Why mineral deficiency is so common in the 21st century

Why mineral deficiency is so common in the 21st century

Nutrient deficiencies are just as common in developed countries as they are in poor countries. In fact, in the U.S., many people are overfed but undernourished, suggesting that food availability and food accessibility don’t necessarily translate to good nutrition. [1]

The quality of the food you eat matters just as much – if not more – than the quantity. Sadly, statistics show that processed foods, which have little nutritional value, make up close to 70% of the typical American diet. [2] A survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 also reveals that more than one in three Americans consume fast food on any given day. [3]

Over the past two decades, national surveys have revealed that children and adults in the U.S. consume more added sugar than several essential nutrients. [4][5] This unhealthy diet, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, not only leads to serious health problems like diabetes, obesity and heart disease, it also puts people at risk of micronutrient deficiencies. [6] 

Why nutrient deficiencies have become a global health problem 

Aside from unhealthy food choices, there’s a more pressing issue behind the rampant deficiency in vitamins and minerals observed among the general population. As reported by a study published in Environmental Geochemistry and Health, about one-third of arable soils worldwide are deficient in micronutrients, particularly minerals like zinc. [7]

Plants, including food crops, get all the minerals they need from soil. As plant roots take up water, they absorb mineral nutrients, which are subsequently broken down into primary and secondary macronutrients and micronutrients. [8]

The primary macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, while the secondary macronutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Plants need these nutrients, particularly primary macronutrients, in large quantities for optimal growth, which is why farmers often supply them to their crops in the form of fertilizer.

Micronutrients, on the other hand, are only needed by plants in small quantities, so they’re not commonly added to soil. These mineral nutrients are boron, copper, iron, chloride, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. All of these elements perform critical functions inside plant cells.

For example: A study published in the journal Physiologia Plantarum found that in order for photosynthesis to succeed, plants require sufficient amounts of potassium and magnesium. A deficiency in these nutrients results in the excessive production of free radicals, which are as harmful to plants as they are to humans. [9] 

Soil-derived minerals are also needed by plants to produce vitamins. Unlike minerals, vitamins are synthesized by plants naturally. In fact, the antioxidant vitamins that we know of, such as vitamins A, C and E, offer the same benefits to plants as they do to our bodies – that is, they protect healthy cells from oxidative stress, which is triggered by the accumulation of free radicals. [10]

To elaborate on how soil minerals affect vitamin production in plants, a study published in Scientia Agropecuaria compared the vitamin C content of camu camu plants – arguably the most abundant source of vitamin C on the planet – grown in soils with varying mineral content.

The researchers found that camu camu plants that grew in infertile soil produced the lowest amounts of vitamin C. Meanwhile, those that grew in fertile soil, particularly soil rich in magnesium and phosphorus, had the highest levels of vitamin C, suggesting that vitamin C production in camu camu plants is influenced by their magnesium and phosphorus uptake. [11]

Interestingly, the researchers highlighted another discovery: Aside from minerals, the presence of heavy metals in soil also affected vitamin C production, albeit negatively. They reported that camu camu plants produced less vitamin C when soil aluminum concentrations were high but synthesized more vitamin C when aluminum concentrations were low.

Unfortunately, these two issues – soil nutrient deficiency and soil contamination with heavy metals – are very common today, and they are also at the root of the silent epidemic of vitamin and mineral deficiencies affecting billions of people around the world. [12]

According to numerous studies, soil nutrient deficiency can be blamed on industrial farming practices, such as the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, heavy irrigation, intensive tillage and concentrated monoculture production. [13] Because these harmful practices are widely employed today, the majority of fresh produce sold in grocery stores are not as nutritious as they ought to be.

In fact, a study published in the journal HortScience suggests that the nutritional value of the foods available in the U.S. and the U.K. has significantly dropped over the past 50 to 100 years. There is also compelling evidence that certain fruits and vegetables you’re eating today may have seen median declines of up to 40% in terms of their mineral content. [14] This is why consuming more whole foods instead of processed foods is advisable.  

Several studies have also reported detecting high levels of contaminants, such as heavy metals, in both soil and produce. [15] Although these toxic metals are naturally present in the environment, their concentrations are increased to alarming levels by human industrial activities, such as mining, conventional farming, battery production and improper sewage and waste disposal. [16]

This is why instead of foods grown using conventional farming practices, experts advise opting for organically grown foods to support good nutrition. Aside from containing higher levels of antioxidants and essential nutrients, organic fruits and vegetables are not sprayed with agricultural chemicals and are grown using practices that prevent soil erosion. [17] 

Common mineral deficiencies and their symptoms 

According to a nutrition report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10% of the U.S. population is deficient in many nutrients, including essential minerals. [18] The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 highlights the following minerals as nutrients of public health concern because they are often underconsumed in the U.S.: [19]

  • Calcium – Calcium is the building block of your bones. Calcium crystals fill in all the gaps and holes in your bones’ structural framework to ensure they don’t break easily. [20]. Calcium is also instrumental to the way your nerve cells communicate and helps your muscles and blood vessels relax and contract. [21]

Symptoms of calcium deficiency: Extreme fatigue, muscle aches, dry skin, brittle nails, weak bones and tooth decay [22] 

  • Iron – Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that helps transport oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. It is also used to make myoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to your muscles. In addition, iron is essential for the production of certain hormones. [23]

Symptoms of iron deficiency: Extreme fatigue, weakness, pale skin, fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, cold hands and feet, brittle nails and poor appetite [24]

