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Minerals Part 2: Minerals, They're All Connected: Starting on a Nutritional Balancing Program

by Jon Sasmor

Last Updated September 3, 2018

Minerals: They're All Connected

Background: Why Minerals?

We often overlook minerals. Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins each get more attention. Yet minerals are at the heart of many human enzymes. We need the nutritional minerals to thrive. And we need to avoid the toxic minerals too.

Minerals play subtle roles controlling the metabolism of other nutrients. And minerals may be the best status indicators of overall nutrient metabolism and of toxic metal and chemical detoxification.

In Vegan Troubleshooting's first article in our series on minerals, we discussed the alarming depletion of minerals in today's soils and in modern plant foods, as well as how little is known about the biochemical functions of many of the trace minerals. We also analyzed the mineral content of the popular seawater trace mineral supplement Concentrace. In the process of researching that article, I started thinking about minerals and how the periodic table of elements relates to our food supply.

Mineral imbalances, toxic metals, and toxic chemicals can passed physically through the placenta to babies. And the epigenetic effects (altered gene expression) resulting from these mineral imbalances may accumulate from generation to generation.

The soil, food, water, and air are now far different from how they were 100, 20, or even 10 years ago. Conditions now may warrant different choices in our lives than the conditions a generation ago. If you're old enough to be reading this, the soil, food, water, and air have been changing in your lifetime!

These rapid mineral and chemical changes in our soil, food, water, and air might be related to the sudden rapid increases in people reporting ADHD, autism, depression, fatigue, eczema, cancer, sleep apnea, heart disease, tooth decay, severe pain, and many other conditions.

Given that today's widespread industrially farmed soils are tragically depleted of minerals, and so is our food, our water, and the entire food chain, one possible thing to do is to start a comprehensive mineral rebalancing program. We now address this possibility in more detail. In this article, we will look at the interrelationships among minerals and how to balance minerals for body, mind, and spirit.

Nutrients Are Interrelated Gears

Many people, professionals, and government agencies believe the following: Nutrients are a checklist. We have to get enough, but not too much, of each nutrient on the list.

I also used to believe this "nutrient checklist" paradigm. I perhaps expected too much when I tried many individual superfoods and nutritional supplements, thinking that finding the right one or few would smooth over the bumps in my vegan experience. More about that below.

Although vitamin B12 is indeed extremely important to vegans and vegetarians, I now believe that the "nutrient checklist" point of view is something like "the earth is flat" paradigm.

Luckily (many thanks to Sheila Dobson!), I recently read David L. Watts' 1990 journal article Nutrient Interrelationships: Minerals — Vitamins — Endocrines. Dr. Watts states:

Nutritional therapeutics has largely been directed toward the recognition and correction of nutritional deficiencies. It is now becoming evident that a loss of homeostatic equilibrium between the nutrients can also have an adverse effect upon health. A loss of this vital balance, particularly between the trace elements, can lead to subclinical deficiencies.

Nutrient interrelationships are complex, especially among the trace elements. A mineral cannot be affected without affecting at least two other minerals, each of which will then affect two others, etc. Mineral relationships can be compared to a series of intermeshing gears which are all connected, some directly and some indirectly. Any movement of one gear (mineral) will result in the movement of all the other gears (minerals). The extent or effect upon each gear (mineral) will depend upon the gear size (mineral quantity), and the number of cogs in the gear (number of enzymes or biochemical reactions the mineral is involved in). This meshwork of gears goes beyond just the mineral relationships, extending to and affecting the vitamins, hormones and neurological functions.

Dr. Watts proceeds to discuss many specific interactions among minerals and vitamins. He provides "wheel" diagrams of the synergisms and antagonisms among the nutrients, showing as spokes those which relate to each other. I would call the balancing of nutrients the "earth is round" paradigm of nutritional science.

The interrelated gears mean that adding individual nutrients, while sometimes helpful to correct deficiencies, inevitably will cause imbalances of other nutrients. The imbalances will be greater for high-dose supplements. These induced imalances explain why I learned by experiment to take as little of a supplement as needed for its helpful effect, and why I often would take a supplement only temporarily.

