A Tale of Two Halides

Empty Calorie, Mineral Deficient, Low Fiber, Nutritionally \Non-dense Food

By: - Mar 03, 2015


Like all else, this essay starts with desire, which is at least arguably manifest even at the level of simple elemental molecules, whose atoms are driven to share a certain number of shell electrons.

And the closer they get to that magic number, the more powerful become the forces aching for completion.  Thus it is that the Group I elements, such as Sodium, Lithium, Potassium and the Group VII elements—the Halogens Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine, and Iodine, are not naturally found in elemental states, but only in chemical combination.

Let me begin with a halide, a Group VII element, that is not a main focus here.  Because of their solubility, almost all the world’s Bromides have ended up in seawater.  In fact, many marine algae have Vanadium-mediated oxidases that can convert seawater Bromides into a variety of organobromine compounds.  Presumably, this makes these seaweeds bad-tasting or toxic, rather than edible.  In the past, they were even used as Bromine sources all over the world, although lately, mineable brines have largely ended this.  A certain Pacific species, found along the California coast, can apparently yield over 20% by weight of Methyl Bromide.

But somewhere not very far down the evolutionary trail, both Bromine and Vanadium became sort of biological outcasts, so that it’s only in the last several years that a cellular role for Bromine has been discovered.  Many marine organisms must therefore have some kind of mechanism for ridding themselves of Bromide ions, possibly analogous to the “active transport” system that we know uses up the universal cell energy molecule ATP in bringing Potassium in and pumping Sodium out.

Our distant progenitors only emerged from the ocean as vertebrate animals, so our cells are still “designed” with a particular mix of mineral nutrients in mind.  Without a doubt, the single most important of these is Iodine.  Its essential role in regulating our overall metabolism has been known about for almost 100 years now, and has been suspected even longer. In the mid-19th Century, British physicians began to treat clinical lethargy patients with thyroid implants and thyroid extracts.  By the turn of the 20th , at least a few people realized that this previously unknown element was crucial to the thyroid function, whose improvement was curing many intractable conditions with simple, actually pretty ham-handed in terms of amount, nutritional supplementation. 

Forty and fifty years ago, Iodine, in the form of Sodium Iodate, was routinely added to American bakery products, both as a dough conditioner and a nutritional supplement.  Then, of course because it was cheaper, Big Food started adding Bromates instead.  These not only contain no Iodine, but are also capable of displacing it.  Our FDA likes to say that all the Bromates (which are banned in the EU and UK) in dough will become the less-toxic Bromides in the processes of flour “ripening,” rising, and baking.  There’s lots of data that suggests the conversion is not fully effective; but even Bromides, innocent Bromides, are capable of displacing Iodides by simple mass action.  And available data shows this also happens in biological systems.  I wonder how many of the chronic conditions and diseases that   increasingly plague us, are at least in part, attributable to various sorts of chronic sub-clinical hypothyroidism.  Our bodies, mammalian bodies, have coping mechanisms that allow us to survive the “just one more day,” that used to be an evolutionary necessity.  But in the long run, imbalances will lead to chronic problems; and of course we today are all looking to, “Live long and prosper.”

After Iodine, the most important elements of mineral nutrition are of the divalent cation type, typified by Manganese. Indeed, the affinity of Monsanto’s proprietary herbicide Glyphosate for Manganese is the functional essence of all of our commercially important GMO crops.  They’ve been “improved” with artificial plasmids.  (When natural plasmids get into berry plant genomes, causing them to produce smaller fruits that tend to fall off before fully ripe, no one hesitates to call them “viruses.”  So why not call both natural plasmids and the chimeric artificial ones used in genetic modification, “insidious viruses?”)  The modification genes allow them to elaborate their amino acid arginine by a non-Manganese-mediated enzymatic pathway.  Now, with all this powerful chelating agent, Glyphosate, around, why would we expect our crops to have the same sort of mineral nutrients as soy or corn or canola or cotton grown absent this herbicide?  We wouldn’t.  We’d guess that the very least those poor abused plants could possibly survive with, would be the rule, not just for Manganese, but for Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Iron, and probably Selenium and Chromium, too.

But so many things in our current system lead to empty calorie, mineral deficient, low fiber, and nutritionally non-dense food.  It’s been built in since before our star-crossed affair with NPK began in earnest at the end of WWII.  It’s only human to want the bigger, the sweeter, the softer, which are also likely more watery and less fibrous.  This trend has doubtless been exacerbated by the use of chemical salts, not to mention stuff like anhydrous  ammonia, as fertilizers, which are the plant-food equivalent of empty calories.  We must also wonder how many of the conditions and diseases that currently plague us are, at least in part, attributable to some sort of chronic sub-clinical hypo-mineralization.

Of things that are used as fertilizers, soluble Phosphate sources are the most relevant in this essay, because Phosphate rock raw materials also contain large amounts of Fluoride.  In the early days of soil chemistry, people realized that the Phosphates in phosphatic ores weren’t water-soluble.  It was perhaps natural to blame a lack of solubility of Phosphates, rather than a degeneration of the rhizosphere, for the reduced yields that were being widely experienced.

