Why You’re Probably Mineral Deficient If You Eat A “Healthy” Diet, How Coffee & Ketosis Affect Your Mineral Status, Is Himalayan Salt Toxic, The Best Bottled Waters & More: The Mineral Fix With James DiNicolantonio.

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Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread across the globe in both developed and developing countries. These deficiencies pose a serious threat to long-term health and longevity. Deficiencies in key minerals, such as magnesium and potassium, increase the risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is estimated that 1 out of 3 people in the United States has at least 10 minerals in which they are deficient: potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, selenium, chromium, molybdenum, and boron.

The Mineral Fix: How to Optimize Your Mineral Intake for Energy, Longevity, Immunity, Sleep and More is a new book on this matter—a comprehensive guide about the role of essential minerals in the human diet. It includes information on all 17 of the essential minerals that humans need for proper physiological function and survival as well as the 5 possibly essential minerals that also have an important role in overall health.

The author of The Mineral Fix and my guest on this podcast, Dr. James DiNicolantonio, is a Doctor of Pharmacy and a cardiovascular research scientist. A well-respected and internationally known scientist and an expert on health and nutrition, Dr. DiNicolantonio has contributed extensively to health policy and has testified in front of the Canadian Senate regarding the harms of added sugars. He serves as the associate editor of the British Medical Journal’s Open Heart, a journal published in partnership with the British Cardiovascular Society, and is on the editorial advisory boards of several other medical journals. Dr. DiNicolantonio is the author or co-author of more than 250 publications in the medical literature. He also is the author of five bestselling health books, The Salt Fix, Superfuel, The Longevity Solution, The Immunity Fix, and The Mineral Fix. You can follow Dr. DiNicolantonio on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also visit his website at drjamesdinic.com.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Why adding salt might be a good thing…09:23

  • When most people switch from a processed food diet to whole foods, you need to replace the salt
  • Salt is good for exercise performance and improving insulin sensitivity
  • The Mineral Fix by Dr. James DiNicolantonio

-Why healthy people might be more mineral deficient…09:55

  • Healthy people will be more deficient in salt compared to people eating processed foods
  • People starting on a ketogenic diet usually have a salt deficiency
  • Resuming normal salt intake cleared atrial fibrillation, ringing in the ears, etc.
  • When starting on a low carbohydrate diet:
    • Recommend to increase mineral intake
    • Low carb intake lowers insulin levels; insulin helps the kidneys retain salt
    • The kidneys start producing negatively-charged ketone bodies but the kidneys have to maintain electro-neutrality
    • So, in the first two weeks of a keto diet, the kidneys start to use the positively charged sodium ions to eliminate negatively charged ketone bodies
    • Chronically, there is a reduction in the ability to absorb sodium because glucose helps with the absorption of sodium
  • The extra processing of ketones requires a greater amount of minerals
  • The absence of glucose causes a depletion of minerals
  • The reduction in the exogenous intake of glucose is going to reduce the absorption of dietary sodium because glucose helps with the absorption of sodium
  • Hack: Glycine can help with sodium absorption

-Why glycine may help mitigate negative effects of damage…12:50

  • Certain immune cells contain glycine receptors called glycine gated chloride channels which help to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokine release
    • Glycine is keeping the pro-inflammatory immune cells at bay
  • 3 grams of glycine prior to bedtime or exercise time helps reduce core body temperature
  • 5 grams of glycine to mitigate negative effects of vegetable oil
  • Making your own bone broth

-Why Ben puts a teaspoon of salt in his coffee…15:45

  • Coffee and caffeine intake reduces potassium and sodium; also depletes magnesium
  • Consuming 4 cups of coffee can result in a loss of about 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Coffee is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world
  • Caffeine is a salt-wasting diuretic
  • Twice as much chloride loss as sodium; also a loss of taurine
    • Taurine reabsorption in the kidneys is directly dependent on sodium reabsorption
  • Supplement with taurine
  • Hamburger study on coffee: Inhibition Of Food Iron Absorption By Coffee
    • Coffee inhibits non-heme iron
    • Meat has both heme and non-heme iron
    • Plants are typically non-heme iron
    • One advantage of consuming coffee with meat is that it inhibits the oxidation products that form
  • Decaf could be a beneficial swap for coffee to sustain proper mineral absorption and prevent you from becoming mineral deficient
  • Coffee inhibits a lot of the oxidation products and actually reduces the number of free iron ions in the body which are extremely damaging

-What makes the 17 essential minerals essential..21:00

  • Essential: if you don't consume it in your diet, you will eventually die from that deficiency
  • Lysine comes from comets hitting the earth
  • Minerals catalyze amino acids to form life
  • Our bodies cannot make their own minerals
  • Essential minerals are the first line of defense against oxidative stress, the first antioxidants in life

-Mineral replenishment for adrenal fatigue and exercise recovery…23:35

  • Cortisol pushes minerals out of the cell in order to be utilized for a stressful situation
  • Once pushed out of cell, excreted through urine
  • People who are stressed are more magnesium deficient
  • Adrenal gland will hypertrophy if someone is sodium deficient
  • People who drink a lot of coffee, exercise a lot, reduce carbs, or are under high stress should be concerned about getting a full spectrum of essential minerals and sodium intake

