Senate Document 264 with Editorial Comments

An interesting article from the 1930’s about soil/mineral depletion in America. MINERAL deficiencies lead to illness in animals and HUMANS alike. On average, for each mineral there are 10 deficiency symptoms [some mild , others debilitating]. More on this later…

MODERN MIRACLE MEN

DR. CHARLES NORTHEN, WHO BUILDS HEALTH FROM THE GROUND UP

This quiet, unballyhooed pioneer and genius in the field of nutrition demonstrates that countless

human ills stem from the fact that impoverished soil of America no longer provides plant foods with the

mineral elements essential to human nourishment and health! To overcome this alarming condition,

he doctors sick soils and, by seeming miracles, raises truly healthy and health-giving fruits and vegetables.

By Rex Beach

[EDITORS NOTE: Keep in mind, the opening statement above and the text that follows, Senate Document 264, was written by Rex Beach in 1936 and submitted as part of a Congressional investigation into our farming practices because of concern about the quality of our farm and range soils. The leading authorities of the day had been sounding the alarm that depleted soils were causing a significant decline in the nation’s health and a statistical and steady increase in the incidence of degenerative diseases throughout our society. When Congress saw the price tag on repairing the nation’s farm and range soils, they got “sticker shock,” and swept their own investigation under the carpet. This document is reproduced in its entirety, a copy of which was obtained from the United States Government Printing Office in Washington, DC. Only editorial comment has been added, and in some cases, italics have been added for emphasis. All editorial comment is clearly marked within brackets.]

Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until the depleted soils from which our foods come are brought into proper mineral balance?

The alarming fact is that foods, fruits and vegetables and grains, now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain needed minerals, are starving us – no matter how much of them we eat!

This talk about minerals is novel and quite startling. In fact, a realization of the importance of minerals in food is so new that the textbooks on nutritional dietetics contain very little about it. Nevertheless, it is something that concerns all of us, and the further we delve into it the more startling it becomes.

You would think, wouldn’t you, that a carrot is a carrot – that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn’t; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain. Laboratory tests prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago (which doubtless explains why our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us!). No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them! And we are running to big stomachs.

No longer does a balanced and fully nourishing diet consist merely of so many calories or certain vitamins or a fixed proportion of starches, proteins, or carbohydrates. We now know that it must contain, in addition, something like a score of mineral salts. It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99 percent of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one or more of the important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack of one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives.

“It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that

99 percent of the American people are deficient in these

minerals………. a marked deficiency in any one or more

of the important minerals actually results in disease. ”

This discovery is one of the latest and most important contributions of science to the problem of human health. So far as the records go, the first man in the field of research, the first to demonstrate that most human foods of our day are poor in minerals and that their proportions are not balanced, was Dr. Charles Northen, an Alabama physician now living in Orlando, Florida. His discoveries and achievements are of enormous importance to mankind.

Following a wide experience in general practice, Dr. Northen specialized in stomach diseases and nutritional disorders. Later he moved to New York and made extensive studies along this line, in conjunction with a famous French scientist from the Sorbonne. In the course of that work, he convinced himself that there was little authentic, definite information on the chemistry of foods and that no dependence could be placed on existing data. He asked himself how foods could be used intelligently in the treatment of disease, when they differed so widely in content. The answer seemed to be that they could not be used intelligently. In establishing the fact that serious deficiencies existed and in searching out the reasons therefore, he made an extensive study of the soil. It was he who first voiced the surprising assertion that we must make soil building the basis of food building in order to accomplish human building.

“Bear in mind,” says Dr. Northen, “that minerals are vital to human metabolism and health – and that no plant or animal can appropriate to itself any mineral which is not present in the soil upon which it feeds.

“When I first made this statement I was ridiculed, for up to that time, people had paid little attention to food deficiencies and even less to soil deficiencies. Men eminent in medicine denied there was any such thing as vegetables and fruits that did not contain sufficient minerals for human needs. Eminent agricultural authorities insisted that all soil contained all the necessary minerals. They reasoned that plants take what they need, and that is the function of the human body to appropriate what it requires. Failure to do so, they said, was a symptom of disorder.

“Bear in mind,” says Dr. Northen, “that minerals are vital to human

metabolism and health – and that no plant or animal can

appropriate to itself [that is, manufacture, create or make from nothing] any mineral

which is not present in the soil upon which it feeds.”

