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The Sorry State of Soil

Where did all the vitamins go?

Optimum health depends on vitamins and minerals.  But we're simply not receiving the same level of nutrients as we did 50 years ago.  "5 a day" is flawed nutritional policy for a number of reasons, but some would argue it's a great cover up for this major issue.  

In 1940, 28 raw, and 44 cooked vegetables were studied. in 1991, 27 were able to be traced accurately through to in terms of being the same variety, 17 fruits met the required criteria.  The results have been carefully analysed and the figures are shocking, for example...


Carrots - 75% less magnesium

Broccoli - 75% less calcium

Spinach - 60% less iron


On average the minerals in our foods have decreased by a massive 42% in the past 50 years.

And we can see the direct knock on effect this has on staple foodstuffs. There is 11% less calcium in cheddar cheese, and a staggering 47% less magnesium than in the 1940s.

What exactly happened to all the vitamins and minerals? Well, it's largely to do with poorer quality soil, and that's because of decades of intensive farming - crop rotation and leaving fields to fallow has fallen out of favour.  Then there's the use of chemical pesticides, and a reliance on NPK (nitrogen-phosphorous potassium) fertilizer, this is extremely acidic, and doesn't provide the broad range of minerals that crops need.

This study did not track vitamins, as the importance of these was not established in the 40s, but researchers agree vitamin content will also have declined considerably. Many other trace elements such as silica, molybdenum, manganese, chromium, selenium were not tracked. We now know how important these macro nutrients are, and we can be sure that have also declined considerably.
There simply has to be a causal link between the changes in the nutrients we eat and soaring degenerative disease, especially auto-immune disorders.

And with the consumption of processed foods constantly increasing since 1991, it's no wonder that we are facing such challenges with the health of the nation.  Another significant change to our diet, is that most meat eaten is no longer from grass fed animals, which is known to have a significant impact on the quality and the amount of the nutrients.

There needs to be radical changes in food policy if we are to reverse these worrying trends.
See the Broad Spectrum Range for supplements that provide a huge range of vitamins and minerals in a natural, easily absorbed form. 

You can listen to an excellent Radio 4 piece on this issue...

"Costing the Earth: The Great Mineral Heist" here


  • McCance and Widdowson 1940 1st Edition “The Chemical Composition of Foods” published by Medical Research Council: Special Report Series No: 235
  • McCance and Widdowson 1960 3rd Edition “The Composition of Foods” Published by Medical Research Council: Special Report Series No: 297
  • McCance and Widdowson 1976 4th Edition “The Composition of Foods” Published by RSC/MAFF
  • McCance and Widdowson 1991 5th Edition “The Composition of Foods” Published by RSC/MAFF
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