The interrelated gears also get no attention in most multivitamins. The multivitamins often are formulated based on the checklist paradigm and sometimes based on which nutrients can be provided at least cost. Multivitamins often contain minerals such as iron and copper which many people would do better to reduce from their diet rather than to add more in a supplement! The "random" nutrients in the multivitamin can be just as likely to imbalance metabolism as to balance it.

A new, and still controversial, approach to mineral balancing in diet and supplements is as follows: Investigate mineral balance using hair tissue mineral analysis. Eat foods and take supplements that balance the minerals for each individual.

My Experience with Mineral Supplements

In the course of experimenting with individual supplements through the years, I've found many of the most helpful to be individual minerals. These include:

  • Cobalt as Active Vitamin B12. (Vitamin B12 is the mineral cobalt gift-wrapped by bacteria to become a vitamin.) Energy. Better focus. Better exercise performance. Brighter mood. Better sleep. Calm sense of well-being, especially from adenosyl B12.
  • Magnesium. Energizing and calming. Better response to stress. Better sleep. Muscle cramps and twitches stop.
  • Selenium. Sense of well-being. Higher testosterone. Spiritual feelings.
  • Iodine. Energizing. Sharper thinking. More focus. More aware of possibilities. Growth of intuiton. Connection. Positivity. Spiritual opening.
  • Zinc. Energizing. Better immunity. More restful sleep. Vivid dreams. Manliness.
  • Boron. Peaceful restful sleep. Relaxing. Improved circadian rhythm.
  • Lithium (ultra-low-dosage 0.2 mg per day, either from lithium orotate or from Concentrace trace mineral drops). Inpenetrable underlying subtle positive outlook.
  • Sodium. Without enough sea salt, I used to get dizzy spells and fatigue.
  • Potassium. Sometimes has been needed to avoid constipation, muscle cramps, slight increases in pulse after taking other supplements, and heart occasionally skipping a beat.
  • Copper. Immediate lift in mood and energy and emotional connections. Quickly turned to anxiety and inflammation. Later I learned that the initial lift from copper supplement is common with preexisting copper overload. More about copper in another article soon.

I found that nearly every initially helpful supplement later caused "side effects," and I had to stop or reduce dosage. The effects were usually some kind of fatigue, panic, stress, or anxiety.

These effects probably were partly caused by relative deficiencies of other nutrient gears (see above). I induced these imbalances by supplementing certain nutrients without balancing the others.

Though I learned a lot about individual minerals from my experiments, I'm excited now to embark on a program which sets out to balance the minerals based on personal hair mineral analysis results.

Mineral Balancing

Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis

When one looks for a mineral balancing program, it seems that nearly all of them rely on hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) for assessing mineral balance. The hair tissue is considered a better representative than the blood to monitor the body's ongoing mineral metabolism. Some blood mineral levels are tightly regulated, while others may change transiently as minerals are deposited in the tissues.

Almost every mineral balancing program emphasizes the importance of using a laboratory which doesn't wash the hair at the lab. Washing the hair at the lab may sporadically alter the mineral measurements. The two commonly recommended labs which don't wash the hair are:

The reliability of hair mineral testing laboratories was questioned in 1985 and 2001 articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Seidel 2001; Barrett 1985). These articles have been convincingly rebutted. (Wilson 2012; Malter 2001; Walsh & Hickok 1986.) The 1985 article improperly took samples of long hair far from the head and improperly washed and mixed the samples after cutting. As Dr. Malter shows, the 2001 article's essential mineral measurements were very consistent between the two labs that didn't wash the hair.

Because of the interrelationships of minerals, hair mineral analysis requires more than looking at whether individual mineral levels are high or low. Ratios and relative mineral levels can provide information about the body's energy levels, oxidation rate, stage of stress, elimination of toxic minerals, and more. The information from hair testing allows many practitioners and health consultants to make individualized mineral balancing programs.

Available Mineral Balancing Programs

Here are some mineral balancing programs. For each program, there are usually many practitioners offering the program. This is not a comprehensive list, and please let me know if I'm missing something.

