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Mineral Nutrition of Coastal Cultures in Pre-Historic Times
by John Heinerman, Ph.D

The study of bones, skulls and dentition belonging to very ancient human beings has always been a very intriguing piece of research for those who are continually engaged in pursuit of the same. There is a lot of that such pre-historic skeletal remains can tell us, especially the nutritional health of the deceased.
Take, for instance, the bones of paleoindians in different parts of the Western Hemisphere who resided by lakes, rivers or oceans several thousand years ago. They had access to a great deal of marine life and sea vegetation, which other pre- historic Indians did not, who lived far from such aquatic sources. The skeletal remains of such coastal dwelling natives have been shown to be much higher in certain trace elements like iodine, tin and boron, which are not readily available in land-derived food sources. This is especially true of great Indian civilizations like the ancient Maya of the Mexican Yucatan and Guatemala, many of whom enjoyed mineral-rich diets derived exclusively from the sea.
Some of the Spanish chroniclers reported that a few of the ancient Aztec emperors took full advantage of the mineral salts available to them from certain lakes, ponds and pools within their empire. According to Father Bernardo Sahagun, the emperors had their minerals collected in this interesting fashion: Aztecs were dispatched to such sources where they collected the water in vases and jars. It was then transported back to the capitol where the precious liquid was poured into special drying troughs. The water eventually evaporated, leaving a thin residue of mineral salt at the bottom. This was scraped up and put into covered dishes. Whenever the emperors would feel a need for extra salt in their diet, they would then scoop some of this mineral salt out of the container it was in, apply it to their tongue, and wash it down with some water of pulque (fermented liquor).
Interestingly enough, it seems that this mineral salt was not used to season food with, but intended only for supplemental purposes, religious rituals and other special occasions. Besides the Jesuit scholar Sahagun, we also have the Codex Mendoza and similar Aztec codices, which bear record of the same thing. But Sahagun's account is by far the most detailed of this highly interesting practice in ancient times. It also points out the fact that the ancient inhabitants of this continent knew about the value of ionic minerals for their bodies, even though they did not have anywhere near the degree of nutrition science we have today.
Another reliable indicator for mineral nutrition long ago rests in the mummies of ancient Egypt's pharaohs. Those who diets were chiefly from planted crops and domesticated animals did not seems to live as long, nor enjoy as good health as some of those who subsisted on a lot of fish and other forms of marine life and vegetation. The former group showed evidence of arthritis, cancer and other diseases in their remains during pathological examinations. On the other hand, those few pharaohs who consumed food from oceans and rivers manifested very little disease patterns within their remains. This remarkable discovery has been largely attributed to the generous supply of minerals they received from such water- derived food sources.
The skeletal record of ancient people is pretty clear on this point. Minerals from foods harvested from large bodies of water provided a number of ancient folks with the necessary nutrients to keep them stronger, healthier, more energetic and living longer, than others who relied mostly on land-grown foods, irregardless of whether it may have been plant or animal.
The Great Salt Lake, just west of Salt Lake City, Utah, contains many valuable minerals which will give protection and strength to the human body in modern times. And just as ancient people discovered for themselves, the life-giving qualities sea minerals provide so, too, may we benefit from what the wonderful nutrients found in the Great Salt Lake. Trace Minerals Research is the only company in the world with the technology and skills needed to harvest these important nutrients and package them into forms which the body can easily recognize and fully utilize.