Vitamins or Minerals?
Let us clear up some of the ongoing confusion regarding vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins are very important to overall health and well-being – many would argue they are critical. Agreed. Indeed, we need adequate amounts of all the biggies: A, C, E, D, selenium etc. etc…. No doubt there. To the extent that we are deficient in these, we will not operate very efficiently on a cellular level and therefore will not radiate good health.
But increasingly we are coming to recognize that vitamins are only part of the equation. We also need adequate- some would even argue generous- amounts of alkaline forming, enzyme activating, health promoting, and generally beautifying elements commonly found in the periodic table. That’s right. Minerals.
Acid vs Alkaline
According to experts, up to 95% of the body’s processes run on minerals, not vitamins. Much of our bio-chemical activity is therefore mineral dependent. That’s saying a lot. Proper enzyme activity (which is essential for life and a marker of our biological age) depends on them. Enzyme activity is only activated in the presence of sufficient quantities of major and trace minerals.
Minerals also have a direct impact on our internal PH. Some minerals (calcium, magnesium, silicon, iron, sodium, and manganese) will help keep us alkaline while others (phosphorus, chlorine, iodine, nitrogen, sulfur) will create acidity in the body. Acidity is not in itself a bad thing. We need both alkaline and acid forming minerals in order to achieve a balanced PH of roughly 7.0. When we are too alkaline, we can be lethargic. But when we are too acidic, as most people invariably are (organic, raw-foodist Yogis not withstanding) we develop sickness, disease, and don’t look our best. Too much coffee, alcohol, soda, smoking, stress, shallow breathing, lack of exercise, tap water- all contribute to acidity in the body. Excess acidity creates inflammation, puffiness, fatigue, and is a general healthy glow killer.
So how do we protect ourselves from the tendency to become overly acidic (yogis aside)? Well, it is always a good idea to get your nutrients (macro and micro) from food as much as possible, but these days, the informed reader knows better. Conventionally grown food contains far less nutrition and minerals than what our parents and grandparents were used to. Soils are eroded, over-farmed, pesticide laden, and poorly fertilized all which leads to spectacularly mineral deficient food. And that’s before the cooking process, which depletes food even further.
So we must supplement. Eat your kale. Drink your organic greens as much as possible. Use your Vitamix. But for the truly health conscious or those with chronic ailments one can go further, and look to sea vegetables– kelp, seaweed, dulse etc… to give us our daily-required dosage of minerals. We can start by incorporating sea salt to our diet. We can use topical liquid magnesium. We can start consuming superfoods and tonic herbs. We can begin adding certain clays or earths into the diet and even topically (diatomaceous earth is great). The point is to try to get the major and trace minerals together -not just individually- because they all tend to work in unison. But for the beauty conscious (and who isn’t!) giving your body a healthy daily dose of silicon, sulfur, zinc, iron, and manganese does amazing things for our skin, hair, teeth, nails, and arguably, our sanity as well.
Some researchers believe that the ability of plants to thrive and combat disease depends on adequate mineralization. The same may be true for us.