Cancer - - - Everybody’s Getting It

by Gary Kline

Hardly a week goes by that someone doesn’t come into Black Lake Organic that either has cancer, has been through some kind of cancer treatment or has a relative or friend that is in treatment, has been cured, is in remission or has died.  I’ve lost a number of friends and acquaintances in recent years.  You have to wonder if maybe you are next.  Do we just stand by with fingers crossed?  Do we simply keep our insurance paid up and count on winning the roulette of conventional medicine?

Arguably, what I’m seeing is related to my late stage in life, pushing 75.  But I don’t think that explains it.  Probably because I am in an aspect of the health business and promote healthy eating and living explains why I see and hear so much from people affected by cancer.  But, let’s face it, at least one in three Americans, at the present rate, either has or will have cancer at some time in their life.  If it’s not the person on your left, it’s the person on your right, or else it’s you.  But there are things other than conventional medicine or running down the street wearing pink that we can do about it.

I’ll concede that cancer isn’t the universal scourge it was seen as in my younger days, at least in some cases.  Unlike heart disease that is still somewhat ahead of cancer in numbers of people being killed, cancer has been with us at some significant level going well back into the 1800s, and I imagine much beyond that.  There’s a reason for it.  Kindly read on.

In this audacious article I propose to discuss some non-conventional approaches to cancer treatment and prevention.  I fully acknowledge that I am ill-qualified to speak on this subject and whatever I have to say is apt to be out-of-date and even entirely wrong.  My objective, however, is to stimulate thought and discussion along the lines of alternative approaches that seem to have much merit and which many people may be unaware of or not well-informed about.  In so doing we may get greater investigation into a range of effective preventative and treatment measures that reduce suffering and save lives.  This article concerns cancer causes and cures, but with an emphasis on prevention.  Essentially no money is spent on the prevention aspect by government or the medical establishment.

I know of three alternative approaches to addressing cancer that alone, or in combination, have sometimes successfully cured or arrested cancer development.  I should say two have clearly done so and the third surely has (or could) and offers tremendous promise, particularly in a preventative or protective role, and that’s the one I want to focus on, because it’s down my alley.

The first approach is medical marijuana.  I’m referring here not so much to smoking marijuana for pain relief, but to using oils and extracts or tinctures orally and salves topically.  I know these work rather miraculously in at least some cases.  You should look into them. I suggest starting with a YouTube item called Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story.  Herbal preparations are a related approach, but I know very little about their effectiveness.

Secondly is the Gerson Therapy, a rigorous and intense program of a basically vegetarian diet and juicing that has proven very successful in treating many types of cancer, particularly if begun in early stages and where it has not been preceded by chemotherapy or radiation.  The Gerson Institute also employs high core body temperature to treat cancer.  There are a number of books and dietary guides on the Gerson Therapy and I know from brief experience that a short period of vegetable juicing can work wonders for your overall health.  I should mention that I’ve previously written short articles on the above subjects.

The third approach has to do with correct food choices and eating nutrient-dense foods, both plant and animal- sourced, that have been raised on fully fertile and nutrient balanced soils.  This could be from farms or, more assuredly, from your own garden, provided it is correctly fertilized.  Yes, I know, I’ve spoken about this subject and the mineral message numerous times.  In this instance, however, I want to get very specific about the kinds of minerals involved and their documented effects on a number of diseases and on cancer in particular.  In so doing I plan to draw extensively on an old book, Soil, Grass and Cancer, written by Andre Voisin, a prominent French scientist and livestock (cows) farmer.  I first read this book in year 2000, again in 2007 and just finished my second rereading.  It had a big impact on my thinking.

Voisin’s book was published in 1959 and arguably is behind the times, but as with all classics, it is timeless in its continued relevance on basic principles and often-overlooked or nearly-forgotten truths.  As I proceed in my review and commentary on Soil, Grass and Cancer, I am haunted by another criticism, uttered by Steve Solomon in the bibliography section of his later editions of Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades, wherein he states that Voisin’s book is flawed.  In a recent email exchange I asked Steve in what part or aspect the book was flawed and he said he couldn’t recall the details.  I’ve since learned Soil, Grass and Cancer is out of print, but you can buy a used copy on Amazon for $235 to $1,600. The book is a free download on the Soil and Health Library website <>.

I want to quote Steve’s mini-review from the bibliography:

“The key unanswered questions of radical agriculture are proving that better soil makes better food and thus healthier people.  Though flawed and only partial, here is the proof [of that], primarily through relating variations in soil fertility to the laboratory and biological assays of food quality.  A wide-ranging, open-minded book.  Voisin is better known for his works on pasture management, but this effort is probably his most significant.”

Incidentally, I should mention that Solomon is no stranger to cancer.  His previous wife, Isabelle Moser, a psychologist and a naturopath, whom he writes about in The Intelligent Gardener, had cancer and beat it twice, once in her early 20s and again in her late 30s; but sadly, succumbed when it hit her a third time during a period of life stress.  There are a lot of things in this latest book of Solomon’s regarding soil mineralization for which I find strong correlations in Voisin. 

Voisin read widely and cited the scientific literature of the time from Europe and America (428 references) related not only to cancer but goiter, tuberculosis, diabetes and other diseases.  He particularly sought answers in the “dusts” or trace elements of the soil which were largely being overlooked in the medical world.  In America a chief investigator in the same area of research was Dr. William A. Albrecht, whom Voisin references several times.  It appears that he and Albrecht corresponded, and I suspect Albrecht got some of his research ideas relative to calcium, magnesium, potassium and other cation nutrient elements from Voisin’s writings.  I believe Albrecht answered some of Voisin’s quandaries.  Both of them had high regard for the instinctual capability of cows to know what they should and should not eat for their nutritional health.  Both believed in the necessity of animal studies and bioassays as the way to ascertain the efficacy of diet and nutrition health effects.  There is a short treatment (pp. 26-9) of studies by Albrecht on rabbits that is quite revelatory and convincing.

Here’s the way Voisin put it:  “The biological test with the animal, whether it is with rats, rabbits, guinea pigs or sheep, shows us at a glance the global influence of all the elements of the soil and of the plant on the animal organism.  - - - [It] gives us the influence of all the elements of the soil through the plant on the metabolism of the animal cell (p.33).”

Voisin’s book was one of my earliest encounters of specific information on nutrient mineral interactions involving those minerals that are antagonistic to one another at certain levels and those that are complementary or synergistic.  This is important to understand because two minerals that work together or are harmonious in a certain ratio could work against one or the other, with adverse health effects if that ratio is upset by one being much more concentrated relative to the other.  This suggests that there might be an ideal balance between all the soil minerals existing and acting in concert.  You can learn more about this from reading Trace Elements and Other Essential Nutrients (1995) by Dr. David L. Watts.

To give an example of the net effect of soil mineral interactions, Voisin states (p. 33), “The soil can contain sufficient available copper and yet we may have deficiencies in copper in the animal if the soil contains an excess of molybdenum, which is antagonistic to copper.”  Perhaps adding copper could correct the balance in such a case.