  • Analytical Resarch Labs offers a comprehensive report based upon the method developed by its founder, Dr. Paul C. Eck, a pioneer of mineral balancing science. Dr. Eck died in 1996, and my understanding is that his family continues to run ARL. One must order through a certified consultant or practitioner to obtain an ARL hair analysis and report.
  • Trace Elements Inc. offers a comprehensive report including nutritional recommendations based on eight individual biotypes. Dr. Watts, quoted above, is Director of Research at TEI. At TEI, like ARL, one must order through a certified consultant or practitioner to obtain a hair analysis and report.
  • Dr. Larry Wilson offers a comprehensive program of nutritional balancing which extends the work he did with Dr. Eck. Dr. Wilson provides a list of nutritional consultants who work with him to administer individualized nutritional balancing programs, including a high-cooked-vegetable diet, supplements, detoxification procedures, meditation, and lots of rest.
  • Dr. Rick Malter has decades of experience working with hair mineral analyses and applying the research of Dr. Eck and Dr. Watts. He has studied and written about magnesium deficiency and copper toxicity. He is available for individualized consultation.
  • Morley Robbins' Root Cause Protocol suggests that imbalances of magnesium, copper, and iron are the root cause of many different autoimmune conditions. The Root Cause Protocol proposes a system of paleo diet, supplements, and blood donation to address mineral balance. There is a directory of consultants available to help implement the protocol.
  • Wendy Myers' Myers Detox Protocol focuses on removing toxic minerals and chemicals. It includes hair mineral testing, a health coach, personalized supplement recommendations, the Modern Paleo diet, and nutri-energetic scanning.

Why I'm Trying Dr. Wilson's Program

Among the several programs discussed above, Dr. Larry Wilson's nutritional balancing program particularly interests me right now for several reasons:

  • Dr. Wilson's program isn't just for the body. Though controversial in some ways, Dr. Wilson's program seeks to develop body, mind, and spirit.
  • Dr. Wilson rejects the allopathic, homeopathic, and naturopathic remedy models of identifying and fixing problems. Instead, the program balances and heals the body so it becomes naturally strong. Then many people say that symptoms go away on their own. Rejection of the symptom-chasing mentally itself reduces stress.
  • The diet is very practically focused around the state of the current environment and food supply. The foods which currently supply minerals most effectively are included (such as lots of cooked vegetables, a little bit of certain animal foods, a little almond butter, tahini, blue corn, and carrot juice). However, foods which used to be nutritious, but today have been found likely to be toxic, are excluded (such as wheat, rice, fish larger than sardines, shellfish, and fruit).
  • Every single one of Dr. Wilson's recommendations which I've tried in the last year seems to work well for me. This includes: Through the years I've tried many times to eat a diet of mainly fruits and vegetables. Each previous time — with lots of fruits, lots of lettuce, or lots of cooked greens — I felt worse or imbalanced in some way. In contrast, Dr. Wilson's suggestion of lots of cooked vegetables, focusing on certain ones, has been tremendously energizing. I would say that 10 cups a day of Dr. Wilson's suggested cooked vegetables are more energizing than any supplement I've tried.
  • Dr. Wilson worked with Dr. Eck for over a decade and has decades of experience administering and further developing Dr. Eck's concept of nutritional balancing.
  • Dr. Wilson's program involves eating only limited, small portions of certain animal foods. The diet's primary component is cooked vegetables. I support the controversial suggestion that vegans and vegetarians try small amounts of certain "borderline" animal foods to see if they are needed. Dr. Wilson's program seems like a very balanced and careful way to do so. Many other programs involve eating a lot more meat. Although Dr. Wilson is strongly against vegetarian diets, he states that "Many clients who continue to be vegetarians improve their health greatly with a nutritional balancing program. It works almost as well with them as with anyone else."
  • Dr. Wilson's program involves a relatively small group of about 7 nutritional supplements. Dr. Wilson's program supplements are more economical and simple than the supplements in some other programs.
  • Dr. Wilson seems to have assembled a comprehensive theory of nutritional science. Dr. Wilson integrates the work of a long lineage of Western doctors and scientists as well as long-established Eastern traditions including yin and yang from Taoism and macrobiotics.
  • Dr. Wilson's website includes his views not only about health but also about economics, politics, religion, agriculture, and supernatural forces, along with many other topics. It is important to say here that many of Dr. Wilson's controversial ideas including supernatural beings, extraterrestrial organized crime, Biblical interpretations, conservative politics, capitalist economics, biological alchemy, and others might offend many people. However, Dr. Wilson explicitly states that "Everyone is welcome" and that "following the [nutritional balancing] program does not require joining any religion or political party." Vegan Troubleshooting takes Dr. Wilson at his word and for now doesn't address any of his views beyond the nutritional balancing program. It would be a shame for politics or religion to open or close our minds to an impressively comprehensive and integrated view of nutritional science.

