS symptoms during the luteal phase (the second half) of the menstrual cycle.

Calcium also plays a role in many other vital physiological activities, including blood clotting, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, regulation of enzyme activity, cell membrane function and blood pressure regulation. Because these activities are essential to life, the body utilises complex regulatory systems to tightly control the amount of calcium in the blood, so that sufficient calcium is always available. As a result, when dietary intake of calcium is too low to maintain adequate blood levels, calcium stores are drawn out of the bones to maintain normal blood concentrations.

Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D which aids in the absorption of calcium.

Calcium deficiency

A deficiency of calcium may cause porous and fragile bones, tooth decay, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, insomnia and irritability. A large increase in the dietary supply of calcium is needed in tetany and when the bones are decalcified due to poor calcium absorption, as in rickets, oesteomalacia and the mal-absorption syndrome. Liberal quantity of calcium is also necessary when excessive calcium has been lost from the body as in hyperparathyroidism or chronic renal disease.

Calcium cannot achieve its objectives unless phosphorous is also present in a proper balance. Too much phosphorous, though, can cause diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue and can interfere with the body's ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It is a matter of getting the balance right which is why supplementation is not advised. Foods that contain these minerals will never overdose the consumer with phosphorous.

Hypercalcaemia

Hypercalcaemia occurs when there is high levels of calcium in the blood and muscles and can lead to irreversible kidney damage. Taking high doses of vitamin D supplements can cause this. The symptoms of hypercalcaemia include:

  • Abdominal pain.

  • Confusion.

  • Constipation or diarrhoea.

  • Fatigue.

  • Increased thirst.

  • Muscle weakness or pain.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Passing urine often.

  • Poor appetite or loss of appetite.

Hypocalcaemia

Hypocalcaemia is the medical term for low serum calcium levels in the blood.

Highest sources of calcium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Dried herbs such as basil, dill, marjoram, rosemary and thyme 2113 mg

  • Cheese such as goat’s, gruyere, parmesan, Romano and Swiss 1376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 975 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 961 mg

  • Tinned fish with bones such as sardines, mackerel and pilchards 383 mg

  • Tofu 372 mg

  • Almonds 264 mg

  • Flaxseeds 255 mg

  • Anchovies 232 mg

  • Chlorella 221mg

  • Mussels 180 mg

  • Oysters 170 mg

  • Brazil nuts 160 mg

  • Prawns 150 mg

  • Tripe 150 mg

  • Scallops, spirulina and watercress 120 mg

  • Whole milk and whole yoghurt 113 mg

  • Chinese cabbage 105 mg

  • Dark green leafy vegetables such as dandelion greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard and turnip greens  99 mg

  • Okra 77 mg

  • Soya beans 75 mg

  • Boneless fish such as bass, herring, pike, perch, pollock and rainbow trout 74 mg

  • Kidney beans 70 mg

  • Eggs 60 mg

  • Broccoli 47 mg

Recommended daily requirement of calcium

Around 400 mg to 600 mg for an adult between 30 and 50. 1000 mg for growing children, adults up to 30 and over 50 and pregnant or lactating women. 1000 mg per day is required by male and female athletes and 3000 mg is required by athletes in competitive sports.

Natural sources of calcium in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, alfalfa, almonds, aloe vera, amaranth, anchovies, apples, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, ashitaba, baobab fruit, basil, beetroot, black eyed peas, black seed, black strap molasses, bok choy, brassicas, burdock, cabbage, cantaloupe, capers, caraway seeds, carrots, celery, chaga mushrooms, cheese, chestnuts, chia seeds, chicory, chilli peppers, chives, chlorella, cockles, coconut, curry leaf, cuttlefish, daikon, dates, dill, drumstick leaves, dulse, durum wheat, fennel, figs, goat's milk, goji berries, gooseberries, green beans, green tea, hemp seeds, herring, kale, kombu seaweed, lemons, lentils, lettuce, lucuma, macadamia nuts, mango, maqui berry, marjoram, mashua, melon, milk, mineral water, monkfish, mulberries, mussels, mushrooms, mustard, oats, oat straw, oily fish, okra, oranges, oysters, papaya, parsley, passion fruit, peas, pine nuts, plums, pomegranates, poppy seeds, prickly pear, propolis, quinoa, radishes, rampion, restharrow, rhubarb, rosehips, rye, sage, salsify, savoury, scallops, sesame seeds and oil, spearmint, spinach, spirulina, spring onions, sumac, Swede, Swiss chard, sweet potato, tangerines, tapioca, tatsoi, teff, tofu, tree turmeric, turbot, walnuts, watercress, whelks, whole grains and yoghurt.

CHLORINE

In the human body, chlorine (a macro element) is liberated by the interaction of common salt, taken along with food, and hydrochloric acid liberated in the stomach during the process of digestion. It is essential for the proper distribution of carbon dioxide and the maintenance of osmotic pressure in the tissues.

This food element is necessary for the manufacture of glandular hormone secretions. It prevents the building of excessive fat and auto-intoxication. Chlorine regulates the blood’s alkaline and acid balance and works with potassium in a compound form. It aids in the cleaning out of body waste by helping the liver to function. Chlorine is necessary for the formation of gastric acid and helps the lungs with the excretion of carbon dioxide. It also helps in the transport of hormones and maintains the health of the joints.

Chlorine deficiency

Chlorine deficiency can cause loss of hair and teeth.

Chlorine overdose

To remove bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, almost all city water companies add chlorine to the drinking water in Europe and America. This works, but chlorination is highly toxic to human beings and animals. Some researchers assert that a major reason for the drastic rise in heart disease in the early 20th century in Europe and America was the addition of chlorine to the drinking water. Chlorination of drinking water probably also contributes to cancer and other illnesses, as chlorine is so toxic.

Ozone is an alternative. A few American cities including Los Angeles, and some parts of Europe, use ozone to purify their water supply. Ozone is O3, an unstable form of oxygen that is known to kill almost all pathogenic organisms. Its only drawback is it does not stay in the water as long as chlorine does. Ozonation is much safer, cheaper and more healthful than chlorination.

Natural sources of chlorine

Green leafy vegetables, berries, cheese, coconut, egg yolk, lentils, milk, mineral water, olives, rice, radishes, sea salt and tomatoes.

Recommended daily requirement

It is advisable not to consume more than 15 grams per day.

CHROMIUM

Chromium is a trace mineral element necessary for the proper function of insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose metabolism in the cells. Whenever carbohydrates or proteins are consumed, the pancreas releases insulin, which stimulates the cells of the liver, muscles and adipose tissue to absorb glucose, the primary fuel source for all cells. Insulin also accelerates the processing of fats and proteins in cells. Therefore, if proper energy metabolism is to occur in the tissues, it is essential that the cells respond appropriately to insulin's signals. Chromium plays a vital role in insulin signalling. Insulin prompts the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream by attaching to receptors on the surfaces of the cells, thereby making the cells' membranes more permeable to glucose.

Chromium may help people with diabetes control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, a hormone needed to change sugar, starches and other food into energy, or cannot use the insulin that their bodies make. Chromium may lower blood sugar levels as well, improving glucose tolerance and reducing the amount of insulin needed. Because brewer's yeast is a rich source of chromium, scientists think it may help treat high blood sugar.

Chromium may bind to special proteins inside cells that enhance the sensitivity of insulin receptors or it may be that chromium  cooperates with insulin to increase the number of glucose "shuttles" in cell membranes, thus improving cellular glucose absorption. The precise mechanisms by which chromium influences energy metabolism in the body have not yet been defined. But chromium is essential for the proper function of insulin and for the normal cellular processing of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Chromium also has a function in the HDL cholesterol production in the liver. This good cholesterol has in contrast to the harmful LDL cholesterol a positive influence on the health. LDL cholesterol can precipitate on the artery walls, which can cause heart and vascular diseases. HDL-cholesterol can remove this effect of LDL cholesterol.

Chromium also helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, stimulates the production of proteins in the body, raises immunity against infections and suppresses the feeling of hunger.

Chromium deficiency

A deficiency of chromium  could result in glucose intolerance (diabetes) which is on the rise. This deficiency could be caused by the soil levels of chromium which has been leached out due to modern day farming techniques and the widespread consumption of refined and processed foods, which are typically low in chromium. Eating more chromium rich foods could reverse glucose intolerance in a significant number of "at risk" individuals.

Deficiency can also result in nerve illnesses, heart problems and increased cholesterol and fat concentrations in the blood. People on prolonged intravenous nutrition often develop diabetes. There are many reasons this is true, but one potential reason is chromium deficiency. For these people, getting chromium levels back to normal can reverse the issue. Intense exercise can increase the rate of chromium loss in the urine.

Highest sources of chromium in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Brewer's yeast 400 g

  • Mussels 128 g

  • Brazil nut 100 g

  • Oyster 57 g

  • Dates (dried) 29 g

  • Pears 27 g

  • Shrimp 26 g

  • Wholemeal flour 21 g

  • Tomatoes 20 g

  • Mushrooms 17 g

  • Broccoli 16 g

  • Barley (wholegrain) 13 g

  • Hazelnuts 12 g

  • Maize (wholegrain) 9 g

  • Egg yolk 6 g

  • Anchovies, herring 2 g

NOTE: One μg is one microgram.

Recommended daily requirement

20 g for women and 30 g for men. From 0.2 g for infants to 45 g for lactating females. It is advised not to take more than 200 g per day.

NOTE: Make sure to read the label of Brewer's Yeast as some inferior products do not contain chromium. High-quality brewer's yeast powder or flakes contain as much as 60 g of chromium per tablespoon (15 grams)

Natural sources of chromium in alphabetical order

Aloe vera, barley, black pepper, brewer's yeast, broccoli, eggs, calf's liver, cashew nuts, dulse, goat's milk, green beans, legumes, lentils, lettuce (romaine), oats, onions, organ meats, potatoes, rye, green chilli peppers, spices, spirulina, sumac, tomatoes and whole grains.

NOTE: Vitamin C enhances the absorption of dietary chromium therefore foods rich in vitamin C should be consumed at the same time.

Highest sources of vitamin C in milligrms per 100 grams

  • Acerola cherries 1677.6 mg

  • Camu camu berries 532 mg

  • Rosehips 426 mg

  • Green chillies 242.5 mg

  • Guavas 228.3 mg

  • Yellow bell peppers 183.5 mg

  • Black currants 181 mg

  • Thyme 160.01 mg

  • Red chillies 143.7 mg

  • Drumstick pods 141 mg

  • Kale 130 mg

  • Jalapeno peppers 118.6 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 105.4 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 102 mg

  • Cloves, saffron 81 mg

  • Cayenne red pepper 76 mg

  • Mustard greens 70 mg

  • Cress 69 mg

  • Persimmons fruit 66 mg

  • Chilli powder 64 mg

  • Swede 62 mg

  • Basil 61 mg

  • Rosemary 61 mg

  • Chives 58 mg

  • Oranges 53.2 mg

  • Lemons 53 mg

  • Kumquats 43.9 mg

  • Watercress 43 mg

  • Wasabi root 41.9 mg

  • Kidney bean sprouts 38.7 mg

  • Elderberries 36 mg

  • Coriander 27 mg

Recommended daily requirement

75 mg for women and 90 mg for men although a gorilla gets about 4000 mg of vitamin C a day in its natural diet.

NOTE: Vitamin C supplements might raise blood sugar. In older women with diabetes, vitamin C in amounts greater than 300 mg per day increases the risk of death from heart disease therefore it is wiser to choose foods rich in vitamin C rather than supplements.

COBALT

Cobalt is a trace mineral element and a component of vitamin B12, a nutritional factor necessary for the production of DNA, choline and red blood cells and can thus prevent anaemia and help with repair from injuries. Recent research in vitamin B12 has shown that its pink colour is attributed to the presence of cobalt in it. The presence of this mineral in foods helps the synthesis of haemoglobin and the absorption of food iron

Cobalt is needed to produce vitamin B12 by bacteria in the soil and therefore a lack of cobalt in this soil can result in a lack of vitamin B12 being produced which results in B12 deficiency in both the plants and the animals that consumed these plants. This can then result in a lack of vitamin B12 in the humans that consume these plants and animals.

Together with vitamin B12, cobalt can promote a healthy nervous system, lower the blood pressure and can hold the myelin on level, the greasy cover that protects the nerves. Cobalt specifically affects the right coronary artery, resulting in vasodilatation with low levels and vasoconstriction with high levels, while nickel exerts the same vasodilatation / vasoconstriction effect on the left coronary artery.

The cell receptors of nickel and cobalt are neurologically linked to the spinal segment T4, whereby both, its alignment, and various nutritional factors control the ratio of nickel and cobalt.  Alignment problems of T4, or nutritional imbalances involving nickel, cobalt, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and vitamin B15 can either result in localised physical discomfort or they can trigger cardiac, cerebral, emotional and/or anxiety-problems due to blood flow changes to the heart or brain through their respective vasoconstrictive or vasodilating changes.

Cobalt deficiency

Anaemia can be the consequence of insufficient cobalt in the soil which can be caused by intense farming techniques that leach out many important minerals such as cobalt, but never replace them.

Cobalt overdose

Ingestion of above 30 mg of cobalt can cause crop swellings, decreased thyroid gland function and cause heart arrests.

Natural sources of cobalt

Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, clams, halibut, nuts, oily fish, organ meats, oysters, spinach and whole grains.

Recommended daily requirement

No daily allowance has been set but only a very small amount, up to 8 micrograms, is considered necessary.

COPPER

Copper is a trace element that plays an important part in the conversion of iron to haemoglobin, the enzyme found in red blood cells, which binds with oxygen in the lungs to get it into the blood. Copper also helps in the synthesis of other proteins and enzymes and supports the functioning of the nervous system and stimulates the growth of red blood cells and is necessary for the correct functioning of brain cellsIt also helps with the maintenance and development of bones, tendons and connective tissues. It is also an integral part of certain digestive enzymes and makes the amino acid tyrosine  usable, enabling it to work as the pigmenting factor for hair and skin. It is also is linked with thyroid metabolism especially in hormone production and absorption.

Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D, the vitamin which aids in the absorption of calcium. Copper and zinc are antagonists, and the balance between them is an example of biological dualism which means they must be consumed in balanced measures as they have an effect on each other. An intake of too much zinc, which is a key ingredient in some over-the-counter cold remedies, can cause irreversible neurological ailments associated with copper deficiency. Likewise too much copper can displace zinc in the body and cause the zinc deficiency symptoms.

Copper is also essential for the utilisation of vitamin C and works as an antioxidant. It can also help to prevent cancer, strengthens the immune system and protects against heart and vascular diseases.

There are approximately 75 to 150mg of copper in the adult human body. Newborn infants have higher concentrations than adults. Liver, brain, kidney, heart, and hair contain relatively high concentration. Average serum copper levels are higher in adult females than in males. Serum copper levels also increase significantly in women both during pregnancy and when taking oral contraceptives.

Copper deficiency

Low levels of cooper may result in bodily weakness, digestive disturbances, impaired respiration and can cause premature hair greying, infertility and premature wrinkling of the skin. It can also lead to anaemia, oedema, fragile bones, excitability and loss of the taste sense.

Copper overdose

Water companies often add copper and other chemical compounds to reduce the growth of certain harmful algae and moulds in reservoirs. While copper is a nutrient mineral, most people have too much of it in their bodies. Vegetarian diets are high in copper. Weak adrenal glands cause copper accumulation. Birth control pills raise copper and copper intra-uterine devices can severely raise copper levels.

Copper toxicity is very common and can cause depression, anxiety, mood swings, panic attacks, fatigue, headaches, skin rashes and even cancer. It can also result in vomiting, diarrhoea, muscle pain, dementia, damage to the liver, discolouration of the skin and hair and can cause hyperactivity in children.

Highest sources of copper in milligrams per 200 calorie serving

  • Clams 49 mg

  • Calf’s liver 17 mg

  • Beef 17 mg

  • Oysters (raw) 13 mg

  • Lamb 10 mg

  • Duck 9 mg

  • Himalayan salt crystals 6 mg

  • Sea salt (unrefined) 6 mg

  • Spirulina 5 mg

  • Chlorella 5 mg

  • Squid 4 mg

  • Lobster 4 mg

  • Mushrooms (Crimini) 4 mg

  • Mushrooms (Shiitake) 3 mg

  • Basil 3 mg

  • Cocoa (organic) 3 mg

  • Capers 3 mg

  • Mineral water 3 mg

  • Apple cider vinegar 3 mg

  • Chamomile tea 3 mg

  • Lemons 3 mg

  • Chicory greens 3 mg

  • Turnip greens 3 mg

  • Cashew nuts 2.2 mg

  • Crab 2 mg

  • Squid 2 mg

  • Potatoes (with skins) 2 mg

  • Coriander 2 mg

  • Asparagus 2 mg

  • Swiss chard 2 mg

  • Winged beans 2 mg

  • Beetroot greens 2mg

NOTE: Copper is found in most foods containing iron.

Recommended daily requirement

The recommended dietary need has not been established but 2 mg is considered adequate for adults. By wearing a copper bracelet on the skin, some copper is taken up in the body. 

NOTE: Copper supplements can lower the zinc levels in the body causing insomnia and the other zinc deficiency symptoms.

Natural sources of copper in alphabetical order

All green vegetables, dark coloured fruits, adzuki beans, alfalfa, allspice, almonds, amaranth, apples, apricots, artichoke (globe), aubergine, basil, beetroot, berries, black eyed peas, black seeds, black strap molasses, bok choy, brassicas, buckwheat, calf's liver, cantaloupe, capers, caraway seeds, cashew nuts, chaga mushrooms, cherries, chlorella, clams, courgette, daikon, dates, dried beans, drumstick leaves, dulse, durum wheat, egg yolk, endive, fennel, goji berries, grapes, guava, halibut, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, herring, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, kiwi fruit, kombu seaweed, lamb, legumes, lemons, lentils, mango, marrow, mosambi juice, melon, millet, mushrooms, nuts, oats, oily fishorgan meats, pears, peas, persimmon fruit, pistachio nuts, plums, poppy seeds, potatoes, propolis, prunes, pumpkin and their seeds, quinoa, radishes, raisins, raspberries, rye, sage, sesame seeds and oil, shellfish, spinach, spirulina, spring onions, strawberries, sumac, Swede, tea, teff, turbot, venison, walnuts, whelks, whole grains and yams.

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F

FLUORIDE

Fluoride is a trace mineral element which has been added to many toothpastes and tap water because it is believed it can prevent tooth decay by strengthening the tooth enamel. However, once ingested, fluoride compounds attack the structural integrity of the insides. Collagen, a web like network connecting the skeletal system to muscles, is torn apart by fluoride. It can be felt as joint stiffness, ligament damage and aching bones. This same mechanism leads to browning of teeth, an outcome known as dental fluorosis. Children exposed to too much fluoride up until the age of nine can develop this brown mottling of the tooth enamel.

Fluoride, in correct doses, can assist with the preservation of strong bones, because it promotes the uptake of calcium in the body. It protects against and treats osteoporosis and can help to prevent heart problems. Further it can prevent the calcification of organs and muscle skeleton structures. It can also prevent diseases from decaying the body as it is a germicide and acts as an antidote to poison, sickness and disease. There is a strong affinity between calcium and fluoride. These two elements, when combined, work particularly in the outer parts of bones. They are found in the enamel of the teeth and the shiny, highly polished bone surface. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and decreases mouth bacteria.

NOTE: Tea makes a great mouthwash since it inhibits the growth of E. coli and Streptococcus bacteria.

Fluoride deficiency

A lack of fluoride can lead to anaemia, infertility, osteoporosis and teeth spoilage.

Fluoride overdose

Tap water suppliers  in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have been instructed by health authorities to add fluoride to drinking water to try to prevent tooth decay. This chemical is toxic and also sold as rat poison. Any health authority who reviews the data in an unbiased way would never allow the addition of fluoride to drinking water. In fact, some medical studies show more tooth decay in fluoridated areas. All nations have given up the practice based on the research and on the principle of people's right to choose whether or not to have their water medicated. Adding fluoride has nothing to do with the safety of the water, and in fact makes it much more toxic.

Fluorides are very toxic chemicals, considered as toxic as mercury or lead. Also, the compound often used, hydrofluosilicic acid, is not pure fluoride but rather a smokestack waste product from fertiliser factories that is about 30% fluoride. It also contains heavy metals, kerosene, benzene, radioactive substances and other toxins.

Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis (that characterise itself as spots on the tooth enamel), a loss of the appetite and finally calcification of the back bone. Fluorosis occurs when more than 10 mg per day is taken. Fluoride builds-up in the brain, thyroid and bones and can cause hypothyroidism which can lead to weight gain and depression.

To avoid fluoride toxicity it is best to only drink tap drink water that has no fluoride added or mineral water that has been bottled at source. Carbon filters can remove chlorine but do not remove fluoride. A home-made toothpaste consisting of bicarbonate of soda and cold pressed coconut oil or tea tree oil is a good alternative to use a few times a week alongside a natural toothpaste which has no fluoride added.

Natural sources of fluoride

Apples, beetroot, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, dulse, eggs, garlic, goat’s milk, green tea, melon, mineral water, pistachio nuts, seaweed, spinach, tap water, tea and watercress.

Recommended daily requirement

Fluoride intake should be limited to 1 mg per day for adults and for children up to 0.25 to 0.5 mg per day. 

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G

GERMANIUM

Germanium is a trace mineral has been found to promote the production of interferon, a substance produced in the body that works to prevent viruses and bacteria from penetrating the body's cells. Germanium keeps the balance in the body and can therefore lower high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. It strengthens the immune system and can be a painkiller. This mineral can have an anti-tumour function and for that is used as a part of the treatment of cancer. It can help treat those suffering with the Epstein-Barr-virus and HIV/AIDS.

Germanium deficiency

Low levels of germanium can reduce the efficiency of the immune system.

Germanium overdose

A supplement of germanium is not recommended because of the risk of kidney damage.

Natural sources of germanium

Aloe vera, ashitaba, beef, bran, chaga mushrooms, comfrey, garlic, ginseng, hemp seeds, milk, rabbit, seeds, spirulina, suma, vegetables, venison and whole grains.

GOLD

The ancients believed that colloidal gold would facilitate extraordinary life spans, cure many diseases and even sharpen their intuition, Edible gold is believed to allow the body to operate close to perfection. Gold is a good electrical conductor and there are many reports which state that gold increases the ability of each cell to conduct better electrical impulses. Gold is useful in treating arthritis, prostate cancer, cervical cancer and many other ailments. It has actions associated with the pineal gland.

Natural sources of gold

Purple coloured foods such as aubergine, beetroot, black grapes, grape seeds and plums.

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H

Heavy metal contamination

 

Industrial use of heavy metals elements has caused spillage and leakages into the environment that have contaminated food and water resources and is cause for concern as they are toxic to animals and humans and can lead to many serious conditions, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, when levels increase in the human body. For further information and natural ways to reduce and eliminate heavy metals from the body see Heavy metal dangers

See also Metal oestrogens

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I

IODINE

The chief store-house of iodine in the body is the thyroid gland. The essential thyroxin, which is secreted by this gland, is made by the circulating iodine. Thyroxin is a chemical which controls the basic metabolism and oxygen consumption of tissues, in particular, in burning a surplus of fat. It increases the heart rate as well as urinary calcium excretion.

Iodine is a trace mineral element which regulates the rate of energy production and body weight and promotes proper growth. It improves mental alacrity and promotes healthy hair, nails, skin and teeth. It also stimulates the liver to produce the good HDL cholesterol, determines the level of the metabolism, relieves pain by connective tissue inflammations in the breasts (fibrocystic breast problems), prevents thyroid gland disturbances, loosens mucus that may block the airways, is a natural anti-inflammatory and disinfection agent and offers protection against the poisonous effects of radioactive substances.

The thyroid gland uses iodine and the amino acid tyrosine to produce the hormones thyroxin and triiodothyronine. Both of these hormones function to regulate cellular metabolism. Metabolism refers to all of the processes that make energy available to cells. As such, these hormones regulate the conversion of glycogen (stored glucose) to glucose.

Selenium is a necessary co-factor for a family of enzymes called iodothyronine deiodinase. These enzymes are responsible for activation and deactivation of thyroid hormones. As such, deficiency of selenium may either exacerbate iodine deficiency or even mimic some of the symptoms.

The high prevalence of sugar, refined carbohydrates or rancid vegetable oils prevent the absorption of iodine in the body.

Many people believe that using iodised table salt can provide them with iodine they need but once the container is exposed to air, iodine content is nearly gone within four weeks after opening (even faster under conditions of high humidity) therefore it is best to consume the foods listed below to get enough iodine rather than table salt.

Iodine deficiency

Iodine deficiency can cause a thyroid imbalance, goitre and enlargement of the thyroid glands, chronic tiredness, apathy, dry skin, reduced fertility, poor nails and hair, inability to withstand the cold and weight increase.

A deficiency of iron makes the thyroid dysfunction seen in iodine deficiency worse. Bromides are a common endocrine disruptor. Because bromide is also a halide, it competes for the same receptors that are used in the thyroid gland (among other places) to capture iodine. This will inhibit thyroid hormone production resulting in a low thyroid state.

Small doses of iodine are of great value in the prevention of goitre in areas where it is endemic and are of value in treatments, at least in the early stages. Larger doses have a temporary value in the preparation of patients with hyperthyroidism for surgical operation.

One study showed an iodine deficiency in 25% of vegetarians and 80% of vegans, compared with only 9% of those consuming a mixed diet that contained dairy and meat.

Fluoride excess can also cause iodine deficiency which has been shown in studies of populations where tap water has been fluoridated.

Highest sources of iodine in micrograms per serving listed in brackets

  • Chlorella, dulse, spirulina algae and kelp (1 tablespoon or 5 g) 750 g

  • Himalayan crystal salt (half a gram) 450 g

  • Cranberries (4 oz or 114 g) 400 g

  • Lobster (3.53 oz or 100 g) 100 g

  • Cod (3 oz or 85 g) 99 g

  • Plain yoghurt (8 oz or 227 g) 75 g

  • Seafood, clams etc (3.53 oz or 100 g) 66 g

  • Potato (one medium size) 60 g

  • Milk (8oz or 227 g) 59 g

  • Shrimp (3 oz or 85 g) 35 g

  • Navy beans (4 oz or 114 g) 32 g

  • Turkey (3 oz or 85 g) 34 g

  • Anchovies (100 g) 30 g

  • One medium sized egg 24 g

  • Cheddar cheese (1 oz or 28 g) 23 g

  • Tinned tuna (3 oz or 85 g) 17 g

  • Gouda cheese (1.42 oz or 40 g) 14 g

  • Prunes (five) 13 g

  • Strawberries (8 oz or 227 g) 13 g

  • Butter beans (4 oz or 114 g) 8 g

  • Lean beef (3 oz or 85 g) 8 g

  • Apple juice (8oz or 227 g) 7 g

  • Peas (4 oz or 114 g) 3 g

  • Green beans (4 oz or 114 g) 3 g

  • Banana (one medium) 3 g

Natural sources of iodine in alphabetical order

Artichokes, beetroot, chlorella, citrus fruits, egg yolk, dulse, fish liver oils, garlic, halibut, hemp seeds, herring, kelp, kippers, kombu seaweed, oily fish, pears, pineapples, prawns and shrimp, sea salt, seaweed, shellfish, spirulina, strawberries, turnip greens, watercress and yoghurt.

NOTE:  ONE g is one microgram.

Recommended daily requirement

  • Adult males over 19 years 130 g

  • Adult females over 19 years 100 g

  • Birth to 6 months 110 g

  • Infants 7–12 months 130 g

  • Children 1–8 years 90 g

  • Children 9–13 years 120 g

  • Teens 14–18 years150 g

  • Pregnant teens and women 125 g

  • Breastfeeding teens and women 150 g

NOTE: The tolerable upper intake limit is 1,000 g per day for adults over 19 years.

IRIDIUM

Iridium is the second densest element (after osmium) and is the most corrosion resistant metal, even at temperatures as high as 2000 C. Iridium is found in meteorites with an abundance much higher than its average abundance in the Earth's crust. In the human body iridium is a powerful antioxidant that stabilises the body’s metabolism and destroys free radicals. Free radicals are what cause the human body to decay, breakdown and become susceptible to viral and bacterial infections. Iridium is involved with processes that are associated with the spinal cord and pituitary gland.