In terms of optimums and maximums, it is noteworthy that of nine “Heavy Metals” regulated for soil application by Washington State, five of them are recognized human and plant nutrients (cobalt, molybdenum, nickel, zinc and selenium) and a sixth, arsenic, is also needed in tiny amounts by humans.  That leaves cadmium, lead and mercury, not known to be nutrients at any level.

With respect to cancer, Voisin found that the most controlling element in soil and water is copper, but in conjunction with the levels of zinc, calcium, magnesium and molybdenum.  He noted that in all cases of cancer copper will be deficient in cells but high in the blood.  He found the incidence of cancer varied with soil moisture content, soil texture (clays, sands, etc.) and also amounts and kinds of organic matter, and particularly with the amount of liquid manures, sewage and urine (nitrates) in the water and soils, as well as various kinds of industrial pollutants.  Interestingly, where cancer was high in populations, goiter would be low and vice versa. 

The subtitle of Soil, Grass and Cancer is “Health of Animals and Men is linked to the mineral balance of the soil.”  Billions of dollars have been spent on the “War on Cancer” and we seem not to have gotten very far.  Charles Walters, in his forward to the 1999 edition, made the observation that “Not only is the war on cancer not being won, it isn’t even being fought.  To fight the battle, the first skirmish must involve the soil and the benediction of grass, nature’s powerful expression of life.  The dusts of the soil, so absolutely necessary for the life of each cell, are as sacred as the grass itself, and their shortage or marked imbalance telegraph the arrival of diseases of metabolic disturbance.”  Maybe we should start running in the cause of soil nutrient balancing for nutrient-dense food production.  It truly could alleviate a world of hurt.

Two gentlemen, H. M. Sinclair and Allan Fraser, wrote forwards to the 1959 edition.  All these men grappled with the correct use of different chemical fertilizers, based on what was understood in the 1950s.  Sinclair stated, “It is absolutely essential for the world’s economy that we use chemical fertilizers, and use them increasingly.  Pesticides and other agricultural advances are also essential.  But, as Sir Robert McCarrison and others stressed in the past, we must watch what we are doing.”  Sinclair opens with the statement:  “There is little doubt that human nutrition is the most important problem confronting mankind at the present time.  The problem is one of both quantity and quality.  - - - Intensive agriculture [and use of NPK fertilizers] removes elements from the soil - - - which may be naturally deficient in required elements, as Swiss soil is in iodine - - -  and chemical fertilizers often do not necessarily replace what is removed.  Further, as M. Voisin shows, they may create imbalances.”  Indeed, they have.  This is an extremely important yet barely recognized problem with modern, conventional agriculture causing much of our present malnutrition and metabolic diseases.

Voisin’s studies mainly involved chemical fertilization.  One of the first persons to foresee where toxic agricultural pesticides and chemical fertilizers were taking us was another great Frenchman and Nobel Prize winner, Alexis Carrel, writing in his 1933 book, Man the Unknown, which is also in the library.  Voisin  (p. 340) quotes Carrel as follows:

“Chemical fertilizers, by increasing the abundance of the crops without replacing all the exhausted elements of the soil, have indirectly contributed to change the nutritive value of cereals.”

Voisin points out this might as well apply to grass, carrots and peaches.  He goes on to say, “Today, indeed, three times as much of all the elements in the soil are being removed, but generally only four, or at most seven, of these elements are being replaced.”  He then alludes to “serious consequences of applying large quantities of nitrogenous fertilizers to a pasture over a period of fifteen years”, as discussed elsewhere in his book.  On page 339 he wrote, “What must never be forgotten is that diseases are created chiefly by destruction of the harmony existing between the soil elements.  The great tragedy of modern techniques is the complete disruption of this harmony by new cultural methods.”  By that Voisin means what is now called conventional agriculture.  His comments about harmony of the soil elements (nutrient minerals in balance), however, are prescient relative to the panacea, as I see it.  The problem is that I don’t know that Voisin or Carrel had an option to recommend or a clear route to achieving correct soil fertility without doing harm to soils, plants, animals and humans.  That solution awaited the work of Dr. Albrecht.  A good reference in that regard is Albrecht’s Soil Fertility and Animal Health (1958). 

Fraser concurs with Voisin in stating that “Without a doubt the health of both animals and men is linked to the mineral balance of the soil.  The realization of that fact is neither new nor specific to Voisin.”  Fraser cites the earlier research of McCarrison on rats (see pages 28-30) and [J. B.] Orr, who determined that the decline in livestock production throughout the British Empire was due mainly to removal and exhaustion of soil minerals.  However, he describes Voisin’s hypothesis as “frankly speculative” and “just a little too simple to be altogether true”.  Nevertheless, he states that “If, as Voisin suggests, the control and prevention of cancer lies in a better understanding of human nutrition, it would indeed be a notable advance” and open possibilities for the “very ‘protective’ medicine on which Voisin founds his hopes.”  Albrecht said there is only one story, meaning nutrition rules, and I side with Albrecht and Voisin.  Genetics, in my estimation, plays only a minor role in cancer.  That means we can do something meaningful about stopping it.

Voisin’s ways of thinking and speaking about the chemistry of life and soils is somewhat quaint and less sorted out than it would be a half century later, but his instincts were sound.  His views constituted what he called a scientific philosophy which “ - - - I have evolved for myself through watching my cows at grass [eating].  Grass reveals with startling clarity a truth which must never be forgotten:  The soil must be kept in good health if the animal is to remain in good health.  The same is true of Man.  Soil science is the foundation of protective medicine, the medicine of tomorrow” (p. 342).  I would say that we are, today, closing in on that tomorrow.

Voisin opens Chapter One by saying, “We should frequently meditate on the words of Ash Wednesday:  ‘Man, remember that you are dust and you will return to dust.’  This is not merely a religious and philosophical doctrine, but a great scientific truth which should be engraved above the entrance of every Faculty of Medicine throughout the world.  We might then better remember that our cells are made up of mineral elements [plus water, air, carbon and nitrogen non-minerals] - - - and if these ‘dusts’ have been wrongly assembled in plant, animal or human cells the result will be the imperfect functioning of the latter.”

Why grass?  Practically speaking, grass is at the bottom or beginning of the food chain and the most widespread organism and food source on land.  As he says, “Thanks to grass and the grazing animals, we will be able to get a splendid ‘biochemical photograph’ of the soil.”  On page 339 he elaborates that this shows “ - - - clearly that the mineral elements of the soil control cell metabolism in the animal and consequently also the latter’s vigor and health.  - - - the ‘dusts’ of the soil likewise control the proper functioning of the cells in Man.”  Far better than any man or laboratory, cows are exquisite analytical machines able to instantly analyze and select the nutrition necessary to their prime health.  Unless forced to, the cow will not eat anything harmful or inferior for its well-being, and will register any wrong or poor fodder in its meat, milk and various observable disease conditions.  Those conditions may generally be reversible if the animals are offered quality, nutrient-dense fodder and even raw minerals.  I have written other articles on this aspect.