-The importance of getting a full spectrum of essential minerals and sodium intake…27:05

  • Salt is the master controller of all the other minerals; controls the movement of a lot of molecules in the body
  • Salt is sodium and chloride (2 essential minerals)
  • If you're mineral deficient in sodium or chloride, you cannot move things in and out of the cell
  • Sodium is so vital that the body will pull sodium from the bone if it does not have enough to maintain a normal level
  • The osteoclasts that break down the bone are not smart enough just to grab only sodium from the bone; they also strip calcium and magnesium at the same time and induce magnesium deficiency
  • Not getting enough salt induces magnesium and calcium deficiency

-The best way to test for all 17 essential minerals…28:30

-Why drinking soft water might make you mineral deficient…33:05

  • Soft water is where calcium and magnesium has been removed from the water
  • Many people switched to soft water for cosmetic purposes
  • Study: Geochemical Environments, Trace Elements, and Cardiovascular Diseases
    • People that live in hard water areas had a much lower rate of cardiovascular disease and death
  • Hard water hypothesis: getting more minerals through drinking water
  • Soft water is more acidic
  • A fix is to use less metal and copper piping, more plastic, or other non-metal versions of piping
  • Buy mineral water for ingestion
  • Drink mineral water through glass, not plastic
  • Most of the microplastics people consume is through the plastic containers

-The top commercial mineral water products…38:00

-James' go-to salt brands…44:30

-Practical ways to fix mineral deficiencies…50:00

  • Many minerals are insulin sensitive
    • Insulin helps drive magnesium and potassium into the cell
  • Insulin resistance affects 75% of U.S. adults
  • The things that the 3 out of 4 (mineral deficient) adults in the U.S. should do are:
    1. Cut back on whatever induces insulin resistance: Omega 6 seed oils, refined sugars, refined carbohydrates
    2. Reduce inflammation through diet
    3. Reduce stress, lower cortisol levels
    4. Include more animal foods in diet, more organ meats, particularly liver and the heart; liver for folate, vitamin A, and CoQ10 from the heart (use code BEN to save 10%)
      • We should be ingesting 20% of our calories from animal foods;
      • Pastured foods are much higher in minerals like bison, elk, venison (50% more minerals than grass-fed cattle)
    5. Acid load, pH should be slightly alkaline
      • Ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) goes down when you are more acidic
      • Acidosis depletes minerals
      • Supplement with bicarbonate mineral waters, sodium citrates, potassium citrates, magnesium citrates, plant foods

-Bicarbonates and electrolyte balance…55:20

  • Low bicarbonate = 23
  • Ideal bicarbonate = 28
  • If you are low on bicarbonates, which indicates metabolic acidosis, you're probably also low in calcium and magnesium because you're stripping the bone to get rid of the sulfate
  • To summarize how to avoid being mineral deficient:
    • Adding minerals to water
    • Eating mineral-dense foods
    • Organ meat capsules
    • Improve gut health
    • Avoid heavy metal exposure
    • Being careful with coffee and carbs
    • Minding insulin and blood glucose
  • Caution: If you're not moving a lot and you overdose in minerals, you can trick the body to think you're magnesium overloaded

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Dr. James DiNicolantonio:

– Podcasts:

– Food And Supplements:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for James or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

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21 thoughts on “Why You’re Probably Mineral Deficient If You Eat A “Healthy” Diet, How Coffee & Ketosis Affect Your Mineral Status, Is Himalayan Salt Toxic, The Best Bottled Waters & More: The Mineral Fix With James DiNicolantonio.

  1. mike says:

    Hey Ben I contcted Saltverk and Nordur

    Nordur has 38.8mg of magnesium per 10g of salt
    Salverk has 179mg per 10g of salt

    in case you want to update the notes, cuz they state that Nordur also has 180mg

  2. Balazs says:

    Hi Ben,

    Could you please clarify what magnesium test one should take? In your podcast with Thomas DeLauer in 2018, he talked about having the Mg level checked from RBC (red blood cell) as testing from serum will give false data due to pulling out magnesium from elsewhere, for eg. RBC. On the contrary, in this podcast Dr. DiNicolantonio talks about exactly the opposite, to check magnesium from the serum and not the RBC, as the level in the RBC can be high due to being the “transporter” in the body. Well, According to Thomas, RBC is exactly where we want to have normal Mg level and not in the serum. I tried to look for RBC test in my country, however, it is not an easy task, but I didn’t want to go for a serum Mg level check as Thomas advised it will give false data, but Dr. DiNicolantonio advises for…..Has the principle of Mg changed in the last 3 years regarding where it is most important to have the normal level and check from?

    Hope to see your response as it’s been around half a year since I wanted to have it checked but now I’m totally confused.

    1. Balazs says:

      I come back every now and then to check whether this discrepancy has been resolved or not, but it seems I will have to continue checking.

