Minerals are important for your body to stay healthy. Your body uses minerals for many different jobs, including keeping your bones, muscles, heart, and brain working properly. Minerals are also important for making enzymes and hormones.
There are two kinds of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals. You need larger amounts of macrominerals. They include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur. You only need small amounts of trace minerals. They include iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium.
Most people get the amount of minerals they need by eating a wide variety of foods. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a mineral supplement. People who have certain health problems or take some medicines may need to get less of one of the minerals. For example, people with chronic kidney disease need to limit foods that are high in potassium.
Body Minerals Functions & Mineral Sources
A balanced diet usually provides all of the essential minerals. The two tables below list minerals, what they do in the body (their functions), and their sources in food.
|Sodium||Needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction||Table salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, breads, vegetables, and unprocessed meats|
|Chloride||Needed for proper fluid balance, stomach acid||Table salt, soy sauce; large amounts in processed foods; small amounts in milk, meats, breads, and vegetables|
|Potassium||Needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction||Meats, milk, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes|
|Calcium||Important for healthy bones and teeth; helps muscles relax and contract; important in nerve functioning, blood clotting, blood pressure regulation, immune system health||Milk and milk products; canned fish with bones (salmon, sardines); fortified tofu and fortified soy milk; greens (broccoli, mustard greens); legumes|
|Phosphorus||Important for healthy bones and teeth; found in every cell; part of the system that maintains acid-base balance||Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, processed foods (including soda pop)|
|Magnesium||Found in bones; needed for making protein, muscle contraction, nerve transmission, immune system health||Nuts and seeds; legumes; leafy, green vegetables; seafood; chocolate; artichokes; “hard” drinking water|
|Sulfur||Found in protein molecules||Occurs in foods as part of protein: meats, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, legumes, nuts|
Trace minerals (microminerals)
|Iron||Part of a molecule (haemoglobin) found in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body; needed for energy metabolism||Organ meats; red meats; fish; poultry; shellfish (especially clams); egg yolks; legumes; dried fruits; dark, leafy greens; iron-enriched breads and cereals; and fortified cereals|
|Zinc||Part of many enzymes; needed for making protein and genetic material; has a function in taste perception, wound healing, normal fetal development, production of sperm, normal growth and sexual maturation, immune system health||Meats, fish, poultry, leavened whole grains, vegetables|
|Iodine||Found in thyroid hormone, which helps regulate growth, development, and metabolism||Seafood, foods grown in iodine-rich soil, iodized salt, bread, dairy products|
|Selenium||Antioxidant||Meats, seafood, grains|
|Copper||Part of many enzymes; needed for iron metabolism||Legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, organ meats, drinking water|
|Manganese||Part of many enzymes||Widespread in foods, especially plant foods|
|Fluoride||Involved in formation of bones and teeth; helps prevent tooth decay
|Drinking water (either fluoridated or naturally containing fluoride), fish, and most teas|
|Chromium||Works closely with insulin to regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels||Unrefined foods, especially liver, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, nuts, cheeses|
|Molybdenum||Part of some enzymes||Legumes; breads and grains; leafy greens; leafy, green vegetables; milk; liver|
Other trace nutrients known to be essential in tiny amounts include nickel, silicon, vanadium, and cobalt.
Hormones & Minerals
If certain hormones are dysfunctional in the body this will also affect our bodies ability to utilize calcium. Such as parathyroid, thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones. The parathyroid hormone is primary in regulating the blood calcium levels. The mineralocorticoids produced by the adrenals are very important in regulating minerals, particularly sodium/potassium homeostasis which has a role in calcium homeostasis as well. Women that go through menopause have a much greater risk of bone loss. Estrogen and progesterone need to be in balance at this time to help with osteoplastic activity.
