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A Few Facts…
• Ancient Rome paid soldiers in Dead Sea salt rations called “salarium argentum”, meaning “salt money” in Latin. This ancient phrase became the English word “salary”.
• At more than 1300 feet (400 meters) below sea level, the shores of the Dead Sea are the lowest place on earth you can walk without being underwater.
• The Dead Sea is called the Dead Sea because, due to its extreme mineral content, there are no plants, seaweed, moss, or any fish or other creatures living in the water.
• If you dive into the water of the Dead Sea, you won’t stay down for long. Due to the high mineral content, the water is very dense and will push you back to the surface rapidly. So, you can’t really swim in the Dead Sea, but you can float on top effortlessly!
• At around 30 percent mineral content, the Dead Sea currently ranks second as the saltiest place on earth. The current leader is a very shallow pool of water known as Don Juan Pond in Antarctica.
• The Dead Sea contains over 21 minerals, 12 of which are found in no other sea or ocean. The Dead Sea has the highest concentrations of bromide, magnesium, calcium, silica, sodium, and potassium of any natural body of salt water in the world.
• At over 1000 foot deep, the Dead Sea can produce a far greater amount of trace mineral rich salts than its nearest competitor, the 40-foot deep Great Salt Lake in Utah.
• Medical research and many studies have proven the usefulness of Dead Sea mud and salts in treating and preventing diseases such as psoriasis, acne, and rheumatism.
Find scientific articles related to Dead Sea minerals here: deadsea-health.org/publications
What Makes the Dead Sea Different?
The mineral content of the Dead Sea is vastly different from that of ocean water. Ocean water generally consists of 97% table salt (sodium chloride) while the Dead Sea’s makeup is 8% sodium chloride, 53% magnesium chloride, 37% potassium chloride, with the remaining 2% comprised of various trace elements. The trace elements are the key ingredients in the salts of the Dead Sea. We are truly just beginning to understand their importance with regard to human physiology. Some trace elements are Boron, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Fluorine, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Rubidium, Selenium, Silicon, Strontium, Vanadium, and Zinc. While we have much to learn, what we do know leads us to understand that these elements are an important part of our makeup and that each one has a vital role to play in our well-being. Below is a list of trace minerals and other compounds found in Dead Sea mud and salt, and some of their widely supported benefits to the body’s health.
Health Benefits of Dead Sea Minerals and Compounds
BICARBONATE: Produced by the stomach and present in all body fluids, bicarbonate plays a major role in PH balance, limiting lactic acid production and increasing the PH in muscles. It also benefits teeth by inhibiting plaque formation and increasing calcium uptake.
BORON: Needed for healthy bones and teeth and for the proper metabolism of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Boron helps keep calcium and magnesium in the body. It is essential for hormones involved in bone metabolism and for balancing levels of testosterone and estrogen. This trace mineral has also been shown to enhance brain function, prevent osteoporosis, reduce arthritic symptoms, and help build muscle tissue. Boron deficiency symptoms include insomnia, muscle cramps, bone pain, backache, accentuated vitamin D deficiency, PMS, excessive menstrual cramping, and menopausal issues.
BROMIDE: Heals and relieves skin disorders. White blood cells need bromide to remove cellular parasites. Bromide stimulates the natural repair process and works as a natural antibiotic. Saunas often evaporate the bromides in Dead Sea salts to create a healing environment similar to the Dead Sea. Steam from a hot bath with Dead Sea bath salts has a similar benefit.
CALCIUM: Helps build and maintain bones, nails, and teeth. Calcium also strengthens cell membranes, contributes to the formation of intracellular cement, and is necessary for nerve transmission, muscular contraction, and regulation of heart muscles. It is an important element in blood clotting, is vital for healing wounds and preventing infection, helps metabolize iron, aids metabolism in skin cells, helps decrease symptoms of PMS, and even plays a role in cleansing pores.
CHLORINE: Well known as a drinking water disinfectant, chlorine and its natural form chloride also help balance all minerals and maintain the PH balance in the body. Chlorine is vital for cell metabolism, prevents water from escaping blood vessels, and encourages healthy nerve and muscle function, while chloride contributes to food digestion and waste elimination.
CHROMIUM: Essential for normal metabolism of glucose, insulin, and fatty acids. Chromium also aids in muscle growth, may help deter atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, and promotes healthy skin and a healthy circulatory system. Chromium deficiency can result in alcohol intolerance, elevated blood sugar levels, and diabetes-like symptoms.
COBALT: This mineral constituent of cobalamin, more commonly referred to as vitamin B12, aids in hemoglobin formation and is necessary for normal function and maintenance of red blood cells. Cobalt also helps maintain nerve tissues and other body cells.