Agriculturally aware people have known that there was something special about leguminous plants, something that added to soil fertility, since classical times ca. 700 to 300 BCE.)  But the basic outlines of Nitrogen fixation only became clear around the turn of the 20th Century.  Of course nobody had a clue about the roles of mycorrhizae and other fungi in feeding crops, though some people understood that N, P, and K alone didn’t, probably couldn’t, explain all that they were observing.  The great late 19th Century agricultural writer Joseph Harris, though he famously dug a pit in one of his barns, in which he poured Sulfuric acid on, and hammered away at, bones, to make “acidulated bone” fertilizer, was also fond of talking about the necessity of soil “in good heart.”

Anyway, to make the element water-soluble, salt fertilizer merchants started treating Phosphate rock with concentrated, or maybe even “Fuming,” Sulfuric acid, generating massive amounts of Hydrogen Fluoride gas, killing and sickening people, animals, and plants for miles around.

The situation was so bad, and the liabilities so clear, that these “Superphosphate” makers adopted a scrubbing process to contain most of this extremely toxic gas waste.  But they were still stuck with barrels and boatloads of poisonous and corrosive HydroFluoroSilicic Acid, which, because it’s so toxic and corrosive, had to be taken to expensive toxic waste disposal facilities.  (Aluminum manufacturers were similarly stuck with less corrosive, but still unmistakably toxic, Sodium Fluoride.)

What to do?   Then came the Deus ex Machina moment in which a doctor here, and a dentist there, and numerous self-interested businessmen “discovered” that Fluoride “prevents tooth decay.”  Actually, what people knew, and continue to know, is that large amounts of Fluoride will stain teeth, and in extreme situations, ruin the structure of bone.  The fact that Fluorides will accumulate in teeth is likely just the result of a natural coping mechanism.  I’m not able to determine that Fluoride either is or is not an essential micronutrient.  If it is, and you’re an American who even occasionally eats a prepared food that’s produced in a factory hooked-up to a Fluoridated water supply, you’re getting plenty of it.  If you brush your teeth with any Fluoridated toothpaste, which in the USA is all of ‘em, you’re also swallowing the necessary amount, if there is a necessary amount.

The single human individual most responsible for the Fluoridation of so many of our American municipal water supplies was the evil genius, and Freud nephew, Edward Bernays, the man who literally wrote the book on propaganda.  He found convincing people to act against their interests endlessly fascinating.  Another of his other well-known social coups was getting women to smoke cigarettes as a symbol of their liberation.  At a later date, he also had just about everyone convinced that municipal Fluoridation was a useful, progressive, healthful public good.  I myself can remember thinking so as a 20 year old.  I’ve since learned that cities are just dumping this raw scrubber effluent, in most cases directly out of tanker trucks fresh from fertilizer factories, directly into their water supplies and into their reservoirs; and that the studies that showed Fluoridation was problem-free were conducted on Sodium Fluoride rather than the HydroFluoroSilicic Acid that is actually being used.  It can form complexes in various GI tract conditions that are likely more toxic than plain Sodium Fluoride, and in any event entirely untested.

Like Bromide ions, Fluorides can displace Iodides by simple mass action, and there must be some evidence that this also goes on in biological systems.  Again, I must wonder how many of the conditions and diseases that increasingly plague us, are at least in part, attributable to chronic sub-clinical hypothyroidism.

With goings-on like these, people who become newly nutritionally aware can be forgiven for thinking that Big Food and Big Ag may be conspiring with Big Pharma to make us sick, the better to fleece us as we shell out for their expensive latter-day snake oils.  Let’s not go there.   We should instead presume that they really do see GMO’s as a way to feed more people, Bromates as a useful, economical dough conditioner, and Fluoridation as a key component in American dental health.  They’re just misguided and wrong.  Furthermore, the profit motive blinds people to the damage they may be doing.  So it functions just like a conspiracy without a corrupt core that can some day be exposed.  Fertilizer makers would incur tremendous costs, as opposed to tidy profits, if municipal fluoridation was curtailed.  Bakers would have to adjust their formulas and methods to get rid of Bromates, although many large commercial bakeries have already done it voluntarily.