Quality grass requires sulfur to make certain proteins and carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A, essential in quality milk and in cancer and goiter prevention.  In some cases nitrogen in the right form and amount is required to make amino acids, complete proteins and enzymes in plants.  In other cases, especially using liquid manures and urine or sewage, an imbalance of nitrogen to potassium or other minerals can result in nitrate poisoning via drinking water.  In ecological farming where nutrient balance is achieved (usually on the basis of soil testing) and with mineral augmentation, nitrogen additions are generally not needed; whereas, in chemical farming nitrogen is the main or only fertilizing nutrient used, to the eventual severe detriment of the soil, preceded by inferior nutritional content of crops.  Cancer is what convenience has brought us.

Amino acids are precursors to proteins.  On page 122 Voisin explains:  “Mineral elements in the soil determine the percentage of the various amino-acids in the nitrogenous fraction of plants.  - - - It may be supposed, therefore, that the ‘dusts’ of the soil, in modifying the amino-acid composition of vegetable foodstuffs, affect specific resistance of the organism to bacteria as well as to parasitic worms.”  Here, Voisin is describing the operative principle of nutritional pest control.

Copper plays a role in certain diseases (and their cure) other than cancer.  In Chapter Eight Voisin discusses the case of the Florida Everglades where “ - - - livestock growing was rendered very difficult by frequent bone fractures, which were observed in cattle grazing these Everglade pastures.  These animals showed all the signs of rickets.  - - - We can say simply that ordinary rickets is due to an insufficient deposit of phosphorus and (or) calcium in the bone cells because an insufficient amount of these two building materials is available for them.  But the same rickets is produced in the presence of sufficient quantities of phosphorus and calcium which cannot be constructed and ‘organized’ because of disturbance in the enzyme mechanism which is controlled by copper.  Here we find again the notion of a trace element as a factor in the construction of living organic matter” (p. 48).

It was found in Florida that application of about five pounds of copper sulfate per acre of pastureland enabled raising healthy cattle, and Voisin cites the case of a calf with fractured shoulder blades and a sunken vertebrae column being healed after six months on an oral feeding program of three grams of copper sulfate every ten days.  But sometimes the pasture applications did not work owing to excessive molybdenum in the soil.  Generally speaking, molybdenum is not a problem and is needed in only ounces per acre.  Azomite is a good source of molybdenum and many other trace elements.  As previously mentioned, Voisin claimed that in every case of cancer the copper levels in the blood were abnormally high.  In cows, and presumably human mothers, milk is made somehow from the blood.  Milk, according to Voisin (p. 56), is very poor in copper and hard to increase by consuming copper-rich foods.  On the other hand, molybdenum levels are easily raised in milk of cows that are raised on molybdenum-rich pasture grass, and there could be a point beyond which this is detrimental to the cow and its offspring.  Such conditions in some pastures cause diarrhea.  However, giving them copper orally and applying it to the pastures usually will alleviate the problem.  Remember this point. 

Grass tetany is an illness or disease in cows evidently caused by several things, according to Voisin (p. 59), but most commonly by magnesium deficiency created by excess potassium in the soil or heavy potassium fertilization.  From eating the grass on these magnesium-deficient soils, the cow gets sudden paralysis of its respiratory system.  Grass tetany is also commonly known as ‘grass staggers’ relating to the animal being unable to walk or stand normally.  “The most effective treatment of grass tetany is an intravenous injection of magnesium salt [Epsom salt?] to the affected animal.  This has results as spectacular as [giving] calcium [to cure] milk fever” (p. 61). Dr. Albrecht advises against people ingesting Epsom salt.  We know that cancer produces acidity in the body and that to stave off cancer we need to achieve and maintain an alkaline body (blood?) pH [around 7.4].  Therefore, eating plenty of alkaline-producing foods obviously is a good practice.

Voisin goes on to say (p. 63), “In examining the following chapters [12 and 13] the possible (if not probable) role of magnesium in the two most serious diseases of civilization [cancer and thrombosis], we will better grasp the imperative necessity of concentrating on the causes [prevention] and not the consequences [treatment].”  He goes on to point out that white flour has twice the potassium to magnesium ratio as whole meal flour.

Now we have a second mineral deficiency associated with cancer and also with heart disease.  My younger brother recently died of a heart attack. On a personal note, in 2003 I had heart bypass surgery for blocked arteries and was prescribed statin drugs, which I soon got off from.  As it turned out, my body had built its own detours (bypasses?) around the blockages.  I now occasionally take magnesium citrate for my heart and other health conditions.  Maybe I will escape cancer as a bonus.  Zinc is supposed to counter prostate cancer and I now take a zinc supplement.

Despite the above suggestion that cancer may be caused by magnesium deficiency and use of excessive potassium fertilizer (including raw manure), Voisin thought it was not that simple.  On page 68 he cites a 1956 study that connected magnesium deficiency to so-called “purified” water taken below sewage treatment discharges - - - “But, I believe the outstanding discovery of properdine reveals in a new light the action of magnesium in cancer.”  He notes that properdine is active only in the presence of magnesium, and he states that “Properdine plays a part in the composition of what is known as the ‘properdine system’, thanks to which the human or animal organism possesses a non-specific power of resistance against attacks by infectious agents.  Essential to the functioning of this system are the magnesium ions, without whose presence it is completely inactive.”  So, Voisin is saying magnesium can act to prevent cancer, but not alone, and does so by helping to instill immunity against disease agents .  However, the reference to properdine may have been a false lead and it evidently fell by the wayside.

The following footnote from page 71 gives a broader but better picture of mineral interactions and the physiological effects they can produce. 

“In the interests of simplicity, the potassium/magnesium ratio has been singled out, but it must not be forgotten that this equilibrium is dependent on many other equilibria, among them the calcium/magnesium ratio.  Many workers have shown that a ration very rich in calcium can prevent the absorption of magnesium.  Another important ratio is that of potassium/sodium, which plays a fundamental part in cardiac and vascular diseases.  Here again, the golden rule of equilibrium [balance] holds.  Too high a concentration of potassium has a paralyzing effect on the myocardium; inversely, excess sodium, which creates an indirect deficiency of potassium, causes lesions of the myocardium  - - - [However] The fundamental role of potassium in muscular metabolism in general should be borne in mind.”  It should be borne in mind that sodium is an essential nutrient that may be provided in certain foods, but otherwise is best provided using genuine sea salt.  I’ve also written on that subject.  I refer you to Salt Your Way to Health by David Brownstein, M.D. (2006).