Natural sources of iridium

Almonds, carrots, flaxseed oil, grape seeds, green tea, shiitake mushrooms and watercress.

IRON

Iron is an important trace mineral which is part of the vital activity of the blood and glands. It is responsible for the oxygen transport and the formation of red blood cells. It is part of the enzymes haemoglobin (in the blood) and myoglobulin (in the muscles) and of other enzymes. It is also important in the energy production and it is vital for a correctly functioning immune system and repairs and recovery from infections, injuries and surgery. 

Iron exists chiefly as haemoglobin in the blood. It distributes the oxygen inhaled into the lungs to all the cells. It is the master mineral which creates warmth, vitality and stamina. It is required for the healthy complexion and for building up resistance in the body. Iron also improves physical performances, can help preventing cancer, prevents and cures anaemia, increases  immunity, raises energy levels and holds the energy level stable.

Women absorb more iron than men, but iron deficiencies are more common for women than men. This is because of the loss of blood during the menstruation. Also the blood production for the foetus, breast-feeding, and the use of a spiral, has claim a lot of the iron reserves of a woman. Studies have shown that women from the adolescence until the menopause have a large risk of developing a chronic iron deficiency. As a consequence anaemia can develop. Symptoms of women with iron deficiency are a lowered appetite, fatigue, headaches, heart palpitations, pale skin, respirations difficulties in case of physical effort and tingling of the hands and feet.

Iron is an important component in cognitive, motor sensor and social-emotional development and functioning. Iron deficiency leads to an insufficient number of red blood cells which can cause symptoms of depression like fatigue, brain fog, loss of appetite and irritability. It also helps prevent learning problems for children and promotes a calm sleep.

Iron deficiency

The World Health Organization estimates that 600 - 700 million people are deficient in iron, probably making it the most common nutritional deficiency disorder in the world. Iron deficiency is generally caused by severe blood loss, malnutrition, infections and by excessive use of drugs and chemicals and drinking too much alcohol. It may cause nutritional anaemia, lowered resistance to disease, a general run down condition, pale complexion, getting tired easily, shortness of breath on manual exertion and loss of interest in sex. Iron is the classic remedy for anaemia. However, there are several forms of anaemia, and iron deficiency anaemia is only one.

Iron deficiency can also cause dyspnoea (breathlessness), insomnia, heart palpitations. headache, a poor appetite and tingling hands and feet.

A deficiency of iron and vitamin B6 may be responsible for the anxiety, distress and hyperventilation which accompanies panic attacks. When consuming iron rich foods, one should also consume foods rich in vitamin B9, vitamin B12 and vitamin C everyday.

Vitamin A helps move iron from storage in the body, without adequate amounts of vitamin A the body cannot regulate iron properly leading to an iron deficiency.

Heme or ferrous iron is the most readily absorbed form of iron and is found in red meat, poultry, fish and shellfish. Non-heme iron is less absorbable than heme iron and is found in green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale as well as eggs, milk and meat. Sources of non-heme iron often contain phytates which bind to iron and carry it through the digestive tract unabsorbed. Phytates can reduced iron absorption by up to 80%.

 

As a result, the foods with high iron content are not always the best sources of iron. By weight, soybeans have twice the iron of beef, but only about 7% of the iron in soybeans is absorbed. Spinach is also high in iron, but less than 2% in cooked spinach is absorbed. Eating some vitamin C rich foods such as a couple of strawberries, an orange, kiwi fruit, tangerine or some mango at the same time as consuming these non heme containing foods can assist in better absorption.

 

Cooking in iron pots can add extra iron to the diet especially if acidic foods are cooked at high temperatures.

Other components that inhibit iron absorption are:

  • minerals that compete with iron for absorption such as calcium, copper, magnesium, and zinc.

  • phytic acid (found in grains, legumes and other plant foods)

  • tannic acid (in tea)

  • egg protein (from both the white and the yolk)

  • certain herbs including peppermint and chamomile

  • coffee

  • cocoa

  • high fibre foods

Iron overdose

Iron supplements are not advised because an overdose can cause constipation, diarrhoea, damage to the heart and liver and in rare cases, in extremely high doses, even be fatal. Even doses of three grams can be deadly especially for children.

Haemochromatosis

Haemochromatosis is a hereditary disease characterised by excessive absorption of dietary iron resulting in abnormal high levels of total body iron stores. Excess iron accumulates in tissues and organs disrupting their normal function. The hereditary form of the disease is most common among those of Northern European ancestry, in particular those of British or Irish descent, with a prevalence of one in 200. For those patients extra iron will likely worsen their symptoms.

Highest sources of iron in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Black pepper, marjoram, parsley, spinach, thyme 224 mg

  • Spirulina 29 mg

  • Clams 28 mg

  • Bran 19 mg

  • Liver 18 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 15 mg

  • Caviar 12 mg

  • Hemp seeds 9.6 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 9 mg

  • Cashew nuts 6.7 mg

  • Dried apricot 6.3 mg

  • Wheat 6.3 mg

  • Black strap molasses 4.7 mg

  • Prunes 3.5 mg

  • Artichokes 3.4 mg

  • Prawns 3.1 mg

  • Lean beef 2.9 mg

  • Turkey 2.3mg

  • Raisins 1.9 mg

  • Chicken 1.3 mg

  • Tuna 1.3 mg

Natural sources of iron in alphabetical order

All green leafy vegetables and dark coloured fruits, adzuki beans, alfalfa, allspice, almonds, amaranth, anchovies, apples, apricots, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, ashitaba, aubergine, baobab fruit, basil, beetroot, berries, black eyed peas, black pepper, black seeds, black strap molasses, bok choy, brassicas, burdock, calf's liver, cantaloupe, caraway seeds, chaga mushrooms, cherries, chestnuts, chia seeds, chilli peppers, chlorella, chokeberries, cockles, courgette, curry leaf, cuttlefish, daikon, dates, dill, dried beans, drumstick leaves, duck, durum wheat, egg yolk, endive, fennel, garlic, goji berries, gooseberries, grapes, green beans, halibut, hemp seeds, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, kamut, kelp, kombu seaweed, lamb, leeks, legumes, lemons, lentils, lettuce, lucuma, macadamia nuts, maqui berry, marrow, mashua, melon, monkfish, mosambi juice, mulberries, mushrooms, mussels, nectarines, nettles, oats, oily fishokra, oregano, organ meats, oysters, papaya, parsley, passion fruit, peas, peppercorns, pine nuts, plums, poppy seeds, pork, poultry and game birds, prawns and shrimp, propolis, prunes, pumpkin and their seeds, quinoa, rabbit, raisins, rampion, restharrow, rosehips, rosemary, rye, sage, savoury, seaweed, sesame seeds and oil, spearmint, spinach, spirulina, spring onions, strawberries, suma, sumac, Swede, sweet potato, tapioca, tarragon, tatsoi, tea, teff, tofu, tree turmeric, turbot, venison, whelks, whole grains and yams.

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L

LITHIUM

Lithium is a nutritionally essential trace element with a potential to decrease mortality and provide anti-aging capabilities and has therapeutic properties with bi-polar and manic-depressive disorders. Lithium also has an effect on the potassium and sodium balance in the body.

In addition to treating patients with depression, lithium has been used with some success for Mnire's disease, Huntington's chorea and alcoholism. It may also be beneficial for brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but trials are still underway.

Lithium deficiency

Lithium deficiency can cause bloating, gastrointestinal disorders, heartburn, low stomach acid (lower part of stomach) and bipolar/manic depressive disorders. Patients with bipolar disorder usually have low lithium levels and very high sodium levels as lithium provides a balancing effect and can displace sodium in the body. The intake of higher amounts of lithium has a tendency to raise calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium levels through its effect on kidney function and it has tendency to raise manganese through its effect on liver function (which depresses thyroid activity).

Bismuth and lithium frequently test low in patients who suffer from low stomach acid levels corresponding to upper (bismuth) and lower (lithium) parts of the stomach and they are always low in those with an active infection of the Helicobacter Pylori bacterium, which is responsible for some gastric ulcers and a number of other medical conditions. Bismuth, through its antimicrobial action, is more appropriate for peptic involvement to inhibit H. Pylori activity, where it supports an increase in upper stomach acid levels, while lithium is more indicated for lower gastric duodenal involvement, where it supports an increase in lower stomach acid levels.

Lithium overdose

Supplements are not advised though as excessive lithium can cause hypothyroidism, mental confusion, staggering gait, memory problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight gain, goitre, tremors, liver disease, kidney disease, frequent urination, lethargy, oedema, slurring speech, brain damage and death. Magnesium can be used to treat lithium overdose.

Highest sources of lithium in micrograms per kilogram

  • Milk 7533 g

  • Eggs 7373 g

  • Tomatoes 6707 g

  • Mushrooms 5788 g

  • Cucumbers 5017 g

  • Pork 3844 g

  • Black tea 3737 g

  • Red cabbage 3579 g

  • Cauliflower 3462 g

  • Beef 3428 g

  • Swede 2966 g

  • Paprika 2316 g

  • Poultry 2379 g

  • Marjoram 2289 g

  • Soft cheese 2276 g

  • Asparagus 2217 g

  • White cabbage 1874 g

  • Herring 1734 g

  • Cocoa 1728 g

  • Potatoes 1592 g

  • Apples 1449 g

  • Rice 1260 g

  • Butter 1070 g

  • Cinnamon 1046 g

  • Barley 995 g

  • Wheat flour 905 g

  • Lentils 748 g

  • Semolina 538 g

  • Honey 527 g

  • Bananas 383 g

  • Red wine 329 g

  • White wine 305 g

NOTE:  One g is one microgram.

Natural sources of lithium in alphabetical order

Aubergine, bell peppers, black strap molasses, chilli peppers, eggs, goji berries, halibut, hemp seeds, kelp, milk, mineral water, mushrooms, oily fishorgan meats, paprika, potatoes, rabbit, seaweed, shellfish, sumac, sweet potato, tomatoes and venison.

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M

MAGNESIUM

Magnesium is a macro element also known as the anti-stress mineral. It is an important nutrient for the brain as it raises the resistance against stress, depression, tensions and helps against mental tiredness. It also strengthens the memory and concentration. Magnesium is involved in releasing energy from the diet and is involved in a good functioning nervous system and muscles. It is also involved in the formation of strong bones and teeth and is active as an assistant cofactor of the B and C vitamins. It is necessary for many body functions, such as energy production and cell division and is essential for the transfer of nerve impulses. It protects against heart and vascular diseases, repairs and maintains the cells and is necessary for hormone production and can lower blood pressure. Magnesium is useful in the treatment of fibromyalgia, prostate problems, 'restless legs' and premenstrual tension.

This mineral acts as a co-factor for more than 300 enzymes, including enzymes involved in the body's use of glucose and insulin secretion. All human tissues contain small amounts of magnesium. The adult human body contains about 25 g of this mineral. The greater part of this amount is present in bones in combination with phosphate and carbonate. Bone ashes contain less than one per cent magnesium. About one-fifty of the total magnesium in the body is present in the soft tissues, where it is mainly bound to protein. Next to potassium, magnesium is the predominant metallic action in living cells. The bones seem to provide a reserve supply of this mineral in case of shortage elsewhere in the body.

Magnesium is the mineral that stabilises the heart, calms the nerves and regulates the heart beat. Biochemists call magnesium the " cool, alkaline, refreshing, sleep-promoting mineral". Magnesium helps one keep calm and cool during the sweltering summer months. It aids in keeping nerves relaxed and normally balanced and is necessary for all muscular activity.

This mineral is in activator for most of the enzyme system involving carbohydrate, fat and protein in energy-producing reactions. It is involved in the production of lecithin which prevents building up of cholesterol and consequent atherosclerosis. Magnesium promotes a healthier cardiovascular system and aids in fighting depression. It helps prevent calcium deposits in the kidneys and gallbladder and also brings relief from indigestion. This mineral together with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has also been found effective in the prevention and treatment of bladder, kidney stones and bile and gall stones. Magnesium has also proved useful in other bladder and urinary problems and in epileptic seizure.

Magnesium is nature's own calcium channel blocker. When there is enough magnesium around, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessens resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Studies show that a deficiency of magnesium is not only associated with heart attack but that immediately following a heart attack, lack of sufficient magnesium promotes free radical injury to the heart.

Magnesium rich foods are commonly recommended to people who suffer from asthma issues. It can increase lung capacity and build on the efficiency of the respiratory process.

Magnesium deficiency

It is estimated that 80% of the population of western countries are magnesium deficient. Magnesium deficiency was the cause of death from sudden heart attacks in 8 million people in the USA from 1940-1994. Diabetes can cause magnesium expulsion and lead to heart attacks. Today's intensive farming techniques have stripped the soil of its magnesium content which can cause deficiency in the food crops consumed by humans. Deficiency of magnesium can lead to:

Heavy drinkers and alcoholics often show a low plasma magnesium concentration and a high urinary output. They may, therefore, require magnesium therapy especially in an acute attack of delirium tremens.

Too much phosphorous can cause diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue and can interfere with the body's ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It is a matter of getting the balance right which is why supplementation is not advised. Foods that contain these minerals will never overdose the consumer with phosphorous.

Inulin is a form of starch which enhances magnesium absorption in the intestines and can be gained from consuming agave, banana, burdock root, chicory root, dandelion root, elecampane, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, mugwort, leeks, onions, rampion, salsify, wheat, yam and yacon root.

Some bottled mineral waters contain good amounts of magnesium but some do not so it is best to always check labels. The treatments done to some bottled waters and tap water can remove the magnesium content altogether.

The body does not store magnesium like it does calcium. Magnesium is excreted as a result of drinking alcohol or high caffeine drinks such as coffee and fizzy drinks, high stress, diarrhoea, sugar intake or high levels of protein and fruit in the diet.

