encyclopedia

Essential Trace Elements and Minerals

Natural Sources:    

Kelp; colloidal minerals from shale and/or glacier-fed water; buckwheat flour; other foods and drinks containing significant levels of various trace elements and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, molybdenum, etc.    
     

Forms:    

Kelp tablets and extracts; colloidal mineral preparations in liquid form; standardized essential trace elements and mineral capsules, tablets and liquid supplements; multivitamin pills containing essential trace elements and minerals.    
     

Therapeutic Uses:    

Aging Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease
Atherosclerosis
Back Pain
Blood Pressure Control
Bone Health
Cancer Prevention
Cell Membrane Health
Cellular Regeneration
Cholesterol Reduction
Colorectal Cancer Prevention
Dental Health
Heart Health Maintenance
High Blood Pressure
High Cholesterol
Hormone Balance
Immune System Health
Kidney Stones
Mineral Deficiency
Mood Disorders
Mood Swings
Muscle Spasms
Nervous System Health
Osteomalacia Prevention
Osteoporosis
PMS
Psoriasis
Rickets Prevention
Skin Disorders
Stroke Prevention
Tooth Decay
Vascular Disorders
Violent Behaviour Control
Weight Gain     
     
    
Overview:     
     
Numerous essential trace elements and minerals are required by the body for proper health, together with other essential nutrients including 18 vitamins, 21 amino acids and two essential fatty acids. The body requires a regular dietary intake of six major minerals including calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and phosphate and several essential trace elements. Most nutritionists agree that we need seven trace elements including iron, iodine, cobalt, manganese, copper, zinc and selenium. However, several top researchers now believe that the number is actually much larger.  Human breast milk normally contains 60 trace minerals, including significant amounts of aluminum and bromine as well as vanadium and nickel. The presence of these elements was previously considered incidental but new research suggests that humans may in fact also need these elements. Detailed analyses have revealed that the human body contains 81 of the 92 natural elements found on the earth. It is unlikely that all of these elements are essential, but many may be partly essential or beneficial. According to German research, trace element deficiencies show some general rules of development. All of them are followed by a decrease of immune resistance. Trace element deficiency is never isolated, it is always characterized by trace element unbalance and is followed by a considerable disturbance of metabolism (mineral, lipid, carbohydrate and protein) and causes ill health. The undesirable manifestations include weight gain, reduced immune resistance and endocrine gland pathologies which favour the development of various malignancies. Trace element deficiencies can also contribute significantly to the development of atherosclerosis. According to German research, more than 30 elements, including copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, chromium and vanadium are connected with the process of arteriosclerosis. Copper deficiency as well as copper over-abundance may increase blood cholesterol and a deficiency also disturbs the formation of elastin crosslinks in blood vessels.

    
Chemistry:    

Essential trace elements and minerals are natural compounds that are widely distributed throughout the earth's crust and soils. Some minerals are metals and others are classified as halogens. See monographs on specific minerals and trace elements for more information. Significant declines in agricultural soil minerals and trace elements has been documented indicating that supplements are recommended. Two sources of information document the truth of declining mineral values in farm and range soils over the last 100 years: 1) U.S. Senate Document No. 264 and 2) the 1992 Earth Summit Report. The findings are as follows:
 
Soil Mineral Depletion Levels (Percentages)
North America 85%
South America 76%
Europe …… 72%
Asia……… 76%
Africa……. 74%
Australia…. 55%

   
Suggested Amount:    

The dosage for essential trace elements and minerals varies according to the element in question. Including one to several grams of kelp (i.e. Laminaria digitata and other species) in the daily diet can provide significant levels of several minerals and trace elements. Colloidal mineral products and other supplements can also be used to obtain the more obscure trace elements. See monographs on specific minerals and trace elements for more information on recommended dosages.    
     
    
Drug Interactions:    

Do not take trace element and mineral supplements within 2 hours of another medicine because the effectiveness of the medicine may be altered.    
   
     
Contraindications:    

None known.    
     