Another nutrient mineral of importance to health is manganese.  Manganese and magnesium are not to be confused.  We know that a single atom of magnesium lies at the heart of chlorophyll, and thus of photosynthesis, which powers all life, ultimately.  It is also true that a single atom of manganese makes the difference between whether a seed will or will not germinate.  Likewise, manganese can spell the difference in whether a cow produces healthy calves, is sterile or produces weak, sickly or dead calves.  (See page 87)

Voisin cites studies (pp. 85-8) at the University of Wisconsin where known herds in certain districts consistently produced sterile cows, both male and female.  It was found that these herds correlated to soils that were low in manganese and thus produced fodder very low in manganese content.  Voisin describes a 1946 study and its outcomes as follows:

“Two groups of female calves were raised on well-balanced and identical rations, except that one of these rations was composed of fodder and grains coming from one of the districts deficient in manganese and that of the other group received the same foods produced in normal districts.  - - - The heifers brought up on rations from the districts poor in manganese calved before time or produced dead or very weak calves, while those on rations suitable from the point of view of manganese calved normally, giving healthy calves.  - - - bulls raised on the ration poor in manganese gave a sperm of very low quality.  [Ominously, the sperm count of American men has been going down steadily for many years.]  In both cases the troubles disappeared when the rations of fodder and grains of the soils poor in manganese was replaced by those coming from normal soils.”

Just as significantly, in this Wisconsin study is the fact that no difference could be seen visually between the normal and the defective cows until they gave birth.  This is a very revelatory lesson as Voisin points out.  “The above experience of the University of Wisconsin is a very good illustration of what at [first] sight appears a paradox and is yet a truth – animals [as with people] which appear well may be in a condition of latent ill-health.  - - - Here, then, is a typical example of the ‘subtle’ influence of a soil element on the metabolism of the reproductive cells only, while the metabolism of all the other cells remains intact.  - - - Here were apparently healthy animals with disease symptoms unrecognized.”  Voisin then quotes Dr. Albrecht as follows:

“The greatest physiological burden that a cow endures is that of reproduction.  The first injurious action resulting from soil deficiencies will make itself felt in the processes of reproduction of the cow.”

These and other experiments of the era warrant applying the findings to humans, which Voisin does in quoting (p. 89) a Dean Saunders of the California School of Medicine.  In parallel to the concept of “Intercepted Heredity” put forward by the great Dr. Weston A. Price, Saunders “emphasized that the absence of certain elements from the diet of the mother during pregnancy was the cause of many malformations occurring in children.”  Here’s the full quotation of Saunders:

“Almost all the malformations in Man have been reproduced in laboratory experiments with rats by altering the mother’s diet during pregnancy.  A diet deficient in folic acid produced virtually all known types of abnormality in the hearts, arteries and veins of baby rats.  There is almost universal failure to appreciate that most defects and malformations in [human] children are not mutations resulting from damage to the genes which do determine potential growth of facial and other dimensions of the child’s physical appearance.  However, even this control is only potential, and the potentiality may fail to express itself due to nutritional, endocrine, toxic and other disorders.  Billions of dollars are being poured into funds purporting to research the possibilities of alleviating an ever-growing list of conditions which might never have existed, had good nutrition been the national heritage.”  How much of present day birth defects are due to preventable malnutrition from mineral deficiencies? 

So, we have nature (genetics) and nurture (nutrition, etc.), but we also have the profound effects of nutrition on genetics, for better or worse.  But it all must come back to the soil and the balancing of its fertility.  Meanwhile, our heritage deteriorates ever more rapidly.

Voisin thus concludes (p. 37):  “Therefore, if our farming methods are injurious to the soil, we injure as well the animal and human organism, because we create therein proteins of a pathological character [incomplete?] which are manifested in the cell to be attacked by bacterial or virus infections.  Further, these deranged cells age more rapidly or may cause the appearance of these [two] diseases of metabolism which are called cancer or [and] thrombosis.”

I mentioned that zinc is needed to counter prostate cancer.  It also counters diabetes, and I am technically diabetic.  The mechanism of diabetes is complicated to understand, but Voisin gives a good explanation (p. 107):  “Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is characterized by the incapacity of the tissues to oxidize carbohydrates at the normal speed.  One of the principal causes of this disorder is the insufficient secretion of insulin [a hormone] by the pancreas.  As a result, excessive amounts of sugar are found in the blood (hyperglycemia).  In normal healthy people an increase in the glucose content of the blood has a stimulating effect on the pancreas, which secretes larger quantities of insulin.”  On page 109 he explains, “Zinc is therefore the basic element of the automatic device which retains or [inversely] liberates insulin, thus regulating the sugar content of blood.”

Returning to the subject of cancer of the prostate gland, Voisin explains (p. 114) the general situation:  “This is an organ which ages prematurely in Man and may be considered as a sign of the over-rapid wearing out of his cells.  Autopsy has confirmed that in 25% of men over sixty years of age the prostate is no longer normal and is in a pre-cancerous state.  This means that the metabolism of the cells of the prostate gland in these men is no longer normal, - - - moreover the tissues of a cancerous prostate always suffer from zinc impoverishment.”

But what does Voisin mean by “normal”?  If only 25% of men over 60 are abnormal, are the other 75% normal?  Why would they be normal if normally there is over-rapid wearing out of cells of the prostate?  Perhaps such over-rapid or premature aging occurs only in cases of poor diet, zinc deficiency in soils and food, or some kind of toxicity.  Why would nature design a body with just one part designed to wear out sooner than needed for sustained normal functioning and longevity?  In any case, men are wise to assure they get enough zinc in their food or from zinc supplements.  I don’t know that running in marathons to cure prostate cancer will help much.

Voisin (pp. 115-6) adds these thoughts:  “The disturbance in zinc metabolism may have its origin in zinc not being present in the soil in optimum quantity.  It may equally be due to the imbalance of zinc and its antagonists, at least two of which, calcium and copper, are known to us.  - - - There is always hope of escaping cancer or thrombosis, but no one can escape senescence of his cells.  All that one can hope to do is to retard the process.”  Once again, we have the answer of healthy life being to put the soil from which we get our foods into an ideal nutrient mineral balance.  It is important to also point out that the waters of the ocean are nearly everywhere already in such a mineral balance and seafood therefore comes in an already balanced, nutrient-dense form.  This would include seaweed, shellfish and fish.  For more on mineral balance in ocean waters, see my article entitled “Great Salt Lake - - - It’s The Minerals” at  Now we can understand why primitive Eskimos were the healthiest people of our species.  Maybe one actually can escape abnormal senescence of his (or her) cells with the right diet, to include clean, mineralized water, and a lifetime of healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.  That is the essence of, or identical to, protective medicine.  Everyone knows what the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, said on this subject, i.e., “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”  The corollary is bad food steals your health.

Another way in which soil nutrient elements (or ions) interact is in the internal chemistry or physiology of plants where certain needed nutrients in short supply are substituted for by close chemical relatives, generally with less than optimal consequences for the proper growth and health of the plant or crop.  Perhaps a good analogy would be using Elmer’s Glue where Super Glue is called for.  The following item is taken from Electrolytes: The Spark of Life (1994, 1998) by Gillian Martlew, N.D.:

“In his extensive study of the soils and minerals which began in the 1920’s, Dr. G. H. Earp-Thomas concluded that when plants are starving, they substitute other elements from the soil.  [To illustrate] If lime [calcium or CaO] or potash [K2O] is lacking in the soil, or if present in a form nature cannot use, she may substitute, as food for the plant, the minerals magnesium and soda [sodium].  Or she may substitute in the place of sulfur, toxic levels of selenium.  When the soil is deficient in some particular element and there are no others to substitute, the plants will grow to maturity bearing only a fraction of that mineral.”