Home-made magnesium bicarbonate water

Ingredients

  • One litre of plain sparkling bicarbonate water

  • One bottle of milk of magnesia

Method

Chill a one litre bottle of plain carbonated water. Shake the bottle of milk of magnesia well, then measure out three tablespoons (45ml) and have it ready.  Then take the carbonated water out of the refrigerator and open carefully to minimize the loss of carbon dioxide. Add the measured milk of magnesia in the bottle and put the cap back on. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Leave it for half hour so that it dissolves and the water clears. When the water is cleared, you’ll notice the un-dissolved magnesium hydroxide settled on the bottom of the bottle. Shake it again for 30 seconds and leave it again until it dissolves. This one litre of concentrated magnesium bicarbonate water will have approximately 1500 mg of magnesium and approximately 7500 mg of bicarbonate. The sides of the bottle will “cave in” slightly when the liquid clears which shows that the reaction is complete. Store this bottle of magnesium bicarbonate water in refrigerator.

Drink half a cup of this water per day. It can be increased to one full cup but do not pass that limit because it can cause loose stools.

Magnesium overdose

Magnesium is poisonous for people with kidney problems or disturbances in the the heartbeat. High doses can cause hot flushes, thirst, low blood pressure and sometimes loss of reflexes and therefore supplements are not advised. Natural foods containing magnesium will not cause severe overdose as they also contain the other minerals required for a natural balance.

Magnesium is widely distributed in foods and is a part of the chlorophyll in green vegetables but it does depend upon where and how the food is grown. Organically grown natural foods contain more magnesium especially if they come from volcanic regions or the sea.

NOTE: Athletes and anyone that partakes in intense physical activities are often lacking in magnesium as they perspire profusely but do not replace lost minerals so they should consume plenty of these magnesium-rich foods.

Highest sources of magnesium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Rice bran 781 mg

  • Basil, coriander, dill and sage 694 mg

  • Hemp seeds 640 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 535 mg

  • Raw cocoa 499 mg

  • Flaxseeds 392 mg

  • Brazil nuts 376 mg

  • Sesame seeds 353 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 346 mg

  • Chia seeds 335 mg

  • Chlorella 315 mg

  • Wheat germ 313 mg

  • Cashew nuts 292 mg

  • Almonds 268 mg

  • Caraway seeds 258 mg

  • Black strap molasses and dulse 242 mg

  • Buckwheat 231 mg

  • Spirulina 189 mg

  • Oats 177 mg

  • Durum wheat 144 mg

  • Macadamia nuts 130 mg

  • Adzuki beans 127 mg

  • Kelp 121 mg

  • Millet 114 mg

  • Kale 88 mg

  • Anchovies 69 mg

  • Amaranth 65 mg

  • Globe artichoke 60 mg

  • Okra and nettles 57 mg

  • Chestnuts 54 mg

  • Rocket 47 mg

  • Dates 43 mg

  • Plantain 37 mg

  • Lentils 36 mg

  • Butternut squash 34 mg

  • Coconut 32 mg

  • Potatoes with skin 30 mg

  • Passion fruit 29 mg

  • Savoy cabbage, halibut 28 mg

  • Bananas, rabbit 27 mg

  • Bread fruit, green beans 25 mg

  • Peas 24 mg

  • Raspberries 22 mg

  • Guava 22 mg

  • Blackberries 20 mg

  • Courgettes 18 mg

  • Kiwi fruit, fennel, figs 17 mg

  • Endive 15 mg

  • Cucumber, lettuce 13 mg

Natural sources of magnesium in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, alfalfa, allspice, aloe vera, almonds, amaranth, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, ashitaba, bananas, baobab fruit, basil, black eyed peas, black pepper, black seed, black strap molasses, brown rice, buckwheat, burdock, caraway seeds, cashew nuts, chestnuts, chia seeds, chlorella, cocoa beans (raw), coconut, courgette, cucumber, cuttlefish, daikon, dates, dill, drumstick leaves, dulse, durum wheat, endive, fennel, figs, gooseberries, grapefruit, green beans, guava, halibut, hemp seeds, horseradish, kelp, kiwi fruit, kombu seaweed, legumes, lentils, lettuce, macadamia nuts, marrow, millet, monkfish, mulberries, mushrooms, nectarines, nuts, oats, oily fish, okra, parsley, parsnips, passion fruit, peaches, peas, pine nuts, plums, poppy seeds, propolis, prunes, quinoa, rabbit, radishes, raspberries, restharrow, rye, sage, salmon, salsify, savoury, sea bass, sesame seeds and oil, shellfish, soya beans, spearmint, spinach, spirulina, strawberries, suma, sumac, sunflower seeds, Swede, sweet potato, tangerines, tapioca, teff, tomatoes, turbot, walnuts, whelks and whole grains.

Recommended daily requirement

The recommended dietary need for magnesium is around 420 mg per day for an average build adult man, 320 mg for women and 450 mg during pregnancy and lactation.

MANGANESE

Manganese is a micro-mineral involved in the synthesis of protein like substances, bones and cartilage. An enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) contains manganese and this enzyme protects the body against free radicals.

Manganese is necessary for a healthy functioning nervous system. It is also necessary for the production of feminine hormones, the normal structure of the bones. brain function, the formation of thyroxin (thyroid gland hormone), the synthesis of structural proteins in the body and the metabolism of glucose and is a useful mineral for athletes.

The human body contains 30 to 35mg. of manganese, widely distributed throughout the tissues. It is found in the liver, pancreas, kidney and pituitary glands. This mineral helps nourish the nerves and brain and aids in the coordination of nerve impulses and muscular actions. It helps eliminate fatigue and reduces nervous irritability. Manganese is also important for regulating blood sugar so is useful for diabetics.

Manganese deficiency

A deficiency in this mineral may cause bone disorders, diabetes, dizziness, confused thinking and poor memory, heart conditions, mental and physical tiredness, nausea or vomiting, nervous excitability, poor elasticity in the muscles, poor hair and nail condition and skin rashes. Prolonged deficiency can result in anaemia, blindness or paralysis in infants, convulsions and seizures, hearing loss, infertility, rheumatic arthritis, stunted growth and bone deformities.

Manganese overdose

Harmful quantities are rare, but can lead to apathy, involuntary movements, attitude problems and coma. It can cause the same symptoms as Parkinson's disease.

Highest sources of manganese in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Cloves 60.1 mg

  • Rice bran 14.2 mg

  • Pine nuts 8.8 mg

  • Mussels 6.8 mg

  • Hazelnuts 5.6 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds 4.5 mg

  • Whole wheat 2.1 mg

  • Cocoa beans 3.8 mg

  • Soya beans 2.2 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 1.9 mg

  • Cashew nuts and garlic 1.7 mg

  • Brewer’s yeast 0.08 mg (depending upon source)

  • Egg yolks 1.1 mg

  • Black beans 1.1 mg

  • Dried peas 0.39 mg

  • Kidney beans 0.2 mg

NOTE: Manganese is concentrated in the outer covering of nuts, in the green leaves of edible plants and green vegetables such as peas and runner beans.

Natural sources of manganese in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, allspice, aloe vera, apples, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, bamboo shoots, black eyed peas, black strap molasses, bok choy, brassicas, brown rice, buckwheat, burdock, cantaloupe, caraway seeds, cardamom, chaga mushrooms, cherries, chestnuts, chickpeas, citrus fruits, clams, corn, daikon, dates, dill, drumstick leaves, dulse, durum wheat, endive, fennel, figs, green beans, green tea, guava, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, horseradish, kombu seaweed, lamb, leeks, lentils, macadamia nuts, melon, millet, mussels, oats, oily fish, okra, parsnips, peas, peppercorns, persimmon fruit, pineapple, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, plums, poppy seeds, potatoes, prunes, pumpkin and their seeds, quinoa, radishes, raspberries, raw egg yolk, rye, sage, savoury, sesame seeds and oil, spearmint, spirulina, spring onions, strawberries, swede, sweet potato, tapioca, tea, tree turmeric, turbot, walnuts and whole grains.

 

Recommended daily requirement

 

No official daily allowance of manganese has been established, but 2.5 to 7 mg is generally accepted to be the average adult requirement.

MOLYBDENUM

Molybdenum, also known as sodium molybdate, ammonium molybdate, is a Group 6 chemical element with the symbol Mo and atomic number 42. The name is from Neo-Latin Molybdaenum, from Ancient Greek molybdos, meaning lead, since its ores were confused with lead ores.  Molybdenum is an element that is present in very small amounts in the body. It is involved in many important biological processes including development of the nervous system, waste processing in the kidneys and energy production in cells. It acts as co-factor to a number of important enzymes needed for nutrition, fertility and immunity.

Molybdenum helps the body manufacture enzymes, such as the ones needed for the use of the energy from the fats and carbohydrates, as well as helping the body make use of the iron ingested which sustains mental alertness.  Molybdenum is also essential for blood sugar balance.

 

Molybdenum is an essential element in human nutrition, but its precise function and interactions with other chemicals in the body are not yet well understood. Some evidence suggests that too little molybdenum in the diet may be responsible for some health problems such as Wilson's disease in which the body cannot process copper.

 

Eating foods containing molybdenum can help to relieve a number of conditions such as allergies, asthma, concentration problems, diabetes, infertility, kidney malfunction, gout, dental cavities and tooth decay and sexual impotence.

 

Molybdenum deficiency


It is unlikely that anyone with a balanced diet will suffer from a molybdenum deficiency but the molybdenum content of food depends on the soil content of the mineral. As with chromium, the soil content of molybdenum is often very low. Humans require very small amounts of molybdenum, and deficiency appears to happen only under the rarest of circumstances. For example, molybdenum deficiency may appear in a person fed entirely through the veins for a very long time or in a person with a genetic problem in which the body cannot use the molybdenum that is eaten in foods. Avoiding sulphur-rich foods may lead to a deficiency of molybdenum.

Natural sources of molybdenum

Recommended daily requirement

 

No recommended daily amount has been established, but safe intakes are thought to be between 150 and 500 mcg per day. Diabetics and people with low blood sugar should consume antioxidant foods that contain chromium, vanadium and molybdenum.

 

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N

NICKEL

Nickel interacts with cobalt, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and vitamin B15. Nickel (Ni) and Cobalt (Co) are associated trace elements and considered essential to human health. While a cobalt and vitamin B12 relationship is well documented, a similar, but less documented affiliation applies to nickel and vitamin C.  Also less documented is the control nickel and cobalt exert over the muscular walls of the body's arteries. Nickel specifically affects the left coronary artery, resulting in vasodilation with low levels, and vasoconstriction with high levels, while cobalt exerts the same vasodilatation / vasoconstriction effect on the right coronary artery.

Nickel and vitamin C share a common antagonist; vitamin E. The association of nickel to vitamin C is similar to the one of cobalt to vitamin B12 as far as excess and deficiency symptoms and their interaction with other nutrients is concerned.  For instance, iron deficiency (anaemia) is often found in the presence of low nickel, and it is a well-known fact that vitamin C assists in iron absorption.  Both vitamin C and nickel can also be beneficial for cirrhosis of the liver, hypoadrenalism and can improve insulin production in diabetics.

The cell receptors of nickel and cobalt are neurologically linked to the spinal segment T4, whereby both, its alignment, and various nutritional factors control the ratio of nickel and cobalt.  Alignment problems of T4, or nutritional imbalances involving nickel, cobalt, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and vitamin B15 can either result in localised physical discomfort, or they can trigger cardiac, cerebral, emotional and/or anxiety-problems due to blood flow changes to the heart or brain through their respective vasoconstrictive or vasodilating changes.

Intestinal absorption of nickel is less than 10%, with the kidneys controlling the retention or elimination of nickel, however most of it is eliminated in faeces, some in urine, and a small amount through sweat.

Nickel overdose

Nickel toxicity is usually not a problem unless several grams are ingested from non-dietary sources or there is a natural tendency to retain too much nickel, which could lead to asthma, angina an/or other cardiac symptoms as a result of nickel interfering with vitamin E activity.

Nickel is quite toxic in its gaseous form of nickel carbonyl, and it has the potential to cause cancer of the sinuses, throat and lungs when insoluble nickel compounds are inhaled for long periods of time. This does not apply to soluble nickel compounds such as chloride, nitrate, or sulphate. Once someone is sensitised to nickel from an allergic reaction to nickel-containing materials, subsequent contact will have to be avoided as it will continue to produce these effects. Skin reactions such as itching, burning, redness or other rashes are the most common symptoms with nickel sensitivity, however asthma attacks are another, but less frequent possibility in some people.

Nickel is a trace element that has been linked to skin allergies or dermatitis. Nickel is found in coins, costume jewellery, dental materials,  eyeglass frames, hair clips, pins, scissors and some kitchen appliances. Regular contact with these nickel products may allow some absorption into the body. Allergic dermatitis from nickel products is not at all uncommon, however of the approximately 10 mg in the body, significant amounts of nickel are found in RNA and DNA where it interacts with these nucleic acids.

Most of plasma nickel is a constituent of the circulating proteins nickeloplasmin and albumin, and it is also thought to be a factor in hormone, lipid and cell membrane metabolism. Insulin response is increased after ingesting nickel, which may be related to its activation of enzymes associated with the breakdown or utilization of glucose.

Natural sources of nickel in alphabetical order

NOTE: It is possible that the nickel in grains can bind with the phytic acid in these grains reducing the amount of nickel available for absorption.

NITROGEN

Nitrogen is part of all amino acids, which make up proteins including those in DNA and RNA. The human body contains about 3% by weight of nitrogen, the fourth most abundant element in the body after oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. In respiration, the presence of nitrogen in the air inhibits oxidation of the lung tissues, where specialised cells extract the oxygen from the air (normally about 20% by volume).

Nitrogen is essential for the human body to synthesise amino acids. The protein that is consumed in the diet contains amino acids. These are made up of organic molecules containing nitrogen. Through the nitrogen obtained from these amino acids, the body produces other amino acids that are vital for body functions.

Microbes transform nitrogen into forms that get absorbed in the plants.

Nitrogen deficiency

A deficiency of nitrogen can lead to slow growth of the hair and nails, brittle hair and hair loss, slower wound healing, muscle wasting, bone fractures, sprains and complex injuries.

