Duane K. McCullough

Artwork image of Fountain of Youth spring
Artwork image of Fountain of Youth spring

Decades ago I began a research book project that explored the science behind the Fountain of Youth legend. Through the years I discovered the famous legend was originally based on a collection of stories about an aquatic region north of the island of Cuba wherein the inhabitants lived longer than any natives from the Caribbean.

Apparently, the legend involves the idea in which a unique place once existed in what is now Florida that did not make people young -- but rather extended the youthful life in people.

By scientifically applying modern dietary and nutritional concepts to this old native legend, I began discovering certain natural chemical elements within the Florida Bay area -- just north of Cuba where I lived, could help improve the longevity of human life if assimilated properly. Some of these natural chemical elements have strong healing powers -- such as magnesium sulfate salts, otherwise known as "Epsom salts".

It is well known that wounds exposed to water containing a solution of Epsom salts will heal faster because the salts sterilize any infection which may develop -- therefore, because Florida Bay waters contain high amounts of this marine salt, perhaps part of the mystery behind the legend could be explained. Faster healing wounds can lead to better health -- which can lead to longer life over time.

Other natural chemical elements can be found in Florida Bay and are also capable of extending life -- such as the metallic element of Manganese found within Mangrove trees. Manganese -- which sits right before Iron in the Periodic Table of the Elements, has very powerful anti-oxidant qualities if absorbed properly.

In fact, I once read that because the molecular makeup of Iron is nearly the same size as Manganese, much of the Iron in your blood can be replaced with Manganese. However, because the body needs Iron as an oxidizer to supply oxygen to the body, the right balance between these elements are necessary. Manganese will oxidize, but not at the rate that Iron does when exposed to oxygen.

Many scientist believe that one of the main causes of the aging process within the body can be traced to unbalanced oxidation activity -- and since Manganese can reduce or "smooth over" oxidation activity, perhaps this elemental metal was absorbed over time by the plant and animal life in the Florida Bay realm and extended human life who relied on a diet of these life forms.

Moreover, I have also read in several vitamin books that people with memory problems have been tested to be deficient in Manganese. Apparently, Manganese can improve mental memory if absorbed properly.

Not only can Manganese improve mental memory, but recent studies have suggested that the chemical memory of the DNA structure within our body cells need Manganese in order to replicate itself properly. And if the cells within our bodies do not replicate properly over time, the aging process is accelerated.

Remember those purple sponges we saw earlier growing on the mangrove roots -- Manganese is probably what gives the sponges their purple color. I say that because, I learned that a very small amount of molecular Manganese caught in the crystal lattice structure of a popular gemstone know as Amethyst, will give the stone its optical purple color.

If Manganese can give the purple sponge its color then I bet the bright rusty orange sponges growing next to them contain Iron and Sulfur elements -- much like rust itself does.

So, the nutritional metallic element of Manganese could also be part of the dietary "Fountain of Youth" formula of how the local Florida natives lived longer lives than other natives of the Caribbean.

Another substance found in the bay area that is a part of this unique formula of longevity is something found in the very first name of the legend itself. Because a "fountain" is defined as a source of water, perhaps water itself is a "youthful extending substance". Don't feed water to a plant or animal and it will grow old very fast and die.

I once read a recent government study that revealed data in which some 35% of elderly people were technically dehydrated. If staying hydrogenated extends life, then drying out reduces life -- it's that simple.

Perhaps the very substance we are floating in out here in Florida Bay also contributed to this famous legend about people staying young. Speaking of water, who wants some drinking water from the ice cooler? Who wants to stay younger longer?

Sometimes the brand label on your water bottle from the cooler, will say "Zephyrhills" which is a popular brand of drinking water from the town in central Florida named Zephyrhills. I have seen hydrographic maps of Florida that reveals data which shows the area beneath this town as the site of the deepest potable water source in Florida -- which is about two-thousand feet deep.

Some modern historians who have researched the Fountain of Youth legend believe that if there ever was a source of water behind the famous fountain story, the deep water area underneath the town of Zephyrhills is it. Other historians believe that a similar deep water area near the Florida town of St. Augustine could be the source of water behind the legend.

However, I would argue that the natural shallow mineral water springs of upper Florida Bay -- with their seasonal ability to blend certain nutritional and medicinal elements within the water, is a better site for the Fountain of Youth legend, because the story is not only about water itself -- but water blended with certain elements which can extend human longevity if absorbed properly.

