David Watts: Nutrient Interrelationships, and Hidden Deficiencies of Magnesium and Potassium

Part 7 of the series,
Mineral Balancing Giants

by Jon Sasmor RCPC (Mineral Guide, MinBalance LLC)
Updated October 20, 2021

Minerals: "A Series of Intermeshing Gears Which Are All Connected"

After working with Dr. Eck at ARL, David Watts, D.C., Ph.D., F.A.C.E.P. went on to found his own lab, Trace Elements Inc. (TEI), which provides hair mineral analyses and mineral balancing supplements.

As research director at TEI, Dr. Watts has meticulously studied and documented the interrelationships among the minerals. He compares the minerals to "a series of intermeshing gears which are all connected."

Dr. Watts observed that hair tests showing high levels of magnesium and potassium may indicate active loss from the cells rather than high cellular mineral levels. Magnesium may be lost under intense stress. Potassium may be lost in copper dysregulation. So magnesium and potassium levels require a cautious analysis.

Today, Dr. Watts continues to extend mineral balancing research. Dr. Watts publishes periodic newsletters about HTMAs and minerals.

Annotated References:

Watts, David L., D.C., Ph.D., F.A.C.E.P. (1990). Nutrient interrelationships: minerals, vitamins, endocrines. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, 5(1), 11-19. Retrieved from http://www.orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1990/pdf/1990-v05n01-p011.pdf.

  • Balance among nutrients matters.
  • Many examples given of nutrient interrelationships. These include:
    1. nutrient antagonisms,
    2. nutrient synergisms,
    3. deficient intake of one mineral allowing accumulation of another, and
    4. excessive intake of one mineral producing deficiency of another.
  • "Mineral relationships can be compared to a series of intermeshing gears which are all connected, some directly and some indirectly. Any movement of one gear (mineral) will result in the movement of all the other gears (minerals). The extent or effect upon each gear (mineral) will depend upon the gear size (mineral quantity), and the number of cogs in the gear (number of enzymes or biochemical reactions the mineral is involved in). This meshwork of gears goes beyond just the mineral relationships, extending to and affecting the vitamins, hormones and neurological functions." (p. 11).

Watts, David L., D.C., Ph.D., F.A.C.E.P. (2015). Trace elements and other essential nutrients: Clinical application of tissue mineral analysis (7th ed.). Addison, TX: Trace Elements.

  • Detailed orientation to the nutritional minerals. (chs. 5-13). With notes and suggestions about toxic minerals and ultra trace minerals too. (ch. 14).
  • Different metabolic patterns require different supplemental nutrients. (ch. 4). See page 45 for why slow metabolizers benefit from more protein and some carbs in the diet versus fast metabolizers from more fat in the diet.
  • Dr. Watts hypothesizes that zinc/copper ratio affects left or right brain dominance — relatively more zinc is left-brain-dominant, whereas relatively more copper is right-brain-dominant. (pp. 88-90). He quotes Dr. Rick Malter, who believes the increasing copper dysregulation from one generation to the next may explain why students today are struggling with the traditional left-brain-oriented curriculum and why more students are facing learning disabilities. (pp. 89-90).
  • "People think of nutritional supplements like money: If some is good, more is even better. Not so. Balance is the more critical factor in body chemistry." (p. 104).