COPPER: This well-known trace mineral is involved in many functions in the human body. It helps strengthen bones, blood vessels, tendons, joints, and nerves, makes hemoglobin, and is important in forming elastin and collagen. Copper facilitates the use of iron so red blood cells can transport oxygen to cells. It is also required for energy production, healthy immune system function, regulation of blood pressure and heart rate, cell membrane health, hair and skin pigmentation, and taste sensitivity. It is a vital blood antioxidant, prevents the rancidity of certain fatty acids, and is used to treat arthritis and scoliosis. High concentrations of copper are found in the brain. Symptoms of copper deficiency include brittle or discolored hair, anemia, heart arrhythmias, and high blood pressure.
FLOURINE: Fluoride, a natural form of the trace mineral fluorine, is known for promoting healthy teeth. It helps form the protective enamel that prevents tooth decay and cavities. It is also helps increase bone strength and stability and is present in nearly all body tissues.
IODINE: Used as an antiseptic and sterilizer, iodine is also necessary for production of thyroxin, which regulates the metabolic energy. Adequate levels of iodine are necessary to maintain the water balance required for cell metabolism to take place, allowing the cells to absorb nourishment and expel waste products. Iodine also influences nerve and muscle function and nail, hair, skin, and tooth condition. It is believed that Iodine may also help convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A.
IRON: Occurring in the body in greater amounts than any other trace mineral, the health benefits of Iron are well known. Iron is present in every cell in the body and is critical to many body functions including carrying oxygen to cells, oxidation of fatty acids, and in the production of a number of enzymes. Iron also affects the production of melanin, helps provide extra fuel to muscles during exertion, is involved in the production of thyroid hormones, and promotes a healthy skin tone. Iron deficiency results in anemia, and can be a contributing factor in alcoholism, colitis, brittle nails, breathing difficulties, and menstrual problems.
LITHIUM: This lightweight metal is used in treating bipolar disorder and manic depression. Lithium has been shown to increase brain cell survival and has both long and short-term benefits to the health of the nervous system.
MAGNESIUM: Occurring in more than 300 enzymatic reactions, magnesium accelerates cell metabolism and is necessary for neuromuscular transmission, transmission of nerve signals, protein synthesis, and utilization of other essential nutrients. Magnesium also benefits the body by converting vitamin D to its biologically active form, assists in the immune system function, and protects cell membranes. Magnesium is a building block for the skin's structural elements and for enzymes that control the skin's metabolism. It is also described to be beneficial for the heart by improving oxygen delivery, energy production, and heart rate, and for preventing hearing loss and kidney stones. Magnesium deficiency symptoms include accelerated aging of the skin, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Premenstrual Syndrome, vertigo, hypertension, carbohydrate intolerance, depression, psychosis, heartbeat fluctuations, and kidney stones.
MANGANESE: Is essential for proper formation, maintenance, and glucose metabolism of bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. It also activates numerous enzymes, assists in blood clotting, contributes to protein synthesis, increases antioxidant production, and helps in the utilization of thiamin, vitamin E, and iron. Studies show that Insufficient levels of this trace mineral in the body can lead to dermatitis, lowered good cholesterol, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
MOLYBDENUM: High concentrations of this trace mineral are found in the skin, bones, liver, kidneys, and adrenal gland, and it is present in nearly all tissues. Molybdenum plays a role in detoxifying cancer-causing chemicals, food preservatives, and alcohol. It helps the body prevent tooth decay, produce uric acid, utilize stored iron, metabolize sulfur, and generate energy from food. Molybdenum also acts as an antioxidant and is important for normal growth and development, normal cell function, and healthy sexual function.
NICKEL: Known primarily as a coin not a trace mineral, nickel is required for lipid, hormone, and membrane metabolism, and for membrane integrity. It is found in the cell nucleus and is thought to be a stabilizer of DNA and RNA.
PHOSPHORUS: A component of DNA, phosphorus is involved in nearly all biochemical reactions including blood clotting, bone, nail, and teeth formation, normal kidney function and heart rhythm, muscle contraction, nerve-impulse transmission, and cell growth. Phosphorus also benefits the body by aiding in the proper utilization of vitamins, helping convert food into energy, maintaining central nervous system health, and assisting in tissue growth and repair.
POTASSIUM: An electrolyte, and the third most abundant mineral in the body, potassium works together with sodium and chloride to maintain pH balance and fluid distribution. It regulates nerve signals, muscle contractions, blood pressure, heart rhythm, and the transfer of nutrients through cell membranes. Potassium is required for carbohydrate metabolism, protein synthesis, insulin secretion, glucose storage, and excretion of body wastes. Some of its other benefits are in preventing kidney stones, promoting healthy adrenal glands, reducing plaque in the arteries, and helping to prevent osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, strokes, free radical formation, and acne. Potassium deficiency symptoms include nervous disorders, constipation, muscle spasms, poor reflexes, listlessness, hypertension, rapid heartbeat, hypoglycemia, acne, dry skin, and in extreme cases may result in respiratory failure or cardiac arrest.