      1. Ben Greenfield says:

        I’d be happy to help you via a personal one-on-one health consult. Just go to bengreenfieldcoaching.com/consults and choose 20, 30 or 60 minutes, whichever you’d prefer 💪

        1. Balazs says:

          Thank you for your response.
          I appreciate your podcasts are not to be misconstrued as medical advice, however, I feel that a short clarification would be in favour of all listereners instead of only myself, who were left confused by the contradicting explanations between the two guests. It is unclear whether RBC magnesium test or serum magnesium test is the correct and why.
          Your answer would be much appreciated.

  3. Craig Conaway says:


    Great episode! Which brand of hand mined Himalayan salt do you recommend? The reviews on the Amazon link said the product turned up and seems fake. Can you provide the company link? Thanks so much. Your podcast always adds value to my life and wellness routine.

    1. Some of the downsides of Himalayan salt:
      Comes from Pakistan, sold cheaply, contains impurities
      Only 4% more trace minerals than table salt
      Contains iron
      I prefer Celtic Sea Salt or Colima Sea Salt: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/seasalt

  4. Christine says:

    This was pretty helpful! I started integrating more electrolytes into my daily routines and now I’m sleeping better, after trying countless other things that didn’t work. I would’ve never known otherwise! Thank you! I’m reading the book and it has a lot of useful information!

  5. Jimmy Chan says:

    Any thoughts on Wellgenix products. They have a Sea Essentials that contains trace and macro minerals. Would this be a decent “poorman’s” version of Quinton?

  6. Keith S says:

    Hi Dr DiNicolantonio, any thoughts on “organic” vs “inorganic” minerals? Something like Shalajit is supposed to be from plant matter, and they say organic minerals can be easily broken down into necessary materials for bodily functions, while inorganic minerals aren’t broken down and used as readily. Any truth to this? Thanks.

  7. Gary Rossen says:

    Great one…Hey, so you were talking about salt. I notice when I eat a decent amount of salt I get headaches and ear issues. Have you ever heard of that?

    1. Yes, table salt is poisonous to your body and is responsible, in great part, for the onset of many terrible diseases including thyroid and metabolic dysfunction. I recommend Colima Sea Salt (formerly Aztecan). It's all-natural, unrefined, and hand-harvested sea salt that's 100% free from microplastics and heavy chemicals. https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/seasalt

  8. Thank you for an interesting episode. I started reading the book – I’m afraid it could be a bit better organized and split into civilian and geek out layers.

    High octane mineral water from Switzerland: Eptinger. Sulfate 1352 mg/l, Calcium 475 mg/l, Magnesium 107 mg/l. Not sure whether they have made it into international channels yet.

  9. Jane says:

    What about the iodine content of some salts, I noticed this wasn’t touched on and the implications for thyroid disease.

  10. Ghengis Khan says:

    This was a great interview! So much info, thanks for getting Dr. DiNicolantonio on. Wow!

  11. Hampton says:

    Hi Ben,

    Great Podcast. Thoughts concerning someone with low functional Bicarb / Carbon Dioxide level of 25 mmol/L (blood) yet they are in a slow oxidation/metabolic pattern… Any different considerations supplementation wise within this context to using Mag, K or NA citrates? What about Mag, K, NA bicarbonates? Many blessings!

  12. Becki says:

    I love using powdered glycine before bed- it works amazing for my sleep but every time I use it it gives me diarrhea the next day …Even the smallest amount. any suggestions on how to Prevent this from happening and why this happens in the first place???

  13. Brett Brown says:

    Ok I’m feeling like my brain may explode. Water is essentially all I drink, through a filter on my refrigerator. I want to make a much healthier choice on my water and am sold on it by your information and that of Darin Olien. I’m trying to figure out the best, most cost effective way to approach healthy water drinking. Can you help?

    1. Is it purchasing a home distiller and adding a pinch of unrefined Himalayan salt as recommended in Superlife?

    2. Is it #1 above but adding the Quinton product you recommend?

    3. I can’t drink sparkling or carbonated water. Is it necessary?

    4. I’ve recently been drinking The Mountain Valley spring water but looking for something more cost effective.

    5. Is a water vortex machine a good idea or overkill?

    6. What are your thoughts on storing the distilled water mentioned in 1 or 2 above in blue glass water jugs with words of affirmation and exposing them to sunlight?

    Any specific guidance for a novice to healthy water drinking on a budget would be much appreciated.

    1. Water and Wellness provides the systems that purify your drinking water, removing pharmaceutical drugs, POPs, plastics and the nutritional imbalances caused by environmental toxins. It also structures it with essential minerals and trace elements. These two articles should help too: https://www.greenfieldwater.com/what-is-structure… and https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/nutritio…

  14. Becki says:

    Then what brand of Kona salt do you use?

  15. Kyle says:

    Any opinion on the ConcenTrace Trace Mineral drops? I have been using 40 drops of that, plus some RealSalt in every gallon of my RO water I consume.

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