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Minerals
The deficiency of minerals in human diets is one of the greatest tragedies of modern civilization, which is still very little discussed. In nature, nothing is superfluous; a deficiency or an excess of any mineral in the human body causes problems. Compared to other micronutrients necessary for sustaining life, no living creature in the world can synthesize minerals; they must be obtained through food. Every day, a person must receive about 170 micronutrients through their diet. These are vitamins, fatty acids, certain amino acids, trace elements, and, of course, minerals. Why the situation has arisen nowadays that the human body is catastrophically lacking many micronutrients, while others may be in excess, is analyzed on this website ‘Ekomedicine’.
 
Here are the norms for some of the most important minerals that an adult should receive through their diet every day:
  Calcium – 1000 mg (1 gram = 1000 mg = 1000000 mcg)

  Magnesium – 400 mg

  Molybdenum – 45 mcg

  Iron – 40 mg

  Zinc – 15 mg

  Manganese – 2 mg

  Iodine – 150 mcg

  Chromium – 50 mcg

  Selenium – 70 mcg

  Copper – 1 mg

It is also important to have lithium, silicon, bromine, and several other chemical elements, in fact, in small amounts almost all elements of the periodic table. Almost any mineral deficiency creates a ‘domino’ effect, i.e., problems with other minerals, with the synthesis of vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids.

Each mineral in the body performs its specific function. Descriptions like this could be made for each mineral. Here are some examples.

 

Which mineral deficiency causes these diseases?
The exact picture of which minerals are lacking in the body can be determined by conducting appropriate analyses and examinations. Of course, to understand the problem, many other factors must also be considered, such as vitamin deficiency, as well as how food is prepared and stored, etc.

This list is based on experience, as well as laboratory investigations, so when choosing everyday food products, attention should be paid to the presence of these minerals. When facing a particular health problem, statistically, the deficiency of these minerals in the body is most often to blame.

Deterioration of vision: lack of zinc and selenium;

Hair loss: sulfur, copper, iron, silicon, selenium, and zinc;

Breast tumor promotion: lack of selenium, copper, and magnesium;

Lung diseases are promoted by: selenium, sulfur, zinc, potassium;

Diffuse goiters are promoted by: iodine, copper, and selenium deficiency;

Dental health problems are promoted by: lack of fluoride, zinc, copper, and calcium;

Heart health is affected by: potassium, sulfur, selenium, copper, and magnesium deficiency;

The formation of gallstones is associated with: a deficiency of zinc, magnesium, chromium, vanadium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese;

Liver and kidneys (related to stone formation in them): sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron;

The development of diabetes is promoted by: a deficiency of zinc, manganese, and selenium;

Adenoma, prostate, impotence: a deficiency of zinc and molybdenum;

The development of colorectal cancer is promoted by: a deficiency of iron, potassium, and silicon in the body;

Anemia: iron and magnesium deficiency in the diet;

Osteoporosis: a lack of fluoride, copper, zinc, and manganese;

The development of arthritis is promoted by: a deficiency of sulfur, copper, and selenium;

Osteomalacia (bone softening): a lack of manganese;

Muscle pain can be affected by: a deficiency of sodium, potassium, calcium, selenium, and magnesium.

Joint pain can be associated with: a reduction in the amount of selenium, copper, and phosphorus in the body;

For good vision: titanium is necessary.

Again and again, it must be reminded that one cannot rely on what is written on the product packaging. Even if the microelements essential for human health are still present in the soil depleted and poisoned by conventional agriculture in dead soil, plants cannot absorb them without the intermediary of soil microflora. Therefore, choose organic food! This factor is just as important, if not more so, than the absence of pesticide residues in the product. That's why this website EKOMEDICINE emphasizes the importance of preserving biodiversity!

 
Zinc
Unfortunately, the reality today is such that the amount of zinc needed cannot be provided by food grown in soil depleted by intensive agriculture, especially if this food is consumed in a thermally processed form. Therefore, the problem of zinc deficiency is very topical. Especially during epidemics, it is crucial to consume more zinc.

60% of the zinc in the human body is located in the muscles, and 30% in the bones. In conditions of zinc deficiency, the diet is not fully digested, meaning it is poorly assimilated and leads to dysbiosis and the deficiency of other trace elements.