    
Side Effects:    

There are no side effects known for trace element and mineral supplements taken at normal dosages. However, too much may cause constipation. In this case, drink lots of water to flush the system.    
     
    
References:    

Ahsan 1997. Metabolism of magnesium in health and disease. Journal of the Indian Medical Association 95(9): 507-10.
 
Anke M, Groppel B, Krause U, Arnhold W, Langer M. 1991. Trace element intake (zinc, manganese, copper, molybdenum, iodine and nickel) of humans in Thuringia and Brandenburg of the Fed. Rep. of Germany. J Trace Elem Electrolytes Health Dis 1991 Jun; 5(2): 69-74.
 
Anke M. 1986. [Role of trace elements in the dynamics of arteriosclerosis]. Z Gesamte Inn Med 1986 Feb 15; 41(4): 105-11. [Article in German].

Bidlack 1996: Interrelationships of food, nutrition, diet and health. The National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges White Paper, J. American College of Nutrition. 15(5): 422-33.

Gesch CB, Hammond SM, Hampson SE, Eves A, Crowder MJ. 2002. Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners. Randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 2002 Jul; 181: 22-8.
 
Iyengar GV, Kawamura H, Parr RM, Miah FK, Wang JX, Dang HS, Djojosubroto H, Cho SY, Akher P, Natera ES, Nguy MS. 2002. Dietary intake of essential minor and trace elements from Asian diets. Food Nutr Bull 2002 Sep; 23(3 Suppl): 124-8.

James et al. 1998. Socioeconomic determinants of health. The contribution of nutrition to inequalities in health. BMJ 314(7093): 1545-9; BMJ 316(7127): 308-9
 
Jensen, B. 1938. A Hunza Trip with Dr. Bernard Jensen (The Ultimate Health Valley) by Bernard Jensen, Ph.D. and The Wheel of Health by G.T. Wrench, M.D. This book was First Published in England, 1938, by Dr. McCarrison as Studies in Health Values of this Valley). The Wheel of Health by G.T. Wrench, M.D. Copyright 1990: Bernard Jensen International, 24360 Old Wagon Road, Escondido, CA 92027).
 
Miller et al. 1997. Population nutrient intake approaches dietary recommendations. 1991 to 1995 Farmingham Nutritional Studies. Journal of the American Dietetic Assc. 97(7): 742-9.
 
Wright, J.  M.D. and John Morgenthaler. Don't let your doctor give you horse urine! There are better treatments for menopause”: – extracted from their must read book -Natural Hormone Replacement for Women over 45.
 
Wright, J.  M.D. Reducing the Hormone Related Cancer Risk (Or cabbages, sex hormones and their metabolites).
 
Yades, A.A., Schlicker, S.A. and C.W. Suitor 1998. Dietary Reference Intakes: the new basis for recommendations for calcium and related nutrients, B vitamins and choline. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 98(6): 699-706.
 
Zhavoronkov AA, Mikhaleva LM, Kakturskii LV, Kudrin AV, Anke M. 1997. [General pathology of trace element deficiency] Arkh Patol 1997 Mar-Apr; 59(2): 8-11. [Article in Russian]
    
   
Additional Information:    

History of Discoveries on Essential Trace Elements and Minerals:
Dr. Gerhard N. Schrauzer, Ph.D. of the Biological Trace Element Research Institute in the United States reports that only a hundred years ago, the human body was still believed to be composed of just fourteen elements: Oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, fluorine, silicon and iron. It was known that these elements had to be supplied on a daily basis or disease would result. Calcium was considered important for bone health, as was fluorine, because traces of it had been detected there. Silicon, similarly, was considered to be important in trace amounts for the health of teeth, nails and hair. Iron was considered essential for blood formation dating back to the 17th Century and iodine was recognized before 1850 for its physiological functions, but these elements were only officially recognized as essential many decades later. By 1950, copper, manganese, zinc and cobalt were shown to be essential and later molybdenum in 1953 and selenium in 1957. However, silicon had been taken off the list and the status of fluorine as essential was also questioned. By 1975, chromium, tin, vanadium and nickel were newly recognized as essential, and fluorine and silicon were reclassified as such. A few years later, boron was added to the list bringing the total number of essential trace elements to 15. According to Dr. Schrauzer, this number is likely to increase in the future.
 