  • Magnesium – A good cofactor, magnesium helps over 300 enzymes perform their functions. These functions include regulating protein synthesis, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Magnesium is also required for energy production, DNA synthesis and glutathione production. [25]

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency: Abnormal eye movements, convulsions, fatigue, muscle cramps or spasms, muscle weakness and numbness [26]

  • Potassium – Potassium is an electrolyte that helps your cells maintain fluid balance. Whenever they release sodium to get rid of excess water, your cells accept potassium from outside to maintain a balanced ratio of these electrolytes. [27] Potassium also helps your muscles contract and is involved in blood pressure maintenance. [28]

Symptoms of potassium deficiency: Constipation, palpitations, fatigue, muscle weakness or spasms, tingling or numbness [29]

  • Zinc – Zinc is a trace mineral that can be found in cells throughout your body. Like magnesium, it serves as a cofactor to hundreds of enzymes that directly influence the functions of your vital organs. [30] Being deficient in zinc has serious consequences, such as growth retardation, cognitive impairment and immune system dysfunction. [31]

Symptoms of zinc deficiency: Hair loss, diarrhea, susceptibility to infections, loss of appetite, impotence, eye problems, weight loss, slow wound healing and lack of taste and smell [32]

Apart from these nutrients, here are 5 other essential minerals that your body needs, in smaller amounts, for optimal health:

  • Copper – Copper is a trace mineral that’s needed for iron absorption and normal erythropoiesis – that is, the process by which stem cells mature into red blood cells. [33] Copper also plays a role in energy production and the proper formation of connective tissue. [34]
  • Manganese – The functions of manganese can greatly influence your metabolic health. This essential mineral helps your body break down carbohydrates and absorb calcium from food. It is also involved in blood sugar regulation. Manganese is an important component of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that also acts as an antioxidant. [35]
  • Phosphorus – Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in your body. Together with calcium, it helps build and repair your bones and teeth. [36] Phosphorus also helps with the creation of ATP, a molecule used by your body to store energy. It is also involved in the activation of many enzymes and B vitamins, and the transport of molecules in and out of cells. [37][38]
  • Selenium – Selenium is a component of selenoproteins, which serve as antioxidants inside your body. Selenoproteins are also involved in DNA synthesis, reproduction and thyroid hormone metabolism. [39]
  • Sodium – Like potassium, sodium is an electrolyte that helps maintain fluid balance. It also helps regulate the electric charges that move in and out of your cells. Sodium is crucial for the transmission of nerve impulses throughout your body, as well as the contraction of your heart and muscles. [40] 

A simple yet effective way of boosting your mineral intake 

People who suffer from micronutrient deficiencies can benefit from switching to a healthier diet that includes more nutritious and organic whole foods. They can also take clean, high-quality supplements every day to help them meet their nutritional requirements. But instead of the usual tablets, they can now reliably boost their mineral intake conveniently while sipping on their favorite drink.

Health Ranger Select Concentrated Mineral Drops is a mineral-rich formula that you can easily add to your drinking water, juice or post-workout shake or smoothie. Derived from Utah’s pristine Great Salt Lake, our mineral drops can help you get a pure, concentrated dose of essential minerals every day just by adding a few drops to your favorite beverages.

Health Ranger Select Concentrated Mineral Drop is also a great way to restore electrolytes lost through sweating and ensure adequate intake of essential minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc. To retain each mineral’s ionic properties, our premium formula is naturally concentrated using sunshine and a natural evaporation process – no destructive processing or artificial heat involved.

Health Ranger Select Concentrated Mineral Drop has no taste and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. It is one of the best and most potent hydration solutions on the market and can support healthy energy levels as well as your body’s natural strength and endurance.*

Our premium product is non-GMO, non-China and certified Kosher. It is made in the USA, Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and adheres to GMP standards for FDA compliance. And like all Health Ranger Store products, it is meticulously lab tested for glyphosate, heavy metals and microbiology.

Support your overall health and wellness by ensuring adequate intake of essential minerals with our lab-verified concentrated mineral drops! 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any diseases. 


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[2] https://blog.standardprocess.com

[3] https://www.usatoday.com

[4] https://academic.oup.com

[5] https://www.tandfonline.com

[6] https://www.heart.org

[7] https://link.springer.com

[8] https://serc.si.edu

[9] https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

[10] https://www.cell.com

[11] http://www.scielo.org.pe

[12] https://publichealthreviews.biomedcentral.com

[13] https://www.fao.org

[14] https://journals.ashs.org

[15] https://link.springer.com

[16] https://www.hindawi.com

[17] https://www.researchgate.net

[18] https://www.usatoday.com

[19] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu

[20] https://americanbonehealth.org

[21] https://ods.od.nih.gov

[22] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com

[23] https://ods.od.nih.gov

[24] https://www.mayoclinic.org

[25] https://ods.od.nih.gov

[26] https://medlineplus.gov

[27] https://www.khanacademy.org

[28] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu

[29] https://medlineplus.gov

[30] https://www.cambridge.org

[31] https://molmed.biomedcentral.com

[32] https://www.healthdirect.gov.au

[33] https://medlineplus.gov

[34] https://journals.plos.org

[35] https://www.mountsinai.org

[36] https://www.uofmhealth.org

[37] https://medlineplus.gov

[38] https://sightandlife.org

[39] https://ods.od.nih.gov

[40] https://saltassociation.co.uk