Nitrogen overdose

Excess of nitrogen in the body is harmful. If nitrogen intake exceeds nitrogen excretion, as can occur with high-protein diets, excess nitrogen leaves the body accompanied by calcium, increasing the risk for kidney stones and osteoporosis. Amino acids of protein are converted to ammonia by the liver. High levels of ammonia are toxic to the nervous system, with symptoms that include vomiting and tremors and can lead to coma and death. Therefore, moderate protein consumption is best. The recommended daily intake for protein in humans should never exceed the size of the clenched fist of the person consuming it and that includes children.

Natural sources of nitrogen

Asparagus, beef, brewers yeast, broccoli, legumes, lentils, lettuce, kelp, nuts, mushrooms, oily fish, organ meats, rabbit, seaweed, shellfish, spinach, venison and whole grains.

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PHOSPHORUS

Phosphorous combines with calcium to create the calcium-phosphorus balance necessary for the growth of bones and teeth and in the formation of nerve cells. This mineral is also essential for the assimilation of carbohydrates and fats. It is a stimulant to the nerves and brain. Phosphorus also contributes to proper kidney functioning and lessens arthritis pain.

Phosphorus is an important component of nucleic acids, the building blocks of the genetic code. In addition, the metabolism of lipids (fats) relies on phosphorus and it is an essential component of lipid-containing structures such as cell membranes and nervous system structures. It also plays a role in the structure of every cell in the body. In addition to its role in forming the mineral matrix of bone, phosphorus is an essential component of numerous other life-critical compounds including adenosine triphosphate or ATP, the molecule that is the energy currency of the body.

Calcium cannot achieve its objectives unless phosphorus is also present in a proper balance. Too much phosphorous, though, can cause diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue and can interfere with the body's ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It is a matter of getting the balance right which is why supplementation is not advised. Supplements will never provide the correct balance of any nutrient for the particular individual taking them and any imbalance can affect the levels of other vital nutrients..

Phosphorus deficiency

May bring about loss of weight, retarded growth, reduced sexual powers and general weakness. It may also result in poor mineralisation of bones, deficient nerve and brain function.

Phosphorus overdose

Phosphorus, in the form of phosphate or phosphoric acid, is often added to processed foods and carbonated soft drinks and, because too much phosphorous can reduce the amount of calcium that the body absorbs leading to brittle and porous bones, it is important to eliminate these foods and drinks from the diet.

Highest sources of phosphorous in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Baking powder 6869 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds 1233 mg

  • Whey powder 932 mg

  • Poppy seeds 849 mg

  • Mustard seeds 828 mg

  • Parmesan cheese 807 mg

  • Brazil nuts 725 mg

  • Raw cocoa powder 734 mg

  • Soya beans 637 mg

  • Cashew nuts 593 mg

  • Beef liver 497 mg

  • Sardines 490 mg

  • Caviar 356 mg

  • Tempeh 266 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 356 mg

  • Brown rice 360 mg

  • Buckwheat 319 mg

  • Dried shiitake mushrooms 294 mg

  • Anchovies 252 mg

  • Portobello mushrooms 108 mg

  • White mushrooms 105 mg

  • Water cress 60 mg

Natural sources of phosphorus in alphabetical order

Acai berries, adzuki beans, alfalfa, amaranth, apples, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, baobab fruit, beetroot, black eyed peas, black seeds, bok choy, brassicas, buckwheat, brazil nuts, brown rice, burdock, calf's liver, cantaloupe, cheese, chestnuts, chia seeds, chilli peppers, chives, chlorella, corn, curry leaf, cuttlefish, daikon, drumstick leaves, durum wheat, egg yolk, endive, flax seeds, goat's milk, gooseberries, halibut, hemp seeds, kelp, kiwi fruit, kombu seaweed, lamb, legumes, lentils, lobster, lucuma, mashua, melon, milk, millet, monkfish, mulberries, mushrooms, mussels, nectarines, nuts, oats, oily fish, okra, organ meats, passion fruit, peas, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, plums and prunes, pomegranates, pork, poultry and game birds, prawns and shrimp, pumpkin and their seeds, rabbit, radishes, rampion, rye, sage, salsify, sea bass, sesame seeds, shellfish, soya beans, spirulina, squash seeds, sumac, sunflower seeds, Swede, sweet potato, tangerines, tapioca, tatsoi, teff, tree turmeric, torula yeast, venison, whelks, watermelon seeds, whole grains and yoghurt.

Recommended daily requirement

Usually about one gram of phosphorus is considered necessary in the daily diet.

PLATINUM

Platinum is the rarest and purest precious metal in the world and it's also been embraced by modern medicine. Platinum-based chemotherapy is used to treat testicular, ovarian, colon and lung cancers. Platinum affects the DNA and RNA in cells and since cancer cells are more actively dividing than normal cells, the platinum destroys the DNA and destroys the cell.

Platinum is also used to treat sexually-transmitted disease (STD) such as syphilis. It is also useful for treating bacterial, fungal or virus infections, muscle, glandular, brain or nerve malfunctions, insomnia, premenstrual tension, back pain, neuralgia, headaches and chronic fatigue. It can also promote youthful vitality and mental alertness.

Up until the 1980's platinum was abundant in many vegetables like kale and spinach. Since then, platinum and many other minerals such as magnesium, have been leached from the soil of many countries through intensive farming techniques and over cropping. Sources from the sea and lakes are now richer in platinum and these other minerals than land grown crops.

Natural sources of platinum

Chlorella, eggs, hemp seeds, kelp, oily fish, organ meats, rabbit, seaweed, spirulina, venison and whole grains.

POTASSIUM

Potassium is essential to the life of every cell of a living being and is among the most generously and widely distributed of all the tissue minerals. It is found principally in the intracellular fluid where it plays an important role as a catalyst in energy metabolism and in the synthesis of glycogen and protein. The average adult human body contains 120 g as potassium and 245 g as potassium chloride. There is 117 g found in the cells and 3 g in the extra cellular compartment.

Potassium is most concentrated inside the cells of the body. The gradient, or the difference in concentration from within the cell compared to the plasma, is essential in the generation of the electrical impulses in the body that allow muscles and the brain to function.

Potassium is an electrolyte which means it is a mineral with an electric charge that is present in blood and other fluids in the body. This mineral is necessary for growth, electrical activity of the heart, maintaining normal blood pressure, muscle function including the heart and nerve impulse transmission. It also helps overcome fatigue and aids in clear thinking by sending oxygen to the brain.

Potassium is also responsible for regulating bodily fluids which prevents dehydration. It also helps the kidneys in detoxification of blood and acts as an alkalising agent in keeping a proper acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues. It promotes the secretion of hormones which helps to prevent female disorders by stimulating the endocrine hormone production and is also a mineral required for producing healthy sperm in males.

Tear film includes electrolytes, one of which is potassium. One of the first-line treatments prescribed for dry eye is the use of lubricating drops. It is often recommended to choose a drop with an electrolyte composition closest to that of natural tears. Potassium in addition to bicarbonate appears to be one the most important of these electrolytes in tear film. Several research studies have demonstrated that potassium levels have a direct impact on tear film.

Researchers have found that lower levels of potassium negatively affect tear-film break-up time and also are integral to the maintenance of corneal epithelium. Another study on animal subjects showed that potassium is necessary for the maintenance of normal corneal thickness. Each of these discoveries highlights the importance of potassium to the optimal health of the corneal surface.

Alcohol has a serious affect on potassium levels in the body. Beer has high water content and a low concentration of soluble nutrients. The alcohol content of beer impairs the normal anti-diuretic hormones effect so the high water content of beer is retained in the body, diluting the concentration of ions and causing fluid overload in the bloodstream. The decreased concentration of potassium ions causes hormonal imbalance and thirst, so you want to drink more even though the body already has excess fluid.

Because whiskey and other spirits have lower water content than beer, less water enters the body. The alcohol suppresses levels of anti-diuretic hormones  and the kidneys process more water from the bloodstream into urine than is consumed, which raises the concentration of potassium and other ions in the bloodstream. This sets up a dehydration effect where your body attempts to dilute the concentrated ion imbalance in the bloodstream by drawing water from cells throughout the body. The resulting ionic imbalance affects individual cells as well as organ functions. The fluid shift from cells to bloodstream results in serious dehydration.

The potassium sorbate used to preserve certain types of wine can increase the potassium content of the wine.

Hyperkalaemia

Hyperaemia is is the medical term for too much potassium in the blood and is a potentially life-threatening situation because it causes abnormal electrical conduction in the heart and potentially life-threatening heart rhythm problems. High potassium levels are most often associated with kidney failure, in which potassium levels build up and cannot be excreted in the urine. In serious and advanced cases, emergency dialysis may be required to remove the potassium if kidney function is poor.

The adrenal glands produce aldosterone, which is the main mineralocorticoid whose function is to cause the kidneys to reabsorb sodium and fluid while excreting potassium in the urine. This helps to keep these two ions in balance. Therefore, diseases of the adrenal gland, such as Addison's disease, that lead to decreased aldosterone secretion can decrease kidney excretion of potassium, resulting in body retention of potassium, and hence hyperkaemia. See below for the foods that are high and low in potassium. Those in green are safer alternatives to consumed when this condition is present.

High potassium levels do not typically cause liver problems unless left untreated for a prolonged period. Liver disease, however, is more likely to contribute to excess potassium in the body, therefore, excessive and regular alcohol consumption can cause and aggravate this condition.

Hypokalaemia

Hypokalaemia is the medical term for too little potassium in the blood usually from causes like vomiting, diarrhoea, sweating and medications like diuretics or laxatives. It is often seen in diabetic ketoacidosis, where potassium is excessively lost in the urine. Since chemicals in the body are related in their metabolism, low magnesium levels can be associated with hypokalaemia. Potassium absorption is enhanced by consuming foods rich in vitamin B6. Elderflowers can reduce potassium levels in the blood. Low potassium levels can worsened any liver disorders.

Potassium deficiency

A deficiency of potassium may occur due to diuretic medications or during gastrointestinal disturbances with severe vomiting and diarrhoea, diabetic acidosis and potassium losing nephritis. Deficiency can cause undue nervous and body tiredness, palpitation of the heart, cloudiness of the mind, nervous shaking of the hands and feet, great sensitivity of the nerves to cold, excessive perspiration of the feet and hands, high blood pressure, Parkinson's disease and stroke.

Potassium can be lacking in the diet due to intense farming techniques. Intensive physical activity, old age, drinking alcohol and taking some medications can also cause the body to have lower levels of potassium in which case at least one of the following potassium rich foods should be consumed daily.

In simple cases of potassium deficiency, drinking plenty of coconut water daily can make up for it. It is advisable to consume plenty of almonds, apricots, figs, prunes and tomatoes during the use of oral diuretics. Tender coconut water comes from the fresh young tender green coconuts available where the trees grow as opposed to the older dried and hardened coconuts commonly transported to other parts of the  world.

Potassium overdose: Beta-blockers and drugs for hypertension are types of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease and can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as bananas should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers. Consuming too much potassium can be harmful for those whose kidneys are not fully functional. If the kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood, it could be fatal.

NOTE: Potassium-rich foods should be restricted during acute renal (kidney) failure and Addison’s disease.

Highest sources of potassium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Dried basil, chervil, coriander, dill, parsley 4240 mg

  • Sun dried tomatoes 3427 mg

  • Turmeric 2,525 mg

  • Raw cocoa 2509 mg

  • Whey powder 2289 mg

  • Paprika and chilli powder 2280 mg

  • Yeast extract 2100 mg

  • Soya beans 1,797 mg

  • Cumin 1,788 mg

  • Fennel seeds 1,694 mg

  • Rice bran 1,485 mg

  • Black strap molasses 1464 mg

  • Kidney beans 1,406

  • Dried soya beans 1364 mg

  • Spirulina 1,363 mg

  • Coriander seeds 1,267 mg

  • Apricots dried 1,162 mg

  • Rabbit stewed 1026 mg

  • Pistachio nuts 1007 mg

  • Squash and pumpkin seeds 919 mg

  • Chick peas 875 mg

  • Sunflower seeds 850 mg

  • Raisins 749 mg

  • Prunes 732 mg

  • Almonds 705 mg

  • Dates 696 mg

  • Whelks 694 mg

  • Dried figs 680 mg

  • Cashew nuts 660 mg

  • Peanut butter 649 mg

  • Clams 628 mg

  • Watermelon seeds 648 mg

  • Pine nuts 597 mg

  • Chestnuts 592 mg

  • Spinach raw 558 mg

  • Anchovies 544 mg

  • Baked potatoes 535 mg

  • Coriander leaves 521 mg

  • Mackerel 520 mg

  • Breadfruit 490 mg

  • Avocados 485 mg

  • Sweet potato baked 475 mg

  • Sesame seeds 468 mg

  • Spinach boiled 466 mg

  • Walnuts 441mg

  • Soya sauce 435 mg

  • Black beans 431 mg

  • Cinnamon 431 mg

  • Pork 423 mg

  • Potatoes 421 mg

  • Guava 417 mg

  • Fennel 414 mg

  • Bulgur wheat 410 mg

  • Garlic 401 mg

  • Brussel sprouts (juiced raw) 389 mg

  • Lentils cooked 369 mg

  • Salmon 363 mg

  • Bananas 358 mg

  • Coconut 356 mg

  • Nutmeg 350 mg

  • Passion fruit 348 mg

  • Green chilli peppers 340 mg

  • Sweet potatoes 337 mg

  • Venison 335 mg

  • Watercress 330 mg

  • Carrots 320 mg

  • Bass 328 mg

  • Red chilli peppers 322 mg

  • Black currants 322 mg

  • Mushrooms 318 mg

  • Brussel sprouts boiled 317 mg

  • Kiwi fruit 316 mg

  • Lamb 310 mg

  • Beef lean 318 mg

  • Cannellini beans 307 mg

  • Sweet corn 287 mg

  • Bread bread 285 mg

  • Butternut squash baked 284 mg

  • Soda bread 266 mg

  • Coconut milk 263 mg

  • Apricots 259 mg

  • Coconut water 250 mg

  • Peas 240 mg

  • Sweet potato boiled 230 mg

  • Chicken 223 mg

  • Goat's milk 204 mg

  • Orange juice 200 mg

  • Grapes 191 mg

  • Peaches 190 mg

  • Oranges 181 mg

  • Clementine's 177 mg

  • Bell pepper green raw 175 mg

  • Cabbage 170 mg

  • Bell peppers green (boiled) 166 mg

  • Blackberries 162 mg

  • Plums 157 mg

  • Raspberries 151 mg

  • Milk semi-skimmed 150 mg

  • Onions 146 mg

  • Cauliflower boiled 142 mg

  • Yoghurt 141 mg

  • Lemon 138 mg

  • Grapefruit 135 mg

  • Butternut squash boiled 133 mg

  • Milk (whole) 132 mg

  • Sour dough bread 128 mg

  • Eggs 126 mg

  • White bread 115 mg

  • Balsamic vinegar 112 mg

  • Apples 107 mg

  • Cottage cheese 104 mg

  • Blueberries 77 mg

  • Apple cider vinegar mg

  • Oats 61 mg

  • Cous cous 58 mg

  • Honey 52 mg

  • Brown rice 43 mg

  • Butter 24 mg

  • Pasta 24 mg

  • White rice 20 mg

  • Tofu 20 mg

  • Sugar 2 mg

  • Olive oil 1 mg

  • Sesame oil 0 mg

NOTE: Foods in green are low in potassium so are therefore good alternatives to consume if Hyperkalaemia or kidney disorders are an issue. Steaming and baking will retain more potassium whereas boiling and discarding the water is a way to reduce potassium levels in vegetables.

