Deficiency Disease in a Modern World – Part II Minerals

We don’t usually think about minerals having a significant effect on disease the way we do with vitamins.  However, minerals are crucial to life.  I remember a professor that I had second semester of my freshman year for chemistry labs.  He is a brilliant man with a perfect memory.  He suggested that organic chemistry was going out of fashion.  The study of minerals was going to be the future of organic chemistry.  Well, he did not calculate man’s desire for wealth at the cost of health.  He was always optimistic; I believe the correct attitude.

Consider that iodine deficiency is the number one cause of brain damage throughout the world.  Given this and the understanding that children that don’t get enough iodine will have a significant reduction in IQ; it makes you wonder why our required daily intake is as low as specified by the government.  The suggestion that 150 mcg is adequate does not allow for mass balance according to WHO (World Health Organization).  That is unless you are small enough to where you don’t generate two liters of urine a day. WHO says that sufficiency occurs when your urine iodine level is measured at 100 mcg per liter.  I am large enough to where two liters or about two quarts is not an unusual amount of urine in twenty-four hours.  That would require at least 200 mcg of iodine per day for sufficiency.  Is this just ineptness on the part of the medical community?

If you take iodine deficiency to its furthest extreme during pregnancy, you end up with cretinism.  Cretinism is a very serious life threatening disease with both physical and mental malformation.  Goiter is another very serious disease caused by iodine deficiency.  What happens is the area around the thyroid in your neck enlarges to trap as much iodine as possible to prevent you from dying. Most likely the causes of several of the mental dysfunctions have their roots in iodine deficiency.  Then consider the thyroid makes T4, but it is each cell with an adequate amount of iodine that produces T3.  T3 is four to ten times as powerful in cellular differentiation as T4.  With each cell making its own T3, it reminds you of the way vitamin D3 works for genetic expression where each cell makes the active form as needed.   Of course the T3 will not be made in each cell if there is not an adequate amount of iodine and selenium.  Yes, selenium is needed as a catalyst for the production of T3.  Notice I said catalyst.  It is more correct to say enzyme with selenium as its cation.

So what other diseases arise from mineral deficiency?  The list is long.

Boron: Consider this abstract

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 43(2):219–231 (2003)

The Physiological Effects of Dietary Boron
Tara A. Devirian and Stella L. Volpe*
Department of Nutrition, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Referee: Dr. Susan Meacham, Associate Professor and Department Head, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, College of Health Sciences, Room 329, Rod Lee Bigelow Building, 4505 Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3019

ABSTRACT: Boron may be an essential nutrient for animals and humans. Dietary boron influences the activity of many metabolic enzymes, as well as the metabolism of steroid hormones and several micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D. Boron supplementation in rats and chicks has been shown to increase bone strength. Boron may also play a role in improving arthritis, plasma lipid profiles, and brain function. Additional research is necessary to further clarify boron’s influence in human and animal physiology, as well as determine a dietary requirement for humans.

An adequate intake has not been established, but most multiple vitamins have 3 mg.  Without boron in each cell, it is likely that vitamin D as 25(OH)D will not adequately be converted to the steroid as needed in each cell.  Symptoms of boron deficiency mimic symptoms of vitamin D deficiency and we know how severe a disease state that will create.

Calcium: The body very tightly controls serum calcium levels.  The calcium acts almost like a steroid in cell signaling and is necessary for neural transmitters to be released as the voltage gated calcium channel opens to allow the flow of transmitters at the end of the action potential in neurons.  Deficiency (low serum levels) usually only occurs when you have parathyroid malfunction (caused by vitamin D deficiency or renal failure) because of the large reserve in the bones.  Deficiency includes diseases: osteomalacia and osteoporosis as the body destroys the bones to have adequate calcium for biological functions.   Low serum calcium or hypocalcemia will result in muscle cramps and fatigue.  Very low levels will result in seizure as neurons are not properly firing.

Chromium:  Deficiency of this mineral will result in abnormal glucose utilization and increased insulin requirements. This may lead to type II diabetes.  Of course the body uses chromium III and chromium VI or hexavalent is recognized as a carcinogen.

