With herbs and food plants it is important to realise that they will only contain significant amounts of trace minerals and minerals if they are grown in soils that are rich in those minerals. This means that organically grown ones (or those grown with organic fertilisers and proper soil health), with a recycling of compost and manure, will have significantly higher levels of these nutrients as they are returned to the soil in this way.
Also, plants that are grown sustainably or wild crafted are more likely to have better levels of vitamins, anti-oxidants and other vital nutrients than those that are pumped up with artificial chemical fertilisers which will tend to produce lots of bulky green leaves and less secondary metabolites. Plants that grow in their natural environment with some degree of healthy stress make better food and medicine. The same is true of animals (including humans), they are healthier if they grow in a natural environment with healthy levels of stress or challenge and are fed a natural diet.
A For the skin and eyes. Lack leads to poor immune function, skin problems, fatigue and night blindness. Our bodies can manufacture it from carotene.
Found in significant levels in broccoli, carrots, meat, cheese and dairy products, dried apricots, eggs, parsley, spinach, watercress, tomatoes, peppers
B1, thiamin Used to metabolise carbohydrates. Health of skin, nerves, heart and muscles. Lack leads to nervous problems, digestive problems, skin and hair.
Found in significant levels in nuts, millet, oatmeal, peas, rye, soya, wheat germ, yeast extract. brazil nuts, brown rice, wholemeal bread
B2 Necessary for healthy skin, mouth and eyes. Destroyed by sunlight. Deficiency leads to bloodshot eyes, mouth sores, dry hair and skin, nervousness and tiredness. Found in significant levels in almonds, cheese, broccoli, broad beans, dates, eggs, milk, mushrooms, soy, wheat germ, yohurt.
Niacin healthy skin and nervous system, cholesterol levels and heart health. Lamb’s liver, peanuts, chicken
B3 Needed for healthy skin and nerves. Lack leads to insomnia, headaches, stomach upsets, irritability and nervousness.
Found in significant levels in bran, broad beans, dates, apricots, peaches, millet, mushrooms, peanuts, soy, whole wheat, yeast extract
B6 Needed for protein metabolism. Also for healthy nerves, skin, and muscles. Particularly in pregnancy, and for women who use the contraceptive pill or have PMS. Deficiency leads to depression, skin problems, irritability, insomnia, fatigue, anaemia, and migraine.
Found in significant levels in avocado pear, bananas, cheese, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, currants and sultanas, hazelnuts, milk, prunes, rye, soy, walnuts, wheatgerm, yeast, herrings.
B12 cobalamin Protein metabolism, nerves and skin. Lack leads to tiredness, skin problems, anaemia, or even paralysis.
Found in significant levels in cheese and dairy products, eggs, meat, tinned salmon, lamb, chlorella, spirulina.
Folic acid Growth, fertility and blood. Lack leads to anaemia, depression, diarrhoea and fetal neural defects.
Found in significant levels in almonds, avocado, bran, broccoli, cabbage, hazelnuts, parsley, peas, spinach, sweet potatoes, yeast extract, lamb’s liver, all leafy greens.
C Connective tissue health, teeth and gums, iron absorption, immune function. Larger amounts needed under stress or if using antibiotics, tranquillisers, alcohol, nicotine or coffee.
Found in all fruit and vegetables, preferably raw or lightly steamed.
D Formation of healthy bones and teeth, aids absorption of calcium and use of potassium and phosphorous.
Manufactured by the body on exposure to sunlight. Also added to margarine, milk, in cod liver oil.
For further information go to www.healthvitaminsguide.com and use the information there to supplement these notes.
Also, look at the information on the site about the amino acids and make notes on them too; this work can be spread between this month and next when the minerals are studied.
Minerals are valuable co-factors for the enzymes in our bodies amongst other things. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze our chemical processes. They bring together particular molecules to speed up the efficiency of them reacting to produce another molecule. Enzymes favour the occurrence of particular reactions needed in the body and also enable reactions to occur which would take far longer without their presence. They increase the likelihood of particular rections occurring by several thousand times.
Enzymes need co-factors to carry out their work. Without the minerals they require they cannot facilitate the reactions needed for our life processes. There are 18 minerals that act as co-factors in the human body- calcium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iodide, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium, Sulphur, vanadium and zinc. Some of these can substitute for each other, which maintains a survival advantage in times of dietary lack.
Calcium Healthy bones, teeth and nerves. Most of our calcium is found in our teeth and bones. It functions in relationship with phosphorous. It is in a state of flux with 20% being removed and replaced from the bones each year by a combination of osteoblast and osteoclast action. The optimum ratio of calcium to phosphorous is 2:1. Vitamin D3 is also required for the absorption of calcium. Calcium works with magnesium to regulate the electrical rhythm of the heart and to keep the heart muscle healthy. Calcium is also important for the transmission of nerve impulses. Lack leads to nervous exhaustion, insomnia and cramps. Extra may be needed in pregnancy and breastfeeding, also if taking the Pill, cortisone or steroids.