Zinc functions in the human body:
  Forms bonds between amino acids, especially histidine and cysteine (ensures the stability of proteins in the body).

  Part of approximately 250 proteins (for example, angiotensin-converting enzyme, alkaline phosphatase), participates in the activation of more than 200 enzymes.

  Participates in cell division and apoptosis (cell death) processes.

  Zinc boosts the immune system's capabilities, especially important for immune cells leukocytes.

  Zinc weakens viruses, if it is lacking, viruses, bacteria, and fungi become more active.

  Zinc stimulates the production of collagen and smoothens fine wrinkles.

  Protects from inflammatory processes.

  Strengthens the immune system.

  Accelerates the assimilation of vitamin A.

  Stops macular degeneration.

  Has potent antioxidant functions.

  Reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol.

  Normalizes the balance of the hormone estrogen, which is important for women post-menopause.

  Zinc is part of more than 300 enzymes and hormones in the human body.

 
The most characteristic early signs of zinc deficiency:
  Hair grows slower, more dandruff

  Formation of small ulcers in the mouth

  Weakened sense of satiety, leading to increased food intake and potential weight gain

  Peeling of skin on hands and feet, white spots on nails

  If there is a lack of zinc or selenium, hormone synthesis does not occur

  Faster development of dermatological diseases

  Dysbiosis may occur, further exacerbating zinc deficiency

  Increased stomach acid production

  Poor assimilation of vitamin A, leading to vision problems

  Sleep, memory disturbances, increased irritability, fatigue, and depressive states

  Slow healing of scars, accelerated aging

 
The most characteristic signs of zinc deficiency (in more severe cases):
  Growth retardation in children, delayed puberty

  Infertility, hypogonadism (reduced production of sex hormones), oligospermia (low sperm concentration)

  Hair loss

  Altered taste and smell

  Immunity disorders. Studies show that zinc is significant in immunity processes, however, its use in case of infectious diseases is minimally effective

  Fragility and color changes in hair

  Skin rashes, most often on the limbs and around body openings (erythematous, vesicular, bullous, pustular), nail changes

Zinc deficiency is present in approximately 45% of the population. In total, the human body contains 1.5 - 2.5g of zinc, similar to iron. Daily dose: at least 8mg per day for women and at least 11mg per day for men.

Consuming a lot of sugar uses up a lot of zinc, increasing the risk of diabetes. Zinc deficiency is characteristic of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes because more zinc is excreted in the urine. This is one of the reasons why people with diabetes are more prone to infectious diseases. Zinc deficiency is widely spread among young people today, and it is a problem for athletes because a lot of zinc is lost through sweat. Zinc deficiency leads to a decrease in the sex hormone testosterone and libido and is associated with prostatic hyperplasia or adenoma, while prostate cancer is the most common oncological disease in men. Zinc deficiency in pregnant women can cause fetal abnormalities and premature births.

Zinc consumption is increased by sweetened drinks, all grain products, and animal protein, which promote a more acidic internal environment or acidosis.

The highest zinc content is found in oysters, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower seeds, and lentils. As a dietary supplement, zinc is best chosen in an organic form (zinc gluconate), but it is recommended to also take copper simultaneously because zinc suppresses it.

 

Iodine
Iodine in the soil, except near ocean coasts, is catastrophically lacking nowadays. It is a very important trace element. The amount of iodine in the body is determined by urine analysis (should be 100-200 µg/l). Iodine is needed by all cells of the body and, especially, by the thyroid gland for the synthesis of the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which regulate nerve and bone development in children.

A healthy human body contains about 15-20mg of iodine. 80% of it is found in the thyroid gland in colloid form, unfortunately, iodine does not accumulate, except in small amounts in the mammary glands in women, so it must be regularly obtained through diet. Iodine is needed for the gonads and various metabolic processes, including regulating blood sugar levels. It helps to excrete heavy metals, participates in the synthesis of proteins and many enzymes, and if it is lacking, mental retardation can occur in children. The cause of fibrocystic breast disease can be iodine deficiency.