Interesting Trace Element Research:

Dr. Manfred Anke at the University of Jena in Germany has made important new discoveries regarding essential trace elements and their importance for health. He found that, for example, removing aluminium, bromine, vanadium or nickel from the diet of goats reduced the life expectancy of kids. Aluminium deficient goats also produced significantly more male than female kids; kids weaning from their Al-deficient mother developed a characteristic weakness of the hind legs and co-ordination problems. These observations show that trace-element depletion can occur during embryonic development and the postnatal period. It was found that the trace element deficiency was especially noticeable in young animals receiving the milk from the deficient mothers.

Essential Trace Element and Mineral Research:

Ames BN, Wakimoto P. 2002. Are vitamin and mineral deficiencies a major cancer risk? Nat Rev Cancer 2002 Sep; 2(9): 694-704. [Nutrition Genomics Center, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute, 5700 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Oakland, California 94609-1673, USA. bames@chori.org].
 
Diet is estimated to contribute to about one-third of preventable cancers — about the same amount as smoking. Inadequate intake of essential vitamins and minerals might explain the epidemiological findings that people who eat only small amounts of fruits and vegetables have an increased risk of developing cancer. Recent experimental evidence indicates that vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to DNA damage. Optimizing vitamin and mineral intake by encouraging dietary change, multivitamin and mineral supplements, and fortifying foods might therefore prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.

Zimmermann MB, Kohrle J. 2002. The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health. Thyroid 2002 Oct; 12(10): 867-78. Laboratory for Human Nutrition, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.
 
Several minerals and trace elements are essential for normal thyroid hormone metabolism, e.g., iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc. Coexisting deficiencies of these elements can impair thyroid function. Iron deficiency impairs thyroid hormone synthesis by reducing activity of heme-dependent thyroid peroxidase. Iron-deficiency anemia blunts and iron supplementation improves the efficacy of iodine supplementation. Combined selenium and iodine deficiency leads to myxedematous cretinism. The normal thyroid gland retains high selenium concentrations even under conditions of inadequate selenium supply and expresses many of the known selenocysteine-containing proteins. Among these selenoproteins are the glutathione peroxidase, deiodinase, and thioredoxine reductase families of enzymes. Adequate selenium nutrition supports efficient thyroid hormone synthesis and metabolism and protects the thyroid gland from damage by excessive iodide exposure. In regions of combined severe iodine and selenium deficiency, normalization of iodine supply is mandatory before initiation of selenium supplementation in order to prevent hypothyroidism. Selenium deficiency and disturbed thyroid hormone economy may develop under conditions of special dietary regimens such as long-term total parenteral nutrition, phenylketonuria diet, cystic fibrosis, or may be the result of imbalanced nutrition in children, elderly people, or sick patients.
 
Gesch CB, Hammond SM, Hampson SE, Eves A, Crowder MJ. 2002. Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners. Randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Br J Psychiatry 2002 Jul; 181: 22-8. University Laboratory of Physiology, University of Oxford, UK.
 
BACKGROUND: There is evidence that offenders consume diets lacking in essential nutrients and this could adversely affect their behaviour.
AIMS: To test empirically if physiologically adequate intakes of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids cause a reduction in antisocial behaviour.
METHOD: Experimental, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised trial of nutritional supplements on 231 young adult prisoners, comparing disciplinary offences before and during supplementation.
RESULTS: Compared with placebos, those receiving the active capsules committed an average of 26.3% (95% CI 8.3-44.33%) fewer offences (P=0.03, two-tailed). Compared to baseline, the effect on those taking active supplements for a minimum of 2 weeks (n=172) was an average 35.1% (95% CI 16.3-53.9%) reduction of offences (P<0.001, two-tailed), whereas placebos remained within standard error.
CONCLUSIONS: Antisocial behaviour in prisons, including violence, are reduced by vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids with similar implications for those eating poor diets in the community.
 