Almonds, Brazil nuts, cheese, figs, eggs, milk, parsley, peanuts, dried pulses,sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, soya, spinach, walnuts, watercress, yogurt, leafy green vegetables. Pumpkin seeds, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, pulses, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, wheatgerm, seaweeds, mushrooms, plantain, coltsfoot
Chlorine helps to regulate the acide-base balance. It is circulated in the blood with sodium and potassium. It helps liver enzymes to metabolise and excrete toxic materials absorbed through the colon. It forms hydrochloric acid with hydrogen to help with digestion in the stomach. Found in salt.
Chromium is important for the action of insulin which is excreted by the Islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Insulin helps glucose enter the cells to fuel cell processes. Chromium also helps with protein transport around the body- important for growth and for the prevention of atherosclerosis. Chromium also helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, and to support the health of the heart and blood vessels. Brewer’s yeast in a good natural source, as is corn, hibiscus, spirulina, seaweeds, gymnema, oatstraw, nettle leaf, Red clover flower, barley grass, lemongrass, horseradish, juniper berry, pollen, ginkgo
Cobalt is a co-factor for B12. It helps with the formation of healthy red blood cells. It needs to be obtained from food. Seaweeds or animal products are good sources. It can replace zinc in some enzyme systems. Capsicum, Tabebuia, seaweeds especially dulse, Echinacea root, eyebright, wild yam root, pollen, pumpkin seed, Sarsparilla root, papaya fruit, nettle leaf, mullein leaf
Copper is a cofactor for a wide range of enzymes. It is needed for haemoglobin synthesis; for the conversion of tyrosine into melanin (which protects the skin from sunburn); is necessary for the utilization of Vitamin C and therefore has a big effect on the health of elastic tissues such as ligaments and tendons. It is abundant in nature and found particularly in beans, wholewheat, prunes, leafy vegetables and from the use of copper cookware. Skullcap, sage, horsetail, brewer’s yeast, pumpkin seed
Iodine is involved in the production of thyroxine. 2/3 of the iodine in the body is in the thyroid. Throxine is necessary for a normal metabolic rate throughout the cells of the body. Thyroxine is also
responsible for the healthy growth of hair, nails, skin and teeth. Iodine is present in vegetables grown in iodine rich soil (levels have been falling steadily due to horticultural and agricultural practices), in seaweed and onions. Iodine supports a healthy metabolic rate, proper growth, normal energy, mental acuity, healthy hair, nails, skin and teeth. Iodine is also involved in cholesterol levels and physical and mental health.
Fish, dairy products, eggs, olive oil, onions, seaweed, watercress, whole wheat, yogurt, fruit and vegetables if grown on iodine rich soil. Seaweeds and plants grown on soil fed with seaweed or other sources of recycled iodine
Iron forms part of the haemogloblin molecules which carry oxygen around the body. It is also part of myoglobin, the red protein in muscle cells. It is a cofactor for enzymes involved in growth and those in the immune system and essential for maintaining resistance to infections. Women have a higher requirement for iron in their reproductive years/ when menstruating. Supplements need to be in a useable form such as gluconate, fumarate, citrate or peptonate (not ferrous sulphate which is not easily absorbed and destroys vitamin E). Deficiency leads to anaemia, fatigue, poor memory.
Almonds, asparagus, haricot beans, Brazil nuts, chickpeas, cocoa, curry powder, dried apricots, figs, peaches, prunes, raisins, eggs, hazelnuts, lentils, millet, molasses, nuts, oatmeal and whole grains, parsley, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds, soy beans, soy flour, spinach, yeast extract. Alfalfa, apricots, prunes, beets, blackstrap molasses, cereal grains, nettle, parsley, raisins, seaweed, spinach, sunflower seeds, pulses, cresses, Red clover, raspberry leaf, Yellow dock root, cocoa powder. If you do decide to take an Iron supplement makes sure that the iron is in the form of ferrous gluconate not ferrous sulphate as the latter form is very poorly absorbed in comparison to the former
Magnesium is a co-factor for chlorophyll in plants and therefore abundant in green plant material. In the human body magnesium is a co-factor for the enzymes that are involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It acts to balance calcium and helps to prevent calcium being deposited in kidney or gallbladder stones or as part of artherosclerosis. It is also important for proper usage of potassium and vitamin B6. Therefore, green plant material is a natural calcium channel blocker and helps healthy cardiovascular function. It is also important for proper nervous system function, preventing depression, cramps and other nervous system disorders. It is depleted by alcohol. It is found in green leafy vegetables, corn and apples and also in legumes, nuts and seeds. Almonds, bran, Brazil nuts, chickpeas, apricots, haricot beans, millet, oatmeal, peanuts, soy, walnuts, spinach, wheatgerm, whole grains, nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, molasses, dried fruit, sprouts, Carrageen moss, oatstraw, licorice root, seaweeds, nettle leaf, elecampane root, peppermint leaf, white willow bark, burdock root, chickweed herb, marshmallow root, pumpkin seed, astragalus, Siberian ginseng
Manganese is a co-factor for many enzymes and is important for the use of biotin, thiamine and vitamin C in the body. It assists in the production of thyroxine, in good digestion, nervous system and sexual function. It is found in green vegetables, wholegrains and tea. Raspberry leaf, cocoa, grape leaves, bilberry, ginger root, wood betony, spirulina, chickweed, hibiscus milk thistle herb
Molybdenum is a cofactor for xanthine oxidase and is necessary for iron utilization (prevention of anaemia), as well as fat and carbohydrate metabolism. It is found in green leafy vegetables, wholegrains and pulses.