It is reasonable to presume that plants in that latter case, although reaching maturity, are impaired or sub-par and their seeds will be, to some extent, weakened or fall short of their full growth, vigor and health potential.  We know from the famous plant nutrition studies conducted by Dr. Firman Bear in the 1940’s, showing a wide range of mineral content from crops grown in various regions and soils around the U.S., that those minerals in vegetables can vary as much as 100 to 1, and yet the extreme of both examples of a carrot, for instance, will look almost identical (see pages 9-11 in Martlew).

Also in Martlew’s book (p. 14) is this discussion about the formation of proteins:  “Specific trace minerals enable plants to produce protein.  Henry Shroeder wrote in his book, The Trace Elements and Man (1973), molybdenum is required by legumes for it is an essential element for the growth of nitrogen-fixing bacteria and their roots [nodules].  These bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen to soluble nitrates which are absorbed by the plants to synthesize proteins.  - - - The protein content of food is high or low in about the same proportion as the minerals.  This is because just about all [the kinds] of minerals are used in the amino acid enzymes which in turn are catalysts helping to make all the protein compounds.”

It is Martlew’s experience and contention that “ - - - all physiological causes of disease can be related to mineral and electrolyte imbalance somewhere in their inception and development.”  If true, think of what that says about the role of trace elements (and secondary and primary nutrient elements) or Voisin’s “dusts” in human health and our present national health crisis and near-bankrupt financial situation from going down the wrong road in conventional medicine, largely in willful ignorance of nutrition’s predominant role.

Here is Martlew’s assessment of our present situation (c. 1995), how we got here and what we do about it:

“Since the 1950’s the death rates from cancer and degenerative diseases have skyrocketed.  The establishment of pervasive chemical farming and the availability of cheap refined and processed foods were the genesis of today’s overwhelming occurrence of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  They also mark the point where the already diminishing trace minerals almost vanished from our diets [and have yet to come back].”  (See page 27).

Martlew continues (p. 18):

“The typical American menu and processed [treated] water supplies [using chlorine and fluorine?] contribute marginal amounts of trace elements and carry toxic minerals like lead, cadmium and mercury along with toxic chemicals [compounds].  The resulting mineral deficiencies and toxic overload short-circuit the normal workings of the brain and cause subclinical symptoms of reduced mental ability [senior moments?].”

Conventional organic gardening and farming methods are not really up to the task of fixing our situation, as Martlew points out:  “Organically grown crops have the advantage over their commercial [conventional] counterparts.  Their [toxic] chemical content is much lower and they are grown without artificial fertilizers, the acidity of which can prevent the uptake of minerals.  But soils are running out of minerals and organic crops only contain the elements that are present in the earth; [and] compost only recycles what is already there.  - - - Until farmers re-mineralize their land, we will have to supplement our minerals, eat the best food we can find [or grow?], and drink unpolluted spring or mineral water – that is, if we want to be healthy.  All the medicines or vitamin supplements in the world are not going to do it for us.”  (See page 20).

One of the early evils organicists campaigned against was synthetic (“chemical” or artificial) fertilizers, and particularly super-phosphate.  Super-phospate is made by treating natural rock phosphate with sulfuric acid then removing the acid to recover the concentrated phosphorus to sell as fertilizer.  Organic growers believed that much of the acidity wound up going into the soil and killing off soil life, eating up organic matter and degrading the soil generally.  That may not have been the actual problem.  The problem may be cadmium and the solution may be simply supplying zinc to bring those two elements into harmony.  Here’s some really eye-opening information about cadmium and rock phosphate according to Electrolytes: The Spark of Life (p. 11).

“Cadmium accumulates in the kidneys, arteries and liver. According to the research cited by Dr. Henry Shroeder, it interferes with enzyme systems requiring zinc and, in some cases, can cause high blood pressure, which may lead to stroke or heart attack.  - - - If enough zinc is present in the soil it stops the plants taking cadmium up no matter how high the cadmium in the soil or fertilizer, and in turn the zinc in the plants stops us [from] holding on to cadmium in the body.  More often than not though zinc is unavailable to prevent either the plants or us [from] accumulating toxic cadmium.”

Maybe this kind of solution applies to other (or all) toxic heavy metals.  While all these mineral interactions appear complex, this again suggests a universal balance of all nutrient elements may exist for us to discover and work out.  If it could happen or exist in the ocean, maybe it can happen on our agricultural lands.

Incidentally, another good way to remove toxicants (including radioactive particles) from the body is to take activated charcoal (or maybe high quality biochar).  I can testify that it helped me tremendously.  The Japanese are using charcoal to clean up the Fukushima nuclear disaster and the Russians used boron to tamp down the radiation at Chernobyl, while people here took potassium iodide and liquid copper to counteract radioactivity fallout which could produce cancer.   

There is considerably more that could be reported on from Voisin’s book.  There is substantial information about goiter and tuberculosis, and occasional references to thyroid diseases and to brucellosis and other diseases of cows, nearly all of which come down to a mineral deficiency or imbalance or to vitamin deficiencies.  However, my focus is on cancer and following a discussion of brucellosis I want to limit discussion mainly to that aspect in the remainder of this article.

Brucellosis (a.k.a. Bang’s Disease) is a disease of cows often resulting in the aborting of calves.  It has a counterpart in humans called undulant fever.  While not related to cancer, I want to go into Voisin’s discussion of it (pp. 125-7) because of the broader, relevant principles illustrated in his discussion of this disease.  Brucellosis formerly was thought to be an infectious disease caused by a species of bacteria.  This often resulted in whole herds being eradicated to “control” the spread of the disease.  Dr. Albrecht and associates at the University of Missouri proved it was not a contagious disease, but due to nutrient mineral deficiencies. 

A researcher in the University of Wisconsin experiments mentioned earlier made the following statement:

“We found numerous abortions in cows fed on fodders and grains produced on soils deficient in manganese, but no micro-organism of brucellosis was found in the fetus of the cow, which indicates that these abortions were not due to this epizootic [bacterial] disease.”

However, another study of brucellosis cows found reduced concentrations of manganese, copper and cobalt in the blood and pituitary gland.  But putting manganese in the feed had no effect, and thus the Wisconsin researchers concluded that brucellosis must not be due to nutritional deficiency.  In contrast, feeding studies at the University of Missouri on brucellosis-affected cows showed that when given feed produced on soils receiving suitable trace elements, including manganese, they recovered and eventually the entire herd of cows became brucellosis free.  Here’s how Voisin summarized those study results: 

“All the calves, which were born after their parents had received food produced on the supplemented soil, were absolutely free from the Bang’s bacillus, although being continually in contact with infected animals.  Having arrived at adult age, the females calved without accident.  Furthermore, the health of the group receiving this food coming from the supplemented soil had its health restored at the end of a certain time, the percentage of normal calvings increased considerably and production of milk increased.”

