Men and the Universe are not separate, the elements which made up the whole universe are also present in the human body.
For growth and function human and animals need nutrients, some of these are biosynthesised but some needs to be obtained from external sources. Among these some are “essential ” as these need to be taken from the air, water and food. These includes fatty acids , vitamins and some chemical elements , such as calcium, magnesium , zinc, chromium etc. These elements are obtained by the body through food and water which are directly connected to soil. So the parent material which makes the soil are directly or indirectly connected to these nutrients.
Now the question is what are the parent material ?? answer is ” Rocks”.
Rocks are classified in three categories , Igneous , Metamorphic and Sedimentary. The Igneous rocks can also be considered as Primary rocks , these forms from solidified lavas , that comes from within the Earth. Lavas contain the trace and other essential elements, after the solidification these rocks are subjected to actions of rain , wind , temperature , water , collectively the impacts of these agents is called “Weathering“. Which creates the soil .
Calcium , Sodium, Magnesium , Iron , Selenium , Iodine and many more , have great impact on human health. The presence or absence of these elements in our food and water influence our health to a great extent.
The food grows on the soil , these elements gets into that plant or grains from the soil through the roots of the plants, if any animal is eating those leafs or grass these elements go into their bodies and when human eats those animals its goes into their bodies.
Water when flows over the rocks , dissolves those elements and carries them with itself , when human and animals drink that water , these mineral elements /nutrients gets into their bodies.
Sixteen elements have been identified as very important and have major influence on human health.
Elements and implicated functions :-
Macro nutrients :
Calcium – Bone structure, nervous transduction.
Phosphorus – Membrane structure, bone structure, metabolic regulation.
Magnesium – Bone structure , enzyme catalyst.
Sodium – Acid- Base control, osmotic control of water distribution.
Potassium – same functions as Sodium.
Chlorine – same functions as Sodium.
Iron – Oxygen transport.
Copper – Enzyme catalysis.
Zinc – Enzyme Catalysis.
Iodine – Metabolic regulation.
Selenium – Antioxidant , Enzyme Catalysis.
Manganese – Same as Selenium.
Molybdenum – Potentiation of insulin action.
Chromium – Enzyme catalysis.
Fluoride – Protects against dental caries.
Cobalt – Single Carbon metabolism as active center of vitamin B12 molecule.
Goiter (photo : Wikipedia)
Regions , where the concentrations of such elements are low , the populations of such areas may get affected. For example Goiter, which is caused by low Iodine, establish a very important relationship between geology and health. Low Iodine may also cause reduced IQ.
Selenium is another important element, has implication as antioxidant. Selenium deficiency (due to soils low in selenium), has been
shown to cause severe physiological impairment and organ damage
such as a juvenile cardiomyopathy (Keshan disease) and muscular
abnormalities in adults (Kaschin-Beck disease).
Keshan disease (photo: Wikipedia)
In the 1960s scientists suspected that the diseases were of geological origin and in the 1970s the probable solution was found. The diseases were always
located in areas with low selenium soils. The use of selenium in prevention and treatment of thediseases was a great success.
So, we can conclude that there is an important relationship between the geology of an area and the diseases , the population can suffer from. The study of this relationship between geology and health is known as Medical geology, which is a re-emerging science. “Re-emerging”, because the relationship between geologic materialssuch as rocks and minerals and human health has been known for centuries. Ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Islamic, and Greek texts de-
scribe the many therapeutic applications of various rocks and minerals and many health problems that they may cause.
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