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Elementary Deficiencies: Trace Minerals & Missing Materials

by Michael Cheikin, MD


Elements are the building blocks of matter, and therefore life.  Certain elements that are essential for life are needed in trace amounts, as little as one-millionth the weight of required protein, fat, carbohydrates, water or carbon. Without them, there is no life. PBS’s recent Nova entitled “Earth’s Rocky Start” explored the intimate connection between earth’s minerals and the creation of life. 

Elements are delivered from the soil and earth, packaged as minerals. In nutrition, when we use the term “Vitamins and Minerals”, we really mean “Vitamins and Elements”. Vegetables combine the minerals from the ocean and soil with sunlight and water to form molecules that animals eat, and who are in turn eaten by other animals; therefore all animals get their minerals from the earth.

Deficiencies and Toxicities
For some elements there is a very narrow range of optimal value. For example too little or too much iron rapidly becomes problematic. Other elements, such as magnesium, zinc, chromium and selenium have wider tolerances. Mal-nutrition refers to low input, which can be insufficient, or worse, deficient. In mal-absorption there is sufficient input, but digestion is impaired by stress, foods, medications (e.g. antibiotics and ant-acids), and other factors. If most of the population is deficient in a critical nutrient, typical levels are not optimal. Policy based on research with such “normal” groups can be flawed!

Measuring Elements
Within the body, the elements reside in different compartments. Evaluating a person’s wealth by looking only in their wallet will not produce an accurate assessment. Likewise, assessing a person’s elemental resources by looking only in the blood can miss deficiency. For example, most potassium and magnesium reside within cells, while most calcium resides within our bones—the blood tests rarely find deficiency. Testing requires the proper strategy.

Soils and Supplementation
With mass-produced food for a growing world population, deficiencies will become more apparent. Even organic farms require fertilizer; how much of each mineral for each crop is not known. Several deficiencies, even in the USA, contribute to the root causes of several epidemics, such as diabetes (chromium), heart diseases (magnesium), as well as brain dysfunctions manifesting as autism, dementia, addiction and violence. Supplementation with minerals at levels refined since the 1900’s RDA’s (for the reasons discussed above) can be an essential part of healing and prevention. Proper guidance and testing as well as agents to repair or enhance absorption can optimize results.

Michael Cheikin MD is a holistic physician, Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (“Physiatry”), Pain Management, Spinal Cord Medicine and Electrodiagnostic Medicine and licensed in Medical Acupuncture. Dr. Cheikin has extensively studied yoga, diet and metabolism, Ayurvedic, Chinese and energy medicine and other alternative modalities for over 30 years. He specializes in obscure, chronic and severe problems thathave not responded satisfactorily to other methods of healing. www.cheikin.com ©2016 by Michael Cheikin MD.

This educational material may not be used to influence medical care without supervision by a licensed practitioner. 

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