The Science Behind

Missing Minerals

It is obvious that disease has increased dramatically in our society from what it previously was. Cancer, for example, is now predicted to affect one in three people – where as it once was, and in some societies still is, rare (1).

Studies published within the past 15 years show that much of our edible produce is relatively low in minerals (2). These minerals are now being seen as the compounds with the potential to reduce the risk of four of the biggest medical problems: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and dementia (3).

We have come know disease to be the primary cause of death. However, the primary cause of death for most adults in previous days, according to anthropologists, was injury and infections (4), NOT disease.

A chemical analyse of the ashes from burned plant material discovered they were composed mainly of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. It was mistakenly assumed they were the only minerals essential to food. The myriad of other minor minerals that are also required were not considered. Farmers then fertilised the soil using primarily nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, leaving the soil depleted in other essential minerals (5).

Plants, although looking good, without these essential minerals were themselves not as healthy so were vulnerable to disease. Pesticides and herbicides were used to counteract the plant disease (6). These become part of the food yet are foreign to our bodies.

A US study found that 70% of topsoil used for agriculture was 100% mineral deficient (7). The human body has 87 minerals found in it, and essential to it for optimal health. Minerals cannot be produced, they are only distributed from the soil into plants and ingested (8).

Minerals are essential both for vitamins to be effective in the body and for enzymes to draw the nutrients out of food (9). Supplementation tends to focus on the vitamins not the minerals, and never on the enzymes.

It is a conservative belief that on average 20-40% of the mineral content of food has been lost (10). At the known extreme, in 1914 an apple with its skin on is believed to have supplied around 28.9 mg of magnesium. The same apple in 1992 supplied only 5 mg magnesium, a decline of almost 83 percent (11).

We tend to think of minerals in relation to the body’s structural components, in particular the bones. However, minerals are essential to hundreds of biochemical reactions occurring constantly in the body every single day (12).


  1. Professor Harold D. Foster University of Victoria Canada
  2. Donald R. Davis,  Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence
  3. Donald R. Davis,  Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Composition: What Is the Evidence
  4. Dr.Linus C. Pauling, Nobel Prize Winner
  5. Caleb E. Finch, Evolution of the human lifespan and diseases of aging: Roles of infection, inflammation, and nutrition.
  6. Justus von Liebig, History of the German Chemist on Agriculture.
  7. Timothy M. Spann and Arnold W. Schumann, Mineral Nutrition Contributes to Plant Disease and Pest Resistance.
  8. Michael Karr, Ph.D, Mineral Nutrient Depletion in US Farm and Range Soils.
  9. Milne L, Milne M. The Arena of Life: The Dynamics of Ecology. Natural History Press, Garden City.
  10. Edward Howell, Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept.
  11. Donald Davis, Journal of the American College of Nutrition University of Texas, December 2004.
  12. USDA measurements of 1914 compared to USDA measurements of 1992.
  13. American medical scientist Dr. H. A. Schroeder (1965)