My First Hair Analysis Results and Nutritional Balancing Program

I ordered a hair analysis, nutritional balancing program, and consultation with Sheila Dobson, one of the approved practitioners on Dr. Wilson's list. Sheila is a kind and compassionate person with a lot of experience healing herself and helping others heal.

My hair analysis results include:

You might be curious what my nutritional balancing program looks like. Here's an outline of the program I received based on my hair analysis:

  1. Diet (more here)
    1. 3 cups of cooked vegetables, 3x daily, colorful mixture, not much greens
    2. almond butter, tahini, or hummus 1x daily
    3. animal foods 4-5 oz serving 2x daily: including sardines 3-4x weekly, up to 8 eggs weekly, red meat (mainly lamb) 2x weekly and not more, chicken or turkey
      • Vegetarian/vegan alternatives: substitute vegetarian proteins, including eggs, dairy, and/or sardines if you eat them
    4. cooked grains or legumes in limited amount 1x daily, blue corn chips are good
    5. 3 liters of water per day, either spring water or carbon-filtered tap water, away from meals
    6. 1 cup per day coffee or white or black or mild herb tea ok
    7. carrot juice, 10-12 oz daily away from meals
    8. sea salt
    9. AVOID: fruits, nightshade vegetables, peanut butter, avocado, raw food, reverse osmosis water, alkaline water, juices other than carrot, pig products, soy except miso or tamari, nuts and seeds, algae, hard-cooked eggs, fish larger than sardines, shellfish, wheat, rice, bread, sugar, refined foods, table salt, Himalayan salt, black pepper, hot spices, food powders, food bars, and smoothies.
    10. 3 meals per day; no snacks but additional small meals ok
    11. simple meals: cooked vegetables + 1 protein and/or 1 starch
    12. eat leftovers within 1 day
  2. Lifestyle (more info here)
    1. Rest and sleep: Get lots! 9+ hours daily. Go to bed early. Naps encouraged.
    2. Gentle exercise only: Half hour gentle walking, cycling or weights several times weekly. Avoid all vigorous exercise and exhausting activities.
    3. Deep breathing. 15 minutes+ daily.
    4. Minimize electromagnetic pollution. Keep devices off and away when sleeping. Avoid cell phones or use a headset. Minimize X-rays (dental ok) and especially avoid CT scans.
    5. Daily fresh air and sunshine. 30 minutes outside, preferably with eyes and chest exposed to sun. Avoid sunglasses and sunscreen. If hot climate, go out earlier morning or later afternoon. If cold climate, sit in front of glass window for sun.
    6. Wholesome thinking and emotional control. Avoid victim mentality. Keep inspiring uplifting material available. Avoid what causes negative feelings.
    7. Sexual restraint. Sex with release of fluids at most once a week.
  3. Nutritional Supplements (more info here)
    1. Megapan (multi for slow oxidizers)
    2. Thyro Complex (animal glandulars and kelp for thyroid support)
      • Vegetarians and vegans may skip this supplement
    3. Zinc
    4. Trimethylglycine (TMG) (methyl donor for methylation support)
    5. Paramin (bioavailable magnesium and calcium)
    6. GB-3 (digestive aid from animals)
      • Vegetarians and vegans may substitute a fungus-based digestive aid
    7. Kelp of certain recommended brands (iodine and trace minerals)
    8. if not eating 3-4 cans/week of sardines, add fish oil and vitamin D
    9. Magnesium as needed to prevent constipation
    10. Optional: Renamide (kidney support), Extra selenium, Endo-veggies (phytonutrients)
    11. Wean off all other supplements
  4. Detoxification Procedures (more info here)
    1. Coffee enemas, 1-4x daily
    2. Red heat lamp or Near Infrared Sauna Therapy, 20 minutes 1-2x daily
    3. The Pushing Down Meditation Exercise (involving visualizing moving energy forcefully from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet and even below them)
    4. Foot reflexology, 2x daily, 10 minutes on each foot
    5. The Spinal Twist, 1-2x daily
  5. Warnings
    1. Infections. Seek help from Sheila or Dr. Wilson to try less toxic alternatives before taking antibiotics.
    2. Avoid vaccines, boosters, tetanus shots, and flu shots. Toxic.
    3. Prescription drugs: only if absolutely necessary. Toxic. Continue until we discuss it. Goal is to reduce need for drugs.
    4. Stop over-the-counter drugs and remedies.
    5. Avoid herbs, homeopathy, recreational drugs, and chelation therapy.
    6. Except in cases of active cancer, remove silver/mercury amalgam dental fillings and replace them with composite fillings ASAP. (I have 1 mercury amalgam filling.)
    7. Remove root canal-filled teeth. Most are infected and spewing deadly germs. In cases of cancer, removal is essential and could save one's life. (Luckily I have no root canals.)
    8. Avoid fluoride in dental treatments, drinking water, toothpaste, mouthwash, and elsewhere. Toxic and unneeded.
    9. Retest hair every 4 months and stay in touch to keep program up to date.