Zhavoronkov AA, Mikhaleva LM, Kakturskii LV, Kudrin AV, Anke M. 1997. [General pathology of trace element deficiency] Arkh Patol 1997 Mar-Apr; 59(2): 8-11. [Article in Russian].
F. Schiller Jena University, Jena, Germany.
 
According to the authors' concept, different forms of trace element deficiency show some general rules of development. All of them are followed by a decrease of immune resistance. Trace element deficiency is never isolated, it is always characterized by trace element unbalance and is followed by a considerable disturbance of metabolism (mineral, lipid, carbohydrate and protein) with relevant manifestations. Reduced immune resistance and pluriglandular endocrinopathy create the conditions for various malignancies.

Iyengar GV, Kawamura H, Parr RM, Miah FK, Wang JX, Dang HS, Djojosubroto H, Cho SY, Akher P, Natera ES, Nguy MS. 2002. Dietary intake of essential minor and trace elements from Asian diets. Food Nutr Bull 2002 Sep; 23(3 Suppl): 124-8.
[Nutritional and Health-Related Environmental Studies Section, IAEA, Vienna, Austria].
 
In view of the limited data available from the Asian region on the daily intake of nutritionally essential trace elements, a study was taken up, as part of a coordinated research project of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to estimate the daily dietary intake and organ content of some selected trace elements of importance in radiation protection, and also in nutrition. Nine Asian countries–Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, and Vietnam–which represented more than 50% of the world's population, participated in this study. Analysis of about 700 diet samples was carried out for four minor (calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium) and eight trace (chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, iodine, manganese, selenium, and zinc) elements using nuclear and other sensitive analytical methods employing neutron activation analysis (NAA), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) techniques. These samples consisted of the total cooked diet, market basket, duplicate diets, and 225 staple foods. Emphasis was placed on the quality assurance and harmonization of the sampling techniques to ensure quality data. Significant inter- and intra-country variations in daily dietary intake of various trace elements were observed. The maximum inter-country variation was observed for iodine intake (factor of more than 45), being highest for Japan and lowest for Pakistan. For iron, an important trace element, the variation between the intakes was by a factor of four being lowest for Vietnam and highest for Pakistan.
 
Anke M, Groppel B, Krause U, Arnhold W, Langer M. 1991. Trace element intake (zinc, manganese, copper, molybdenum, iodine and nickel) of humans in Thuringia and Brandenburg of the Fed. Rep. of Germany. J Trace Elem Electrolytes Health Dis 1991 Jun; 5(2): 69-74.
[Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena, Wissenschaftsbereich Tierernahrungschemie, Fed. Rep. of Germany].
 
The daily dry matter intake of 56 test persons between 20 and 60 years of age from four geographic groups (Wusterhausen and Vetschau in Brandenburg; Jena and Bad Langensalza in Thuringia) was registered on 7 consecutive days by means of the duplicate method. The Zn, Mn, Cu, Mo, I and Ni content of food and beverage dry matter and the daily intake of these trace elements were determined. During the test period, the ration contained 24-29 mg zinc, 6.8-9.2 mg manganese, 1.9-2.6 mg copper, 0.17-0.22 mg molybdenum, 0.10-0.18 mg iodine and 0.36-0.68 mg nickel per kg dry matter. The adults consumed 6.7-11.0 mg zinc, 2.0-3.8 mg manganese, 0.54-0.92 mg copper, 47-89 micrograms molybdenum, 30-67 micrograms iodine and 111-256 micrograms nickel per day. The living area had an effect on the Mn, I and Ni intake. The higher dry matter intake resulted in a better trace element supply of male test persons. The copper, molybdenum and iodine requirement recommended by the WHO was not met.

Anke M. 1986.
[Role of trace elements in the dynamics of arteriosclerosis]. Z Gesamte Inn Med 1986 Feb 15; 41(4): 105-11. [Article in German]
 
According to the present state of knowledge 7 quantitative elements and possibly 18 trace elements are of vital importance for the animal. Their metabolism is antagonistically or synergistically influenced by the inorganic and organic constituents of the food of different kind. More than 30 elements (Cu, Zn, Mg, Mn, Cr, V and so on) shall be connected with the process of arteriosclerosis. Cu-deficiency as well as Cu-abundance may increase the cholesterol content of the blood serum. Under conditions of Cu-deficiency the formation of the crosslinks of the elastin of the blood vessels is disturbed. Under conditions of Zn-deficiency the serum cholesterol content is as a rule, but not exceptionally decreased in the animal. Similarly unclear is the influence of high administrations of Zn on the process of arteriosclerosis. An Mg-deficit may lead to a whole chain of changes (disturbances of the cardiac rhythm, necrotic changes, atheromatous plaques, high values of total cholesterol, low values of HDL-cholesterol). Via the glucose tolerance factor a Cr-deficit possibly takes influence on the arteriosclerotic process. Hardness of the water, Mn, Pb, Ni, Mn shall also become effective. The Cu-Zn-relation as factor evoking arteriosclerosis further needs analysis. The investigations concerning arteriosclerosis in the animal experiment should in future be performed by means of semisynthetic rations, in order to render the results of the experiments comparable and to be able to control the large number of evoking factors.

Milner JA. 2002. Strategies for cancer prevention: the role of diet. Br J Nutr 2002 May; 87 Suppl 2: S265-72.
[Nutrition Department, The Pennsylvania State University and Nutritional Science Research Group, Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute, 6116 Executive Boulevard Suite 703, Rockville, MD 20892, USA. milnerj@mail.nih.gov].
 
Linkages between diet habits and cancer risk have surfaced from a multitude of epidemiological and preclinical studies. Collectively these studies provide rather compelling evidence that dietary components modify the incidence and biological behavior of tumors. While the risk of breast, prostate, colon, lung and liver cancers are frequently associated with dietary patterns, inconsistencies are not uncommon. These inconsistencies likely reflect the multi-factorial and complex nature of cancer and the specificity that individual dietary constituents have in modifying cancer related genetic pathways. The complexity of defining the role of diet is underscored by the numerous and diverse essential and non-essential components that may alter one or more phases of the cancer process. The explosive increase in the recognition of genes and pathways for regulating cell growth and development, and evaluating the response to hormones and other chemicals synthesized by the body, offers exciting opportunities for unraveling the molecular targets by which dietary components influence cancer prevention. It is recognized that all cells have unique 'signatures' that are characterized by active and inactive genes and cellular products. It is certainly plausible that bridging knowledge about these unique cellular characteristics with the molecular targets for nutrients can be used to assist in optimizing nutrition and minimizing cancer risk.

Gur A, Colpan L, Nas K, Cevik R, Sarac J, Erdogan F, Duz MZ. 2002. The role of trace minerals in the pathogenesis of postmenopausal osteoporosis and a new effect of calcitonin. J Bone Miner Metab 2002; 20(1): 39-43.
[Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dicle University School of Medicine, Diyarbakir, Turkey].
 
The physiologic role of calcitonin in mineral and bone homeostasis is not very well understood. Very few longitudinal studies have reported the effects of calcitonin therapy on trace minerals in postmenopausal osteoporosis despite the documented involvement of trace minerals in normal skeletal metabolism. Several trace minerals, particularly magnesium (Mg) and zinc (Zn), essential for organic bone matrix synthesis have been known for at least three decades. The present study was designed to determine whether the mineral profile was different between 70 osteoporotic and 30 nonosteoporotic postmenopausal women and to evaluate the efficacy of calcitonin therapy for 6 months on these trace minerals in postmenopausal osteoporotic women. In our study, the serum values of Mg, copper (Cu), and Zn (P < 0.05) were significantly lower in the patient group than those in the control group. After 3 months of treatment, serum Cu, Zn, and Mg levels did not differ between the patients and controls, and this situation has continued after the end of 6 months of therapy. Serum Cu, Zn, and Mg levels increased consistently during the 6-month treatment period. The higher levels of serum Mg in the 3rd and 6th months of therapy were found to be statistically significant compared to those before treatment (P < 0.05). Serum Cu and Zn levels were found to be significantly higher at all measurements during the treatment period as well as at the end of therapy (P < 0.05). These results suggest that (1) calcitonin therapy regulates Mg, Cu, and Zn levels in postmenopausal osteoporosis; (2) when serum calcium and phosphorus were normal in postmenopausal osteoporosis, serum Mg, Cu, and Zn were more useful for evaluation; and (3) further studies are essential to evaluate the role of dietary composition on the manifestations of osteoporosis.
 
