Minerals

A basic working knowledge of the main vitamins and minerals used by the human body is useful for therapists and practitioners of a wide variety of treatments and therapies.

Definitions:

Mineral

Chemical element (as opposed to organic compound, as in the case of vitamins) necessary for the health and maintenance of bodily functions.

Macro mineral

Definitions vary slightly from one source to another. Common definitions of macro minerals include:

  1. Minerals found in a typical adult human body in quantities greater than 5g.
  2. Minerals required by a typical adult human body in quantities greater than 100mg per day.

Micro mineral

Definitions vary slightly from one source to another. Common definitions of micro minerals include:

  1. Minerals found in a typical adult human body in quantities less than 5g.
  2. Minerals required by a typical adult human body in quantities of 1mg-100mg per day.

Trace Element

Chemical element (as opposed to an organic compound, e.g. vitamins are not elements - they are compounds) required in minute concentrations for normal bodily development and growth.

There is some overlap between the classification of elements as 'micro minerals' and 'trace elements'. Different textbooks favour one or other category for elements such as copper, manganese, zinc and others. In the case of trace elements, of the two definitions stated above, No.2 (relating to the typical daily requirement) might be the most helpful because according to this definition Trace Elements are described as "minerals required by a typical human body in quantities of less than 1mg per day".

Examples of trace elements include:

  • Fluorine
  • Iodine
  • Cobalt
  • Molybdenum
  • Silicon, and others.

Summary Table

The following table (in alphabetical order within categories) includes basic information about some of the major minerals used by the human body.

Mineral
Functions
Sources
Signs of
Deficiencies
Signs of
Excessive Intake

Macro Minerals:

Calcium (Ca)

Key constituent of bones and teeth

Essential for vital metabolic processes such as nerve function, muscle contraction, and blood clotting

  • Dairy produce

Deficiency (or insufficient uptake) can lead to:

  • Osteomalacia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rickets
  • Tetany

Formation of 'stones' in the body, especially the gall bladder and the kidneys.

Iron (Fe)

Essential for transfer of oxygen between tissues in the body

  • Blood (e.g. 'black pudding')
  • Eggs
  • Green (leafy) vegetables
  • Fortified foods (e.g. cereals, white flour)
  • Liver
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Offal
  • Peas
  • Whole grains

Deficiency can lead to:

  • Anaemia and
  • Increased susceptibility to infections

Long-term excessive intake of iron can lead to:

  • Haemochromatosis or haemosiderosis (involving organ damage), both of which are rare
  • Insufficient calcium and magnesium in the body (because these minerals compete with each other for absorption)
  • Increased susceptibility to infectious diseases

Magnesium (Mg)

Essential for healthy bones

Functioning of of muscle and nerve tissue

Needed for functioning of approx. 90 enzymes

  • Eggs
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fish, esp. shellfish
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Nuts
  • Wholemeal flour

Deficiency can occur gradually, leading to:

The most extreme cases of deficiency may be associated with arrhythmia.

Unusual

Phosphorous (P)

Constituent of bone tissue

Forms compounds needed for energy conversion reactions (e.g. adenosine triphosphate - ATP)

  • Dairy products
  • Fruits (most fruits)
  • Meat
  • Pulses
  • Vegetables (esp.leafy greens)

Insufficient phosphorous can lead to:

Excess phosphorous can interfere with the body's absorption of:

  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • zinc

Potassium (K)

Main base ion of intracellular fluid

Necessary to maintain electrical potentials of the nervous system - and so functioning of muscle and nerve tissues.

  • Cereals
  • Coffee
  • Fresh Fruits
  • Meat
  • Salt-subsitutes
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain flour

Insufficient potassium in the body can lead to:

  • General muscle paralysis
  • Metabolic disturbances

Excessive amounts in the body (whether due to intake or other causes) may lead to:

  • Arrhythmia, and ultimately cardiac arrest ('heart attack')
  • Metabolic disturbances

Sodium (Na)

Controls the volume of extracellular fluid in the body

Maintains the acid-alkali (pH) balance in the body

Necessary to maintain electrical potentials of the nervous system - and so functioning of muscle and nerve tissues.

