Diseases and Disorders

What is a Mineral Metabolism Disorder?

Last updated on October 23rd, 2022 at 08:33 am

Mineral metabolism disorders can have a variety of causes. There are two broad categories of causes: genetic and environmental. Some genetic disorders are passed down from parents to their children, while others can be caused by a spontaneous occurrence during fetal development. Environmental factors that may lead to mineral metabolism disorders include exposure to high levels of toxins, or an inadequate diet.

Understanding Mineral Metabolism Disorders

The human body is composed of a variety of minerals. Minerals are important to the structural and functional development of the body. They can also help regulate the pH balance in cells and organs and even play a role in how some organs function.

Did you know that metabolism functions within a scope that goes beyond just maintaining your body weight? This chemical process is also subject to several complications and disorders and can wreck your system without your knowledge. Mineral Metabolism Disorder is one such impediment that can easily corrupt your body and is characterized by an abnormal and unprecedented rise or fall of the level of minerals in the blood. This may cause several cardiovascular and bone diseases.

Minerals undoubtedly play an extremely vital role in the proper regulation of the body conditions and aid and abet growth and development. However, under certain (and mostly unforeseen) circumstances, the mineral levels have a propensity to differ substantially from the normal rates and may lead to several disorders. 

What Causes Mineral Metabolism Disorders?

Mineral metabolism disorders are a group of conditions where the body cannot metabolize minerals, or when it’s unable to excrete them properly. They can be caused by genetic factors, infections, inflammation, or other health problems.

  1. Mineral metabolic disorders may be genetic in certain cases, being transferred from the parent to the child via genes. 
  2. However, most mineral metabolic disorders are likely to arise because of certain clinical conditions pertaining to starvation, excess alcohol consumption, diarrhea, and diet disorders. 

Mineral Metabolism Disorders Symptoms

Mineral metabolism disorders and symptoms vary widely, depending on which minerals are over (hyper) or under (hypo) normal levels. For example, potassium affects muscles, including your heart, and having very low levels (hypokalemia) is a medical emergency. Disordered calcium can cause osteoporosis, which has no symptoms at first but can lead to bone fracture. Symptoms of metabolism disorders may include;

  1. Anxiety
  2. Blood pressure changes
  3. Chronic fatigue
  4. Dizziness, especially when standing up suddenly
  5. Changes in appetite or bodyweight
  6. Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  7. Headaches
  8. Muscle weakness, aches or twitching 
  9. Extreme thirst
  10. Insomnia
  11. Fever
  12. Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats
  13. Digestive issues such as diarrhea or constipation
  14. Joint pain or numbness

An imbalance of trace minerals such as selenium or zinc can cause symptoms ranging from skin rash and poor wound healing to nausea or upper abdominal pain. Ask your family doctor about any changes or unusual symptoms.

How Mineral Metabolism Disorders Happen?

Mineral metabolism disorder can be described as a condition where the body does not break down minerals properly. A body that does not break down minerals properly can cause several potential symptoms. These typically include anemia, paleness, muscle spasms, kidney stones, and brain swelling.

Mineral Metabolism Disorders Effects

The most commonly observed and medically documented complications affecting metabolism because of sudden augmentation or fall in the following minerals are;

  1. Magnesium: hypomagnesemia and hypomagnesemia
  2. Calcium: nephrocalcinosis, hypercalcemia, osteoporosis, kidney stones, Paget’s disease, osteomalacia, pseudohypoparathyroidism, rickets, and hyperparathyroidism
  3. Iron: hemochromatosis and cirrhosis
  4. Phosphorus: hypophosphatemia, osteomalacia, hyperparathyroidism, hypoparathyroidism, and rickets.
  5. Sodium: hypernatremia and dilutional hyponatremia
  6. Zinc: nausea, skin rash, diarrhea, and difficulty in wound healing
  7. Copper: Menkes syndrome and Wilson’s disease
  8. Potassium: Cushing’s syndrome(from exposure to high levels of cortisol), Fanconi’s syndrome, Bartter syndrome, Addison’s disease, and kidney disease. 

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Mineral Metabolism Disorders Test

Mineral Metabolism Disorders Treatment

Treatment of metabolism disorders depends on your diagnosis. Your doctor can prescribe above blood, urine, lab test to check for abnormalities. Sometimes, you may need an ultrasound, abdominal X-rays, or an EKG test. Metabolism disorders treatments may include;

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Changes in diet
  • Mineral or vitamin supplements

It’s important to replace electrolytes lost through vomiting, diarrhea or sweating, or poor diet. Eating leafy greens, fresh fruits, and vegetables, and whole grains usually provides needed electrolytes. After strenuous exercise, you may need to drink sports drinks or fruit juices.

Understanding Disorders of Mineral Metabolism

Electrolyte and mineral metabolism disorders occur when your body can’t maintain the right mineral balance. You may have too few or too many of the minerals your cells, tissues, and organs require. This can affect everything from your blood to your heart, lungs, and brain. If untreated, some imbalances can become life-threatening.

Your body needs minerals for metabolism bodily processes that create and use energy. The rate of your metabolism increases after a meal, exercise, or hormones. Your body uses macro-minerals such as calcium in larger amounts. Trace minerals, such as iron, are needed in smaller amounts.

Some macro-minerals are electrolytes. Common electrolytes are calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphate, magnesium, and chloride. Electrolytes dissolve in fluid and carry an electric charge. They move electrical impulses from cell to cell to stimulate muscle contractions and nerves. They balance fluids in and around cells and support hydration and blood pH levels (degrees of acidity). Having too few or too many electrolytes is dangerous or even fatal. Your kidneys keep things in balance by filtering electrolytes and water from your blood. They return some electrolytes to your blood and excrete others into your urine.


The ideal remedy to battle most mineral metabolism disorders is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow a proper, filling, and balanced diet. In case the diseases crop because of genetic factors, consult your doctor immediately. However, in most cases, proper medication and a wholesome and nourishing food intake are recommended to fight most mineral metabolic diseases.

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