Minerals are the basic building blocks of the body and everything the body produces.
Good health requires a large number of essential minerals. Thus low levels of essential minerals cause disease.
It is suspected that there are more essential minerals than we currently recognise. Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA's) and Upper Limits (UL) are published... but not optimal amounts.
Some forms of minerals are better absorbed than others. The general order of absorption is (from worst to best):
- Elemental minerals
- Chelated minerals or minerals bound to amino acids (proteins)
- Colloidal minerals (minerals in suspension)
The most entertaining way to learn about the role of minerals is to watch a famous presentation by Dr Joel Wallach.called "Dead Doctors Don't Lie":
Mineral analysis is a very useful tool for establishing if you are low in essential elements or high in toxic elements. Using hair for analysis gives you a ~3 month window into the minerals present in your body NB. Many minerals show up poorly in the blood. HTMA commonly measures almost 40 nutritional and toxic elements. It provides an large number of additional useful ratio's (the interaction of one mineral with another).
One place to get this done is a company called Interclinical.
Minerals in the body interact with each other. A knowledge of mineral interactions can be used to your advantage to remove toxic metals and to correct excesses or deficiencies of desirable minerals.
An excellent source of information about these interactions is Dr Watts PhD (Interclinical). His book about trace elements is a great way to learn more:
Selenium is a fascinating mineral: It's the only mineral capable of being incorporated in muscle (protein) as seleno methionine NB. Methionine is an amino acid (a building block of protein)
Selenium is an excellent anti-oxidant, thyroid function will not proceed without it and it is protective of eyesight.
Emeritus professor Gerhard Schrauzer PhD gives a well informed and interesting overview of this essential trace element (audio):
Magnesium is most commonly found in chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants). The magnesium is responsible for the green colour
When we cook the Mg2+ is replaced with two Hydrogens (2H+).
Loss of magnesium makes the vegetables look grey: The magnesium is still present in the water (minerals are not destroyed by cooking). To retain the green colour (magnesium) simply cook your vegetables for shorter times (steaming or microwaving also works). A third way is to add some (sodium) bicarbonate (NaHCO3) to the water to make it alkaline reducing the number of free hydrogens (acidity decreases). This means there are not enough hydrogens to replace the magnesiums NB. If you drink the water you cooked in you will still get your magnesium even if you boiled your veges a bit too much.
Silver has a well documented anti-bacterial effect. It is used in silver sulfa diazine burns creams and some bacterio-static dressings because it enhances their effect greatly. According to Dr Robert O Becker MD (an orthopedic surgeon) who did work on limb regeneration silver was the only metal that was not toxic to cells. Many people take silver colloid for health reasons... however most silver being sold is ionic not colloidal. The best information on colloids appears at:
Some minerals are toxic to the body and only low levels can be tolerated before people become unwell.
Fluorine is not an essential nutrient there are no RDA's for it (it has no recognised biological function). Fluorine is a neurotoxin. Energy production is reduced in its presence: it affects at least 87 known enzymes. Fluorine is the most electronegative and reactive element in the periodic table. However as the fluoride ion (F-) it is much less reactive.
Fluoride research has been mainly focused on the teeth without much research on other body systems. A good summary of the research is found in "The Case Against Fluoride" by Paul Connett a PhD chemist specialising in fluoride.
The systemic effects of fluoride a short review article:
Czajka M. Systemic effects of fluoridation JOM Vol27, 3, pp. 123-130, 2012
The most complete range of information is found at:
Debates about fluoridation are rare. Well informed debates are even rarer. The Arizona 2102 debate between Paul Connett Phd (Emeritus Professor of Chemistry) and Dr Farran DDS (a dentist) is one of the few times the public gets to hear both sides of the argument in a respectful manner:
Mercury is the third most toxic substance (after arsenic and lead). The primary source of mercury in the body is mercury amalgam (silver tooth fillings). Mercury amalgams contain ~50% mercury. Mercury leaches out of these fillings constantly and leaching is accelerated by heat (hot food) or dissimilar metals in the mouth (like bridges). The mouth forms a galvanic cell (saliva is the electrolyte) and a current can be detected (meaning metal is leaching out of your fillings). Inorganic mercury has a half life of 27.4 years in the human brain.
Methyl mercury is the most toxic form of mercury and easily absorbed across the mucous membranes in the mouth. The extraction of mercury amalgam is problematic because mechanical extraction heats the amalgam forming methyl mercury. Extraction using a rubber mouth dam, oxygen and suction is recommended to minimise the risk (refer links page).
Dr Robert Gammal (a dentist) has the most informative web site on mercury amalgam. He has summarised the facts in an extremely interesting and well referenced DVD:
Dr Oz measures how much mercury is being released in the mouth in front of a live audience:
The mercury UV absorption wavelength is 253.7 nm and with it you can see mercury vapour:
Watch what happens to a neuron in the presence of mercury:
Andrew Cutler PhD (Chemistry) has the most insightful comments about hair tissue mineral analysis and mercury:
How mercury disorders the transport of other minerals: A new counting rule to help identify the problem and improved treatment guidelines is the basis of a second book:
Mercury has a strong affinity for sulphur. Unfortunately both cysteine and methionine amino acids have a sulphur molecule in them. These compete with other sulphur compounds to detox the body. The way around this problem is to use something that contains two or more sulphur bonds. Alpha Lipoic Acid (which is water and fat soluble) and NBMI (which is fat soluble) both have two sulphurs. Lenthionine has 5 sulphur bonds and should out-compete everything else.
- Lenthionine has never been tested as a mercury chelator in people but is found in Shitake mushrooms
- ALA is natural to the body so also extremely safe (refer anti-oxidant section for more info)
- NBMI is a new drug with low toxicity
Selenium also helps increase the excretion of mercury (refer selenium section).
The main medicinal form of carbon is charcoal. Activated charcoal is the most useful form of charcoal. Activating charcoal increases its ability to adsorb molecules. Adsorption means the molecules are attracted to the surface but not bonded. The higher the surface area of the charcoal the more you can do with less charcoal.
A normal charcoal will have a surface area of 500 m2/g. An activated charcoal will have 1,500 m2/g or better. The highest reported surface area for charcoal is 3,150 m2/g.
Charcoal is commonly used in hospitals to treat drug overdoses. However in the home it is amazingly effective at treating food poisoning/stomach aches. Often relief is felt in minutes with just one ~260 mg tablet: The charcoal adsorbs the toxin extremely rapidly. It is much more effective than other drugs for diarrhea that only decrease intestinal motility (leaving the toxin behind). You'll be glad you tried this one.
If you'd like to learn more Charcoal Remedies by John Dinsley is an easy to read book while Activated Charcoal by David Cooney contains more of the science: