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ENTER DOCTORS NORTHERN AND REAMS
|Carey A. Reams, D. Sc. (1904-1985), owned an agricultural consulting service in Orlando from the late 1920’s to the late 1960’s when he took up teaching full time. Although servicing mainly the citrus industry, the company provided high-level consulting to dozens of other crops.
Reams was deeply influenced by the work of Dr. Charles Northern, an Alabama physician who stridently protested against the mineral poor food that clogged commercial channels and markets. Northern entered history when his powerful health-is-dependent-on-minerals research, as recorded by Rex Beach in an article in Cosmopolitan, was read into U. S. Senate testimony. Yes, this is the famous 1936 Senate Document No. 264 that is so widely quoted by hucksters selling liquid minerals. Sadly, those hucksters rarely bother to mention that humans are designed to get their minerals from food, not inorganic solutions. Perhaps we should revisit parts of the original article and see what wisdom we can glean.
Rex Beach speaking…
He [Northern] 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. Northern, "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 necessary minerals. They reasoned that plants take what they need, and that it is the function of the human body to appropriate what it requires. Failure to do so, they said was a symptom of disorder."
"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 in the body. Dis-order 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 our layman assumes that by adding a little fertilizer to it, a satisfactory vegetable or fruit can be grown."
"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 1,100 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. [Note: commercial milk tends to run about 10-11 brix, whereas the very best milk can run up to 20 brix]
"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 substance most 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.
"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."
The results obtained by Dr. Northern are outstanding. By putting back into 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 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.
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 cageful of normal rats will live in amity. Restrict their calcium, and they 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.
It is now agreed that at least 16 mineral elements are indispensable for normal nutrition, and several more are always found in small amounts in the body, although their precise physiological role has not been determined. Of the 11 indispensable salts, calcium, phosphorus, and iron are perhaps the most important.
Calcium is the dominant nerve controller; it powerfully affects the cell formation of all living things and regulates nerve action. It governs contractility of the muscles and the rhythmic beat of the heart. It also coordinates the other mineral elements and corrects disturbances made by them. I t works only in sunlight. Vitamin D is its buddy.
Dr. Harold C. Sherman of Columbia University asserts that 50 percent of the American people are starving for calcium. A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, stated that out of 4,000 cases in New York Hospital, only 2 were not suffering from a lack of calcium.
What does a deficiency mean? How would it affect your health or mine? So many morbid conditions and actual diseases may result that it is almost hopeless to catalog them. Included in the list are rickets, bony deformities, bad teeth, nervous disorders, reduced resistance to other diseases, fatigability, and behavior disturbances such as incorrigibility, assaultiveness, nonadaptability.
Here’s one specific example: The soil around a certain Midwest city is poor in calcium. Three hundred children of this community were examined and nearly 90 percent had bad teeth, 69 percent showed affections of the nose and throat, swollen glands, enlarged or diseased tonsils. More than one-third had defective vision, round shoulders, bowlegs, and anemia.
Calcium and phosphorus appear to pull in double harness. A child requires as much per day as two grown men, but studies indicate a common deficiency of both in our food. Researcher on farm animals point to a deficiency of one or the other as the cause of serious losses to the farmers, and when the soil is poor in phosphorus these animals become bone-chewers. Dr. McCollum says that when there are enough phosphates in the blood there can be no dental decay.
Iron is an essential constituent of the oxygen-carrying pigment of the blood: iron starvation results in anemia, and yet iron cannot be assimilated unless some copper is contained in the diet. In Florida many cattle die from an obscure disease called "salt sickness." It has been found to arise from a lack of iron and copper in the soil and hence in the grass. A man may starve for want of these elements just as a beef critter starves.
If iodine is not present in our foods the function of the thyroid gland is disturbed and goiter afflicts us. The human body requires only fourteen-thousandths of a milligram daily, yet we have a distinct "goiter-belt" in the Great Lakes section, and in parts of the Northwest the soil is so poor in iodine that the disease is common.
So it goes, down through the list, each mineral element playing a definite role in nutrition. A characteristic set of symptoms, just as specific as any vitamin-deficiency disease, follows a deficiency in any one of them. It is alarming, therefore, to face the fact that we are starving for these precious, health-giving substances.
