Most people don’t understand the importance of these amazing nutrients in our bodies. If you’ve already read my post on vitamins and minerals in our everyday lives, then you will have some idea of how vital they are to our health and well being.
Minerals are only needed in small quantities in the body, but they play a huge part in the maintaining the correct functions of just about every part of our complex systems.
Each mineral is responsible for a great number of chemical reactions in the body, many are just to numerous to mention, but here’s my guide on what they are and their most important functions.
There are two types of minerals present in the human body. Macro minerals and micro minerals. Micro minerals are also known as trace elements or trace minerals.
Macro minerals are generally needed in quantities of 100mg/day or more and consist of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur.
Everyone knows that calcium is good for your teeth and bones, but it also assists muscle growth, lowers cholesterol, prevents osteoporosis, bowel and colon cancer. It prevents muscle cramps and aids normal blood clotting.
Involved in kidney function, phosphorus helps the body convert food to energy, aids in bone and teeth formation and the contraction of the heart muscle.
Potassium also regulates the contraction of the heart muscle and helps the transmission of signals across the nervous system. It promotes cell and muscle growth.
Sodium aids the transmission of electrical impulses and the regulation of water content in tissue and blood. It also helps manufacture stomach acids which kill infections present in the food we eat.
Regulates acidity in the body and fluid content in tissue and blood. Chloride helps create hydrochloric acid in the stomach.
Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It assists the body to absorb calcium and potassium and process vitamin D. It helps control blood pressure and blood sugar levels and promotes cellular metabolism and the production of energy.
Sulphur assists the immune system and helps rid the body of toxins. It fights the effects of ageing and age related diseases such as arthritis and helps build cartilage.
Micro or Trace Minerals
Trace minerals are also known as trace elements or micro minerals. These micro nutrients are found in unbelievably small quantities in the body, but are still vitally important.
The thyroid gland uses iodine in the production of hormones which control our cholesterol levels, regulate how our bodies turn fat into energy and control our body weight.
A powerful antioxidant which helps remove toxins from the body, increase energy levels and promotes antibody response to infections.
Helps the body make use of other essential vitamins and minerals and promotes brain function.
Used in the formation of red blood cells, haemoglobin and bones.
Helps maintain blood sugar and energy levels. It works with other substances in the body to help control insulin levels, enzymes and cholesterol levels.
Helps the body absorb calcium and potassium. Also stimulates bone and teeth formation, helps control blood pressure and energy production.
Helps break down sulphite toxins in the body. Helps fight cavities and mouth and gum disorders.
Required to manufacture red blood cells and prevent anaemia.
Beneficial to dental health. Helps prevent dental cavities or caries.
Required for energy production, oxygenation of red blood cells, producing haemoglobin and a healthy immune system.
Promotes a healthy immune system and the growth and maintenance of muscles, hair, nails and skin.
Deficiencies in these essential minerals and trace elements can cause a number of health problems ranging from minor ailments like colds, flu, aches and pains, high blood pressure, insomnia, nervousness etc. to major problems like depression, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer, and that is only a few symptoms of calcium deficiency which is only one of elements shown above.
A deficiency in zinc will cause an immune system to perform poorly leaving a body more prone to infections, allergies, skin problems and more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances and other ailments..
Imagine how many people on this planet suffer on a daily basis from minor and major health issues due to a lack of proper nutrition where by many of these could be easily improved or even solved by simply ensuring their diets contain the correct minerals and trace elements it needs to function correctly.
It must be also noted that an excess of these minerals can also cause toxic or hazardous effects on the body, so care should be taken not to intake large quantities or supplements unless properly regulated.
All the above minerals can be found in a wide range of foods as shown in the examples in my article on vitamins, but for most of us finding the time to buy, cook and prepare the foods we need to get these nutrients on a regular basis can be a real problem, and even if we do manage to do this, how can we be sure we are getting the optimum daily doses from our food.
Check back over the next few days to find out which are the best and most effective mineral supplements on the market today and a few secrets about how you should take them to achieve maximum efficiency and well being for you and your family.
Mineral supplements guide coming soon.