Why a Comprehensive Nutritional Balancing Program, Though Surprising, Makes a Lot of Sense

A comprehensive nutritional balancing program may seem extreme at first in its dietary changes, group of supplements, lifestyle measures, and detoxification procedures. Yet when I think about it, also extreme is the abundance of toxic metals and toxic chemicals we encounter in our daily lives. Also extreme is the depletion of nutritional minerals from the soil, water, and food supply.

The modern, industrial world has become quite an extreme and unprecedented place following the billions of years of previous life on earth. So perhaps it seems more reasonable now than in earlier times to try out more extensive measures to balance minerals and detoxify the body. Nutritional balancing might itself be a reasonable and appropriate scientific advance that at least partly compensates for the extreme environmental effects of other technological developments.

Vegans and Mineral Balancing

My Experience with Vegan Diet's Benefits and Troubles

In 3 years totally vegan plus supplements, I enjoyed the following benefits:

  • more energy
  • better athletic performance
  • depression disappears
  • lost 49 pounds without trying (while eating 3000-4000 calories a day)

Many of these wonderful results probably came because of eliminating processed junk foods, oils, and dairy.

However, as my time as a vegan progressed, I also noticed the following issues:

  • more prone to stress, including reactions of anxiety and panic
  • tired and brain fog for an hour or two after meals
  • chronic naso-sinusitis and occasional tinnitus on my left side, sometimes causing poor sleep
  • reduced appetite
  • gained back 26 pounds without trying (while eating less, only 2000-2500 calories per day)

Many of these observations quite likely have to do with the common vegan imbalance of copper toxicity and low zinc. (The next planned article in the minerals series will cover copper and zinc!)

My current exceptions to vegan diet are limited to sardines and a bit of cod liver oil. I've also just started the nutritional balancing program supplements, which include animal glandular concentrates and a powerful digestive aid containing ox bile and pancreatin.

I continue to be extremely concerned about the atrocious cruelty committed against almost all farm animals throughout their lifetimes and at the times of their deaths, before they reach the grocery store or butcher shop. Because I am interested in the effects of animal foods on mineral balance, I expect to eat a few animal foods as part of the above nutritional balancing program.

Many animal advocates might be offended by eating even a limited amount of meat on a mainly cooked vegetables diet. Nonetheless, those who work to expose the cruel conditions of mainstream animal farming are doing very important work and have moved me deeply. I won't be eating any meat without thinking about what the animal's life was like when he or she was alive.

Can Pre-Existing Mineral Imbalances Lead People to Eat Less Meat?

Dr. Paul Eck talked about the idea of an "obligatory vegetarian," one who avoids meat due to inability to digest it. (Analytical Research Laboratories 1997 and 1987.)

I don't think Dr. Eck meant that people consciously decide that their digestion is poor and that therefore they will stop eating meat. Instead, he meant that impaired digestion of animal fats and protein would leave those people feeling better, at least temporarily, at times when they avoid meat. Therefore, they might be more inclined to notice a lot of other good reasons for avoiding meat, without realizing that their impaired digestion might be a major unconscious, unarticulated reason for their avoiding meat.