Natural sources of potassium in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, alfalfa, allspice, almonds, amaranth, apples, apricots, artichoke (globe), avocado, bamboo shoots, bananas, baobab fruit, beetroot, black eyed peas, black pepper, black seeds, black strap molasses, bok choy, brassicas, buckwheat, cantaloupe, caraway seeds, chaga mushrooms, cherries, chestnuts, chia seeds, chives, chokeberries, clams, coconut, cottage cheese, cucumber, daikon, dates, drumstick leaves, durum wheat, endive, fennel, figs, grapefruit, grapes, goat's milk, gooseberries, green beans, green tea, halibut, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, kelp, kiwi fruit, kombu seaweed, lemons, lentils, mango, maqui berry, mashua, milk, melon, mineral water, monkfish, mulberries, mushrooms, mussels, nectarines, nettles, nuts, octopus, oranges, parsley, parsnips, passion fruit, pears, peas, peppercorns, persimmon fruit, pine nuts, plums, poppy seeds, pork, potato peelings, prickly pear, prawns and shrimp, prickly pear, prunes, quinoa, rabbit, radishes, raisins, rye, sage, salmon, salsify, sea bass, shellfish, spearmint, spirulina, spring onions, strawberries, sumac, sunflower seeds, Swede, sweet potato, Swiss chard, tangerines, tapioca, tatsoi, tomatoes, tree turmeric, turbot, watermelon, whelks, whole grains, yams and yoghurt.

Recommended daily requirement

Potassium requirements have not been established but an intake of 800 mg to 1300 mg. per day is estimated as approximately the minimum need.

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R

RHODIUM

Rhodium is the only known substance that can increase the thymus glands actions which has an incredible healing potential for diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. Rhodium acts as a superconductor of light which substantially increases the speed of transfer of information between the left and right brain hemispheres.

Natural sources of rhodium

Almonds, carrots, flaxseed oil, grape seeds, green tea, shiitake mushrooms and watercress.

RUBIDIUM

Rubidium is the mineral is present in the earth's crust, in seawater and in the human body which contains about 350 mg. Rubidium plays an essential role in the synthesis of enzymes. One such enzyme, glucoamylase, that rubidium helps to create is very essential for the proper absorption of glucose in the body. Without rubidium to help the action of the enzyme, the glucose molecules would not be able to get absorbed efficiently which can lead to diabetes. Rubidium also enhances the production of many hormones and various other enzymes. The working of the pituitary gland, as well as the salivary and lachrymal glands, is encouraged with the presence of rubidium. It is also useful in the synthesis of serotonin and ensures presence of enough serotonin in the body which alleviates depression and mental imbalances and can help with the treatment of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease..

Rubidium, along with caesium and potassium, has been shown to be effective in preventing cancer. Rubidium helps to regulate the flow of iron into the bloodstream, which in turn helps in better absorption of iron. When there is enough iron present in the blood, rubidium acts as a block and stops more iron from being let into the blood which may be one reason it can help to prevent cancer. Cancerous cells thrive on iron.

The incidence of cancer in the Hopi native tribe of Arizona in the US is one in 1000 as compared to one in four in developed nations as a whole. Hopi food runs higher in all the essential minerals than conventional foods and it is especially rich in caesium, potassium and rubidium because the soil where they reside is volcanic. These people live chiefly on desert grown flint corn ('Zea mays indurata') products but instead of using baking soda they use the ash of chamisa leaves (Ericameria nauseosa), a desert grown plant. The analysis of this ash shows it to be very rich in rubidium. The Hopi also eat many fruits per day, especially apricots, including the kernels.

In 1985, the incidence of cancer among the Pueblo native tribe was also one in 1000, the same as the Hopi, as their food at that time was essentially the same. But unlike the Hopi, the Pueblo began to use certain items from outside their environment and supermarkets were introduced to the area. Today, the incidence of cancer among the Pueblos has now risen to one in four. The higher incidence of cancer is obviously due to reduced levels of caesium, potassium and rubidium in supermarket foods.

The natives who live in Central America and on the highlands of Peru and Ecuador also have very low incidences of cancer and again the soil in these areas is volcanic. Fruit from the areas has been obtained and analysed for rubidium and caesium and found to run very high in both elements. Cases have been reliably reported where people with advance inoperable cancer have gone to live with these Indians and found that all tumour masses disappear within a  few months.

Cancer is also unknown among the Hunza of Pakistan. They are mainly vegetarian and great fruit eaters, often consuming up to 40 apricots per day including the kernels, either directly or as a meal. They drink at least two litres of mineral water from the natural springs that surround them. This water has been analysed and found to be very rich in caesium. Since the soil is volcanic in nature, it must be concluded that it will also be rich in potassium and rubidium.

NOTE: In the body, because rubidium substitutes for potassium, too much can be dangerous. Large amounts cause hyperirritability and spasms.

Rubidium deficiency

Rubidium deficiency can lead to hemosiderosis which is a form of iron overload disorder resulting in the accumulation of hemosiderin. Other symptoms of deficiency are:

Natural sources of rubidium

NOTE: Plant foods must be grown in soils that are not depleted of rubidium therefore organically grown foods and those from the sea and volcanic areas are best sources.

 

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SELENIUM

Selenium and vitamin E are synergistic and the two together are stronger than each one on its own. Selenium slows down ageing and hardening of tissues through oxidation. Males seem to have a greater need for this mineral. Nearly half of the total supply in the body is concentrated in the testicles and in the seminal ducts adjacent to the prostate gland. Selenium is useful in keeping youthful elasticity in tissues. It also helps in the prevention and treatment of dandruff and improves the condition of hair and nails.

Selenium is important to mental health as it plays a role in the workings of the thyroid gland and can help to alleviate the mood and reduce symptoms of depression. It is also known to alleviate hot flushes and menopausal distress.

Selenium is an important antioxidant that plays a role in the body's utilisation of oxygen. Alcoholics, as well as patients with candidiasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and arthrogryposis-renal dysfunction-cholestasis (ARC), have all shown low levels of selenium. In addition, heart disease and cancer are higher in people with diminished selenium levels.

Selenium also has a role in detoxifying poisonous phenols, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, hydrocarbons and chlorine. Many people with allergic reactions to these substances have found relief through the use of selenium. However, selenium can be toxic in large amounts.

Selenium Deficiency

A deficiency of selenium can cause premature loss of stamina.

Selenium Overdose

Too much selenium can cause some toxic effects including gastrointestinal upset, brittle nails, hair loss and mild nerve damage.

Highest sources of selenium in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Brazil nuts 1917 g

  • Oysters 154 g

  • Lamb's liver 116 g

  • Tuna 108 g

  • Whelks and octopus 89.6 g

  • Wheat germ 79.2 g

  • Sunflower seeds 79 g

  • Amaranth 70.7 g

  • Caviar (fish roe) 65.5 g

  • Anchovies 68.1 g

  • Egg yolk 56 g

  • Chia seeds 55.2 g

  • Kippers 52.6 g

  • Pork 51.6 g

  • Halibut 46.8 g

  • Oat bran 45.2 g

  • Lean beef 44.8 g

  • Crab 44.4 g

  • Salmon 41.4 g

  • Rabbit (wild) 38.5 g

  • Chicken and turkey 37.8 g

  • Turbot 36.5 g

  • Sesame seeds 34.4 g

  • Kamut 30 g

  • Couscous 27.5 g

  • Mushrooms (Crimini) 26 g

  • Cashew nuts 19.9 g

  • Calf's liver 19.3 g

  • Rabbit 15.2 g

  • Rye (whole grain) 13.9 g

  • Venison 10.3 g

  • Spirulina 7.2 g

  • Asparagus 6.1 g

  • Spinach 5.5 g

 

NOTE: One g is one microgram.

Recommended daily requirement

Around 55 micrograms of selenium per day is considered adequate for an average sized adult.

Natural sources of selenium in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, alfalfa, allspice, aloe vera, artichoke (globe), barley, black eyed peas, brazil nuts, beef, brewers yeast, buckwheat, burdock, calf's liver, cantaloupe, caraway seeds, clams, daikon, drumstick leaves, durum wheat, eggs, endive, fennel, garlic, goji berries, halibut, herring, kelp, kippers, kombu seaweed, lentils, lamb, macadamia nuts, melon, milk, monkfish, mushrooms, mussels, oats, octopus, oily fish, onions, peas, prawns and shrimp, rabbit, salmon, sea bass, shellfish, spirulina, sumac, Swede, tapioca, tomatoes, turbot, venison and whelks.

SILICA

Silica is known as the " beauty mineral " as it is essential for the growth of skin, hair shafts, nails and other outer coverings of the body. It also makes the eyes bright and assists in hardening the enamel of the teeth. It is beneficial in all healing process and protects body against many diseases such as tuberculosis, irritations in mucous membranes and skin disorders. Silica is lethal to the eggs of parasites in the body and so is a good remedy against infestation.

Silica has a powerful influence on the absorption of minerals required by the body for optimal health. It enhances the function of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and boron and is essential for normal bone development. Silica helps to maintain the correct calcium-magnesium balance which is essential for bone health.

Silica deficiency

Low levels of silica can lead to soft brittle nails, ageing symptoms of skin such as wrinkles, thinning or loss of hair, poor bone development, insomnia osteoporosis and rosacea.

Natural sources of silica

Almonds, apples, asparagus, bamboo, beetroot, cherries, cucumber, grapes, honey, horsetail, mineral water, onions, peanuts, radishes,  yams and the juices and green leaves of most vegetables.

SILVER

Silver has shown a very powerful potential to kill fungi, viruses and harmful bacteria, It can also soothe burns, repair skin and tissue damage and treat scars, rashes, sty's and acne. Colloidal silver is easily digested and therefore easily absorbed into the internal organs that need it most. This ease of absorption helps the benefits of colloidal silver work fast. Colloidal silver is a suspension of sub-microscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base. A colloidal substance is any which has the quality of having another substance diffused evenly throughout it.

The infection fighting benefits of silver has been known since Roman times. Soldiers in the Roman legions would always place a silver coin into their water containers on their long marches into battle, to help prevent the water from becoming bacterially contaminated. It is said they would also beat pure silver into a thin foil and wrap the silver foil around wounds received in battle, to help prevent the wounds from becoming infected, and thus allowing them to recover quickly to fight again.

The presence of silver in the human body appears to "prime" white blood cells to go on the offensive against cancers, pathogens, toxins and other invaders, which may be why so many chronic degenerative diseases seemed to respond so well to colloidal silver. It also has the ability to carry oxygen throughout the body, (much like the iron in haemoglobin) wherever extra oxygen might be needed. Additionally, it has the ability to boost the production of red blood cells, which are the body's main carriers of oxygen to the tissues and organs.

Scientists have found that the microscopic, electrically generated silver particles in a liquid colloidal solution could be safely ingested in order to heal a wide variety of ailments, including internal infections such as colds and flu, food poisoning, urinary tract infection, candida yeast infections, infections of the internal organs such as the kidneys and liver, sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhoea, HIV/AIDS, parasites, cancer, tetanus and even deadly diseases like bubonic plague, anthrax disease and numerous others. It has been proved that there were hardly any infectious organisms in existence which were not subject to the incredible antimicrobial qualities of colloidal silver. In laboratory tests, over 650 different infectious microorganisms were found to be no match for colloidal silver.

Silver has also been found to successfully treat many forms of chronic degenerative disease including cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, Crohn's disease, type II diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Wegener's disease and collagen-vascular diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.

Silver overdose

Argyria is a condition of excess silver in the body which can turn the skin blue/grey in colour. The estimated amount of silver accumulation over a one-year period that is required to produce argyria is 1 to 5 grams. Whilst silver can successfully treat infection, over use of more than one month is not recommended as a build up of levels of silver in the body can cause irreversible neurologic toxicity, organ damage, arteriosclerosis, coma and death.

Natural sources of silver

Hemp seeds.

To make digestible colloidal silver a very small specially designed generator is required plus distilled (cooled boiled) water and two six-inch strands of pure.999 fine silver wire, referred to as "silver electrodes," or "silver rods". Dangle the two silver rods in a glass of distilled water, hooked the little generator up to them with a pair of alligator clips that come with the generator and let it run. The electrical current from the generator flows through the silver rods and drive microscopic pieces of silver into the distilled water, suspending them there with an electrical charge. The end result is a solution of pure colloidal silver. Some generators do not work well and produce molecules of silver that are too large to be absorbed so finding the correct one is important.

SODIUM

Sodium chloride, the chemical name for common salt, contains 39 per cent of sodium, an element which never occurs in free form in nature. It is found in an associated form with many minerals especially in plentiful amounts with chlorine. The body of a healthy person weighing about 65 kg contains 256 g of sodium chloride. Of this the major part, just over half, is in the extra-cellular fluid. About 96 g is in bone and less than 32 g in the cells.