Magnesium:  This mineral is absolutely necessary as it is involved in over 300 essential metabolic reactions.  The most critical is through its choice as the cation for the energy cycle of ATP/ADP which keeps potassium, sodium, and calcium in balance.  Deficiency symptoms are a long list and may be clinically associated with the following: ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer’s, Angina, Anxiety disorders, Arrhythmia, Arthritis- Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, Asthma, Autism, Auto immune disorders- all types, Cavities, Cerebral Palsy- in children from magnesium deficient mothers, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Congestive Heart Disease, Constipation, Crooked teeth- narrow jaw- in children from magnesium deficient mothers, Depression, Diabetes- Type I and II, Eating disorders- Bulimia, Anorexia, Fibromyalgia, Gut disorders- including peptic ulcer, Crohn’s disease, colitis, food allergy, Heart Disease- Arteriosclerosis, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, Heart Disease- in infants born to magnesium deficient mothers, High Blood Pressure, Hypoglycemia, Impaired athletic performance, Infantile Seizure- in children from magnesium deficient mothers, Insomnia,  Kidney Stones, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Migraines- including cluster type, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscle cramps, Muscle weakness, fatigue, Myopia- in children from magnesium deficient mothers, Obesity- especially obesity associated with high carbohydrate diets, Osteoporosis- just adding magnesium reversed bone loss, Parkinson’s Disease, PMS- including menstrual pain and irregularities, PPH- Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, Raynaud’s, SIDS- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Stroke, Syndrome X- insulin resistance, Thyroid disorders- low, high and auto-immune; low magnesium reduces T4.

Manganese: The primary importance of manganese is its necessity for the conversion of the water soluble sulfate ester that is your body’s primary waste remover.  Without proper waste removal, many diseases may result.  I suspect the manganese sulfate chemistry malfunction to be a cause of ALS.  Manganese can be toxic at relatively low levels.  Most multiple vitamin supplements provide an adequate amount.  Adequate intake for adults is 1.8 to 2.3 mg/day with the tolerable intake at 9 mg/day.

Molybdenum is a necessary for life as a co-factor in many enzymes that catalyze global transformation of the carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycles. Adequate intake is 45 mcg/day and tolerable intake is 2 mg/day.  Deficiency may result in cancer of the esophagus.  There is an area in China where the soils are deplete in molybdenum with an incidence 100 times higher than in the US of this particular type of cancer.  The deplete soils cause a higher exposure to nitrosamines because the molybdenum is necessary for conversion of nitrates to amino acids in plants.

Potassium:  Deficiency results in stroke, heart failure, fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps, and intestinal paralysis, which may lead to bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain.  Of course it depends on the degree of deficiency.  I know that after a hard workout, a class of low sodium V-8 juice (about one gram of potassium) makes the cramps disappear in minutes.

Zinc:  Severe deficiency as reported by the Linus Pauling institute results as follows: “The symptoms of severe zinc deficiency include the slowing or cessation of growth and development, delayed sexual maturation, characteristic skin rashes, chronic and severe diarrhea, immune system deficiencies, impaired wound healing, diminished appetite, impaired taste sensation, night blindness, swelling and clouding of the corneas, and behavioral disturbances. “    The main concern with mild deficiency is reduced immune system response.

Sulfate:  It is interesting to note that no one considers sulfate deficiency as an issue.  However, without adequate vitamin D3 the sodium sulfate co-transporters do not work as required.  Consider the following sulfate requirements of the human body:

  • Both organic sulfur from amino acids and from sulfur compounds in the cruciferous (cabbage, broccoli, etc.) and allium (garlic, onions, etc.) vegetables and inorganic sulfur from sulfates in foods and our water supply are critical to human physiology.
  • Sulfate is needed for the formation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGS i.e. glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, etc.) or amino acids necessary for joints, skin, connective tissues, and joint lubrication through synovial fluid.
  • Sulfate is needed to start the cascade of digestive enzymes.
  • Sulfate is necessary to line the gut wall with mucin proteins.
  • Sulfate is needed for the formation of neurons where neurons are laid down on a platform of sulfated carbohydrates.
  • Sulfation is a major pathway in detoxifying from drugs, environmental toxins especially in the brain (aluminum), liver (i.e., acetaminophen), and removing waste from cells after the mitochondrial processes.
  • Sulfur is most abundant element (approximately one half percent by weight) in our body after calcium and phosphorus and is the fourth most abundant anion in our plasma.  It helps to maintain the balance of anions (bicarbonate, chloride, and phosphate) to effectively carry oxygen to the cells. Interestingly enough, sulfates are not normally measured in serum analysis.

Wow, so here we are with a list of deficiency diseases and symptoms that is much longer than the one for vitamins. When I used to take my minerals in the morning before going to the gym, I would tell my gym partner that I had eaten my bucket of dirt for the day.  We get our minerals from many sources but primarily from food.  If you choose to eat a bucket of dirt (supplements) be sure that you supplement with the correct amount.  Not enough and you have diseases and too much will result in toxicity.  – Pandemic Survivor


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