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All Things a Poison - Sometimes a Little Poison is Just What the Doctor Should Order!
If you are recommending trace minerals to your patients, chances are you are recommending toxic substances. The strange paradox is, many of these toxic minerals are also essential for life! With the recent popularity of coral calcium, colloidal mineral cocktails, and other supplements containing 70 or more trace minerals, the question of how toxic elements such as arsenic, cadmium, antimony, and vanadium can be safe needs to be addressed. Truth is, each of these minerals is deemed an “essential mineral” by the National Research Council – that is, essential for human or animal life and only available to the body by ingestion of foods.
Take arsenic for example. This well known deadly poison is also required for life (NRC 1989). The average human being has 20 mg of arsenic distributed throughout the body1. Studies on rats have shown a deficiency of arsenic is associated with retarded growth1. Similar information is available on all 25 essential minerals – each is necessary, yet they will all have severe adverse effects in large quantities. The famous Swiss Physician, Paracelcus summarized this phenomenon in the 1400’s when he said “All substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison. The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy”. Even oxygen and water taken in extreme amounts can prove toxic.
But which minerals are considered essential? 100 years ago, only 14 elements were thought to be essential. In 1950, copper, manganese, zinc and cobalt were added. Late in the 1950’s selenium was included. 1975 saw the inclusion of fluorine and silicon. A few years later boron was added. Today, 25 are classified as essential! The rest are not considered essential or ruled as non-essential. It should be noted that 60 trace minerals are found in human milk including aluminum, bromine, vanadium and nickel, which were previously considered unimportant, so we may eventually learn that up to 60 are essential or important minerals.
It is interesting that we know of at least 25 essential minerals and yet our soil is only replenished with the big three: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK). Many trace minerals have become entirely absent in the land growing feed for their cattle so farmers have begun supplementing their beef and dairy herds because it makes economic sense – it is more profitable to buy trace mineral supplements and feed it to their cows than to suffer losses from trace mineral deficiency diseases. Heifers on trace mineral programs produced 3.7 pounds per day more milk compared to non-supplemented groups, conception rates improved significantly, weaning weights in calves were higher and overall herd health improved2.
Not only cattle benefit from adding trace minerals to their diets. A two year study raising meat chickens using Brazilian Coral Minerals compared to birds on growth hormone was conducted at University of Vila Velha, Brazil. The result showed similar growth rates, but the chickens on coral were more energetic and hence produced a leaner, higher protein, lower fat bird3.
Think about that. Farmers find it cost effective to buy trace minerals and add it to animals’ foods because the animals are not getting these elements from the produce of the fields. Humans eat from those same depleted fields and yet many of us do not think about supplementing ourselves. Perhaps it is time to reassess our fears of “toxic” trace minerals. Trace minerals can be toxic in large quantities, but equally damaging to health, and more prevalent, is their absence.
You can see this article and more at http://www.algaecal.com/
1. Halstead B, Fossil Stony Coral Minerals p. 64
2. Feedlot, Volume 8, number 2, March 2000
3. University of Vila Velha Study on Chickens
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