The Truth About Minerals in Nutritional Supplements Part C

long article by Robert Thiel as three separate posts.   Part A   Part B   Part C


The Truth About Minerals in Nutritional Supplements Part C

by Robert Thiel, Ph.D., Naturopath

Food and Food Processing

“In the historic struggle for food, humans ate primarily whole foods or so-called natural foods, which underwent little processing…The nutrient content of food usually decreases when it is processed” [77].  “Intensive animal rearing, manipulation of crop production and food processing have altered the qualitative and quantitative balance of nutrients of food consumed by Western society.  This change, to which the physiology and biochemistry of man may not be presently adapted to, is thought to be responsible for the chronic diseases that are rampant in the Industrialized Western Countries” [78].  Some reports suggest that simply taking a synthetic multi-vitamin/mineral formula does not change this [79,80].

Dr. Burr-Madsen has written,

Nutrition ‑ in its most basic sense the process by which the organism finds, consumes, liberates, absorbs, and utilizes the nutrients it must have to live. Although food and therefore nutrients are seemingly plentiful, because of modern use of chemical herbicides and pesticides as well as poor air quality and bad water, the nutrients we buy in the market are very inferior. Human bodies require nutrition found in the form of plants, meat, milk, eggs and water, but all animals get their food directly or indirectly from plants, and all plants get their food from the soil. Therefore mineral deficient soil may be one of the greatest original sources of disease in the world today.

Real soil

We cannot appreciate enough the importance of our relationship with the land, with soil.  This is particularly so in this era of artificial chemicals, artificial foods, and the abundance of artificial materials on which we have come to depend. This system cannot replace real soil and the living food crops it produces. Our dependence on artificial, man­made products interferes with our relationship with the soil and the natural world in general. Because of this Nutritional supplementation is necessary.

Soil condition.
After genetics and weather, the condition of the soil is the most important factor in the nutrient content of any plant food and, indirectly, of animal foods. The soils of the world have suffered, and continue to suffer, at the hands of farming. The present food production system, while correcting some abuses of the past, inflicts on the soil a variety of new and old insults that diminish its nutrient value. Because of intensive farming, poor crop management, erosion, commercial fertilization, the use of pesticides, and other problematic factors, much of the soil in which our crops are now raised has been depleted, particularly of essential minerals.

The Human Food Chain.

The human food chain includes animals, animal products and plants, which depend directly or indirectly on the soil. Plants draw their nutrients and general health from a complex of inorganic and organic factors. Inorganic substances include oxygen and carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with iron, calcium, and an array of other minerals. The chief organic factors range from decaying plant material and animal wastes to earthworms and an amazing variety of microscopic organisms including bacteria, fungi, algae, and protozoa (Hall 1976: 134). All of these elements are important to the health and nutrient value of the crop ‑ and of the animals that feed on it.

Healthy soil.

Healthy soil is America’s greatest natural resource. But few realize that the current state of wide spread soil erosion in North America threatens our way of life. It may be hard to believe, but only a few inches of topsoil stand between you, me, and starvation. We cannot appreciate enough the importance of our relationship with the land, with soil. What is popularly called topsoil is the rich, nutrient‑laden cover of the Earth’s crust from which food crops draw their sustenance. Underneath the topsoil there may be clay, shale, or rock ‑ Substances that do not support food crops. It is only in the precious shallow topsoil that plants are seeded, germinated, sprouted, nurtured, and grown. These plants serve as food for animals on the lowest ends of the food chain. Animals that eat these plants supply food to animals on the highest ends of the food chain. Attention is important because topsoil is easily exhausted from lack of care. The best farmers replenish the soil as it is farmed. Unfortunately, this practice has become an exception to the rule, this is particularly so today.

Depleted Soil.

When the soil becomes depleted, the plants often show symptoms of poor nutrition, much like human deficiency diseases. For example, a general yellow or pale green color (chlorosis) indicates a lack of sulfur and nitrogen and a white or pale‑yellow color iron deficiency. Some of these deficiencies are apparent enough to hurt the marketability of the crop. Most, however, are not visible to the shopper’s or even the farmer’s eye, and the crop is shipped to market deficient as it is. The toll that fertilization and pesticides take on the soil is wide‑reaching, ultimately including the kind of soil erosion that is now plaguing the Midwest. The most direct and immediate loss are the mineral and vitamin deficiencies in the soil that are passed up the food chain to humans (it is a domino effect) [81].

