Minerals are the earth’s organic molecules that are found in her crusty soil. They are designed to be absorbed and then passed on to plants and animals, and eventually to humans. Minerals are absorbed from food and then transported into the tissues of your body. They play an important part in maintaining your body’s optimal functioning. Minerals are absorbed into the body and distributed to your tissues and fluids. They make up about four percent of your total body weight. They work together with vitamins, enzymes and hormones to play an important part in many biological functions. These include the maintenance and growth of bones and teeth, nerve transmission, blood formation and fluid regulation.
The amount of nutritional minerals in a body’s total weight is how they are classified. Macrominerals account for at least.01% of the body’s total weight, while trace and microminerals make up less than.01%. A good supply of trace and macro minerals is essential for optimal health. The macrominerals are calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and sodium. Trace minerals include chromium and cobalt as well as copper, manganese and iron. Although there is still much to learn about macrominerals, trace minerals are becoming more accessible every day. These minerals are essential for many vital functions of the body, even though they are only needed in “trace” amounts. Let’s first look at the macrominerals that are important for our health.
- Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. It plays an important role in our lives. The majority of calcium is found in bone tissue. The remaining 1% is used for blood clotting, muscle contracion and nerve function. Calcium is essential for healthy teeth and bones. It also helps regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular function, aids in the metabolism and is necessary for proper cell division. The body cannot produce calcium so we need to get it from our diets and supplements. Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and dark green leafy vegetables are the best sources of calcium. Calcium deficiency is usually characterized by bone and joint problems like osteoporosis, fractures, and other symptoms. Calcium deficiency can lead to anxiety, depression, insomnia and muscle cramps and twitching. Supplementing calcium with a separate supplement rich is bioavailable forms of calcium such as an isonic liquid form is the best way to get it. Vitamin D is often combined with calcium to ensure maximum absorption and utilization. The body can only absorb 500mg of calcium per day and requires acid to dissolve it and absorb it. Calcium carbonate (a stomach acid neutralizer like the anti-acid Tums), is not a good way to add absorbable calcium into your diet. To get your daily calcium intake, it is a smart idea to take calcium several times a day, including with dairy products, greens, nuts, and supplements.
- Chloride is an important component of hydrochloric Acid (HCl), which is the vital stomach acid responsible to digestion. It is also responsible for maintaining the body’s acid-balance. It aids the liver to eliminate toxins and transport carbon dioxide to the lungs for excretion. Common table salt (sodium chloride), sea salt and seaweeds, celery and lettuce are all good sources of chloride. Due to its high salt content, the American standard diet usually contains more chloride than it needs. Chloride loss can easily happen after vomiting or profuse diarrhea, as well as during heat spells and fevers. Chloride deficiencies are rare. The most common signs of chloride deficiencies are acid-base imbalances or overalkalinity in body fluids. Most likely, your body will have enough chloride to function properly if you have enough natural salt sources. You can also get adequate amounts from a multi-vitamin or mineral.
- Magnesium is a muscle relaxant. Magnesium relaxes the heart muscle, skeletal muscle and even the muscle of your GI tract. It is also involved in hundreds of enyzmatic responses in the body. The bones and teeth contain the majority of magnesium in the body, with the muscles having the second highest level. The blood and other bodily fluids contain the remaining magnesium. Magnesium is an important nutrient for heart muscle due to its ability to relax muscles. It is essential in preventing spasms in the coronary arteries which can lead to heart attacks. It is essential for energy production, cell maintenance and repair, energy production in cells, healthy cell division, nerve transmission, hormone regulation, metabolism of proteins, and nucleic acid metabolism. Low magnesium levels can cause heart palpitations and disrupt nerve transmission to the heart. Magnesium can be found in plants high in chlorophyll, especially dark green vegetables. Other good sources include nuts, seeds, legumes and avocado. Magnesium deficiency has been deemed the most common vitamin deficiency. It is more common that many doctors realize. This is due to factors like poor diet, overcooking food, soil depletion, mineral loss, and excessive alcohol consumption, which deplete the body of magnesium. Symptoms of a magnesium deficiency include fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal disorders and high blood pressure. Magnesium supplements can cause diarrhea and GI motility problems. If diarrhea does not occur, doses of 250 to 500mg are considered safe. Higher doses can be used if necessary. Higher doses of magnesium may be beneficial for constipation sufferers. As the most abundant mineral in the body, phosphate ranks second only to calcium. It can be found in every cell in the body, but it is most abundant (approximately 85%) in the bones or teeth.
- Phosphorus is responsible for bone and teeth structure as well as helping to produce cellular energy. Protein foods such as meat, fish, poultry and eggs are the best sources of phosphorus. You can also get phosphorus from nuts, seeds, whole grains, wheat germ, whole grain, and Brewer’s yeast. The phosphorus content in the American diet can be excessively high. This is due to soda drinking. Soda can have up to 500mg of phosphorus per cup and can cause calcium-phosphorus imbalance. Phosphorus deficiency is rare, as it is found in all animal foods. However, phosphorus deficiency can be caused by excessive calcium intake, overuse of antacids and a lack of vitamin D. Anxiety, anxiety, weakness, impaired bone growth, irritability and arthritis are all signs of a phosphorus deficiency. A multi-vitamin and mineral, as well as avoiding soda, will ensure adequate phosphorus levels in the body. Along with sodium and chloride, potassium is an electrolyte or essential body salt that conducts electricity throughout the body. The cell wall contains approximately 98 percent of the body’s potassium. It regulates water and acid-base balance. It is also important in nerve function. It helps regulate heartbeat, help with metabolism and energy production. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of potassium, with bananas being the most abundant. Good food sources include whole grains, seeds, nuts and wheat germ.
- Potassium deficiencies are quite common in older people, especially those on restrictive diets and those with certain chronic diseases. Potassium loss can be caused by fasting, diuretics, and overuse of laxatives and diuretics. Deficiency symptoms include irregular heartbeats, depression, fatigue and hyperglycemia. A multi-vitamin and mineral that is isotonic will provide adequate potassium levels. Sodium is essential for body function. All cells of the body contain sodium, as well blood and other fluids. About 60% of the body’s sodium content can be found in fluid outside cells. 10% is found within cells. The rest can be found in the bones. Like potassium, sodium helps maintain fluid balance inside and outside the cells. This helps regulate the body’s acid-base balance, and also transports carbon dioxide. The role of sodium is important in nerve transmission and muscle contraction.