The hormone thyroxine (T4), secreted by the thyroid gland, is not particularly active. It becomes more active when it reaches the gallbladder, bile ducts, and kidneys, so the activity of thyroxine (T4) is related to the situation in these organs and, of course, to the adequacy of iodine – it all is interconnected. To convert thyroxine (T4) to triiodothyronine (T3), one of the most important trace elements - selenium is needed. Thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH (produced in the anterior pituitary gland) regulates the thyroid gland's uptake of iodine from the bloodstream, which has entered with the diet. If there is a lack of iodine, the TSH level increases, leading to the enlargement of the thyroid gland and the development of diffuse goiter.

An adult should receive 150 µg/l of iodine through their diet, but mothers breastfeeding should receive 300 µg/l of iodine daily. Overdosing is possible if several grams of iodine are received daily, whereas if the amount received is insufficient, the pituitary gland increases the production of hormone TSH, which improves the efficiency of iodine assimilation from the bloodstream, and to achieve this, the thyroid gland enlarges. One of the dangers of radiation is the entry of radioactive iodine into the thyroid gland, where it can cause thyroid cancer.

Iodine assimilation is hindered by the stress hormone cortisol, hormonal medications, contraceptives, and hormones present in meat and dairy products. Elevated estrogen levels also hinder it. Liver damage and insufficient bile can be reasons for inadequacy. A diet excluding salt also does not promote iodine assimilation. Iodine cannot be absorbed through iodized salt because it is in an inorganic form. Iodine assimilation is hindered by pesticides used in agriculture, as they prevent thyroid receptors from accessing iodine. Fluoride, chromium, and bromine also hinder iodine assimilation. By the way, bromine is added to all flour products today. Protein isolate found in unfermented soy hinders iodine assimilation.

Possible signs of iodine deficiency:
  Enlarged, palpable thyroid gland (goiter)

  Mental retardation (in children)

  Increased weight despite reduced appetite

  Fatigue, drowsiness

  Memory disturbances

  Cool, pale skin, reduced sweating

  Fragile hair and nails, lateral eyebrow loss

  Periorbital edema

  In severe cases, myxedema (edema due to the accumulation of glycosaminoglycans under the skin)

  Coagulation disorders

  Anemia

  Bradycardia (slow heart rate)

  Poor exercise tolerance, shortness of breath

  Constipation (very common symptom)

  Menstrual cycle disorders

  Reduced libido and erectile dysfunction

  Carpal tunnel syndrome

Foods containing iodine: most in seaweed (kelp), feijoa, sea fish, egg yolks. The amount of iodine in the same product can vary depending on the amount of iodine in the soil and animal feed, so this indicator can be variable.

 

Silicon
A pronounced deficiency of silicon in the daily diet of modern humans is the most pressing issue caused by conventional agriculture, which has depleted the soil and barbarically destroyed biological diversity.

An adult needs about 30-40 mg of silicon daily. Without silicon, calcium, chlorine, cobalt, sulfur, molybdenum, manganese, zinc, and many other micro and macro elements cannot be assimilated, leading to inevitable health problems. Silicon is necessary for all connective tissues, joints, and bones, cartilages, for the prevention of osteopenia and osteoporosis, as well as for collagen synthesis. Without silicon, teeth will be prone to caries, nails will become brittle, and the skin will lose its resilience, becoming wrinkled. Silicon can also be used as an anti-parasitic agent. In conditions of silicon deficiency, the body may start to replace it with calcium salts, which can manifest as irregularities on the inner walls of blood vessels, allowing atherosclerotic plaques to take hold.

Among plants, knotweed (Lat. Polygonum aviculare) and field horsetail (Lat. Equisetum arvense) are most capable of accumulating silicon.

 

Copper
Copper is a very important trace element, the deficiency of which causes many diseases. If it is lacking in the liver, where it is most accumulated, it is one of the most significant factors causing hair graying. Copper is contained in raw products: greens, nuts, green peas, buckwheat, but the champion in copper content is oak acorns, so properly prepared oak acorn coffee is well suited for replenishing copper reserves. There is very little copper in milk and dairy products, and these products cause disturbances in copper metabolism in the liver. Parasites, such as opisthorchis, can also disturb this process.