Voisin quotes Albrecht as concluding “Brucellosis is not an infectious disease in the strict sense of the word, but in fact is a deficiency disease.”  Somewhat contradictorily, Voisin adds:  “Brucellosis, as [in] every infectious disease, is a biological accident due to a disturbance of the metabolism of the cells, which has finally deranged the system of defense enzymes.”  Quoting further, “This shows that it is not the same thing to apply a trace element to the animal directly in the form of a mineral salt [although it sometimes works] or indirectly through the intermediary of the plant.  - - - this trace element [manganese] exercises a profound action on the proteins of the plant; but besides, using the expression of Albrecht, the trace element of the soil is organized by the plant.  - - - The mineral elements of the soil are, in fact, transformed by the plant into organic compounds which have a dietetic value very different from the same element under its [simpler] mineral form.”

Finally, “Returning to grass, there exists in it chelates of copper much more effective than copper sulfate, which, however, as  we have seen, is effective when added in this form to the ration.  - - - These experiments of the University of Missouri confirm that a mineral element of the soil contributes, in the cell of the animal, to the creation of defense enzymes capable of resisting bacterial attack.”  In other words, the pathogen will not be evident if the animal (or human) eats nutrient-dense food.  It follows that, in general, we are ahead to get our mineral nutrients in organic form from our foods grown on fully fertilized soils.  However, taking a simple mineral (usually dissolved in water or juice) can also benefit the body to a lesser degree.  Let it no longer be said that ingesting minerals does no good.  It could do a lot.

A healthy body (cells) naturally produces hydrogen peroxide (H202) which would be extremely damaging except that an enzyme, catalase, produced in the liver, normally degrades all of it.  In the cases of goiter and cancer, however, this does not happen .  Enzymes are a form of protein and generally (if not always) are built around a mineral co-factor which energizes them.  One theory is (or was) that cancer was “caused” by a virus.  As Voisin describes (pp. 141-2), “- - - catalase [is] the fundamental defense enzyme.  - - - The mineral elements in the soil [taken up by plant roots], particularly the trace elements, control the defense enzymes - - - a slight variation in the content of a trace element in the soil is sufficient to reduce the capacity of the animal or human organism to resist microbial attacks. - - - The function of catalase in the cell is to destroy immediately any hydrogen peroxide (oxidized water) that may form there - - - if there is a deficiency of catalase, therefore, the hydrogen peroxide is able to exercise its very serious toxic effects on the cell.”

Catalase is similar chemically to hemoglobin that carries oxygen to cells throughout the body.  According to Voisin (pp. 143-5), “Since iron enters into the composition of the heme which forms the co-enzyme of catalase, a deficiency of this metal [iron] can reduce the activity of catalase - - - [However, there is an] indirect deficiency resulting from the fact that - - - copper is indispensible to the synthesis of the heme.”  Adding iron alone does not correct the problem.

Voisin then cites an experiment with rats suffering from copper deficiency as a result of being fed cow’s milk.  “ - - - a diet deficient in copper progressively diminishes the activity of blood catalase, reducing it to at least half normal.  If the diet is supplemented with copper, blood catalase activity increases - - - [in] less than three weeks after copper supplements were added to the ration, the activity of the catalase in the blood was back to normal.”

Regarding the matter of the copper deficiency in milk fed to the rats in the above experiment, Voisin (p. 152) is critical of researchers, saying:  “ - - - it shows the mistakes that biologists, veterinarians and doctors can make by overlooking (as is almost always the case) the agronomic and pedological origin of the foodstuffs used in their experiments or prescribed for their patients.”  In one experiment powdered milk dissolved in town (treated) water was used.  In a second experiment evaporated milk diluted in water was used.  “Not a single word is said about the nature of the liquid milk - - -.  What were the cows fed on that produced the milk, [was it] grass, beer, silage, [etc.] - - -?  What kind of soil did the grass grow on that provided the food for the cows that produced that milk?”  Cat nutrition studies in the 1930’s proved that cooked milk caused many deformities and eventual reproductive failure.  See Pottenger’s Cats (1983 and 1985).

Evidently, cancer creates and requires an anaerobic environment.  Indeed, according to another source, two-time Nobel Prize recipient for Medicine, Dr. Otto Warburg, once “ - - - talked about how a cancer cell was a fermenting cell, and a healthy cell was an oxidizing cell.  He went so far as to prove that cancer can not grow in a high oxygen environment.”  Warburg also stated: “Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes, but there is only one prime cause. Summary:  The prime cause of cancer is the replacement of normal oxygen respiration of body cells by an anaerobic cell respiration.”  See O2Xygen Therapies (1988) by Ed McCabe (pp. 11 and 81).  It follows that getting oxygen to the cancerous area or tumor should act to stop it.  This is how Voisin describes it (pp. 215-6), “The cell whose normal respiration mechanism has broken down beyond repair will try, in order to survive, to create a different method of respiration, ‘lactic respiration’ [which goes on in the absence of oxygen supply and/or CO2 build up, as I understand it].  - - - in the cancer patient, synthesis of the hemes that make up many respiratory enzymes, catalase and cytochrome oxidase in particular, is disturbed. - - - Deficiency of copper likewise disturbs heme synthesis, this being expressed, for example, in a deficiency of catalase or cytochrome oxidase.”  On page 223, Voisin explains that in some quarters fermentation is regarded as “anaerobic respiration.”  The question is how does the role of minerals tie into the aerobic versus anaerobic condition?

It would seem that hydrogen peroxide injections in the vicinity of the tumors could kill cancer cells, but Voisin states (p. 220) that this does not work because “- - - the blood that irrigates the tumor still contains sufficient catalase to destroy fairly rapidly the hydrogen peroxide injected.”  However, one researcher applied an optimum proportion of hydrogen peroxide to the drinking water of rats suffering from adeno-carcinoma tumors and got a 50 to 60% cure (see p. 221).  Indeed, there is a whole therapy based on hydrogen peroxide (see The One Minute Cure: The Secret to Healing Virtually All Diseases (2008) by Madison Cavanaugh.  Also see Hydrogen Peroxide: Medical Miracle (1990 and 1996) by William Campbell Douglas, M.D.

This catalase/hydrogen peroxide battle has far reaching involvement.  According to Voisin (p. 222), “Radio-active radiation, like x-rays [and from atomic bomb blasts] destroys cells by creating in them large quantities of hydrogen peroxide.  The result is carcinogenic effects, even death.”  He discusses the case where the Bikini Island atom bomb test provoked a response in local algae wherein “their cells contained six times more catalase than normal algae - - - that made possible the destruction of the excess hydrogen peroxide created by the excess radio-activity in the water. It is known, thanks to grass [somehow], that certain deficiencies in the soil and in the diet upset the metabolism of animal cells and give rise to a low catalase content in these cells.”