“Some of our respected authorities even claimed that the so-called secondary minerals played no part whatever in human health. It is only recently that such men as Dr. McCollum of Johns Hopkins, Dr. Mendel of Yale, Dr. Sherman of Columbia, Dr.Lipman of Rutgers, and Drs. H.G. Knight and Oswald Schreiner of the Untied States Department of Agriculture have agreed that these minerals are essential to plant, animal, and human feeding.

“We know that vitamins are complex chemical substances which are indispensable to nutrition, and that each of them is of importance for the normal function of some special structure of the body. Disorder and disease result from any vitamin deficiency.

“It is not commonly realized, however, that vitamins control the body’s appropriation of minerals, and in the absence of minerals they have no function to perform. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless.

“Neither does the layman realize that there may be a pronounced difference in both foods and soils – to him one vegetable, one glass of milk, or one egg is about the same as another. Dirt is dirt, too, and he assumes that by adding a little fertilizer to it, a satisfactory vegetable or fruit can be grown.

Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals,

but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless.

“The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren’t worth eating as food. For example, vegetation grown in one part of the country may assay 1,1 00 parts per billion of iodine, as against 20 in that grown elsewhere. Processed milk has run anywhere from 362 parts per million of iodine and 127 of iron, down to nothing.

“Some of our lands, even in a virgin state, never were well balanced in mineral content, and unhappily for us, we have been systematically robbing the poor soils and the good soils alike of the very substances necessary to health, growth, long life, and resistance to disease. Up to the time I began experimenting, almost nothing had been done to make good the theft.

“The more I studied nutritional problems and the effects of mineral deficiencies upon disease, the more plainly I saw that here lay the most direct approach to better health, and the more important it became in my mind to find a method of restoring those missing minerals to our foods.

“Some of our lands, even in a virgin state, never were

well balanced in mineral content, and unhappily for us,

we have been systematically robbing the poor soils and

the good soils alike of the very substances necessary to

health, growth, long life, and resistance to disease.”

“The subject interested me so profoundly that I retired from active medical practice and for a good many years now I have devoted myself to it. It’s a fascinating subject, for it goes to the heart of human betterment.”

The results obtained by Dr. Northen are outstanding. By putting back into the foods the stuff that foods are made of, he has proved himself to be a real miracle man of medicine, for he has opened up the shortest and most rational route to better health.

He showed first that it should be done, and then that it could be done.

He doubled and redoubled the natural mineral content of fruits and vegetables.

He improved the quality of milk by increasing the iron and the iodine in it.

He caused hens to lay eggs richer in the vital elements.

By scientific soil feeding, he raised better seed potatoes in Maine, better grapes in California, better oranges in Florida and better field crops in other states. (By “better” is meant not only improvement in food value but also an increase in quality and quantity.)

Before going further into the results he has obtained, let’s see just what is involved in this matter of “mineral deficiencies,” what it may mean to our health, and how it may affect the growth and development, both mental and physical, of our children.

We know that rats, guinea pigs and other animals can be fed into a diseased condition and out again by controlling only the minerals in their food.

A 10-year test with rats proved that by withholding calcium they can be bred down to a third the size of those fed with an adequate amount of that mineral. Their intelligence, too, can be controlled by mineral feeding as readily as can their size, their bony structure, and their general health.

Place a number of these little animals inside a maze after starving some of them in a certain mineral element. The starved ones will be unable to find their way out, whereas the others will have little or no difficulty in getting out. Their dispositions can be altered by mineral feeding. They can be made quarrelsome and belligerent; they can even be turned into cannibals and be made to devour each other.

A cage full of normal rats will live in amity. Restrict their calcium and they will become irritable and draw apart from one another. Then they will begin to fight. Restore their calcium balance and they will grow more friendly; in time they will begin to sleep in a pile as before.

“ They [rats] can be made quarrelsome and belligerent ; they can even be

turned into cannibals and be made to devour each other…..

Restore their calcium balance and they will grow

more friendly; in time they will begin to sleep in a pile as before.”

Many backward children are “stupid” merely because they are deficient in magnesia [magnesium]. We punish them for our failure to feed them properly. [Remember, this is in the 1930’s]

Certainly our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems then upon calories or vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein, or carbohydrates we consume.

It is now agreed that at least 16 mineral elements are indispensable f