My original training was as a geologist. For several years I worked
in mineral exploration looking for gold, uranium, copper, cobalt, lead
and zinc, but twenty-five years ago I abandoned mineralogy and retrained
as a chiropractor. But in my understanding of chiropractic, a patient’s
bio-mechanical health is very often compromised by faulty bio-chemistry
so I found myself exploring the world of dietary exclusion and guidance,
together with supplementation - in particular mineral supplementation.
Prior to 2000 the vast majority of nutritional practitioners and the
more aware public repeated, like a mantra, that the 'foods that we
eat today are not as nutritious as they were in the past' but there
was really no hard science to back that statement. It seemed that some
research into the nutritional and especially the mineral content of
contemporary food supplies would enlighten the
McCance and the Dietary Survey of Foods
Back in 1927 a study of the chemical composition of foods was initiated
by a Dr McCance at King’s College, London to assist with diabetic
dietary guidance. The study evolved and was then broadened to determine
all the important organic and mineral constituents of foods. It was
financed by the Medical Research Council and eventually published in
Over the next 51 years subsequent editions reflected changing national
dietary habits and food laws as well as advances in analytical procedures.
The fifth edition, published in 1991, comprehensively analysed 14 different
categories of foods and beverages. (A subsequent sixth edition in 2002
has updated some data but not the full range.)
Using this database I was able to compare and contrast the mineral
content of 27 varieties of vegetable, 17 varieties of fruit, 10 cuts
of meat and some milk and cheese products. The results demonstrate
that there has been a significant loss of minerals and trace elements
in these foods over that period of time.
Mineral Vegetables Fruit Meat
27 varieties 17 varieties 10 cuts
Sodium less 49% less 29% less 30%
Potassium less 16% less 19% less 16%
Phosphorus plus 9% plus 2% less 28%
Magnesium less 24% less 16% less 10%
Calcium less 46% less 16% less 41%
Iron less 27% less 24% less 54%
Copper less 76% less 20% less 24%
The importance of minerals
Physiologically it would be very difficult to underestimate the importance of
minerals and trace elements. They often act as the catalyst for the other nutrients
the body uses to develop and maintain good health. Magnesium for instance is
known to be required to be present in the metabolic pathway of 300 enzyme reactions
whilst zinc is required in 200 enzyme reactions. The deterioration in the mineral
content of the 64 foods that could be traced over the 51-year period between
1940 and 1991, therefore, should be considered as alarming.
Changing dietary habits
Moreover by comparing the lists of foods given in the first edition of the Composition
of Foods with those in the fifth edition, it can be seen that the dietary habits
of the people in the UK have changed dramatically.
Since the publication of the fourth edition in 1978 there has been a huge rise
in the popularity of refined processed foods - ‘fast’ foods - which
are often high in saturated fats, sugars, colourings, preservatives and flavourings.
These foods have, over the past 30 years, become the ‘norm’. Consequently
we now have a generation that considers this situation normal and their children
are growing up to regard ‘fast’ foods and drinks as an appropriate
Not only are these foods made from raw materials which contain between 16% and
76% less of essential minerals than 60 years ago, but they often also contain
residues of herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones.
Public Health Approaches
There are two ways of viewing this situation. The first is that these findings
may be considered irrelevant. It could be argued that we have an innate ability
to adapt, compensate and adjust to our environment and the fact that, as a nation
overall, our health and longevity has increased over the past 50 years demonstrates
the success of our health service and our farming and food industries.
An opposing consideration would suggest that over the last 50 years we have subjected
ourselves to an increased environmental toxic load (pesticides, herbicides, fungicides,
hormones, heavy metals, antibiotics, colourings, flavourings, preservatives)
that is unprecedented in our evolutionary history. There has also been a radical
change in dietary habits towards convenience foods the principal ingredients
of which are fats, carbohydrates and proteins
As a consequence we have created a society that may be considered overfed yet
malnourished of micronutrients. These circumstances contribute significantly
towards the rise in chronic disease conditions in all age groups – including
arthritis, obesity, diabetes, MS, ME, osteoporosis, cancer, asthma, eczema, leukaemia,
cardiovascular disease etc.
Which scenario is true?
The current consensus undoubtedly favours the former. However, there is now a
growing body of research evidence that minerals and trace elements can and do
play a major role in our physical and psychological well-being and that heavy
metals cause disease disorders. It has been shown that some chemical substances
derived from the diet and/or from environmental exposure affect human behaviour
and that lack of micronutrients predisposes us to degenerative conditions.
Recently Bernard Gesch, director of Natural Justice and senior researcher in
the physiology department at Oxford University, demonstrated that providing recommended
daily allowance levels of micronutrients assists in correcting the behaviour
of juveniles, while Chistopher Pick ND has demonstrated that even the ‘healthy’ (ie
asymptomatic) A and B social/economic classes are micronutrient deficient.
The way forward
Perhaps it is time for both sides of this argument to respect the research evidence
of the other and to work together.
Current DNA research indicates that individuals are genetically predisposed towards
differing chronic disease conditions. Consequently this school of thought suggests
that the way forward is to discover appropriate vaccinations and/or drug therapies
to ‘protect’ those susceptible.
It is accepted that each of us, as a result of hereditary predispositions, has
inherent genetic vulnerabilities towards certain physiological and psychological
conditions and that these may now be definitively identified by modern research.
Would it not be appropriate to help the body optimise its adaptive capacity to
cope better with the situation? Such a route, using modern scientific techniques,
together with appropriate educational programmes concerning diet, exercise and
attitude of mind, would enable researchers to monitor the capacity to adapt to
In this manner the individual concerned would be less likely to be continually
compromised and ultimately surprised by their body developing a chronic disease
condition in response to constant environmental challenges.
However, I feel that we need some prophylactic supplementation while we wait
for significant changes to take place in our education policy, and for government
policies that will ensure the highest possible quality of food stuffs. My own
preference, as a geologist is to pay especial attention to our trace mineral
The most complete naturally derived supplement I have found originates from an
isolated part of the Great Salt Lake in Utah in the USA; it is marketed under
the trade name of ConcenTrace.
It contains a significant amount of magnesium, lithium, boron and selenium as
well as, in trace amounts, nearly all the naturally occurring elements of the
periodic table in a physiologically appropriate ratio and an easily assimilable
I have now been importing this supplement from the USA for some years and use
it in my practice. FM readers may remember the story of Emma-jane Bramwell -
FM Nov 2002 - whose life was transformed by ConcenTrace.
For more information
on ConcenTrace please call 01342 824684
or check out the website www.mineralresourcesint.co.uk which includes a number
of enlightening research papers.
First published in 2006
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