Copper utensils have been used by humans since ancient times and have been noted to have disinfecting properties, provided it is pure copper without impurities.

 

Selenium
Selenium cannot be synthesized and is not replaceable by other trace elements. If it is lacking, the level of glutathione decreases, and oxidation processes in the brain accelerate, thereby intensifying damage to neurons.

Selenium protects them because it acts as an antioxidant. Selenium binds the heavy metal mercury, thus promoting its excretion. It is an important trace element in the production of melanin and is the most important protector of the cell's genetic apparatus, capable of repairing damaged cell DNA, and selenium participates in many other metabolic processes. For example, if there is a lack of zinc or selenium, hormone synthesis does not occur. From food products, selenium is most found in broccoli, brown rice, oatmeal, peas, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, dill, onions, garlic, soy in sprouted grains, kale, radishes, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms. If such products occupy a small proportion in your daily diet, these trace elements should be taken in the form of dietary supplements because conventional agriculture does not supplement the soil with this trace element, as it is expensive and does not significantly increase yield, therefore it is important that the aforementioned products are grown in unexploited soil.

Most selenium is in legumes. Also, grains and nightshade family plants contain a lot of selenium.

 

Potassium
Potassium is a very important macroelement for our body. It ensures stable functioning of the heart, liver, kidneys, and nervous system, protects against osteoporosis, diabetes, and, as it is an antagonist to sodium, also from arterial hypertension. Potassium is necessary for the functioning of heart muscles (during contraction). People with hypertension especially need to ensure sufficient intake of potassium and magnesium.

A large concentration difference of potassium inside and outside the cell allows for the generation of an electrical charge. In this way, the wave of excitation is spread along nerve and muscle fibers.

A physically active person needs about 4500 mg of potassium daily. If the kidneys are healthy, there should be no concern about overdosing on potassium. If there is a potassium deficiency, insulin insufficiency develops, and cell sensitivity to insulin decreases.

Potassium deficiency can also manifest as sinus tachycardia (accelerated pulse), especially for people who consume a lot of salt and sugar daily but few greens and vegetables, thus disrupting the balance of sodium and potassium. The use of diuretic drugs and a lack of vitamin B1 also promote potassium deficiency.

If there is a potassium deficiency, the kidneys start to excrete a lot of calcium. In turn, calcium actively participates in the formation process of calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate, increasing the risk of kidney stones. If there is little potassium in the bones, then there is also little calcium. This also affects bone density.

The products containing the most potassium are avocados, pine nuts, lentils, table beet leaves, apricots, and, of course, various greens.

 

Magnesium
As a component of chlorophyll, magnesium is widely found in all greens, forming their green color. The problem is that people eat too few greens.

If a person encounters any of the phenomena such as insomnia, depression, apathy, constant fatigue, muscle spasms (increased muscle tone or tension), elevated blood pressure, heart arrhythmia, then there is a high probability of magnesium deficiency. If magnesium is insufficient, stress in the body also increases because the level of the stress hormone cortisol rises.

Magnesium is necessary for the improvement of nerve impulse conductivity, to avoid, for example, muscle cramps and heart arrhythmias. It is also required for protein synthesis, including DNA and RNA synthesis. Magnesium is a component of more than 300 different enzymes and is involved in their development. Magnesium activates calcium and vitamin D3, reduces the risk of kidney stone formation, protects against osteomalacia and osteoporosis, and reduces insulin resistance, thereby lowering blood sugar levels, relieving the pancreas and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Magnesium dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, so it is important for those with arterial hypertension. It is involved in the activity of mitochondrial enzymes, thereby providing ATP energy also to the potassium-sodium pump, which is related to muscle cramps. Magnesium is also necessary for the delivery of calcium to bone tissues and the activation of vitamin D.

Sugar and alcohol increase magnesium consumption.

 

Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas (8 times heavier than air) formed from the decay of radium, which is a chemical element with the symbol Ra and atomic number 88. In turn, radium appears from the decay of uranium, usually contained in mountain rocks, especially granite. Radon is found most abundantly in mountainous regions. Through cracks in rocks, it enters water and soil. The half-life of radon is 84 hours. Upon decaying, it forms 6 radioactive isotopes – polonium, bismuth, thallium, mercury, astatine, and lead.

