There is an incredible amount of literature written about vitamins these days. We are bombarded with antidotal stories of vitamins and how we'll all be better people, happier, more successful if we use vitamins. Yes vitamins do play an important role in our health and should not be overlooked, yet did you know that the amount of vitamins the body needs for healthy function in a days time will fit on the head of a pin and no one says much about minerals, why? We could all go several days without certain vitamins and not suffer any serious imbalances, yet let our potassium or magnesium levels become low, or sodium and it could be life threatening within a few hours or even a few minutes.
Think about this, if you cremate the body, you do not have a box of vitamins you have a box of minerals. Without minerals present in the correct amounts vitamins are useless to the body. Nothing will make the body feel more lifeless, flat and fatigued than mineral imbalance. When the Bible talked about man coming from dust and going back to dust, it was referring to minerals. No matter what your views are on the "creation" of man, one thing is certain: the physical body of man is made up of minerals. Minerals are the basis of all life on this planet.
Every single physical living cell on earth is derived totally from minerals and mineral-based compounds. Every single living body cell, including the DNA genetic codes themselves are dependent upon minerals for both their structure and function.
The average American eating the standard American diet is usually mineral deficient. This will vary given the usual variables of genetics, diet, stress, medication use etc.
Two of the best ways to supplement the diet naturally with minerals are using fresh vegetable juices and herbal supplements. Good vegetable juicers start at about $80. They are easy to use and clean, and the power packed energy punch you get from using fresh vegetable juice is great! Did you know that a glass of fresh carrot juice contains 2 1/2 times the amount of usable calcium than milk, and contains about as much potassium as a banana. A few sprigs of parsley juiced with carrot will given you as much potassium as three bananas, more usable iron than a 4 oz steak, and several trace minerals that are completely missing in today's diet. An ounce of beet juice, (although actually low in iron as compared with red meat) will give your body more usable iron than red meat. The lowly red beet contains several co-factors that help the body utilize the iron within the beet.
Herbs are naturally high in minerals. In fact, that's one of the reasons herbs work so well and so gently. We don't need to wait until we are sick to utilize herbal therapy, they are natural adjunct to good health. Some herbs that I like to use for mineral supplementation are:
Dandelion, Comfrey, Horsetail high in calcium
Yellow Dock, Nettles high in iron
Nettles, Dandelion, Malva high in potassium
Dandelion, sea vegetables high in natural sodium
Sea vegetables high in various trace minerals
A closing thought: For those of you concerned about calcium supplementation and are supplementing your diet with calcium tablets, be sure you are taking a usable form of calcium balanced with magnesium. Most calcium supplements are not in a form that is usable by the human body. And the relationship between these two minerals, calcium and magnesium, when found in the human body is one of interdependence. Also, just because the tablet dissolves in vinegar in 20 minutes doesn't mean the body can use it. Yes, it's a start but chemically speaking it's only a physical reaction and does not guarantee your body will be able to assimilate it for use. Minerals in general are very hard for the body to digest and assimilate, that's why I prefer the more natural forms. We evolved eating plants and plant based foods such as herbs; the body knows how to handle them much better than tablets.
Rebecca Huber is a RN and is nationally certified in therapeutic massage. She is a member of The Associated Bodyworkers & Massage Professionals, The American Holistic Nurses Association and has certificates in Nutrition Therapy and counseling from The American Academy of Nutrition. She invites your questions or comments via The Zephyr, or her office at 312 Hill Arcade, 343-5256.
Last Modified: July 18, 1996