RUBIDIUM: Little is known about this trace mineral except that it may function similar to potassium in some ways, that it may reduce the incidence of cancer, and that it aids in the growth process.
SELENIUM: A well studied antioxidant known to protect cell membranes by destroying free radicals and to neutralize the heavy metals cadmium, mercury, lead, and arsenic, selenium is also required to maintain healthy eye lens function, protect against cataract formation, and help prevent many diseases including stroke, cirrhosis of the liver, certain viral infections, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and emphysema. It also assists in production of white blood cells, maintains tissue elasticity, protects against dandruff and dry skin, alleviates hot flashes and menopausal symptoms, promotes male fertility and healthy prostate function, and aids in metabolizing hydrogenated and polyunsaturated fats. Low selenium levels are also associated with premature aging, Kashin-Beck Disease, diabetes, psoriasis, eczema, anemia, juvenile cardiomyopathy, birth defects, and many forms of cancer.
SILICA: This compound of silicon also known as silicon dioxide stimulates the immune system and prevents cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Osteoporosis. It promotes healthy nails, skin, hair, and arteries, and is necessary for the formation of collagen. It is beneficial to the skin by improving elasticity and thickness, inhibiting the aging process.
SILICON: The world’s second most abundant material and famous for its use in microchips, silicon has only recently been regarded as an essential trace mineral. Studies now show that silicon is important for normal bone growth, healthy immune system function, thickness and strength of the skin, arteries, trachea, and tendons, and for production of collagen in connective tissues. It is also benefits the body by improving the health of hair and nails and by aiding in the prevention of vascular aneurysms, cardiovascular disease, Osteoarthritis, and Osteoporosis.
SODIUM: Together with chloride makes common table salt. Sodium is beneficial in maintaining PH balance, protecting the body against fluid loss, and aiding muscle contraction and nerve function. Deficiency is very rare and is often caused by prolonged diarrhea or heavy sweating. Prolonged excessive sodium intake is associated with Asthma, hypertension, edema, calcium loss, and gastric cancer. Dead Sea salts have lower sodium content than other sea salts.
STRONTIUM: Closely related to calcium, this essential trace mineral is found primarily in the skeletal structure and is well documented to promote bone formation and decrease bone absorption.
SULFUR: Found in every part of the skin and body, sulfur is part of the chemical structure of several amino acids and is required for absorption of carbohydrates and several vitamins. It helps regulate blood sugar levels and is necessary for synthesis of collagen and healthy skin keratinization (the process by which skin cells move outward and die). Sulfur also stimulates bile secretion in the liver and acts as a blood disinfectant, helping the body to kill bacteria and remove excess lead, aluminum, cadmium, and mercury.
VANADIUM: Studies show that adequate levels of this trace mineral’s presence in the body has several major health benefits including improvement of insulin action and protection against diabetes, decreased cholesterol production, formation, and synthesis, and protection against tumor development and some forms of cancer. Vanadium is also required for heart muscle contraction, cellular metabolism, hormone production, formation of bones and teeth, and normal growth and reproduction. It is also thought to prevent the formation of cataracts and aid in normal thyroid function and iodine metabolism. Vanadium deficiency symptoms include cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and birth defects. Excessive intake symptoms include discolored tongue, cramps, and diarrhea.
Zinc: This well studied and well-understood trace mineral is present in all tissues and is second only to iron in body requirement levels. Zinc is an antioxidant that protects and promotes a healthy immune system by enhancing the antibody response through T-cell production. It is known to fight viruses such as the common cold and to aid in wound healing and tissue repair. Zinc is required for normal vision, smell, taste, appetite, and bone growth, and also aids the reproductive cycle by aiding in hormone metabolism, healthy prostate function, sperm formation and motility, fetal and infant growth, development of reproductive organs, and milk production during lactation. It is involved in many other important body functions such as collagen and insulin formation, protein, carbohydrate, and phosphorus metabolism, normal brain and memory function, and muscle contraction. Zinc is required for the formation of hundreds of important enzymes, to decrease cholesterol and reduce stomach ulcers, to maintain energy production in what is known as the Krebs cycle, and to prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, dermatitis, canker sores, hair loss, and acne outbreaks. Zinc also relieves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and is needed for the health of connective skin tissues and fingernails. Zinc deficiency symptoms are many and include delayed sexual maturity, infertility, premature birth, low birth weight, stunted growth, susceptibility to infections, prolonged healing, malnutrition, arteriosclerosis, arthritis, stretch marks, fatigue, decreased alertness, altered taste, loss of appetite, skin disorders, and white spots on nails. Symptoms of excessive zinc intake include gastric problems, metallic taste, and nausea.
To learn more about the benefits of trace minerals, please follow the links below.
Metals in Health and Disease
Trace Minerals in Animal Nutrition