Radon has no smell, taste, or color, so it can only be detected with a special dosimeter (the maximum permissible norm is 0.1-0.3 microsieverts per hour). Radon most often accumulates in lower floors, especially in basements and where granite, concrete, and bricks are used in construction, so ventilation of rooms is very important. It may be that there is no radon, but cracks appear in the ground or excavation works are carried out, and radon appears.

After smoking, radon is considered the second leading cause of lung cancer.

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1minaugsne

                                           Minerals and Soil

Soil
Possibly, one of the greatest wonders in human eyes is the ability of a tiny seed to become a mighty tree – in the Bible, the transformation of a mustard seed into a grand tree was described as one of God's miracles, offering shelter to birds. Indeed, we can only marvel at how a few dozen centimeters of soil beneath our feet can feed the entire planet and sustain millions of animal species, including us – humans.

This great mystery of life is right under our feet every day – it is the soil. A unique system of minerals, organic substances, water, and gases that sustains life on Earth. This unique formation, a couple of dozen centimeters thick, has been formed over many millennia through complex processes. Life begins in the soil, and its composition determines which plants can be found in a particular area, from plants to insects, and from insects to animals. The number of food chains on land is immeasurably large, but it all starts in the soil. It is the factor that determines terrestrial biodiversity, yet there is one species on Earth that has taken to degrading and even destroying vast areas of this unique formation. That species is humans.

Although Latvia's area is not large, the diversity of its soils is remarkable – we have 17 of the 32 basic soil groups recognized in the international classification. Such a diversity of soils would imply a very high biodiversity, influenced also by the fact that Latvia is located between the taiga zone and the broadleaf forest zone, i.e., we have both southern and northern species, and the climate varies from continental to maritime, providing conditions for species with a wide range of requirements. However, why does biodiversity continue to decline? This question should be directed to those whose work involves soil care and cultivation – farmers and loggers (clear-cutting). Their hands hold the key to biodiversity – the soil. Doesn't the fact that almost 200 plant and animal species disappear every day as a result of human activities make one think?

Currently, about 40% of the Earth's land is allocated for agricultural needs. The soil is plowed, fertilized, and harrowed, meaning the biological system that has formed over millennia is disturbed, yet humans have been practicing agriculture for at least 12,000 years. So why is the massive decline in biodiversity only attributed to the last few decades? One reason is the imbalance of chemical elements in the soil caused by intensive fertilization, the critical reduction in organic matter due to long-term, annual monoculture cultivation, and pesticides, which reduce biodiversity in the soil itself, home to a quarter of terrestrial living organism species, which in natural conditions ensure the balance of mineral elements, gases, and organic substances in the soil, thus – the key to biodiversity.

Does soil fertilization and the resulting larger harvests create any problems? Yes, the imbalance of mineral elements in the soil. Under natural conditions, the concentration of mineral elements in the soil depends on the parent material and its decomposition processes. All these elements interact with each other at the plant roots: one microelement can reduce the uptake of another macrocomponent by the plant and vice versa. Nature has developed unique self-regulation mechanisms over thousands of years, which the farmer with intensive agriculture tries to disrupt. But how do they do it?

One way is the intensive use of inorganic mineral fertilizers, which creates an abundance of many chemical elements in the soil but simultaneously a deficiency of many elements because one chemical element promotes the enhanced uptake of another element, for example, nitrogen promotes the uptake of sulfur, calcium, and magnesium. In contrast, an increased amount of phosphorus in the soil inhibits zinc uptake, which the farmer compensates by fertilizing with potassium. Indeed, intensive enrichment of the soil with NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) yields a larger harvest. The farmer seems to have learned to deceive the plants, but what happens to the microelements in the soil? Those whose amount in the soil per kilogram is only a fraction of a milligram, but which still play a huge role in ensuring plant functions. All plants grown in monoculture require the same microelements in large quantities, and unfortunately, their reserves are exhaustible, but the first signs of this imbalance are not a smaller yield but diseases that the farmer tries to combat by increasing the amount of pesticides every year, forgetting that monoculture is an absolutely unnatural formation in nature, which nature tries to destroy with self-regulation mechanisms, freeing space for biological diversity.