Fatty Acids & Minerals
Appropriate fatty acid intake in the diet is necessary for the calcium to be transported through the cells walls. Fatty acids also help increase the calcium levels in the tissues. Weston Price and Royal Lee talked about the relationship between vitamin D and vitamin F (or fatty acids) through their studies. Vitamin D gets the calcium into the blood, fatty acids get it into the tissue. Without appropriate fatty acids you won’t get calcium into your tissues which is where a larger quantity of our body houses calcium. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium homeostasis and bone health. (if supplementing be sure it’s in the form of D3, not D2)
Hydration & Minerals
Additionally, we need good hydration to ensure that the blood is fluid enough to efficiently transport calcium throughout the body to other tissues. We also need to get balanced electrolytes (electrically charged ions of calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate) to ensure an appropriate transfer of calcium in and out of the cells. This is only the beginning of understanding how just one mineral works within the body. However, they all work synergistically, so it is very important to consume a high quality real food diet based on the properly prepared foods paradigm discovered by Weston A. We need a full spectrum approach to ensure we are getting adequate mineral intake, not just supplementing with some or one or two individual minerals, which will always throw off the mineral balance in the body. Be sure to consume a wide array of fresh real whole foods in season and properly prepared.
Difference between Vitamins & Minerals
Although they are all considered micronutrients, vitamins and minerals differ in basic ways. Vitamins are organic and can be broken down by heat, air, or acid. Minerals are inorganic and hold on to their chemical structure.
So why does this matter? It means the minerals in soil and water easily find their way into your body through the plants, fish, animals, and fluids you consume. But it’s tougher to shuttle vitamins from food and other sources into your body because cooking, storage, and simple exposure to air can inactivate these more fragile compounds.
What is a mineral deficiency?
Minerals are specific kinds of nutrients that your body needs in order to function properly. A mineral deficiency occurs when your body doesn’t obtain or absorb the required amount of a mineral.
The human body requires different amounts of each mineral to stay healthy. Specific needs are outlined in Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA).
The RDA is the average amount that meets the needs of about 97 percent of healthy people. They can be obtained from food, mineral supplements, and food products that have been fortified with extra minerals.
A deficiency often happens slowly over time and can be caused by a number of reasons. An increased need for the mineral, lack of the mineral in the diet, or difficulty absorbing the mineral from food are some of the more common reasons.
Mineral deficiencies can lead to a variety of health problems, such as weak bones, fatigue, or a decreased immune system.
What causes mineral deficiency?
One major cause of mineral deficiency is simply not getting enough essential minerals from food or supplements.
There are different types of diets that might result in this deficiency. A poor diet that relies on junk food, or a diet that lacks adequate fruits and vegetables can be possible causes.
Alternately, a very low-calorie diet may produce this deficiency. This includes people in weight-loss programs or with eating disorders. Older adults with poor appetites may also not get enough calories or nutrients in their diet.
Restricted diets may also cause you to have a mineral deficiency. Vegetarians, vegans, and people with food allergies or lactose intolerance might experience mineral deficiency if they fail to manage their diet effectively.
Difficulty with digestion of food or absorption of nutrients can result in mineral deficiency.
Potential causes of these difficulties include:
- diseases of the liver, gallbladder, intestine, pancreas, or kidney
- surgery of the digestive tract
- chronic alcoholism
- medications such as antacids, antibiotics, laxatives, and diuretics
Mineral deficiency can also result from an increased need for certain minerals. Women, for instance, may encounter this need during pregnancy, heavy menstruation, and post menopause.
What are the symptoms of mineral deficiency?
The symptoms of a mineral deficiency depend upon which nutrient the body lacks. Possible symptoms include:
- constipation, bloating, or abdominal pain
- decreased immune system
- irregular heart beat
- loss of appetite
- muscle cramping
- nausea and vomiting
- numbness or tingling in the extremities
- poor concentration
- slow social or mental development in children
- weakness or tiredness
You may display one or more of these symptoms, and the severity may vary. Some symptoms may be so minor that they go unnoticed and undiagnosed.
Contact your doctor if you experience prolonged fatigue, weakness, or poor concentration. The symptoms may be a sign of a mineral deficiency or another health condition.
About Our Comprehensive Mineral Testing, Blood Test
Note: Fasting is not required for this test.
The Comprehensive Mineral Panel includes testing the blood for 8 minerals and is used to detect deficiencies or overexposure (toxicity) across the mineral spectrum.
This panel includes testing levels of the following 8 minerals costing ₹849.00:
- Electrolyte Panel (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride)
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