Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Minerals and mortality

Male residents in the small Somerset village of Hinton St George have the highest life expectancy in the UK – at 88.7 years. ...Residents of Hinton St George are expected to live on average almost four years longer than the place with the lowest life expectancy – Bootle in Merseyside. This is Somerset
Houses of Hinton St. George, England are built of the local limestone.
South Somerset has some of the most beautiful villages in England. There are two reasons for this.

One is the construction, in the 19th Century, of the Great Western Railway network, which generated an agricultural boom by providing the means whereby dairy and horticultural products could be shipped from Somerset to the rapidly growing London metropolis. The resulting prosperity is evident in the architecture of both village and farm buildings of the era.

The other reason for the charm of South Somerset is the mellow yellow Jurassic limestone from which most houses are built, which can easily be cut to form decorative doorway arches, and window frames and mullions.

It is likely that the local limestone also accounts for the unusual longevity of Hinton St. George's residents.

As Wessex Water, the Malaysian owned company that supplies the village, reports, the water supplied to the village is moderately hard, containing 68 mg of Calcium per liter. Assuming a consumption of two liters of water per day, that means a daily intake of calcium from drinking water of 136 mg, or about one fifth of the average daily calcium requirement for an adult.

In addition to calcium, the local limestone bedrock will have enriched the groundwater from which the local water source is derived in magnesium, which plays a key role in the prevention of ischemic heart disease and stroke.

Almost certain it is the minerals in the water supply that delay mortality in the village of Hinton St. George.

The higher mortality among residents of the Merseyside town of Bootle, likely reflects the fact that that community is supplied by surface water originating from reservoirs United Utilities, which is typically devoid of calcium, magnesium and other minerals.

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