Most of us don’t know much about minerals. We know that bottled water has added minerals “for taste.” We know dirt is filled with the stuff. We know our multi-vitamins have them, but what are these things anyway?
What are minerals?
Minerals are substances used by our bodies to help with several functions. There are two types of minerals: major minerals and trace minerals.
- Calcium: Promotes weight loss, aids in normal cardiac function, helps prevent kidney stones, and helps to balance body pH levels.
- Chloride: Needed for proper fluid balance and stomach acid.
- Magnesium: Aids and regulates the body’s use of calcium and other minerals, assists in bone and teeth formation, regulates the metabolism of nutrients, and assists in energy production.
- Phosphorus: Important for healthy bones and teeth.
- Potassium: Type of electrolyte, helps your nerves function and muscles contract, and helps your heartbeat stay regular.
- Sodium: Needed for proper fluid balance, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.
- Sulfur: Found in protein molecules.
- Chromium: Known to enhance the action of insulin, a hormone critical to the metabolism and storage of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in the body.
- Copper: Enables the body to form red blood cells, helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function.
- Fluoride: Involved in the formation of bones and teeth, and helps prevent tooth decay.
- Iodine: The body needs iodine to make thyroid hormones. These hormones control the body’s metabolism and many other important functions.
- Iron: Part of the hemoglobin molecule found in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the body. Needed for energy metabolism.
- Manganese: Contributes to antioxidant function, increases metabolism, and is essential for healthy bones. Can also improve wound healing.
- Molybdenum: Aids in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
- Selenium: Increased antioxidant protection and immune system support.
- Zinc: Plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, DNA synthesis, and cell division.
How do minerals work?
Minerals work a bit differently and more or less effectively depending on the source and chemical form of the mineral, and your age, sex, and weight.
Wondering what the chemical form of a mineral has to do with anything? Let’s look at this example: The bioavailability of iron from plant sources is poor compared to iron from meat. However, bioavailability is increased when vitamin C is consumed with the meal because vitamin C changes the plant iron into a more bioavailable chemical form.
Some of the foods you eat can also contain substances that reduce bioavailability.
Phytate, a substance found in some bread products can bind and reduce absorption rates of calcium, iron, and zinc.
Nitrates found in processed meat like hot dogs can hurt iodine absorption.
Oxalate found in some vegetables like spinach, binds calcium, making it impossible to absor.
Why do I need minerals?
As you saw in the list earlier in the article, all minerals play a role in our health.
There are some people that are in extra need of minerals. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey
Some men are not getting enough potassium, magnesium, or zinc. Some women are not getting enough iron, calcium, copper, or iodine.
Most people don’t show signs of mineral deficiencies but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re getting enough.
Teenage girls, women of childbearing age and some vegans and vegetarians are at a higher risk for low iron status, which could lead to iron deficiency anemia. Lack of calcium can lead to bone problems for teens and women.
Where do I find minerals?
You can find minerals in almost anything you eat, but, as stated earlier, whether your body absorbs all those minerals is a different story.
In order to absorb the most minerals, you need to make sure you’re getting them from the best sources. If you eat a lot of hot dogs and lunch meat, you’re not going to get enough.
If you want to make sure you’re getting all the minerals you need, it doesn’t hurt to take a mineral supplement. Our product, [Balance] contains mineral supplements to ensure you receive these essential nutrients.
Buy [Balance] here.
Healthwise Staff. Minerals: Their Functions and Sources | Michigan Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ta3912
Minerals and trace elements – British Nutrition Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/minerals-and-trace-elements.html