The increasing doses of pesticides in agriculture indicate the plants' inability to resist pests, but the reasons for this inability should be sought in the soil itself, its composition, and the diversity of microorganisms living in it. It must be understood that pests in nature are absolutely natural and necessary organisms that promote natural selection of species. Moreover, the plants themselves have many defense mechanisms, which they use to resist attacks. One of them is a hard outer shell, for which silicon is used, but if there is a lack of this microelement in the soil, plants cannot form such a dense outer shell, as a result of which various fungi and other disease-promoting organisms can easily penetrate it, and the plant also becomes mechanically much more susceptible to damage. Ultimately, the lack of silicon in food also affects humans, because without silicon, calcium cannot stabilize and stay in the body. As a result, the quality of tissues weakens. Calcium in the body is the main maintainer of an alkaline environment, as it can bind even two oxygen atoms, compared to other minerals, which can only bind one atom. Therefore, calcium plays a very important role in maintaining the acid-alkaline pH balance. If this balance is disrupted, the body can no longer maintain homeostasis, which in turn promotes many modern popular diseases.

However, not only plants and humans suffer from a lack of microelements, but soil-dwelling microorganisms are equally affected. The mechanism is simple – if there are no bricks, a house cannot be built. However, the biological diversity of soil microorganisms plays a significant role in ensuring the natural defense mechanisms of plants. They release various substances in the soil, which the plant, absorbing through the roots, uses for defense. The more these organisms and the greater their diversity, the more successfully the plant can resist pests, but pesticides kill these organisms.

Microelements and macrocomponents are directly dependent on the organic matter in the soil, which is their source in the soil. Soil-dwelling microorganisms mineralize organic matter, releasing chemical elements in a form available to them. This is a natural cycle of matter that has existed in nature for millions of years, allowing for the creation of millions of species and great biological diversity, but what exactly is organic matter in the soil? It includes all organisms living in the soil and the remains of dead organisms at various stages of decomposition. As these substances decrease, the soil loses its fertility. The functions of organic matter in the soil are very significant; without it, life in the soil is not possible. They absorb a large amount of water, allowing plants to survive even in dry and sandy soil, reduce soil compaction, and the risk of erosion. Thanks to organic matter, there is twice as much carbon in the world's soils as in the atmosphere, but what happens to the organic matter in conventional agriculture?

The reduction of organic matter is one of the most serious soil problems worldwide, yet considering the current management methods of conventional agriculture, this problem is not unexpected. Unlike organic agriculture, the crop is obtained using inorganic, not organic, fertilizer, meaning organic matter is not returned to the soil, its amount decreases, and soil compaction occurs – its degradation. This process adversely affects soil organisms, as their access to water and oxygen decreases, and gradually their number in the soil decreases, further promoted by the ever-increasing doses of pesticides. Without these organisms, the cycle of matter in the soil stops, meaning there is no organic matter in the soil.

However, there is another significant problem. With the reduction of organic matter, the soil can no longer retain minerals, and the fertilizer used in intensive agriculture increasingly ends up in rivers, lakes, the sea, causing eutrophication and thereby oxygen deficiency in the water, creating dead zones where life cannot exist, as is already happening in vast areas of the Baltic Sea, but it must not be forgotten that this fertilizer also ends up in groundwater, meaning – in our glass of water.

It is believed that life on Earth began in the ocean, but the time when terrestrial processes had little effect on what happened in the ocean is millions of years in the past. Today, both the land, the atmosphere, and the waters of the world have created such a unique cycle of life that every organism – from the smallest bacterium to the largest mammal - on the planet has its ecological niche, and the existence of countless organisms in long food chains depends on its species. Our planet is a unique life system. Soil is directly connected to water and the atmosphere.