Dr. Eck's analysis of several thousand vegetarian hair mineral tests revealed certain common patterns. In his report, Dr. Eck sets forth mechanisms to explain how each of those mineral imbalances could be both a cause and a result of a vegetarian diet. That is, each mineral imbalance could cause impaired digestion or metabolism of animal foods AND each imbalance also would eventually become worse on a vegetarian diet, notwithstanding temporary improvement of symptoms at the beginning. (Analytical Research Laboratories 1997.)

It's interests me to read Dr. Eck's theory of obligatory vegetarianism. Indeed, results from my first hair analysis, including slow oxidation and copper toxicity, could be both causes and results of a vegan diet. If you find yourself on a vegan or vegetarian diet or even just tending toward eating less meat than before, you might want to think about whether any of Dr. Eck's reported mineral imbalances apply to you.

Can Vegans Achieve Mineral Balance?

It's an open question whether a mineral balancing program may be designed specifically for vegans. Dr. Wilson stated to me in an email: "We don’t find vegans can become healthy. In fact, we find it is a very dangerous diet. You could include my opinion on that."

Indeed, those who have studied hair mineral analysis of vegans seem to think that certain mineral imbalances show up in the hair analyses of almost all vegans, including copper toxicity and low zinc, as well as others. (Wilson 2018; Fischer 2017; Analytical Research Laboratories 1997 and 1987.)

There is no history of traditional vegan cultures. Veganism is a new experiment. Since we are embarking on a new experiment, it may be worthwhile to try limited amounts of certain carefully chosen animal foods from time to time to make sure we are not missing something we need in a vegan diet plus supplements.

The level of stress today also is a new experiment. When you include not only psychological and cultural stress, but also mineral depletion of food and water, metals and chemicals used in medicine and dentistry and throughout our homes and cities, and electromagnetic radiation from our electronic devices and networks, indeed there is far more stress than ever before, for almost everyone.

As I think about minerals and their balance, I've come to see the modern food supply as something of a fraud or a bait-and-switch. Even if today's foods look normal or even prettier than before, they don't have the same minerals they had a century ago or even a decade ago. And animals and plants alike face nutritional depletion and cruel conditions on industrial farms today.

Whether a vegan diet could work in the abstract, for example with foods as they were grown a century ago, is a different question from whether vegans can balance their minerals when eating mineral-depleted food from today's grocery stores and restaurants, even if labeled organic. It also might be different in a time and place with much less stress, such as calm monks and nuns meditating and praying in a rural religious setting, eating home-grown mineral-rich vegetables. Dr. Wilson quotes Dr. Bernard Jensen as saying "It is not wise to drive the LA freeways and be a vegetarian."

We need healthy bodies with mineral balance more today than ever. And it's harder than ever before to stay healthy and avoid chronic diseases that rapidly are becoming widespread. We hope it might be possible for modern vegans to achieve mineral balance and to document the mineral balance with hair tissue mineral analysis! It will be interesting to see how vegan diet develops in coming decades.

Summary and Conclusion

Minerals may be at the crux of human well-being. Nutrients, including minerals, are interrelated with each other like gears. Hair mineral tissue analysis can monitor the balance of the minerals.

Various programs exist to balance the minerals in the body. I'm interested in Dr. Larry Wilson's development program for mind, body, and spirit through nutritional balancing.

The above nutritional program is an example of how Dr. Wilson's nutritional balancing was applied based on my hair analysis. This is a new process for me. There are great results so far (especially the energizing effect from the daily 10 cups of cooked vegetables!), and I'm looking forward to more.

Dr. Wilson offers a basic program that can be started even without a hair analysis. It includes many of the same steps. The world has a lot of toxins now and our food is very depleted in minerals. Maybe you too might like to try Dr. Wilson's ideas for mineral balancing!

We would like to find out about a design of vegan diet that balances minerals in the body, as confirmed by hair mineral analyses. Vegans may be prone to mineral imbalances, including especially copper toxicity and low zinc. More in the next article in Vegan Troubleshooting's series on minerals!