Getting right to the bottom line, if the soil in which our food grows is not in balance, neither will be the food. Modern agriculture is in such disarray that plants don’t stay in the ground long enough to completely develop their nutrient potential because they have to be shipped across the country without spoiling. After all, they have to look pretty to attract attention. To make them grow faster so they can be harvested sooner to increase income, chemical fertilizers and biocides are employed. After picking, plants are held in storage until enough of them are available to fill a freight car. Time and storage conditions affect nutrient content. Careless kitchen practices don’t help. Crop rotation is an expensive practice that requires manpower, time and expense. Why would a farm that earns big bucks raising broccoli switch to tomatoes the following year? Soils today are mineral depleted. Doctor Jones might tell you that multi-vitamins and minerals are unnecessary, and that you can get all the nutrition you need from your diet. That puts him out of touch with the facts.
After WW II, chemical and drug companies inherited vast supplies of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium compounds that once were used to make munitions. They were cheap fertilizers that made the traditional organic farming methods uneconomical. By the nineteen sixties the majority of American farmers had become completely dependent on NPK fertilizers. America could feed the world, but the soil took a hit. This bankrupted our produce. Although frozen foods might be better than fresh in many circumstances, plants are still blanched, boiled, baked, steamed, or bleached in too many other circumstances. The coup de grace comes when we throw the cooking water down the drain. We need to supplement. But what form of minerals is most useful to the body?
If a cell is lacking a proper mineral complement, it can’t do its job the right way. If necessary, the body will take elements from wherever possible, including bone, for example, to provide the heart with the calcium it needs for a strong beat. You see, calcium urges sodium to initiate a muscle contraction. Magnesium, on the other side of the cell membrane, urges potassium to relax. If this balance gets upset, it’s possible to have only half a heartbeat. Is that a matter for concern? You bet. There is an advantage to hard municipal water…minerals.
The bulk of mineral absorption by the body takes place in the small intestine, mostly the duodenum (the first part after the stomach). Calcium and iron are the most-studied minerals, but the others are gaining interest. Of contention is the issue of organic versus inorganic and the efficacy of one over the other. Information and opinion abound, pitting the plant against the rock. Here, organic means that the mineral is bound to a carbon, the element common to all living things. Whether or not this makes a mineral more or less bioavailable is not yet settled. If organic is better, then drinking mineral-laden water would be futile. Tell that to a porcupine or a giraffe or a lizard. When minerals come from water they are inorganic, but in water, even seawater or a well-made liquid supplement, they are ionic. If a plant could get its minerals from the soil, it would make sure the rock was reduced to Angstrom size. Otherwise, we’d be picking tomatoes with crystals of potassium hanging out the ends. An Angstrom is one ten-billionth of a meter. At this size, a mineral will easily be transported across the highly selective cell membranes of the digestive system. Because ionic minerals carry a charge—either positive or negative—the body uses little energy to absorb them. Colloids, on the other hand, have to be dismantled into smaller parts and then pick up an electrical charge to cross the membrane (Schauss, 1997). The electrical gradient allows for the easy flow of ionic minerals from an area of higher concentration—the intestine—to an area of lesser concentration—the cells of the body. If a mineral is attached to something other than a fellow from the periodic table it has to be separated, and that takes time and energy. Foods, for example, don’t stay in the stomach long enough for stomach acid to break down a compounded mineral, so that less of the mineral is available to be absorbed. Because stomach acid decreases with age, seniors are less able to use some mineral forms.
A plant takes an inorganic mineral from the ground and synthesizes it into a molecular form it can send throughout its system. If any plant gets its water from a mineral-rich stream saturated with inorganic molecules derived from rocks, the plant will process those molecules into ions that remain inorganic. An ionic liquid supplement is essentially the same thing, but purposely made. Once a supplement is ingested, the human body intuitively knows what mineral is available and what to do with it, regardless of where it came from. Since the pH of the intestine is too high to break down minerals, the minerals pass right through if not already ionized.
A little is better than none. And a little is all we can get from any mineral supplement that is not already ionized when it goes in. Some minerals are absorbed inversely to their intake, such as magnesium. Taking 400 milligrams of magnesium might offer only a fraction of that amount. Dosages of liquid minerals are lower than the RDA because the entire dosage is utilized.
By definition a colloid is not water-soluble. Many colloids come from clay-based materials that may contain nonessential, even toxic, trace minerals. These mineral particles are just too large to be useful. We need stable and strong stomach acid to enhance intraluminal absorption of some, including chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc. If the minerals are ionized before they get swallowed, the stomach has less work to do (if it can do it at all).
If you decide to take liquid minerals, don’t expect overnight results. After all, a neglected house plant needs to drop its decrepit leaves before the new ones give you a really healthy specimen. As long as you don’t drink an entire bottle at one time, liquid minerals are safer than other forms.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.