EDWARDS — There are over 4,900 known minerals in the natural world. Ninety percent of our Earth’s crust is made of different silicate minerals. Minerals are inorganic, naturally occurring substances that are solid and stable at room temperature. On the other hand, rocks are a combination of different minerals or non-minerals.
Our bodies require essential amino acids (proteins), essential fatty acids and a variety of essential minerals and trace minerals to carry on the necessary cellular processes of life. They are “essential” because our bodies are unable to make them on their own.
Of note, carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient for humans because we can make carbohydrates from some proteins and fat. However, we must obtain essential nutrients (protein, fats and minerals) from our diet.
PROBLEMS WITH AMERICAN DIET
The typical American diet of prepared and pre-packaged foods is obviously devoid of essential minerals. The few minerals that may be added to these types of foods to enhance or “enrich” their nutritional content are generally not in their natural form and are unable to be absorbed by our gut.
Even a diet high in fruits and vegetables may be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals because the soil we grow them in have been depleted. Modern agricultural practices with the use of monocropping and fertilization have nearly exhausted the natural minerals in the soil.
Iodine deficiency is more common that we realize. It can lead to thyroid disorders and mental retardation (cretinism) in infants and children.
Before the 1920s, iodine deficiency was common in the “goiter belt” (the Great Lakes region and Northwestern U.S.) and most of Canada. Iodized salt and breads were introduced to prevent this problem.
Although goiter (thyroid enlargement) improved, recent national data show that iodine levels have fallen by 50 percent in the last 40 years.
REASONS FOR iodine SHORTAGES
Our soil has been depleted.
Fluoride and bromide (in our water, food and medications) compete with iodine in the body.
Iodine in bread was replaced with bromine.
Most people don’t even use salt because we’re told it’s bad for us (refined salt is bad), and the iodine added to salt is not readily utilized by the body.
Most of us don’t eat enough shellfish or seaweed.
Iodine is required by all cells of the body, but especially the glandular cells of the thyroid, breast, ovaries and prostate. Iodine is antibacterial, antiparasitic, anticancer, antiviral, a mucolytic and elevates body pH. Symptoms of iodine deficiency may include thyroid disorders, breast/ovarian/prostate disorders, problems concentrating, ADHD, frequent infections, migraines, weight gain, infertility, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Urine iodine levels should be tested prior to starting supplementation and frequently monitored to avoid side effects. Iodine should not be taken alone, but with a complement of vitamins and minerals that are required for proper functioning.
Supplementation should be closely monitored by a health care practitioner and always in combination with a comprehensive nutritional and lifestyle approach.
Supplementation with only one vitamin or mineral is never the answer. It is the balance of all nutrients that provides the body with the building blocks for optimal health and wellness.
Dr. Susan Lan is owner of Vail Osteopathy in Edwards. She provides integrative holistic medicine that includes traditional osteopathic manipulation. She can be reached at 970-306-1448 and www.vailosteopathy.com.