Monsanto, with its proprietary seeds and designer herbicides, so invested in this Glyphosate, etc. business, has essentially made it illegal for commodity crop growers in the Midwest to save their own seeds.  They’re using informants and spies to make sure no one’s re-planting.  Even those who would plant and harvest non-proprietary, non-Glyphosate tolerant varieties will be caught up, because Monsanto’s patented plasmids, tiny vectors of genetic pollution, are so ubiquitous that their corn or soybeans would test positive for patented plasmid content, causing them to lose in the civil suits that Monsanto is guaranteed to bring.  Today, small seed companies are often forced to reject numerous lots of organic seed.  It can’t be certified because DNA testing shows that Monsanto’s patented plasmids are “already in there;” and these are from operations where there are likely some pretty serious efforts to isolate these seed crops, going on.  After all, the premium that these seed growers hope for depends on their being free of Monsanto’s patented plasmids and the patented genes they contain.  Small wonder that Monsanto’s shareholder meetings draw demonstrators carrying, “World’s Worst Corporation,” signs.  Their actions, and their business model, are ethically ugly; but I still doubt they’re actually trying to make us sick.  Now the question becomes, “Well, if you knew it was making people sick, would stop doing it?”  And the answer would be all about denial, and about personal attacks on those who question   My point is, we don’t need to invoke corruption or evil intentions when the profit motive can explain all we’re observing.

On the other hand, the Internet is rife with rumors about “Chemtrails.”  Without a doubt, people have, from time to time, been dumping various things out of aircraft and into the atmosphere.  Cloud seeding for the sake of rainfall is likely still going on, despite having been thoroughly discredited as far as being able to produce rains where people want rains.  Of course, we’ve all seen contrails, but “Chemtrails” are thought to be about the more “persistent” contrails for some geo-engineering purpose or some more nefarious purpose.  For example, some say that “they” are seeding the atmosphere with wave-conductive stuff, and that at some crucial moment all the HAARP stations around the world will set off some kind of super-pulse that will kill 80-90% of the people on Earth, allowing an elite remnant to re-start humanity.

Slightly less far-fetched is the idea that Monsanto is directing a spray of tiny Aluminum or Aluminum Oxide particles that will make agriculture and horticulture with plants not containing their patented Aluminum tolerance gene impossible.  I know from unhappy personal experience that they’d likely have to dump an amount of Aluminum beyond what could ever be carried aloft to accomplish that.   Back in the ‘80’s, I spread a large amount of sewage sludge from the city of Gardiner.  (I still think that in a perfect world, the wastes of the cities would be looped back to the land.)  When I looked at the analysis of this stuff before using it, it all looked good as far as toxic heavy metals, but there was no analysis for Aluminum, and I understood that there’d be significant Aluminum traces in it, because it was being used as a sizer at a local paper mill.  Despite Aluminum content we got a great crop of hay from that field, but also had a couple newborn lambs die from goiter, an acquired condition in which Aluminum binds up Iodine, setting up a fatal hypothyroidism.  Relevant here is the notion of how much Aluminum would have to be dropped from the air to render all the planet’s decent agricultural land useless.  Would it take a pound to destroy every acre?  How ‘bout ten pounds?  Now think about the number of acres of prime agricultural land just in the twelve Midwestern states.  Furthermore, there’s no Aluminum tolerance gene in development as far as I know, and I also don’t know whether a single gene could confer Aluminum tolerance, the way a single gene does confer Glyphosate tolerance.  It seems unlikely on its face.

However, that there is a HAARP program is a matter of public record.  It’s partly funded by the US Navy, and shrouded in the sort of secrecy that makes imaginations run wild and think the worst.  And Fluorides have always been tangled up in secrecy.  The first use of fluoridated water occurred in German concentration camps, where it was fed to prisoners to keep them docile.   The secrecy continued, and was doubtless exacerbated by, its use in Uranium enrichment and nuclear weapons development.  Also, the USA has long had a cheap food policy and our chronic coddling of super-phosphate makers obviously fits nicely with that.  Fluoride is also used extensively in the Aluminum industry, which has been a pet of the American establishment since Alcoa CEO Andrew Mellon was Woodrow Wilson’s Treasury Secretary.  All this adds up to a really bad vibe, the worst imaginable sort of karma.  The amount of Fluoride being added to American water supplies is an order of magnitude of two less than what was being fed to concentration camp inmates, but that it will effect numerous people significantly and all of us in subtle ways is beyond dispute.

As individuals, we can make those subtle effects a functional zero by taking an appropriate mineral supplement.  That would be kelp, and not only because it’s a great source of the indispensable Iodine.  It also naturally contains the balanced assortment of minerals that every biological cell has evolved needing.  We now inhabit a world full of novel stresses that are not part of our evolutionary heritage.  Optimum nutrition will help us, as biological entities, cope.

Can we obtain that optimum nutrition from diet alone?   No we cannot.  Even if we carefully, faithfully eat only nutritionally dense organic food, it will not suffice to give us the extra help we need in surviving these post-modern stresses.  We need a kelp supplement, big balanced doses of B vitamins, and massive amounts of anti-oxidants, both water-soluble and lipophilllic, and such other nutrients as it occurs to us may be beneficial in our individual cases.  And, as a way of improving the bad karma of out post-industrial world, we all need to advocate for a more sensible, real food, as opposed to cheap food, policy.  We need a movement for the sake of those who aren’t nutritionally aware like we are.

When we catch a glimpse of the sea, it seems to call to us.  I think it’s saying, “As the mother of all living, I still want to nourish you with Iodine, and balanced mineral nutrition, without those Fluorides.”