Sodium is the most abundant chemical in the extra-cellular fluid of the body. It acts with other electrolytes, especially potassium, in the intracellular fluid, to regulate the osmotic pressure and maintain a proper water balance within the body. It is a major factor in maintaining acid-base equilibrium, in transmitting nerve impulses and in relaxing muscles. It is also required for glucose absorption and for the transport of other nutrients across cell membranes. Sodium can help prevent catarrh. It promotes a clear brain, resulting in a better disposition and less mental fatigue. Because of its influence on calcium, sodium can also help dissolve any stones forming within the body. It is also essential for the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach and plays a part in many other glandular secretions. There is some natural salt in every natural  food consumed.

 

Sodium is most often found outside the cell, in the plasma (the non-cell part) of the bloodstream. It is a significant part of water regulation in the body, since water goes where the sodium goes. If there is too much sodium in the body, perhaps due to high salt intake in the diet (salt is sodium plus chloride), it is excreted by the kidney, and water follows.

 

Sodium is an important electrolyte that helps with electrical signals in the body, allowing muscles to fire and the brain to work. It is half of the electrical pump at the cell level that keeps sodium in the plasma and potassium inside the cell.

 

Both deficiency and excess of salt may produce adverse effects to the human body. Deficiencies of sodium are, however, rare and may be caused by excessive sweating, prolonged use of diuretics, or chronic diarrhoea. Deficiency may lead to nausea, muscular weakness, heat exhaustion, mental apathy and respiratory failure. Over-supply of sodium is a more common problem because of overuse of dietary sodium chloride or common salt. Too much sodium may lead to water retention, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, stomach cancer, hardening of arteries and heart disease.

 

In case of mild deficiency of sodium chloride, taking a teaspoon of common salt in one half litre of water or any fruit juice quickly restores the health. In severe conditions, however, administration of sodium chloride in the form of normal saline by intravenous drip may be restored to. The adverse effects of excessive use of sodium chloride can be rectified by avoiding the use of common salt and using Himalayan salt crystals or unrefined sea salt instead.

 

Hypernatraemia

 

This is associated with dehydration, and instead of having too much sodium, there is too little water. This water loss can occur from illnesses with vomiting or diarrhoea, excessive sweating from exercise or fever, or from drinking fluid that has too high concentrations of salt. Drink plenty of bottled or filtered water and pineapple juice. Avoid: processed foods, foods on the list below and salt

 

Hyponatraemia 

 

This is caused by water intoxication (drinking so much water that it dilutes the sodium in the blood and overwhelms the kidney's compensation mechanism) or by a syndrome of inappropriate anti-diuretic hormone secretion which can be associated with illnesses like pneumonia, brain diseases, cancer, thyroid problems and some medications.

Too much or too little sodium can cause cells to malfunction. Lethargy, confusion, weakness, swelling, seizures, and coma are some symptoms that can occur with both hypernatremia or hyponatremia. The treatment of these conditions is dependent on the underlying cause, but it is important to correct the sodium imbalance relatively slowly. Rapid correction can cause abnormal flow of water into or out of cells. This is especially important to prevent brain cell damage (central pontinemyolysis).

Cramps in the limbs can sometimes be due to lack of salt due to sweating from intense exercise. A quarter of a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt crystals or unrefined sea salt in water or a fruit juice can bring instant relief.

See the Salt page for more information.

Highest sources of sodium in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Table salt 38758 mg

  • Bicarbonate of soda 27360 mg

  • Stock cubes 24000 mg

  • Soya sauce 5586 mg

  • Chilli powder 4000 mg

  • Miso 3728 mg

  • Anchovies 3668 mg

  • Yeast extract 2962 mg

  • Capers 2769 mg

  • Processed meats (salami etc) 2260 mg

  • Processed cheese 1798 mg

  • Caviar 1500 mg

  • Crab 1072 mg

  • Spirulina 1048 mg

  • Whey 1079 mg

  • Margarine 943 mg

  • Olives 735 mg

  • Salted peanuts 667 mg

Natural sources of sodium in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, almonds, anchovies, apples, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, bamboo shoots, beef, beetroot tops, berries, black eyed peas, black seeds, cabbage, cantaloupe, celery, cheese, chia seeds, chlorella, corn, cucumbers, daikon, drumstick leaves, dulse, durum wheat, endive, fennel, grapefruit, horseradish, kelp, kidney, lemons, lentils, lettuce, melon, mineral water, monkfish, mulberries, mushrooms, oily fish, okra, oranges, pears, peas, pork, poultry and game birds, peaches, pumpkin, quinoa, radishes, rye, salmon, sea bass, shell fish, seaweed, spirulina, squash, sumac, Swede, tapioca, walnuts, watermelon and whelks.

NOTE: Avoid grapefruit if taking ‘Statins’ to lower cholesterol or medications for blood pressure and some other medications.

STRONTIUM

Strontium was discovered in 1808 and was named after Strontian, a town in Scotland. It is one of the most abundant elements on earth, comprising about 0.04 percent of the earth's crust. At a concentration of 400 parts per million, there is more strontium in the earth's crust than carbon. Strontium is also the most abundant trace element in seawater, at a concentration of 8.1 parts per million. The human body contains about 320 mg of strontium, nearly all of which is in bone and connective tissue.

Stable strontium is one of the most effective substances yet found for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions as it has the ability to replace some calcium and harden the bones making them less likely to break or fracture. However, human contamination with radioactive strontium can come from inhaling or consuming radioactive strontium dust or water or eating crops grown near to nuclear power reactors and certain government facilities such as weapon testing areas. Radioactive strontium particles can also pass through the skin.

Since radioactive strontium is taken up into bone, the bone itself and nearby soft tissues may be damaged by radiation released over time. Bone marrow is the most important source of red blood cells, which are depleted if the radioactive strontium level is too high. Problems from lowered red blood cell counts include anaemia, which causes excessive tiredness, blood that does not clot properly and a decreased resistance to fight disease. Repeatedly administering stable strontium can gradually eliminate radioactive strontium from the body. The stable form slowly replaces the radioactive form in bone and radioactive strontium is excreted in the urine.

Because of its chemical similarity to calcium, strontium can replace calcium to some extent in various biochemical processes in the body, including replacing a small proportion of the calcium in hydroxyapatite crystals of calcified tissues such as bones and teeth. Strontium in these crystals imparts additional strength to these tissues. Strontium also appears to draw extra calcium into bones making them stronger and thicker.

Strontium can relieve bone pain, reduce fractures and improve mobility in persons suffering from osteoporosis, reduce cavities in teeth and help to gain weight in persons suffering with bone cancer. It also has a a cartilage growth promoting affect which can help arthritis sufferers.

Natural sources of strontium

Cabbage, goat's milk, lettuce, kelp, onions, mineral water, octopus, oily fish, root vegetables, seaweed and shellfish

SULPHUR

Greece, Italy and Japan are the primary suppliers of sulphur to the rest of the world. These nations as well as people who live in sulphur rich volcanic areas, such as Iceland, Indonesia and South America, all have low rates of depression, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. This has been found to be due to the sulphur content of the soils in which they grow their crops. Some scientists thought that the Icelandic diet was protective against these diseases because of a high intake of fish, but further research showed that those Icelanders who moved to Canada and continued eating a lot of fish did not continue to enjoy the same low rates of these diseases because their diet was then lacking in sulphur.

All living matter contains some sulphur; this element is therefore essential for life. The greater part of the sulphur in the human body is present in the two sulphur-containing amino acids, methionine and cysteine, or in the double form of the latter known as cystine. Sulphur is critical to many of the body's biological processes and without adequate sulphur glucose metabolism is inhibited and this can lead to metabolic syndrome, low energy levels, weight gain and muscle and skeletal disorders which causes inflammation and pain.

Sun exposure on bare skin with no sunscreen causes the body to make vitamin D in a sulphate form. While vitamin D is normally considered fat-soluble, vitamin D3 sulphate is water-soluble, which lets the sulphate form of vitamin D travel freely in the blood stream. Vitamin D is vital for the absorption of calcium which makes bones and teeth strong.

NOTE: The vitamin D3 in supplements is not the same as the vitamin D3 acquired from the sun and is not an adequate substitute.

Flower of sulphur

Known as 'flores sulphuris' by apothecaries and in older scientific works, flower of sulphur, also known as yellow sulphur powder, is a bright yellow powder obtained from naturally-occurring volcanic brimstone deposits and should not be confused with methylsulfonylmethane which is also a source of sulphur. Flower of sulphur has been used as a natural mineral remedy for skin disorders and degenerative diseases for many centuries and is mentioned in ancient texts, such as the bible, as brimstone. Sulphur is an important mineral for both animal and human health and farmers and vets have used flower of sulphur as a natural remedy for animals for a decades as it is exceptionally effective at treating a wide variety of skin conditions especially for cats, dogs, horses and poultry. See Nature Cures for Pets.

Flowers of sulphur has antiseptic and antifungal properties and is suitable for use in humans, animals, vegetables, fruits, flowers and as a gardening additive in the soil. It is safe to ingest in very small quantities provided it comes from a reputable source. Flowers of sulphur is traditionally taken with black molasses (treacle). A very small pinch, less than the size if a match head, is mixed with a teaspoon of molasses and that is a sufficient dose for one day. Normally it is not taken for more than three days in a row. When used internally it has a mild laxative effect.

NOTE: Test with a very small amount on the skin before taking flowers of sulphur internally and then, if no reaction occurs, only take a very tiny amount at first. A few people may react strongly to it.

The main purpose of sulphur is to dissolve waste materials. It helps to eject some of the waste and poisons like heavy metals from the system which can help treat ailments such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. It helps keep the skin clear of blemishes, helps the nails grow strong and makes hair glossy. It is also valuable as a treatment for arthritis and rheumatic conditions. 

An analysis of the minerals in the cells of a typical Alzheimer's patient reveals that sulphur is almost non-existent compared with healthy people. Some research has shown that supplementing with sulphur can prevent Alzheimer's and even reverse it if the patient is still in the early stages where little brain damage has occurred. Because egg yolks are a rich source of sulphur and soils have lost much of their mineral content, including sulphur, due to intense farming techniques, the sudden rise in cases of Alzheimer’s disease may be due to the avoidance of eggs in the diet due to the scare about raised cholesterol levels.

Internally flower of sulphur powder can be used to treat anal fissures, bronchitis, Candida and can help to relieve mental stress and lack of energy and will power. It also relieves the tendency to regurgitate food, vomiting and chronic diarrhoea.

For sore throats add a quarter teaspoon in a warm water gargle. For mouth ulcers dab some onto the affected area.

Externally sulphur powder can effectively treat many skin conditions and rashes such as acne, athlete’s foot, eczema, dermatitis, fungal nail infections, haemorrhoids, jock itch, nappy rash, psoriasis, ringworm and scabies and can be applied as an antiseptic to abrasions, cuts and wounds. It is also effective against skin mites which can help to treat rosacea.

Flower of sulphur powder can be used neat or to make a dusting powder mix one part of flowers of sulphur with two parts of corn flour and dust the affected area. This is also useful as a repellent for ticks, midges and fleas. Dust arms and legs and shoes before going out walking in long grass or near to lakes and rivers etc. It is also useful for killing and repelling head and pubic lice.

For sciatica, dust the affected limb with neat powder and wrap warmly. Sweating should be followed by a reduction in pain.

To make an ointment, use cocoa butter, coconut oil, palm oil, petroleum jelly or olive oil. Slowly warm the oil to melt it, add two or three tablespoons of sulphur powder to a cup of oil, mix well and allow to cool.

Sulphur is also a safe way to eradicate ants. Pour a trail of the flower of sulphur powder around the ants’ nest.

Sulphur deficiency

Low levels of sulphur may cause eczema and imperfect development of hair and nails. It is also found to be very low in patients with Alzheimer's disease and is known to be an effective treatment.

NOTE: Those suffering with bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis should avoid sulphur-rich foods.

Highest sources of sulphur in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Scallops 520 mg

  • Lobster 510 mg

  • Crab 470 mg

  • Prawns 370 mg

  • Mussels 350 mg

  • Haddock 290 mg

  • Brazil nuts 290 mg

  • Peanuts 260 mg

  • Cod 250 mg

  • Oysters 250 mg

  • Chicken livers 250 mg

  • Cheese (parmesan) 250 mg

  • Caviar (fish roe) 240 mg

  • Peaches (dried) 240 mg

  • Cheese (cheddar or stilton) 230 mg

  • Salmon 220 mg

  • Beef 220 mg

  • Eggs 200 mg

  • Apricots (dried) 160 mg

  • Almonds 150 mg

  • Rabbit 130 mg

  • Walnuts 100 mg

  • Peppercorns 100 mg

  • Cabbage 90 mg

  • Spinach 90 mg

  • Brussel sprouts 80 mg

  • Chickpeas 80 mg

  • Figs (dried) 80 mg

  • Coconut 80 mg

  • Hazel nuts 80 mg

  • Mung beans 60 mg

  • Dates 50 mg

  • Split peas 50 mg

  • Onions 50 mg

  • Leeks 50 mg

  • Radishes 40 mg

Other natural sources of sulphur in alphabetical order

Beetroot, carrots, chives, garlic, hemp seeds, legumes, oily fish, organ meats, rabbit, restharrow, nuts, shellfish and venison.

NOTE: Many plant foods contain sulphur, but the amount of sulphur is low unless the plants are grown in sulphur-rich soil.

Recommended daily requirement

There is no recommended dietary allowance but a diet sufficient in protein will generally be adequate in sulphur.

NOTE: Some people develop an intolerance to the thiols in sulphur-contain foods. See Food Allergies

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T

TIN

Tin is an essential trace element for some animals as they do not grow well without it. Although it has been said that there is no known biological function of tin in the human body there have been studies that suggest it could have a function in the tertiary structure of proteins or other bio-substances and the human body does have receptors for it.

There has been very few studies of the function of tin in humans but of those that took place it did prove to lessen aches and pains and skin problems, increase energy and improve digestion, mood and general wellbeing in some people. There has also been studies where it has been shown to lessen fatigue and improve some forms of depression and there have been reports that it has the ability to treat asthma, certain types of headache and insomnia.

When human tissue has been examined for tin after accidental death, it has been found in the aorta, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, muscles, ovaries, pancreas, spleen, stomach, testes and uterus. None has been found in the thyroid while the prostate, which usually shows no other trace element, has contained tin. Traces of tin can be found in the foetal heart and spleen and higher levels in the liver, while no tin has been found in still-born infants.

