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Soil and Nutrition


Lack of Minerals in Food Causes Deformities and Disease

It is a well-established fact that the abundance of minerals in our agricultural soils has a direct bearing on our health.  The mineral density of our soils is the key to nutrition and good health. According to Dr. William Albrecht, who was the soils department chairman at the University of Missouri during the 1940s and the 1950s, the widest differences in soils are caused by climate. Dr. Albrecht pointed out numerous times that in areas where rain is sparse with hardly enough to support agriculture, these soils tend to be the most balanced and richest in minerals. These areas are mostly the prairies which support only grasses. In areas with a great deal of rain, the vegetation is lush and trees are thickly populated. The soils here are normally much less fertile and not nearly as balanced. An abundance of rainfall, over time, causes the minerals to leech further down into the soil out of reach for the roots of plants.

Before World War II broke out, most people living in North America got the bulk of their food from farms that were local to where they lived. Because of this, variations in average human health due to local soil fertility were obvious. In 1940 the United States had a draft system for military service. All young men were required to report and have a physical examination. In Missouri you can draw a diagonal line across the state from the Northeast to the Southwest. This divides the state into a Northwest half and a Southeast half. The Northwest prairie land gets less rainfall while the Southeast gets much more rainfall and is thick with trees. As a result, the soils in the Northwest are much more fertile than the soils in the Southeast. Approximately 200 young men out of each 1000 men examined from the Northwest section of Missouri were classified as unfit for military service. In contrast, 400 men, or twice the amount, who were from the Southeast portion of the state were unfit for military service.



The lack of minerals in the Southeastern soils created twice as many physical defects. These were problems with hearing, seeing, hernias, deformed hands and feet, cleft palates, heart problems, reduced IQs and so on. The point that we want to gather from this is that when the human body is deprived of a sufficient quantity of minerals and trace minerals, permanent physical deformities result.  This is especially problematic in our youth when their bodies are in the developmental stages.  In our modern world, we should understand that eating foods grown on mineral deficient soils is a serious problem that is further compounded by commercial farming practices and double compounded by excessive processing.  This is a recipe for health disaster in later years.

Our Soils Are Worse Now

We continue to accumulate evidence that our agribusiness food system is not providing us with sufficient nutrition. While it is true that our industrial food system has produced one of the least costly food supplies in the world, research is showing that this food is deficient in a number of ways. Here are a few of the items that we have come to understand:

In the last 50 years, the quantities of vitamin C, phosphorus, iron, calcium, riboflavin and protein in commercially grown fresh vegetables and fruits have declined to an astonishing degree. We have this knowledge because of painstaking analysis of USDA nutrient data by Donald Davis a biochemist at the University of Texas. Parallel trends have also been shown in the United Kingdom.

Wheat that was grown 100 years ago had double the protein as current varieties.

Major reductions in a number of important nutrients as well as protein have been observed and recorded in modern corn varieties. These reductions are primarily due to modern farming practices that utilize high quantities of fertilizer and irrigation. This produces a large green plant which is also lacking in nutrient density. Another aspect that has created lower nutrient yields is the genetic dilution effect. This occurs when plant producers develop an enhanced species that allows farmers to get ever higher yields. This practice is inadvertently causing plant nutrient values to plummet. Widely grown varieties of broccoli in 1950 had approximately 13mg/g of calcium while today's plants have only a third of that at 4.4 mg/g.

Bruce Ames, a well-known biochemist, makes the point that most Americans are not getting an adequate quantity of vitamins and minerals. The negative effects of these deficiencies will cause elevated cancer rates, premature aging, deformities and other serious health conditions. According to Dr. Ames, this should be considered to be a much more serious problem than other issues such as pesticide residues. He points out that the 25% of Americans who eat the least amount of vegetables and fruits have double the risk of cancer than do the 25% of Americans who eat the most vegetables and fruits.

Cornmeal Nutritional Comparison

Amounts are per 100 grams or about 2/3 of a cup


Heirloom   Cornmeal

Conventional   Cornmeal





11.9   g

7.3   g


11.4   g

4.0   g


2.2   mg

1.0   mg


0.17   mg

.05   mg


0.27   mg

0.14   mg

Vitamin   E

0.67   mg

0.16   mg


0.12   mg

0.08   mg


2.6   mg

1.1   mg


337   mg

105   mg


2.8   mg

0.7   mg


Comparison is between Heirloom Floriani Red Flint cornmeal and conventional cornmeal from USDA degermed cornmeal values.

The Bottom Line for Depleted Soils and Nutrition

First of all, we should consider eating only organically grown foods as studies have shown these to be higher in minerals and vitamins.  Even then, the mineral density is not assured due to the fact that our soils are depleted.  We should eat more plant foods and less animal products.  It is prudent to consider taking a mineral supplement.  100 years ago our soil and our food was much more nutritious than it is today. If you have picky children who confine themselves to eating a narrow range of processed foods, you should be warned that they are sowing the seeds for future health problems and deformities.  In addition, they will run twice the risk of developing cancer and other degenerative diseases.

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