Commercial food processing definitely reduces the nutrient content of food [81, 82] and can be dangerous to human health [83].  The refining of whole grains (including wheat, rice, and corn) has resulted in a dramatic reduction of their natural food complex nutrition [11,82]; specifically the milling of wheat to white flour reduces the natural food complex vitamin and mineral content by 40-60% [82].  Food refining appears to reduce trace minerals such as manganese, zinc, and chromium [2] and various macrominerals (such as magnesium) as well [10,56].  The treatment of canned or frozen vegetables with ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) can strip much of the zinc from foods [11].  The high incidences of disorders of calcium metabolism [28] suggest that the forms of calcium many are consuming simply do not agree with the body (and sometimes result in calcium loss [11]).

Organically-grown produce appears to contain higher levels of some essential minerals than does conventionally (non-organically) grown produce [84,85] and appears to contain lower levels of toxic heavy metals [86].   Even if modern food practices did not affect nutrition (which they do), all minerals that humans need for optimal health do not exist uniformly in soils. “Soils in many areas of the world are deficient in certain minerals; this can result in low concentrations of major or trace minerals in drinking water, plant crops, and even tissues of farm animals, thus contributing to marginal or deficient dietary intakes of humans [76]. From a geological perspective, a few examples include iodine, molybdenum, cobalt, selenium, and boron [2,70,77].  Although humans need at least twenty minerals (over sixty have been found in the body), most plants can be grown with only the addition of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium compounds [2].  If other minerals necessary for human health are reduced in the soil, the plant can (and will) grow without them.  This means, though, that constantly farming the same ground can result in the reduction of some of the essential minerals we as humans require for optimal health [78].

Ground Up Rocks Pose Risks

Rock minerals are not optimal for human health and post health risks.  Perhaps it should be mentioned that typical multi-vitamin-mineral formulas are dangerous and do not result in optimal health.  A study involving 38,772 women in the USA who took synthetic multi-vitamins with ground up rock minerals found that the women died earlier than those who did not take them [87].  Other studies have concluded that the acid-processed rocks that many take as calcium supplements increase risk of cardiovascular disease and other problems [88]—yet those studies did not find problems with food calcium.

Ground-up rocks are dangerous to ingest.  Yet, 100% food vitamins and minerals are beneficial as well as essential to human health and longevity.


No matter how many industrially produced mineral supplements one takes orally, they will:

1) Never be a truly complete nutrient source.
2) Never replace all the functions of food minerals.
3) Always be unnatural substances to the body.
4) Always strain the body by requiring that it detoxify or somehow dispose of their unnatural structures/chemicals.
5) Never be utilized, absorbed, and retained the same as food nutrients.
6) Not be able to prevent advanced protein glycation end-product formation the same as food nutrients.
7) Never be able to have the antioxidant effects the same as food nutrients.
8) Always be industrial products.
9) Always be composed of petroleum-derivatives, hydrogenated sugars, acids, and/or industrially-processed rocks.
10) Never build optimal health the same as food nutrients.

Industrially processed minerals can have some positive nutritional effects, yet they are not food for humans, but they also pose risks [87-88].

Unlike humans, plants have roots or hyphae which aid in the absorption of minerals.  Plants actually have the ability to decrease the toxicity of compounds by changing their biochemical forms [14].  Plants are naturally intended to ingest rocks; humans are not [1].

The truth is that plants, or supplements only made from plants, are the best form of mineral supplement for humans, yet most people who take nutritional mineral support consume some type of industrially processed rock.

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Some of these studies (or citations) may not conform to peer review standards. Therefore, the results are not conclusive. Professionals can, and often do, come to different conclusions when reviewing scientific data. None of these statements have been reviewed by the FDA. All products distributed by Doctors’ Research, Inc. are nutritional and are not intended for the treatment or prevention of any medical condition.