Rahil-Khazen R, Bolann BJ, Myking A, Ulvik RJ. 2002. Multi-element analysis of trace element levels in human autopsy tissues by using inductively coupled atomic emission spectrometry technique (ICP-AES). J Trace Elem Med Biol 2002; 16(1): 15-25.
[Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway].
 
Autopsy tissue samples from the brain front lobe, cerebellum, heart, kidney (cortex and medulla), liver, pancreas, spleen and ovary were analysed for AL, B, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Se, Sr and Zn in 30 (17 women and 13 men) subjects ranging in age from 17 to 96 years at Haukeland University Hospital in Norway. The tissues were selected from macroscopically normal organs and samples were handled according to guidelines recommended to avoid contamination in the pre-analytical phase. Concentration of the trace elements were determined by the inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry technique (ICP-AES). In most tissues the concentrations of the essential trace elements followed the order Fe> Zn> Cu> Mn> Se> Cr> Co except in the ovary where Se was higher than Mn. The liver was the major site of deposition for Co, Cu and Mn as well as the spleen for Co, brain front lobe for Cu and pancreas for Mn. Ba, Sr and Ni built up in the ovary foLLowed by the kidney. Older subjects accumulated Ba and Sr in most tissues, whereas Al accumulated in the kidney cortex and Cd in the brain cerebellum. Generally males had higher concentrations of trace elements in the different tissue sampLes than females with the exception of Mn in the brain front lobe and heart and Sr in the liver. ICP-AES is a useful method to assess the concentration and the profiLe of trace elements in human autopsy tissues.

Grotz N, Guerinot ML. 2002. Limiting nutrients: an old problem with new solutions?
Curr Opin Plant Biol 2002 Apr; 5(2): 158-63. [Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA].
 
Iron and phosphorus are essential minerals for both humans and plants. Advances in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the mobilization, transport and storage of these minerals now allow us to engineer plants to improve the yield and mineral nutrition of crops. Strategies range from increasing the expression of endogenous genes, such as that encoding the iron storage protein ferritin, to expressing a phytase gene from the fungus Aspergillus in Arabidopsis, thereby allowing the plants to obtain a previously unusable pool of phosphorus.

Holzinger S, Anke M, Rohrig B, Gonzalez D. 1998. Molybdenum intake of adults in Germany and Mexico.
Analyst 1998 Mar; 123(3): 447-50. [Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Nutrition and Environment, Germany].
 
Molybdenum is an essential micronutrient. It plays a complex role in the ecosystem, because the metal is a part of a cofactor for several important enzymes in human, animal and plant metabolism. The physiological requirement for this element is relatively low. Our investigations were aimed at determining the Mo intake of adults in Germany and Mexico by means of duplicate portion technique. Molybdenum was estimated in the food duplicate samples by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry. In 1988, 1992 and 1996 the Mo consumption of humans was investigated in 14 test groups of persons with mixed diets. Each test population consisted of seven men and seven women. Furthermore, in 1996 the Mo intake of 10 female and 10 male vegetarians and of two Mexican test groups was also determined. Different factors, such as sex, time of investigation, location and eating habits have an effect on the individual Mo intake, Molybdenum intake of adults with mixed diets has increased significantly from 1988 to 1996. Furthermore, results of our study showed that Mo intake of German adults differs depending on location and the kind of diet. German women with a mixed diet consumed 89 micrograms d-1 in 1996 and men 100 micrograms d-1. In comparison, female and male vegetarians consumed 179 micrograms d-1 and 170 micrograms d-1, respectively. There was a significant difference in Mo consumption between German and Mexican test persons. Mexican women consumed on average 162 micrograms d-1 and Mexican men 208 micrograms d-1. The Mo requirement of adults amounts to about 25 micrograms d-1. Our investigations showed that the Mo requirement is met by normal intake. An intake of 150 micrograms kg-1 body weight may be toxic for humans. Therefore, people in Germany and Mexico are not endangered by Mo exposure.
 