Here’s where the research and evidence regarding mineral deficiencies. imbalances and other soil characteristics gets really compelling as relates to population demographics and disease incidence (epidemiology).  Keep in mind that these studies are from as far back as the 1800s to the 1950s, when supermarkets did not exist and people did not move around so much and tended to eat mainly locally grown food or from their own gardens.  The first two studies are from Wales and Holland.

As far back as 1868, it was reported to the Medical Society of London that it was possible that the soil exerts some influence on the frequency of cancer (see p. 287).  The same researcher, Haviland, in 1899, “- - - concluded that districts with high cancer mortality coincide with low-lying clay areas - - - traversed by large rivers which seasonally flood the surrounding areas.  Elevated districts, which are the sources of these rivers, have low cancer mortalities.  Chalk [calcareous or lime] countries are remarkably free from cancer.  Water partings of catchment basins where hard rocks occur, especially limestone, also have low cancer mortalities. - - - Areas above the flood line have lower cancer frequencies than areas immediately bordering the rivers.”

Next, according to Voisin (pp. 288-90), “Recent statistics have confirmed Haviland’s observations of the frequency of cancer in certain parts of North Wales, with the additional detail that the relationship is particularly evident in the case of stomach cancer.”  In 1951 and 1952, Legon, a researcher in London, using modern statistical methods, prepared a map showing the accumulation (locations and densities) of stomach cancer mortalities.  This map was overlaid with a map of ignition loss (burning of organic matter) of cultivated soils.  The map density shadings lined up almost perfectly.  More will be said later about ignition loss and the connection to soil minerals.

Under the heading (p. 290) of “High content of un-decomposed organic matter in the soil favors cancer”, Voisin wrote, “The soil of the vegetable gardens of people dying from stomach cancer was studied, particularly if they had lived in the same house for twenty to thirty years.  The organic matter content of such soil [as] measured by ignition - - - shows very clearly that mortality from stomach cancer increases as the organic content of the soil in the vegetable garden rises.

Wow!  This is profoundly important, depending, in part, on the type or nature of the organic matter.  However, later measurements in 1955 revealed strangely that “maximum frequency of stomach cancer occurred not for a maximum, but for an optimum, loss on ignition, this optimum varying with the nature of the soil; the loss on ignition most favorable [conducive] to stomach cancer was associated with a soil organic carbon content of 25 to 40 parts per thousand [2.5 to 4%] (this being an average content).”  Note:  Carbon is about 50% of dried plant matter, i.e. organic matter.  Different kinds and stages of organic matter decay might explain this seeming incongruity in regard to average versus maximum organic matter and cancer frequency. 

In footnotes on page 294, Voisin somewhat clarifies the form of organic matter under discussion:  “Loss of a soil on ignition can be due to humidity and to calcium carbonate, as well as to organic substances.  - - - Un-decomposed organic matter of peat and other analogous soils is not to be confused with humus. The rate of decomposition of organic matter and its transformation to humus depends on many factors: aeration of the soil, calcium content, temperature, etc.  The more favorable the soil conditions to development of the micro-flora and micro-fauna, the more rapid the decomposition [but also the build-up of complex, stable organic molecules as the end stage of said decomposition within the soil].  Voisin further explains (p. 290 and 291), “The soils particularly concerned were peat and badly aerated soils [naturally of low fertility].  It is a well-known fact that soils rich in un-decomposed organic matter [no longer decomposable?], such as peat soils and clays subject to frequent flooding [washed out?] fix [immobilize] copper in a form non-assimilable for plants.- - - Legon [the researcher] assumed that it was a deficiency (direct or indirect) of copper in the soil that was the cause of the greater frequency of stomach cancer in these areas of North Wales.  This point of view was to be confirmed by the study of a soil enzyme.”  That enzyme is invertase.  Remember that all (or nearly all) enzymes have a mineral co-factor without which they could not function.

Evidently, soil microbes are responsible for creating invertase in the process of decomposing organic matter.  “It appeared that the soils on which stomach cancer was most frequently recorded had very high invertase activity. - - - My own [Voisin’s] hypothesis is as follows:  invertase has the well-known property of reducing cupric salt [such as copper sulfate] to cuprous salts, the latter apparently being non-assimilable by plants.”  Thus, the copper may be present, but “locked–up”.

Another causative factor is excessive zinc, as explained on page 292.  “Garden soils where the frequency of stomach cancer is particularly high have a zinc content three times greater than that of neighboring soils where the frequency of this type of cancer is normal.”  Thus, where zinc is excessive, the corrective action may involve the addition of copper.  High zinc is also antagonistic to phosphate and vice-versa.

Next is the cancer and soils correlation study done in the 1950s for Holland.  According to Voisin (pp. 297-9), this was a more refined study involving inhabitants above 50 years of age.  In contrast with the Wales study, this study involved all types of cancer on essentially all types of soil (16 classes) using data collected from 1900 to 1940.  The striking thing is that the findings were exactly the same for Holland as for Wales.  To quote Voisin, “Among the categories that obviously favor cancer [having the most mortalities] are heavy soils of the type found in Wales.  On sandy soils, cancer mortality is generally low. - - - It should be remembered that peat or clay soils rich in un-decomposed organic matter cause copper deficiencies, while such deficiencies are rather rare on sandy soils as shown by grass.”

Tables of the soil types and their incidences are given on pages 298 and 300, with the latter regrouped into seven soil types, with reclaimed peat soils being worst and loess and other soils rich in lime having the lowest incidences of mortalities.  On page 301, Voisin restates the findings:  “To me, the remarkable fact is that in Holland and in Wales it is exactly the same types of soil that favor cancer: namely heavy soils, badly aerated and rich in un-decomposed organic matter, which as is known from grass, give rise to copper deficiency.”

I confess that parts of these findings seem illogical to me in that clays often are most fertile and sands least fertile (except for peat and muck soils), but I suspect this has more to do with terminology than actual differences compared to what is seen in soil nutrient tests.  A good example is Voisin’s use of the term “un-decomposed organic matter”, which I think of as raw or freshly incorporated and unrotted plant material, but which Voisin obviously applies to organic matter that has decomposed about as far as it can [or what he may mean is that the soil conditions i.e. lack of oxygen, lack of edible minerals for microbes, too much water, etc. are not conducive to further breakdown of the organic matter].  Whatever the explanation, the correlations are difficult to deny and the fact of corresponding copper deficiencies is the major bottom line in relation to causing cancer, taking into account the contributing factors revealed above.

I am going to skip over two chapters dealing with the correlation of cancer to the sources of water for drinking (well water versus so-called treated water) except to cite a few summarizing sentences.  On page 316 Voisin refers to a 1947 study of the water supply for London and states that “ - - - districts supplied with water from wells had a much lower cancer mortality figure than those supplied with [so-called] purified water from the three rivers.”  On page 318, he notes that a Dutch study found “ - - - highest cancer mortality was associated with water relatively rich in silica”, however, it may have been due to other minerals not analyzed which accompanied the silica.  Interestingly, the mineral highest in soil is silicon.