Unlike us, nature can perfectly survive without humans. We can only guess how, for example, plants survive and reproduce in sandy, infertile soils. How can such plants have an abundance of all rare mineral elements in their leaves, which will never be present in those plants grown in monoculture fields? And not only in those that are already degraded but also in those recently cultivated, with still unexhausted mineral element reserves. There is a unique, invisible formation in the soil that lives in symbiosis with plants and supplies them with nutrients and water, while receiving carbohydrates from the plants. This is called mycorrhiza - a network of fungal hyphae and plant roots. It is a unique system involving approximately 90% of the world's plant, lichen, fern, and moss species. Many studies have been conducted on the significance of mycorrhiza in the uptake of mineral elements. Mycorrhizal fungi hydrolyze organic compounds and promote, for example, the availability of phosphorus and nitrogen to plants, including zinc uptake by mycorrhiza. How does this happen? Simply put - fungal hyphae increase the root absorption surface, making all mineral elements in the soil available to the plant, eliminating the need for additional fertilizer, but why does this not happen in conventional agriculture monocultures? Each time the soil is mechanically processed, the fungal network is disrupted. The effect of certain types of fungicides on the mycorrhiza in the soil must also be considered. Today, several studies are relevant regarding hyphae as a means of plant communication. The hyphal network in the soil connects all plant roots, and through this network, plants can send warning signals to other plants, and those plants that receive this signal start to intensively produce substances to resist the impact of pests. This is a natural mechanism by which nature itself can stop pest attacks.

However, mycorrhiza has another very important function that is very relevant. It can absorb heavy metals, isolating them in fungal structures, thereby reducing metal concentration in plant roots and accordingly throughout the plant, but unfortunately, inorganic fertilizers and pesticides promote the replacement of the mycorrhizal nutrient cycle with bacteria-related cycles, which are less efficient and productive. In conventional agriculture monocultures, mycorrhiza cannot fully perform its functions.

Establishing monocultures, after some time, leads to mineral imbalance, promoting various diseases and pests, and farmers are forced to use pesticides in increasingly larger doses as plants become weaker. Thanks to pesticides, yields do not decrease for a while, but the amount of organic matter continues to decrease, causing soil compaction and the death of its living organisms. Farmers, trying to save the unsalvageable, continue to fertilize fields that have compacted and can no longer retain this fertilizer, and it increasingly ends up in the water, causing eutrophication and rapid species extinction not only in Latvian but in all the world's waters. Soil, formed over thousands of years, is degraded and turned into infertile desert, becoming more and more a mass for anchoring plant roots, but everything the farmer has sprayed and added to the soil does not disappear. All these substances have entered the global circulation of matter, affecting us in the most direct way, for example, through the water we pour from the well into a glass and drink.

Monocultures are an unnatural formation that reacts much more sensitively to all environmental changes because humans have destroyed the biological diversity in them – nature's given protective barrier against its own created pests and diseases. Degraded soil, of course, can recover. Nature is wiser than humans, but this does not happen in one or two generations. The only sustainable farming method is organic agriculture, where only as much is taken from the soil as can be given back. Humans try to change the self-regulation processes of nature that have formed over millions of years, but nature is wiser and will win in the fight against intensive agriculture, but humans will pay the most valuable price – their health. Unfortunately, this process has already begun.

 

Kiss the Earth!
"Kiss the Earth!" is the title of a recently released documentary scientific research film. For those who do not have the opportunity to watch this film, here is a brief synopsis of it.

Soil is the foundation upon which life on land is based. Unfortunately, the results of a United Nations study are not at all encouraging – if humans do not change their current agricultural strategies, soil will disappear from the globe in 60 years, meaning humans will also perish, as the existence of humans as a species is completely dependent on soil. But what is the problem with modern agriculture? Why do people face the threat of starvation when a fifth of the world's produced food is wasted every year? The answer is simple: the desire to get more from the land than it can give. For this purpose, farmers use two weapons: mineral fertilizers and pesticides. However, the consequences of these two weapons are not only the eutrophication of water bodies and harm to human health. Pesticides are not just a story about the death of insects; it is a story about the death of our entire planet, and the explanation for this is very simple. Farmers use pesticides to eliminate pests, but pests can easily harm agricultural crops only because they are weak. And the reason for their weakness is the reduced or even destroyed biological diversity of the soil, because it is the soil-dwelling microorganisms that produce substances with which a plant can naturally protect itself from pests. Using pesticides for a long time destroys soil microorganisms, and without microorganisms, there is no organic matter. The end result of such agricultural strategy is degraded soil – a desert.