Tin (as a fluoride carrier known as stannous fluoride) is added to some toothpastes and it is used in the form of stannous chloride as a chemical preservative. It is also often added to tinned asparagus to improve its taste and is known to be a remedy for certain species of intestinal parasites.

Tin is far less toxic than other known vital trace elements, such as copper and cobalt, as it is excreted very quickly.

Tin deficiency

Rat studies have shown that tin-deficient diets resulted in alopecia (hair loss), decreased efficiency of food utilization, hearing loss, poor growth and changes in mineral concentrations in various organs.

It has not yet been proven but deficiency of tin may be the cause of asthma, depression, headaches, insomnia and shortness of breath in humans. There are many causes of depression, some resulting from abnormal brain chemistry, while others are associated with low blood pressure, thyroid dysfunction, low blood sugar or low (or high) levels of various essential nutrients, such as calcium, copper, lithium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, tin, protein, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and others. Administering extra tin will not work when other chemical imbalances are present, but it could be the missing link when other attempts to resolve depression that involve low or malfunctioning adrenal glands have failed.

Tin is linked with iodine the same as calcium is associated with magnesium. Tin may support the adrenal glands while iodine supports the thyroid gland, with both affecting cardiac output. The adrenals control the left side of the heart while the thyroid control the right side. In addition to low vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and/or vitamin B1 (thiamine),, low tin could be a common cause of low adrenaline, which can lead to left-sided cardiac insufficiency. While fatigue or depression may be experienced with cardiac insufficiency of either side, asthma and breathing difficulties are more common with left-sided heart failure and swelling of hands and feet is more common with right-sided heart failure.

Tin overdose

Tin toxicity studied over the last 200 years in humans, has been linked to the consumption of foods or beverages that were stored long term in tinned, non-lacquered containers and where levels of several hundred to several thousand mg/kg were ingested. Toxicity can cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headaches, nausea, palpitations, rash, stomach complaints and vomiting. However, excess tin is rapidly excreted and no long-term negative health effects have been reported although it may cause infertility in men as it reduces sperm metabolism.

Daily dietary intake of tin from various food sources (excluding tinned food) ranges from 1 mg to 3 mg, which is less than one tenth of the daily intake obtained years ago when tin cans were not lacquered or had not been replaced by aluminium cans and when tin cups and pans were still in use.

Estimated intake of tin from a 600 g lacquered tin-lined can with acidic content is approximately 15 mg. Estimated intake of tin from a 600 g non-lacquered tin can with acidic content is approximately 60 mg. These levels vary considerably when other substances, such as copper and iron salts, nitrates, sugar or sulphur compounds, are present as well as acidity, temperature and length of time of content storage. As bronze contains copper and tin, the use of tin with food and beverages has been present since the bronze age.

The prevalence of tin compounds in industry makes it  hard to avoid over exposure but limiting tinned foods and avoiding seafood from many coastal areas where there is tin contamination are two ways to lower tin levels in the body. Studies on tin content of coastal waters found high levels around areas where agricultural and industrial plants or tin mines were situated or next to land which was densely populated.

NOTE: Aluminium drink and food cans have a polymer plastic lining which can leak into the food or drinks being stored especially if they are of an acidic nature. See Dangers of Plastics

Natural sources of tin

Barberry, beef, bilberry, blessed thistle, brewer's yeast, devils claw, dog grass, dulse, eggs, Irish moss, juniper, kelp, lady slipper, liquorice root, marshmallow root, milk, milk thistle, nettle, organ meats, pennyroyal, rabbit, red clover, seaweed,  senna, shellfish, valerian, vegetables, whole grains, yarrow and yellow dock root.

NOTE Tin may interact with iron and copper, particularly in the gut, and so inhibit absorption of these elements.

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V

VANADIUM

Vanadium is a trace mineral found in many foods that is involved in normal bone growth and has a positive effect in people with diabetes type 2 by lowering blood sugar levels and improving sensitivity to insulin. In one study of people with type 2 diabetes, vanadium also lowered their total and LDL cholesterol. Like insulin, vanadium is believed to help shuttle nutrients, like amino acids and blood sugar, into muscle cells.

Vanadium is also important for bone formation, which could help maintain bone density and fight age-related loss of bone. This effect seems to be due to an enzyme-stimulating capacity and ability to enhance calcium metabolism which is important for growth and red blood cell production.

Vanadium deficiency

A deficiency of vanadium may lead to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels and heart disease and cancer.

Highest sources of vanadium in alphabetical order

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Z

ZEOLITE

“Zeolites” refers to a group of silicate minerals that share a similar chemical composition, mineral associations and geologic occurrences. Naturally occurring clinoptilolite is a zeolite that has been used for over 800 years in traditional medicine in its raw form in places like India, China and Russia. In other countries it is used in air purification, animal feed, water filtration and in fertilisers to improve the health of crops.

Zeolite is a negatively charged, crystalline structure formed from the fusion of volcanic lava and ocean water. The molecules in zeolite contain a magnetic energy that attracts and holds several types of toxins at a molecular level which, taken orally, pull metals out of body tissues and into the zeolite itself. It is then passed safely through the urinary tract, without depleting the body of essential electrolytes.

Zeolite also blocks viral replication, does not disrupt the electrolytes in the body and naturally establishes an optimal pH level (between 7.35 and 7.45), which activates healthy brain, immune and liver function and supports the elimination of pesticides, herbicides and xeno-oestrogens. This makes zeolite especially suitable as a detoxifying agent as it can remove common heavy metals like aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury from the body which can help with the treatment and prevention of disorders such as Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease..This can potentially help to heal a range of toxicity-related inflammatory diseases, including dementia, while supporting (not burdening) the body’s excretory systems.

Zeolite is available in powdered or liquid form. The liquid zeolite is up to 10 times more efficient than the powdered form.

ZINC

Zinc is the healing mineral and part of the enzymes that helps the body to metabolise protein, carbohydrates and alcohol. It also aids in building bones and healing wounds. There are about two grams of zinc in the body where it is highly concentrated in the hair, skin, eyes, nails and testes. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. It is also a constituent of many enzymes involved in metabolism.

The human body's need for zinc is small but its role in growth and well-being is enormous and starts before birth. It is vital for healthy skin and hair, proper healing of wounds, successful pregnancies and male virility. It plays a essential role in guarding against diseases and infection and is also needed to transport vitamin A to the retina. There are 156 enzymes that require zinc for their functioning and healthy growth and sexual maturity are just two of the many functions that depend upon zinc. Copper, together with zinc improves the absorption of vitamin D, the vitamin which aids in the absorption of calcium.

Zinc has been shown in recent studies to be especially useful in treating the common cold by making recovery quicker.

Zinc deficiency

Zinc deficiency can result in alopecia (hair loss), depression, delayed wound healing, diarrhoea, frequent infection. growth retardation, impaired immunity, impaired senses, impotence, infertilityloss of hair, night blindness, photophobia, poor appetite, scaly skin inflammation, skin diseases and weight loss. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may have a zinc deficiency.

Those drinking excess alcohol have low levels of zinc because alcohol decreases zinc absorption and increases urinary secretion of zinc. Diuretic medications also adversely affect zinc levels. If an individual ingests excessive amounts of caffeine, drugs or sugar, it is more than likely that a zinc deficiency will develop. Low zinc levels can cause liver deterioration and diminished functioning of the reproductive organs, immune system and skin.

Cadmium found in some foods and ingested through smoking tobacco displaces zinc in the body and can lead to a deficiency. See Heavy Metals.

A developing foetus requires a high amount of zinc, likewise, there is a high amount of zinc lost through breast milk after birth therefore pregnant and breast feeding women may need to consume extra zinc rich foods. Infants older than 6 months should eat age-appropriate foods which provide zinc as the amount in breast milk is no longer ample.

Gastrointestinal surgery, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, short bowel syndrome and other digestive diseases can all decrease zinc absorption and increase zinc loss from the body. For unknown reasons 44% of children and 60-70% of adults with sickle cell disease have low levels of zinc.

Iron can interfere with zinc absorption and therefore, if iron supplements are absolutely necessary, they should be taken alone between meals. Too much phosphorous can cause diarrhoea and calcification (hardening) of organs and soft tissue and can interfere with the body's ability to use iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. It is a matter of getting the balance right which is why supplementation is not advised. Foods that contain these minerals will never overdose the consumer with phosphorous. Zinc supplements are not advised as they can upset the balance of other minerals in the body, for instance, excessive absorption of zinc can suppress copper and iron absorption.

Highest sources of zinc in milligrams per 100 grams

  • Oysters 78.6 mg

  • Chlorella 71 mg

  • Wheat germ 16.7 mg

  • Beef 12.3 mg

  • Calf's liver 11.9 mg

  • Hemp seeds 11.5 mg

  • Pumpkin and squash seeds 10.3 mg

  • Sesame and watermelon seeds 10.2 mg

  • Bamboo shoots, endives and gourds 9 mg

  • Chervil (herb) 8.8 mg

  • Lamb 8.7 mg

  • Venison 8.6 mg

  • Alfalfa seeds (sprouted), amaranth leaves, Crimini mushrooms, Irish moss and tea 8 mg

  • Crab 7.6 mg

  • Lobster 7.3 mg

  • Agave, basil, broccoli, buffalo, elk, emu, oats, ostrich, spinach and turkey 7 mg

  • Cocoa powder 6.8 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.8 mg

  • Asparagus, chicken livers, laver seaweed, mushrooms, parsley and rice bran 5.7 mg

  • Cashew nuts 5.6 mg

  • Pork 5.1 mg

  • Jute (herb), lemon grass, mung beans, Portobello mushrooms, radishes and shiitake mushrooms 5 mg

  • Agar seaweed, butterbur, cauliflower, chicory, Chinese cabbage, chives, coriander, green beans, lentils, lettuce, okra, rocket, spring onions, summer squash, Swiss chard, tomatoes and wasabi (yellow) 3.4 mg

  • Peanuts 3.3 mg

  • Cheddar cheese 3.1 mg

  • Mozzarella cheese 2.9 mg

  • Anchovies and rabbit 2.4 mg

  • Cabbage, cucumber, jalapeno peppers, , kidney beans, navy beans, spirulina and turnip greens 2 mg

  • Mussels 1.6 mg

  • Arrowroot, artichokes (globe), beetroot, bell peppers, black eyed peas, borage, broad beans, Brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, celery, chilli peppers, courgettes, dandelion greens, garlic, horseradish, kale, kelp, mustard greens, peas, pinto beans, potatoes, pumpkin, turnips, Swede, sweet potato, tomatoes (red),  wakame (seaweed), watercress and winged beans 1.2 mg

Natural sources of zinc in alphabetical order

Adzuki beans, alfalfa, aloe vera, amaranth, anchovies, apples, artichoke (globe), ash gourd, beef, black eyed peas, black seed, bok choy, brassicas, buckwheat, burdock, butternut squash seeds, calf's liver, cantaloupe, caraway seeds, chaga mushrooms, cherries, chestnuts, chia seeds, chicory, chlorella, clams, cockles, courgette, cucumber, cuttlefish, daikon, drumstick leaves, duck, dulse, durum wheat, egg yolk, endive, fennel, flax seeds, garlic, goji berries, green tea, hemp seeds, horseradish, kamut, kelp, kombu seaweed, lamb, legumes, lentils, macadamia nuts, marrow, melon, milk, monkfish, mulberries, mushrooms, mussels, nuts, oats, octopus, organ meats, oysters, peanuts, peas, pine nuts, plums and prunes, poppy seeds, pork, poultry and game birds, prawns and shrimp, propolis, pumpkin and their seeds, quinoa, rabbit, rye, sage, sea bass, sesame seeda and oil, shellfish, spirulina, suma, sumac, Swede, sweet potato, tapioca, teff, turbot, veal, venison, watermelon seeds, whelks, whole grains and yoghurt.

Recommended daily requirement

The recommended dietary allowance of zinc is approximately 15 mg daily for an adult. Do not exceed 100 mg of zinc per day from all sources.

The body contains trace amounts of many of the following elements but their purpose is not yet fully understood.

  • Actinium (89)

  • Americium (95)

  • Antimony (51)

  • Argon (18)

  • Arsenic (33)

  • Astatine (85)

  • Berkelium (97)

  • Beryllium (4)

  • Bohrium (107)

  • Californium (98)

  • Cerium (58)

  • Curium (96)

  • Darmstadtium (110)

  • Dubnium (105)

  • Dysprosium (66)

  • Einsteinium (99)

  • Erbium (68)

  • Europium (63)

  • Francium (87)

  • Fermium (100)

  • Gadolinium (64)

  • Gallium (31)

  • Hafnium (72)

  • Hassium (108)

  • Helium (2)

  • Holmium (67)

  • Indium (49)

  • Krypton (36)

  • Lanthanum (57)

  • Lawrencium (103)

  • Lead (82)

  • Lutetium (71)

  • Meitnerium (109)

  • Mendelevium (101)

  • Neodymium (60)

  • Neon (10)

  • Neptunium (93)

  • Niobium (41)

  • Nobelium (102)

  • Osmium (76)

  • Palladium (46)

  • Plutonium (94)

  • Polonium (84)

  • Praseodymium (59)

  • Protactinium (91)

  • Promethium (61)

  • Radium (88)

  • Radon (86)

  • Rhenium (75)

  • Roentgenium (111)

  • Ruthenium (44)

  • Rutherfordium (104)

  • Samarium (62)

  • Scandium (21)

  • Seaborgium (106)

  • Tantalum (73)

  • Technetium (43)

  • Tellurium (52)

  • Terbium (65)

  • Thallium (81)

  • Thorium (90)

  • Thulium (69)

  • Titanium (22)

  • Tungsten (74)

  • Uranium (92)

  • Ununbium copernicium (112)

  • Ununhexium livermorium (116)

  • Unuhectium (116)

  • Ununoctium (118)

  • Ununpentium (115)

  • Ununquadium flerovium (114)

  • Ununseptium (117)

  • Ununtrium (113 )

  • Xenon (54)

  • Ytterbium (70)

  • Yttrium (39)

  • Zirconium (40)

There are many other mineral compounds being discovered by scientists every year and the list is far too numerous to add here.

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