I should also mention at this time that many lagoons in Florida and other places have a brown tea-color appearance after heavy rains because of the Tannin substance that is leached from the nearby trees. Tannin is an astringent -- or "shrinking agent" material that can tightly bind the proteins in the skin if exposed properly -- in fact, it is used to "tan" animal hides.

In theory, if a older person with wrinkled skin swam in a lagoon that contained the right amount of Tannin, they could look younger after the swim because their skin would be tighter and have less wrinkles. Perhaps the substance of Tannin may have contributed to the Fountain of Youth legend view in that skin made tight after swimming gave the view of youthfulness.

When I first visited Key Largo as a child about four centuries ago -- oops, I mean about four decades ago, one of my first memories was looking out over the water and wondering what made the emerald colors of the sea so pleasant to stare at. That alluring feeling is still with me, but nowadays I scientifically see the chemistry that creates the emerald colors of the bay -- for example, much of the rocky sand in the bay consist of silicon and calcium carbonate salts.

Like the bedrock of Key Largo itself, our bones consist of Calcium Carbonate salt material. There is also an important type of bio-tissue salt that exist within the human body called Calcium Fluorite -- and from what I understand, this salt is capable of providing a flexible link between connective bone and muscle tissue.

Much of the flexible rubber-like cartilage material in our joints is made from Calcium Fluorite -- in fact, small amounts of Fluorite mixed with Iron will make Iron flexible during the manufacturing process of making steel. Fluorite is also used to create very clear optical camera lenses during the manufacturing process.

Aware of this information, I came across an entry written by an early Spanish historian who described some early natives from southern Florida wherein the statement goes as follows: "they treated their young with certain herbs which caused their bones to be soft so they could be stretched, then were nourished on special foods until they grew to giant size".

I was also told by a state park ranger long ago that on Lignum Vitae Key -- one of the highest islands in Florida Bay, a large skull was once found there that belonged to a seven-foot tall native Indian.

If one ties all these viewpoints together, it suggests the idea that the elements of Calcium and Fluoride -- or Calcium Fluorite salts, is also part of the chemical formula behind the Fountain of Youth legend.

Supplemental Calcium Fluorite salts -- together with other important bio-tissue salts can be found in some health food stores, but perhaps the best way to acquire these salts is by eating the right foods wherein plants and animals balance them together in their cells properly for better absorption.

But the most unique chemical element behind the Fountain of Youth legend is perhaps a metallic element found in all seawater. Many science books will reveal that seawater contains very small amounts of molecular gold suspended in the water -- however, because the amount is so small, one could never get rich trying to evaporate gold from seawater.

Despite the human difficulty of evaporating gold from seawater -- look at the capacity of Florida Bay's ability to evaporate billions of gallons of seawater over thousands of years, and perhaps some gold can be found in the area.

The kind of gold I'm taking about is not the visual tangible version bonded to silver like what can be seen in jewelry or embedded as nuggets in rocks -- no, the type of gold I'm referring to is like a nutrient soup or liquid broth material.

A little bit of gold can go a very long ways -- look at gold foil, some fancy restaurants coat food with it, and one can swallow gold flake drinks. But that type of gold will just pass through the body without being assimilated because our digestive systems can't provide the chemistry necessary to use it like it can be used.

In order to assimilate metallic gold properly within our diet, it needs to be microscopically packaged or chelated by a plant -- or an animal that has eaten the plant, before consuming. The smaller the gold molecule, the better it can be chelated with other elements in the digestive system. As a rule -- if one can see the solid metal of gold, it can't be absorbed properly as a nutrient.

Some doctors inject directly into arthritic joints a solution containing Gold Chlorite salts as a non-oxidizing lubricant treatment. But too much acidic chlorine bonded to the gold as a salt substance within the joint will destroy good tissue cells, so there is a limit of how much that can be used.

Gold is the ultimate anti-oxidant -- it is the most durable, malleable element in the universe. If one wants to live a long durable malleable life, then gold should be part of the diet. However, too much of any one particular element in the diet -- even gold, will prevent other important elements necessary for good health.

If you are interested in more of my views about the Fountain of Youth legend subject, I have a website at "" where you can see and read about the details of what I've been saying. There is even an interactive map of Florida Bay where you can click on the hot spots and see pictures I have taken over the years.

I also have another website at "" that based on a book project that I've been working on for over three decadess. If you like new concepts in archeology and anthropology, that website explores the early native history of southern Florida.


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