THE FUNCTION OF MINERALS IN OUR FOOD:
HOW THEY MAY BE GREATLY INCREASED.
By LOUIS DECHMANN.
When physiological chemistry has isolated and classified the component elements of the various organs, tissues and fluids of the body, it must analyze and classify the vegetables, fruits and meats on which man feeds in order that we may not only know how to arrange a perfectly balanced ration for the healthy, but shall be able to add lacking elements to the diet of the diseased. This classification of foods naturally leads, if there be a deficiency of any essential element, to the analysis of the soil on which this food was raised.
In the course of my studies in physiological chemistry and biology, which have extended over a period of more than thirty years, I have been led to grappel with problems in agriculture, in horticulture, and in aviculture, for the purpose of finding solutions to problems in human nutrition. Very early in my studies I learned the value of the mineral elements in our foodstuffs. I was led to attempt to augment the quantity of mineral salts in various foods, and my efforts were crowned with success. But this is not the point, however, to enter into a detailed discussion of that aspect of the subject.
It may be wise for the sake of clearness to divide this statement into two parts, as follows:
1. A brief summary of the function of minerals in the human economy.
2. A short argument showing how we can and why it is imperative that we should augment the mineral content of our vegetables, small fruits and eggs.
In the case of eggs, for example, I am able to increase their iron content 300 or 400 per cent. More than that, I can multiply every item in their mineral content several times, thus producing specific eggs for those suffering for lack of any mineral. In other words I am able to produce special eggs for a given tissue degeneration as, for instance, haemoglobin eggs for degenerate blood; lecithin eggs for the nerves; calcareous eggs for the bones, and kaliated eggs for the muscle.
So much by way of preface.
The following explanations are made for the purpose of showing you that I have made extensive studies along these lines, and are not, naturally, intended to be taken as a lesson to you personally.
There are sixteen chemical elements absolutely essential to healthy human life, which are classified by physiological chemistry as the elements of organic life. In the composition of vital tissues we constantly find these basal elements: Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, fluorine, silicon, and iodine. The function of these elements will be discussed in a moment.
I would here lay stress upon the fact that the absence of the tiniest ingredient necessary to the growth and functioning of an organ will, according to the Law of the Minimum as laid down by Justus von Liebig, result in disease, improper functioning and degeneration of that organ or tissue.