Phosphorous is an important cofactor in many enzyme systems. It is a component of bone that is in a dynamic relationship with calcium in a ratio of 1:2. Many food preservatives contain phosphates which can throw out the balance; it is also a major component of cola drinks. Excessive phosphorous is excreted via the kidneys placing a strain on them. If there is excessive phosphorous in the body it causes decalcification of the bones in order to maintain the 1:2 ratio and this can lead to osteopenia or osteoporosis. This can be an issue for women post menopausally since oestrogen protects the bone density. Sufficient vitamin D, calcium and avoidance of phosphate rich foods help prevent bone depletion.
Chenopodium album (Fat hen or Goosefoot), brewer’s yeast, whole grains, pulses, green vegetables, seaweeds, bilberry, pumpkin seed, soya bean, peppermint, cranberry, yellow dock root, asparagus, broccoli, horseradish root, milk thistle seed, Siberian ginseng root, cauliflower, ginkgo, fennel seed, barley grass
Potassium Along with sodium control the bodies water balance. Sodium is rarely lacking in the Western diet, due to our excessive salt intake. This can lead to kidney disorders and high blood pressure, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. Too much sodium also inhibits proper potassium absorption, upsetting water balance. Even in hot weather we do not tend to require added salt, our bodies adapt to sweat out less sodium. Lack of potassium also leads to heart attacks. It is leeched out of foods when cooked too long. Deficiency occurs in people who eat little or no raw food and lots of refined food and salt. Potassium is found primarily inside the cells, whilst sodium is mainly outside the cells. Potassium is involved in glucose metabolism and water/fluid balance and therefore in energy levels and in healthy blood pressure and prevention of water retention. Increasing potassium can have an initial diuretic effect as retained water is excreted.
Almonds, bran, Brazil nuts, dried apricots, figs, peaches, molasses, parsley, prunes, raisins, soy, sultanas, yeast extract, all fruit and vegetables. Dandelion leaves, bananas, tomatoes, celery leaf, cabbage, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, horseradish root, blessed thistle herb, barley grass, sage leaf, hops flowers, lemon grass, seaweeds, peppermint leaf, feverfew, carrot roots skullcap
Selenium is synergistic with vitamin E, and they are both powerful anti-oxidants. They both prevent the hardening of tissues caused by the oxidation of fats. Selenium concentrates in the male reproductive organs and is lost in the semen, so men require higher levels than women. Sufficient selenium ensures youthful elasticity in all the tissues, prevents hot flushes and menopausal stress. It also prevents dandruff and may protect against cancer. It is found in vegetables and wholegrains. Asparagus, brewer’s yeast, brassicas, garlic, tomatoes, wholegrains, mushrooms, seaweed, seeds, hibiscus, milk thistle seed, lemongrass, yarrow flower, valerian root, barberry root, bayberry root, marshmallow root, seaweed, pumpkin seed, sarsparilla
Silica Horsetail, seaweed, eyebright, Echinacea root, cornsilk, burdock, thyme, astragalus, oatstraw, licorice, chickweed, plantain
Sodium is one of the most common minerals. It is not usually deficient and only needs to be supplemented in adrenal fatigue or collapse. However, it has been shown that salt free diets can lead to low mood so are not advisable.
Sulphur is found in three amino acids – cysteine, cysteine and methionine which are abundant in the diet. Sulphur is important for healthy skin, hair and nails. Sufficient protein in the diet will usually ensure sufficient intake.
Zinc is a cofactor in over 80 enzyme systems. It is needed for protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, insulin formation and is involved in muscle contractibility, brain function and prostate health. Sufficient zinc helps with wound healing, skin repair, hair growth, healthy prostate function, healthy nails and the prevention of white nail spots, mental alertness, good sense of taste and good fertility. Zinc deficiency leads to stunted growth, infertility, poor healing and lowered immunity. Extra zinc is needed if pregnant, using the Pill or a heavy drinker.
Almonds, bran, Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, cheese, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, rye, walnuts, wholegrains.
Pumpkin seeds, whole grains, brewer’s yeast, pulses, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, wheatgerm, seaweeds, mushrooms, plantain, coltsfoot
Essential Fatty Acids
Monounsaturated fats Duck and goose fat, Almond, Olive, Avocado, Cocoa butter, Sesame
Lauric acid Coconut oil and breast milk
Omega 3 Flax or linseed, Hempseed, Walnut, Olive, Evening Primrose, Hemp seed
Omega 6 Olive, Sesame, Sunflower, Avocado, Evening Primrose, Hempseed, Walnut
The fat of free range animals on a natural diet for their species tends to have a healthier fatty acid profile.