Albrecht Principles

Back to Gardening for Maximum Nutrition

Agricultural/Nutrition Truths
based on research of Dr. William Albrecht, Ph.D




Dr. Albrecht was Professor of Soils and Chairman of the Department of Soils at the University of Missouri College of Agriculture. He wrote and spoke widely on the subject of depleted soil fertility and the consequences for animal and human health during the 1940's and 1950's.  See some of his papers at The Soil & Health Library



  1. If you breed crops and animals for increased yield (profit) tests will show you get less nutrition.
  2. If you push nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) to get increased yield (profit), you get less nutrition.
  3. Size does not reflect nutritional value excellent taste is a better indicator (high brix produce tastes better and is more nutritious).
  4. Animals instinctively choose more nutritious forage, probably because it tastes better.
  5. High, but unbalanced, nutrient content in food from unbalanced, low fertility soils is not as well utilized by the body. The nutrients (minerals) may be excreted/lost in higher amounts when you eat these foods.
  6. High vitamin C levels may be an indication of a plant under stress because of poor soil quality. (Dr. Albrecht found that healthier spinach plants had lower levels of vitamin C.)
  7. Hybrids are bred to give high yields on depleted soils fertilized by commercial NPK fertilizers. Soils become depleted because of lack of attention to the full range of factors affecting soil fertility. (Commercial agriculture tends to mine the soil of vital minerals with little thought to replacing anything other than NPK.) The result is food of lower nutritional value.
  8. Heirloom plants and animals are bred for flavor and sturdiness, and as a result tend to be more nutritious. The best way to get increased nutrition is to save your own seeds from the tastiest (high brix) and healthiest plants in your carefully tended garden. Barring that, select heirlooms from areas of the country similar to your own.
  9. Realize that high quality food must command a higher price, but you will meet your nutritional needs and be satisfied with less food, so it may not cost any more. (Lower quality food tends to be fattening as your body consumes more food looking for the nutrients it needs.) And think of the potential savings in health (illness) care costs, as high quality food brings vibrant health.
  10. Additional principles - A coarser grind of rock dust is better because it gives residual fertility, lasting through the growing season and longer


From Agriculture and Nutrition by Gary Wilson, Wise Traditions, Winter, 2004, p.13-17