Reviews of Minerals: The Essential Link to Health

Review from the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation Health & Healing Wisdom Journal Spring 2001 Volume 25 Number 1:

“Minerals: The Essential Link to Health shows how people’s health has been compromised by minerally deficient food grown in soils that have lost 85% of their mineral content through agricultural neglect and abuse.

William Quesnell focuses on what is missing from the food in all diets, and then offers six practical suggestions to remedy the situation.

Highly recommended reading for anyone concerned with promoting the health and well-being of themselves and their families. Minerals: The Essential Link to Health is laced with information eliminating the confusion as to what supplements are needed and which are not necessary for the human diet.”

Health Books–July/August 2001 Reviewer: Irene Tysh, Certified Nutritionist:

“As one would expect from the title, all things mineral are surveyed here for their many benefits and uses. However, beneath the cover of this slim book awaits a text of unexpected dimensions. Minerals activate enzymes and hormones necessary for optimal growth and development. They are needed for the proper composition of bones and blood and to maintain normal cell function.

In the body, minerals work together interdependently–what the author, William Quesnell, calls “mineral equilibrium.” Hence, even trace quantities are crucial and must be available on demand or the body malfunctions, resulting in disease states.

Things turn keenly political when Quesnell focuses on the task of obtaining the daily requirements necessary for an energetic and healthy life. Looking at places in the world where people experience longevity and are free of degenerative diseases, he finds soil, water, and foods that are all rich in minerals.

However, citing an Earth Summit study, he reports that 85 percent of the minerals in North American soils are depleted by farming practices, resulting in lower-quality food and offering a plausible explanation for the incidence of degenerative disease across all age groups in this country.

Closely tied to the politics of soil depletion is the story of calcium and magnesium. We have all heard that if you want strong bones you must consume calcium, usually in the form of dairy products.

Quesnell presents evidence to the contrary: Low calcium-consuming populations do not have a high incidence of osteoporosis. Although calcium is definitely important, what has been omitted from the story is the intricate participation of numerous other minerals without which calcium can never find its way to bones.

Magnesium, for instance, controls the hormone that directs calcium; magnesium levels are low due to a number of factors, including depleted soil, food refining, and lifestyle factors, but also due to high levels of dietary or supplemental calcium, which competes for the same intestinal absorption sites as magnesium.

Quesnell advises us to look critically at scientific information regarding health: Research is affected by funding, most of which comes from the government and large corporations. For example, the RDA for calcium before World War II was 400 mg. Under the auspices of a doctor who had a large grant from the dairy council, it increased to 800 mg.

But Quesnell’s criticism of science goes still deeper. In its mechanistic, reductionist, and biomedical approach, scientific research is fundamentally flawed.

Viewing the body as a machine and disease as a broken part, science ignores a dynamic system with integrative activities that cannot be understood by reducing them to molecular phenomena.

Limited to the molecular level, science can only search for magic bullets; serious research on prevention, nutrition, lifestyle, individual uniqueness, and environmental pollution find no real place in the reductionist equation.

While formulating a social remedy to all these important issues lies outside the scope of even this ambitious text, Minerals: The Essential Link to Health does offer a prescription for individuals: Consume “mineral accumulators.” These are foods such as nuts and seeds, eggs from free-range chickens, unrefined sea salt and kelp–all high in minerals.

Other helpful suggestions, such as listings of foods high in particular minerals or a caution that even organically grown food may not be complete, are also provided.

Clear and succinct, Minerals: The Essential Link to Health makes an important contribution to our understanding of health and disease in a much-tampered-with environment.”