Very well, you say, if our foods are poor in the mineral salts they are supposed to contain, why not resort to dosing [supplements]?
That is precisely what is being done, or being attempted. However, those who should know assert that the human system cannot appropriate those elements to the best advantage in any but the food form. At best, only a part of them in the form of drugs can be utilized by the body, and certain dietitians go so far as to say it is a waste of effort to fool with them. Calcium, for instance, cannot be supplied in any form of medication with lasting effect.
But there is a more potent reason why the curing of diet deficiencies by drugging has not worked out so well. Consider those 16 indispensable elements and those others that presumably perform some obscure function as yet undetermined. Aside from calcium and phosphorus, they are needed only in infinitesimal quantities, and the activity of one may be dependent upon the presence of another. To determine the precise requirements of each individual case and to attempt to weigh it out on a druggist’s scales would appear hopeless.
It is a problem and a serious one. But here is the hopeful side of the picture: Nature can and will solve it if she is encouraged to do so.
It is merely a question of giving back to nature the materials with which she works.
We must rebuild our soils: Put back the minerals we have taken out. That sounds difficult but it isn’t. Neither is it expensive.
Therein lies the short cut to better health and longer life.
When Dr. Northern first asserted that many foods were lacking in mineral content and that this deficiency was due solely to an absence of those elements in the soil, his findings were challenged and he was called a crank. But differences of opinion in the medical profession are not uncommon - it was only 60 years ago that the Medical Society of Boston passed a resolution condemning the use of bathtubs – and he persisted in his assertion that inasmuch as foods did not contain what they were supposed to contain, no physician could with certainty prescribe a diet to overcome physical ills.
He showed that the textbooks are not dependable because many of the analyses in them were made many years ago, perhaps from products raised in virgin soils, whereas our soils have been constantly depleted. Soil analyses, he pointed out, reflect only the content of samples. One analysis may be entirely different from another made 10 miles away.
"And so what?" came the query.
Dr. Northern undertook to demonstrate that something could be done about it. By reestablishing a proper soil balance he actually grew crops that contained an ample amount of the desired minerals.
This was incredible. It was contrary to the books and it upset everything connected with diet practice. The scoffers began to pay attention to him. Recently the Southern Medical Association, realizing the hopelessness of trying to remedy nutritional deficiencies without positive factors to work with, recommended a careful study to determine the real mineral content of foodstuffs and the variations due to soil depletion in different locations. These progressive medical men are awake to the importance of prevention.
|Why do you both farm and tell the Brix story?
I really am driven by an absolute conviction that our culture (and nation) are in danger of degenerating and dying out. To survive, we must feed our kids higher quality foods and it will never happen until families can identify good food and distinguish it from chemically grown junk.
Here’s an interesting diversion that may help you understand where I'm coming from. Visit your dentist and ask him how many mouths he looks in that have properly developed dental arches. Our children are being fed food so poor in minerals that the average kid’s jaw cannot fully fill out. That is why wisdom teeth have to be removed. That is why so many kids are in braces. Take that knowledge and start studying the faces of the kids you see on the street. The mouth is only a window into the body. Those thin faces; with poorly formed mouth arches; with crowded teeth trying to push past one another; are accompanied by fragile, low-density, bones. Our race is in danger of dying out. High quality food is not important only because it tastes better...it is vital for us to survive.
Read Dr. Weston Price's Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. It is a timeless message that will shock you.
if you want a copy ($25 includes domestic mail)
|Dr. Northern went even further and proved that crops grown in a properly mineralized soil were bigger and better; that seeds germinated quicker, grew more rapidly and made larger plants; that trees were healthier and put on more fruit of better quality.
By increasing the mineral content of citrus fruit he likewise improved its texture, its appearance and its flavor.
He experimented with a variety of growing things, and in every case the story was the same. By mineralizing the feed at poultry farms, he got more and better eggs; by balancing pasture soils, he produced richer milk. Persistently he hammered home to farmers, to doctors, and to the general public the thought that life depends upon the minerals.