Not All Minerals Are Created Equal - PART ONE

by Dr. Steven E. Whiting, PhD

This article is from the Journal of the Institute of Nutritional Science, June, 1996. Further information on the Institute's Journal, services and other publications may be obtained from:

The Institute of Nutritional Science 9528 Miramar Road Suite 180 San Diego, CA 92126
Tel: 1-800-454-8464

Of all the nutritional supplements consumed, both past and present, there remains more confusion about minerals than any other. This is specifically true with regard to trace minerals. When you talk about vitamins you have either natural or synthetic and in many cases they are very similar with the exception of the fat soluble ones.

Minerals on the other hand have many factors about them which will not only affect their absorption but can make a difference as to whether or not they could build up to potentially toxic levels in the blood and soft tissues. In order to fully understand what type of trace mineral product you should be taking, a discussion of these many factors is necessary.

Firstly it is important to establish that the need for trace mineral supplementation is very real. Factors such as soil mineral depletion & soil erosion are well documented. These factors have reduced the available minerals in farmlands to less than 20% of what they were even 100 years ago.

The concept of re-fertilizing with NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potash or potassium) has been in vogue for decades yet there is overwhelming evidence to show that while this nutrient combination produces higher yield per acre the plants grown on those soils are weak and subject to attack by varieties of pests which then have to be controlled with potentially harmful chemicals.

Dr. Weston A Price in his pioneer work entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, discussed the issue of NPK fertilization and the dangers to higher forms of animals, including man, that must live of plants produced by such limited nutrients. He established the differences between truly healthy plants and NPK plants way back in the 1940's!

Yet despite this long span of time nothing has been done to address the gross deficiencies of both our soils and the crops raised upon them. Until the mid 1980's most people considered good nutrition to be a multiple vitamin with the major minerals and a few isolated trace elements thrown in for good measure.

Even though liquid minerals have been produced in limited amounts since the 1920's it wasn't until about 1985 or 1986 that they became popular through the marketing efforts of a very few select companies. Naturally as the popularity of these liquid minerals caught on more and more companies came out with so-called 'colloidal minerals' in an attempt to try and capture some of what was rapidly becoming 'the latest craze.'

And understandably so for the results that users of these liquid minerals were experiencing was nothing less than amazing. It seemed that with the addition of the mineral product people were getting better usage from the other nutrients they were taking.

Further it appeared that when these liquid minerals were present the entire biochemistry of the user improved and many aches, pains, and other maladies slowly disappeared. We will explore some of the possible reasons for this phenomenal response shortly but suffice it to say that with this kind of response, every company in the business has tried to jump on the bandwagon with a mineral product.

Unfortunately not all of these products are the same nor to they begin to have the same level of efficacy within the human biochemistry. Many of them have been adulterated in a variety of ways and as we are about to illustrate, this adulteration hampers or destroys the very 'life essence' that makes these minerals so valuable to your biochemistry.

Factors That Affect Mineral Uptake & Absorption

Tissue samples from animals and humans have shown anywhere from 65 to 75 individual elements, so the first point of concern should be locating a product that provides the full spectrum of minerals. When further evaluating a mineral supplement for human use several factors come to the surface as being relevant. Such factors as pH, electromagnetic circuitry, particle size and source contribute to the final ability for the body to derive benefit from the minerals ingested. The following chart breaks the three basic types of mineral supplements down and shows how they rate in each category along with the subsequent absorption percentage. (Figure 1.0)

Figure 1.0

Type of
Mineral

Source

pH

Particle Size

Electromagnetic
Charge

%
Absorbed

Inorganic

Soils & Clays

Alkali

Powder

Positive (+)

10 - 20%

Chelated
Inorganic

Soils & Clays

Acid

Powder

Positive (+)

35 - 60%

Organic
Bio-electrical

Plants

Acid

Colloidal

Negative (-)

90 - 98%

Source

Minerals essentially come from one of two sources, either inorganic, being from rocks, clays, seabeds etc., or organic which means that the minerals have been processed through a plant metabolism. This process alters the mineral in some subtle yet vitally important ways namely with regard to the electrical circuitry. For this reason minerals that come from plant sources that contain the full spectrum of minerals would be the best source. After all, humans like all other animals, were created to eat plants, not soil!

Particle Size

There is a law in physical chemistry that states, the smaller the object or particle the greater the surface. This is easier understood if you picture a basketball in your mind and imagine the amount of surface around the outside. Now imagine if that basketball were filled with small marbles. If you measured all the surface around each marble it would be many times greater than that around the big basketball.

The amount of surface of a mineral particle is important since the body attacks and breaks down minerals by attaching to their surface. The greater the surface the greater the absorption, hence the smaller the particle the greater the potential for absorption. Colloids are very small particles that suspend in liquids such as water. These particles contribute to overall absorption due to the immense surface the body has available to acidify and break them down.

pH

pH stands for power of hydrogen and refers to how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The pH scale runs from 0 through 14. The mid point, number 7 is neutral. Everything lower than 7 is acidic and everything higher than 7 is alkaline.

In order for minerals to be properly absorbed, they need to be acidic. When we consume inorganic minerals which are always quite alkaline, the body must attempt to acidify them for absorption. This is done in several ways but early acidification of minerals occurs through hydrochloric acid from the stomach.

This accounts for why we have greater difficulty absorbing minerals as we grow older. The natural hydrochloric acid production decreases with age and dietary abuse. Organic colloidal minerals are naturally acidic, about 3.0 to 5.5, and this further contributes to their absorption.