On page 328, Voisin suggests treated water may be actually purified by adding a few drops of a copper salt to the water.  I can’t say if that is truly safe, however he gives a quote from the Veda (India) of 3,000 years ago, “If you are not certain of the purity of your water, let it stand in a copper vase for two days before drinking it.”  A side benefit of that ancient treatment might be prevention of cancer.  What do copper cooking pots do?

There is also a chapter (61) having to do with the effects of soil moisture content on cancer frequency.  On pages 312-3 Voisin states that “- - - it must be assumed that moisture favors [fosters] cancer by modifying the physical and chemical characteristics of the soil [and] - - -  alters the quantities of undecomposed organic matter present in the soil, reducing the rate of their transformation to humus [and] - - - this accumulation of organic matter fixes copper in a form non-assimilable for plants - - - .”  Readers of recent books by Steve Solomon will be aware of his admonishments about over-doing organic matter additions to garden soils and the astounding differences made more recently to his garden by switching from dolomite (high magnesium) lime to calcitic lime low in magnesium.  Calcium loosens soil and magnesium tightens it.

Continuing with Voisin’s book, “Variations in moisture alter the amounts of different mineral salts contained in the interstitial aqueous layers of the soil as well as in the water table.  This modification of the mineral composition of soil water ultimately affects not only the mineral but also the organic composition [as between dry and wet regions] of plants growing on that soil, and in the long run, the animals and human beings who consume those plants.”

Finally, “- - - one of the most important mineral antagonisms is between potassium and magnesium, - - - numerous experiments show that application of potassium fertilizers may contribute to magnesium [and calcium] deficiency.  [Thus increasing] soil moisture - - - will speed up potassium absorption by the plant relative to that of magnesium.”  This, in turn, can be very detrimental to bone and teeth development, as is discussed by Steve Solomon about his health problems in The Intelligent Gardener.  In Voisin’s words, “It is also known that too high potassium to magnesium ratio may probably favor the development of cancer.”

I next want to discuss calcium in soils (a.k.a. calcareous soils), which I view as an especially important topic covered in Chapter 60 (pp. 303-309).

The noticeable effect of calcium-rich or calcareous soils [including sub-soils?] on reduction of diseases was noticed going back at least to 1900.  In 1954 a Dutch researcher, Tromp, published a table (p. 304) comparing the cancer mortality between calcareous and non-calcareous soils (sea-clays and river-clays).  In every case and every decade cancer was substantially higher on the non-calcareous clay soils.  Voisin makes this statement on page 305:  “This retarding effect of abundant limestone on the development of cancer is confirmed by the fact that mortality from cancer is lowest, if not indeed one of the lowest, on calcareous loess soils”.  Loess soils consist of silt and other fine particles deposited from prevailing winds over millinea.

On that same page Voisin gives some possible reasons for calcareous soils being beneficial in reducing cancer mortality.  One is that calcium is a known antagonist of zinc, which in excess fosters development of cancer.  A second reason might be that magnesium in certain calcareous soils retards cancer development, but the actual reason could just be the calcium carbonate, and also, the “high” magnesium is not necessarily assimilable.  A third reason might be excess silica in the water that runs through non-calcareous soils.  A fourth reason could be excess molybdenum in soils of certain regions which causes a copper deficiency.

Under the heading “The equilibrium between calcium and other mineral elements in the soil must be known” (p. 306), Voisin explains:

  • 1.    “There is probably an optimum content of calcium in soil at which cancer frequency is lowest; it is not [however] the soils richest in calcium that are least favorable to cancer. [Note: liming can be overdone.]
  • 2.    Calcium content cannot be considered separately without taking the other mineral elements into account; it is the mineral equilibria and not the individual elements that govern the phenomena of life.”

This is big!  Voisin may not have fully realized the significance of what he was saying here and it could be that in reading these paragraphs William Albrecht was inspired to research the optimum ratio of the alkaline minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium   needed to reach the equilibria to which Voisin refers.

What goes on in the cancerous tumor cells?  On page 306, Voisin points to a study in 1904 by Beebe who found that in all human cancerous cells the calcium content diminished and the potassium content increased in proportion to the degree of malignancy.  Voisin concluded that most similar studies since then confirmed Beebe’s findings.

Now comes one of the most interesting and illuminating sections of the book which concerns cancer studies done about 1955 on the Navajo Reservation in the southwestern U.S.  As Voisin tells it (pp.335-8), the population of the reservation at the time was 80,000 people, among whom cancer was extremely rare (just 280 cases out of 60,000 patients who were examined) [0.46%].  “It was rightly thought that their feeding was what ‘protected’ these Indians against cancer, and so it was decided to investigate this aspect.”  A team of scientists and healthcare agencies and personnel were assembled and the investigation done with great care.

“The conclusion reached was that the diet of the Navajos was hardly any different from that of other sections of the population and it must be assumed that it was a different racial characteristic [genetics] that conferred a special resistance to cancer upon these Indians.”  The official finding stated “ - - - a genetic influence is a more likely explanation than a dietary one.”

Said Voisin, “This conclusion may be correct, but it would be easier to accept if all the elements involved in the diet had really been examined.  Not the least attention was paid to the nature of the soil in the Reserve producing most of the food for these Indians, and in all this long report there is not the slightest reference to the nature of the soil or the methods used by Navajos for its cultivation.  Among the many branches of science represented by the team of investigators, I found no mention of agronomists or soil scientists [being on the team].”

Continuing, “The Navajos, however, seemed to have some idea that they were formed from the ‘dust’ of their soil and that it was as well to add some of this on occasion to their maize flour.  What they do is to burn cedar branches and mix the resulting ash with maize flour.  - - - it is possible that instinct has made them aware of the advantage of adding this ‘dust’ from their own soil to foodstuffs that comes from outside and lack it.”  So what is in wood ash?  Potassium carbonate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and likely dozens of other minerals in trace amounts due, in part, because tree roots pull them up from deep in the ground.

Voisin adds an observation about the water that the Navajos drank (page 337) as follows:

“The American investigators did note that the almost exclusive drink consumed by this tribe was spring water.  But no details at all are given about the composition of this water, particularly in its mineral equilibrium.  - - - the role that water might possibly play in the resistance of the Navajo to cancer was not considered, although the reader’s attention has already been drawn to the enormous importance of the mineral equilibrium of water in resistance to cancer.”

Voisin concludes with this statement:  “Dieticians can prescribe all the diets they like.  The results will be unpredictable until such time as the soils that produced the constituents of the diets are taken into account.  Dietetics will progress and ‘protective’ medicine will be effective only when it is remembered that the soil makes both the food and the man.”

The major point of this article is that many kinds of cancer are most likely due to nutrient mineral deficiencies (or excesses) in the soils on which our food is grown and our greatest cancer war therefore must be directed at correcting and restoring our soil’s nutrient and mineral balance, ASAP.


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