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Most people don't think about the fact that humans need to consume minerals to stay healthy. These include such elements as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, sodium, potassium, and chloride. We just assume that we'll get these minerals from the foods we eat.
Unfortunately, it's increasingly hard to get enough minerals from fruits, vegetables, and grains. Even way back in 1992, scientists at the Rio Earth Summit wrote, "There is deep concern over continuing major declines in the mineral values in farm and range soils throughout the world." They shared data showing that average mineral levels in agricultural soils had fallen worldwide over the past 100 years - by 72 percent in Europe, 76 percent in Asia, and 85 percent in North America.
A landmark study published eight years later (read more here), by researchers at University of Texas at Austin's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, studied US Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999, for 43 different vegetables and fruits, and found that there had been significant declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and vitamin C over the past half century.
Why Our Soil Is Mineral-Deficient
The depletion of nutrients from soil is the result of natural processes, such as erosion, as well as man-made processes, such as the production of high-yield crops and livestock grazing. As nutrients and organic matter are removed from the soil, commercial growers attempt to replenish the soils by fertilization. Unfortunately, this only exacerbates mineral nutrient imbalances.
We have methods to replenish the soil of its mineral nutrients, but also a relative lack of knowledge on how to identify all deficiencies and to fully correct them. Most problematic is the lack of an economic incentive to implement long-term, soil-building solutions.
An Answer May Lie in Deep Ocean Water
In September 1999, a major earthquake struck the north of Taiwan, seriously compromising the long-term supply of potable groundwater. Researchers developed technology to extract water from deep at the bottom of the ocean - water that turned out to be clean and pure, with an added kicker: it was rich in minerals and trace elements necessary for human life.
There are three main layers to our ocean waters.
First, there is fast-moving surface water, which is penetrated by sunlight to a depth of 250 meters (820 feet) and supplies the mineral nutrients for micro algae, plankton, and marine life.
Further down is slow-moving deep ocean water, which is found below a depth of 250 meters to 1,500 meters (nearly a mile deep). It originates from the northern arctic and Greenland ice melts, absorbing minerals and trace elements as it enters the oceans and then sinks with the weight of the very same minerals we need for good health. This is the beginning of a 2,000-year journey before it resurfaces and dissipates in the Pacific Antarctic region, where it feeds the micro algae that form our marine food chain.
Third is very deep ocean water, below 1,500 meters, where rare and exotic life forms are being discovered.
Deep Ocean Water's Nutritional Potential
Deep ocean water, the second layer mentioned above, has a number of characteristics that protect and stabilize the minerals and trace elements. The absence of sunlight, cold water temperatures of 44-50 degrees F, and intense pressures keep this zone virtually free of life, so the minerals and nutrients are never being depleted, as with surface water.
Currently, due to lack of access and infrastructure, deep ocean water can only be piped from the coastlines of Taiwan, Japan, and Hawaii. Taiwan has the optimum access to enormous reservoirs at a depth of over 600 meters, or nearly 2,000 feet.
Oceanographers estimate that deep ocean water comprises a minimum of 90 percent of the total oceans. The good news is that it is a virtually infinite resource if used constructively. Best of all, there are over 70 minerals and trace elements in deep ocean water, which could very well be a solution to our mineral deficiency in the near future--especially if we keep depleting our precious soil at our present rate.