Electromagnetic Circuitry

We have the least data on the final factor that affects mineral absorption. Current research under way at this time will hopefully shed further light upon this mysterious property. Every element has two charges, an ionic charge which is either positive or negative and an electromagnetic charge which is also either positive or negative. They do not necessarily have to be the same.

The ionic charge of an element is always the same and never varies no matter what form the mineral may take. The electromagnetic energy or charge however can vary with each element depending upon certain circuitry within the atom. If you picture 2 magnets, they are both made of the same material or substance yet one pole is positive and one is negative.

All so called inorganic minerals are positive in their electromagnetic circuitry. When a living plant takes these positive minerals up into its internal biochemistry the electromagnetic circuitry is somehow altered through the biochemical process of photosynthesis, making it negative. This negative electromagnetic energy has been called the 'life energy' because it is opposite of the human electromagnetic circuitry which is positive. Since opposites attract, the negative circuitry is drawn to the body like a magnet!

We can see by this discussion that if a mineral had all of these various factors in the right order, the absorption potential would be increased by many times. The ideal situation for maximum absorption from a mineral supplement would be when it is organic instead or inorganic, colloidal in size rather than just ground or powdered rock, has a naturally occurring acidic pH instead of highly alkaline and is negatively charged electromagnetically instead of positive which repels inside the body. A liquid mineral supplement that possessed all these factors in one would he almost 100% absorbable.

This brings us to a discussion of the many liquid trace mineral products that have recently made their way into the marketplace. Are they all created equal just because they are liquid? What about tablets and capsules that profess to contain bio-available minerals?

Let's address the tablet/capsule issue firstly since it is relatively easy to understand. When we refer to colloidal trace minerals we often use the term 'bio-electrical' or 'bio-available.' The prefix 'bio' in front of a word means 'life', hence life electrical or electrical circuitry that supports & nourishes the living system.

All life has one thing in common, it needs moisture to survive. This is especially true when we are considering electrical potential. Any physical chemist can tell you that electro-chemical reactions occur in the presence of moisture or water. The same holds true for these 'life-electrical' minerals. If you totally remove the moisture the element would lose its bio-electrical charge and revert to the inorganic electro-magnetic charge which is positive. Therefore, at the present time, there is no way to accomplish this convenience. Several researchers are working on this but so far have failed. The encapsulated tableted 'colloidal minerals' we have tested have not retained their bio-electrical charge.

Not All Liquid Minerals Are Created Equal Either

In looking at a market that has been inundated with liquid mineral supplements in the past 24 months alone one might wonder if they are all pretty much the same. A closer examination of their makeup shows us that they are not.

The biggest single factor in evaluating a liquid mineral supplement for efficacy is NOT in the quantitative elemental amounts of minerals contained therein as much as it is how much electrical potential the product is able to impart to the living cells of the body.

We live in a country of excesses, where quantity, not quality is king. When considering the delicate biochemistry of the body quality is far more important than mere bulk quantity. Organic, colloidal, bio-electrical trace minerals benefit the living system in large part because of the electrical circuitry which imparts life force energy to the body cells, making them better able to carry on their individual life functions.

This electrical potential comes from and is generated by the relationship of one element to another. That is why no single mineral can ever hope to have the same benefit alone as it can have in the presence of the full spectrum of others. This electrical potential is generated by the interaction of one element with another in the sea of electromagnetic activity that is constantly taking place in an organic colloidal solution.

This being the case then, the ratios of one mineral to another is of far greater importance that mere quantity alone. The more optimal the ratios of minerals to each other the greater the electrical potential and hence the greater the 'life energy' that is imparted to the living system.

When these naturally occurring ratios are disturbed in any way it reduces the amount of electrical potential that may be passed on to the cells of the body. For example if you have a greater amount of one mineral than there would be present naturally, that mineral would impart a greater electrical charge than normally would be present. This in turn would suppress the electrical potential of other minerals related to it and ultimately alter the entire electrical circuitry of the aqueous solution.

This altering would make the product far less bio-available than if it had not been altered. When you see liquid mineral products that show an inordinately high amount of certain minerals such as calcium, potassium and others, these minerals have likely been added to the solution in order to boost its elemental quantity.

The minerals used to do this are often inorganic minerals which since they are positively charged electro-magnetically, further destroy the delicate life-giving energies that naturally occur in organics in the first place.

Buyer beware! We have even seen and tested mineral products that, while they advocate having full spectrum minerals, upon examination contain only 20 to 40% pure mineral water. The rest is such things as aloe vera, fruit extracts, inorganic added minerals, flavorings etc.

All these not only take away from the true electrical potential of the organic minerals but may be giving you little more than mineral-poor filler. By sheer volume alone. They deprive your body of a mineral rich solution. If you are using a liquid mineral product that purports to be good for you read the label. See what else is in the bottle besides minerals!

If your liquid mineral product tastes delicious we can guarantee that is has been adulterated in some manner. Pure liquid colloidal organic trace minerals are tan to brown in color and are very bitter. Any attempt to mask these characteristics for long periods in the bottle affects both the potency and the electrical charge of the minerals. Know what you are buying.

References

  1. Price, Weston A. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Keats Publishing, Inc.
  2. Schwarz, K. 1977 J American Medical Assoc. 288: 226.
  3. Passwater, Richard A. PhD et al Trace Elements, Hair Analysis and Nutrition, 1983 Keats Publishing Inc.
  4. Schroeder, HA. 1965. J. Chronic Dis. 18: 647.
  5. Todd, Gary P., MD. unpublished observations
  6. Popp, Fritz Albert. Bioelectronic Respons of Cellular Stimulation
  7. Mervyn, Len PhD. Minerals And Your Health, Keats Publishing, Inc.
  8. Bland, Jeffrey, PhD. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition, Keats Publishing, Inc