1augsne

In this frame from the movie, we can see what happens to the soil after several decades of using pesticides and mineral fertilizers (on the left) compared to the same soil in the same period, but managed organically and correctly (on the right).

But degraded soil means not only famine for humans; it also means the destruction of the microclimate – a part of the overall climate that sustains the processes occurring on the planet, which is gradually being destroyed. Then, we are left to sadly observe the natural disasters shown in the news and discussed at climate conferences. However, at these conferences, nobody ever shows NASA satellite images that reveal the Earth turning red from CO2 emissions during spring, which is the plowing season. Gentlemen in suits continue to talk for years about old cars and their "massive" emissions. Nobody suggests that we should give up agriculture, quite the contrary – agriculture is our last chance to save the planet from tragic destruction because the soil has the potential to store a huge amount of CO2 emissions. The key to this is organic farming, halting deforestation and planting in previously degraded soils, and promoting technologies like No-Till, which allow for the cultivation of crops without plowing, and such technologies have long been invented. The destruction of the soil must be stopped, and the planet needs to regain its greenery. Otherwise, the planet will perish, and this will happen very soon. However, as stated in the film "Kiss the Ground," "save our soil in hopes the soil might just save us."

1lauks

Would our children and grandchildren be happy about inheriting land like the one shown in this documentary film?

 

Pride or shame?
In the mass media, farmers who boast about having eradicated all weeds, achieving perfectly clean fields without a single bush in sight, and feeling no shame in showing their work to foreigners, have been heard more than once. Such a farmer, having harvested 10 tons per hectare, pats himself on the back thinking – how powerful and smart I am. However, the human body, which comes into contact with such produced food, perceives it differently. A diet that lacks what the body needs, and contains what is not needed (toxins), is considered by the body as "waste material" that must be quickly eliminated. The result is devastated natural resources and, at best, no benefit to humans.

Even if such farmers' fields had all the minerals missing in the human body, if the soil is degraded by pesticides and monocultures and biological diversity is destroyed, plants cannot absorb all minerals in the necessary amounts because the synergy or mutual cooperation between plants and microorganisms does not work. Plants become sick. Are pesticides and drugs the right solution?

 

What is the connection between vaccines and hydroponics?
Hydroponics is a soilless agricultural system towards which conventional agriculture is currently moving, as the soil has become so degraded that obtaining a large yield without mineral fertilizers and pesticides has become impossible, with yields being lower than in collective farm times. It almost turns out that soil serves as a mere support for plants to anchor. It sounds nice – no soil, no problems because there are no plant diseases. However, it turns out there is one unfortunate problem – diseases appear in people who consume fruits and vegetables grown hydroponically because they lack many microelements that nature intended and which plants cannot absorb without the participation of living organisms in the soil. The end result is this – the more degraded the soil, the sicker the people, because of weaker immunity. Naturally, resistance to viruses will also be lower. In this situation, vaccines are the best way to create new virus strains.

Perhaps the culprits of pandemics should also be sought in the Ministry of Agriculture, with whose blessing conventional farmers, who degrade the soil, are generously supported.

 
Appeal
I appeal to all rational-thinking people. Each of you, as a voter with your voice in elections, and as a shopper in the store with your choice, can help prevent this madness that has taken over conventional farmers with the blessing of the Ministry of Agriculture, who ruthlessly destroy biological diversity, leaving it only in roadside ditches. In Latvia, regions are forming where frogs no longer croak in spring, grasshoppers do not chirp, birds do not sing, and there are no worms in the soil. If before joining the EU we prided ourselves on green Latvia, now, after the soil contamination with pesticides, we have almost overtaken Denmark. This is evidenced by the shocking results presented at the spring beekeepers' conference – from the in-depth analysis of pollen collected from 9 different locations in Latvia for pesticide residues, conducted in Italian and German laboratories. By the way, pollen is a very precise indicator of the environmental condition. The justification of conventional farmers that food would be very expensive without the use of pesticides is utter demagogy. Consuming such "cheap" food daily weakens human immunity year by year, and pandemics are a logical consequence. Is fighting pandemics cheap?

                                                                                        Janis Pentjušs