Sayoko Ikeda, Yoshiko Yamashita and Tomomi Murakami 1995. Minerals in Buckwheat. Current Advances in Buckwheat Research (1995): 789 – 792. [Faculty of Nutrition, Kobe Gakuin University, Nishi-ku, Kobe 651-21, Japan].
 
The contents of zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium and calcium in various samples of buckwheat were analyzed. Buckwheat flour contained a relatively high level of zinc, copper, manganese and magnesium ; a low level of calcium. There were variations in the contents of these minerals among various buckwheat samples examined. Nutritional contribution of buckwheat as a dietary source of these minerals was estimated.

Calcium and Magnesium Update
by Suzanne Diamond, B.Sc., M.Sc. (Botany)
(Originally published in Flora's Herbal Research Report, Fall 1998 Issue 1-4)

A high calcium and magnesium diet is considered by medical researchers to be extremely beneficial for preventing heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, hypertension and many other serious diseases. Even so, a recent survey by the American Dietetic Association found that about half or fewer of a randomly sampled North American population met the guidelines for calcium intake, and other studies have shown below RDA intakes for calcium and magnesium. This type of undernourishment is considered by the American College of Nutrition to be responsible for at least 30% of national health cost expenditures, according to one study done in 1990.

It may seem strange to some people that a society that is so centered on dairy products and meat can still be replete with calcium deficiency diseases, but it has been well documented by science that calcium from vegetable sources is much better absorbed by the body. In fact, animal protein tends to acidify the body and cause calcium to leach from the bones, which then results in increased excretion of calcium in the urine. Eating animal protein actually increases urine levels of calcium, oxalate and uric acid and, over time, this can encourage kidney stone formation as well. Our Stone Age ancestors ate approximately 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of calcium daily, mostly from edible wild plants. That's five times more than today's average of a mere 500 milligrams for women aged thirty-five to seventy-four (based on a large-scale government study). This explains why North Americans, who consume copious amounts of animal products, including dairy, suffer from some of the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. Many cultures that have a more vegetarian type of diet do not suffer from osteoporosis, even though they have far lower intakes of calcium overall (from roots and vegetables). For example, there is one African tribe that has a notoriously low dietary calcium intake overall, but the people routinely grow to a ripe old age with strong backs and a good upright posture because they are mostly vegetarian. Calcium from animal products is suffused with protein, which breaks down into amino acids and acidifies the body. Because blood must remain at a constant pH and calcium level, the body secretes parathyroid hormone that takes calcium from the bones to replenish the blood. So although calcium intake is higher with animal products, excretion is also higher.

Calcium and magnesium together play an important role in controlling hypertension. The British Medical Journal recently published a scientific review of the effects of a low calcium and magnesium diet as a contributing factor in many common diseases including heart disease, stroke and some cancers. They conclude that a diet high in meat products, full cream, milk, fats, sugars, preserves, potatoes and cereals but low in vegetables, fruit and whole wheat bread is low in essential nutrients especially calcium and magnesium. They also note that there is scope for enormous health gain if this type of low-nutrient diet can be rectified. (James et al.)

Most people understand how important calcium is for the strength of bones and teeth and the health of skin, but few realize that it's function in the body often depends on adequate levels of magnesium. Magnesium (Mg) is an essential element which catalyses more than 300 enzymatic reactions, in particular those involving the fundamental energy molecule of the body, ATP. About half of the total magnesium in the body is found intra-cellularly in soft tissues, and the other half is in bone. Blood levels of magnesium represent only 1% of the body's total magnesium store. Despite the importance of magnesium to myriad bodily functions, hypomagnesemia is surprisingly common in hospital populations and in the general public and often remains undetected and overlooked. Magnesium deficiency may result in a condition known as hypocalcaemia (low calcium). In heart tissue, magnesium depletion can lead to an influx of sodium and calcium cations into the mitochondria (where energy for a cell is produced) and this may lead to myocardial cell death. Researchers concluded that a low magnesium concentration in the diet might be a factor in a wide variety of clinical conditions. (Ahsan 1997)

It has also been well documented by science that liquid forms of these essential minerals are far more bioavailable than solid forms from crushed up rocks, which our bodies were not designed to digest. The Physicians Desk Reference illustrates this point nicely with a chart showing that only 10-20% of a pill form of a particular vitamin and mineral supplement is absorbed compared to 98% absorption from a liquid form. Liquid supplements are definitely easier on the digestive tract as well. Even dissolving multivitamin and mineral pills in water or juice prior to taking them will enhance the body's uptake of the nutrients and reduce the stress that these pills cause on the gastrointestinal tract. It is also highly advisable to take multivitamin/mineral supplements with food or directly before a meal.

Nature knows best, and in nature, vitamins and minerals are found in a food matrix that is more likened to a liquid state than a pill form. The best way to achieve this complex requirement of the body is with a liquid calcium-magnesium tonic that is derived from fruits and vegetables. In this way, these minerals can be provided in their most bioavailable forms, where all of the trace elements, amino acids and other nutrients that are required for their proper absorption can be found. Scientifically prepared calcium magnesium liquid formulas are available under the Floradix label. They are highly bioavailable and properly balanced for maximum effectiveness.

A good example of increased health and longevity with a high calcium/magnesium diet can be found with the Hunzas. The Hunza people, who live high up in the Himalayan mountains between India and China, are known to be one of the healthiest populations on earth. They routinely live to be 120 or more years old and have all of their teeth when they die. Dr. Bernard Jensen, one of America's foremost pioneering nutritionists, studied the diet of the Hunza's and used this information to heal many people of chronic diseases. After visiting the Hunza's mountain top valley community, Dr. Jensen reported that the people there suffer from no major sicknesses and have no doctors, no nurses, no insanity or anything else we could call ill health. One of the important keys to their good health is thought to be from the high calcium and magnesium diet that they get both from their water (glacier-fed water rich in colloidal minerals including calcium from limestone) and vegetarian food (irrigated with this high calcium, rich mineral water). They do not have spinal problems, rickets or children with pronated ankles. One woman who Dr. Bernard Jensen treated in America had a condition called pellagra, which is known to result from calcium deficiency. She had 13 leg ulcers, weeping and inflamed that several doctors had tried to cure her of for over three years! Dr. Bernard Jensen thought about the diet of the Hunza's, 85% of which consisted of sunshine foods: vegetables, fruits, berries, apricots, melons, cabbages and so forth. He compared that to the American diet which generally only contains 20% of these sunshine foods.

Realizing that sun fixes calcium in the human body (which is why calcium deficiencies are often treated with U.V. light treatments), Dr. Jensen decided to treat this woman with a high calcium/magnesium drink. He chopped off the tops of nine sun veggies including beet greens, turnip greens, parsley, celery tops, endive, watercress, romaine and bib lettuce and placed them in water for two hours, strained the green chlorophyll water through cheesecloth and recommended six to seven glasses of this “green juice” each day. He also made a few changes to the rest of her diet. Within six days her leg ulcers were healed!! He did not have to use any salves or ointments – just fed this drink and the ulcers dried out and new pink skin formed.

I think we can all learn a great deal from the Hunza's, these people who are known and admired for their excellent health, as well as for their fearlessness and good tempered cheer. They are living proof of the benefits of a high calcium and magnesium diet!