  • Processed bakery products
  • Processed foods generally (incl. tinned and cured products)
  • Table Salt

Insufficient sodium in the body can lead to:

Excessive amounts in the body (whether due to intake or other causes) can lead to:

  • Hypernatraemia
  • De-hydration (especially in babies)
  • Possible long-term effects may include hypertension

Micro Minerals:

Chromium (Cr)

Involved in the functioning of skeletal muscle

  • Cereals
  • Cheese
  • Fresh fruit
  • Meat
  • Nuts
  • Wholemeal flour

Deficiency may lead to:

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Weakness

Copper (Cu)

Part of the enzyme copper-zince superoxide dismutase (CuZn SOD)

Also present in other enzymes, including cytochrome oxidase, ascorbic acid oxidase, and tyrosinases

Found in the red blood cells, and in blood plasma

  • Cocoa
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Oysters
  • Peas
  • Raisins

Insufficient copper has been associated with:

  • Changes in hair colour and texture and hair loss
  • Disturbances to the nervous system
  • Bone disease

Serious deficiency is rare but can lead to:

  • Menke's syndrome
 

Manganese (Mn)

  • Antioxidant properties
  • Fertility
  • Formation of strong healthy bones, nerves, and muscles
  • Forms part of the enzyme copper-zince superoxide dismutase (CuZn SOD) system
  • Avocados
  • Nuts
  • Pulses
  • Tea
  • Vegetables
  • Whole-grain cereals

Deficiencies are unusual but can lead to:

  • Bone deformities
  • Rashes & skin conditions
  • Reduced hair growth
  • Retarded growth (in children)

Excessive intake has been associated with brain conditions such as symptoms similar to those resulting from Parkinson's disease.

Selenium (Se)

Antioxidant properties (prevents peroxidation of lipids in the cells)

Essential component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase

Contributes to efficiency of the immune system, having a wide variety of protective functions within the body

  • Egg yolk
  • Garlic
  • Seafood
  • Whole-grain flour

Deficiency can lead to:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Kaschin-Beck disease (affects the cartilage at joints)

Excessive intake can lead to selenium poisoning.

Sulphur (S)

Healing build-up of toxic substances in the body

Structural health of the body (sulphur is a part of many amino acids incl. cysteine and methionine)

Healthy skin, nails and hair

  • Beans
  • Beef
  • Cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli)
  • Dairy produce
  • Meat

Deficiency of sulphur is unusual.

 

Zinc (Zn)

Needed for:

  • Functioning of many (over 200) enzyme
  • Strong immune system
  • Dairy produce
  • Egg yolk
  • Liver
  • Red meat
  • Seafood
  • Whole-grain flour

Deficiency is rare but can lead to:

  • Lesions on the skin, oesophagus and cornea
  • Retarded growth (of children)
  • Susceptibility to infection

Excessive intake is not a common problem but especially if zinc supplements are taken over an extended period of time, can reduce the absorption of copper. If applicable, copper supplements might also be appropriate.

See also information about minerals (diet & nutrition), amino acids, dietary fibre and water intake in diet.

In the News:

Food aid distributed to thousands affected by flash floods in Nepal - 25 Aug '17

No significant benefit from routine use of antibiotics for malnourished children - 8 Feb '16

AMA endorses 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines (USA) - 8 Jan '16

Eating peanut during infancy can prevent development of peanut allergy - 24 Feb '15

Food products free of colourings associated with hyperactivity (UK) - 2 Apr '14

Humanitarian supplies reach remote areas of South Sudan - 28 Mar '14

Goats' milk formula not the answer for infants allergic to cows' milk - 27 Mar '14

Updated FDA rules for infant formula to maintain quality standards - 6 Feb '14

Which angel energy will you radiate today ? Choose � and send to all around you �

This is not medical, First Aid or other advice and is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment. Consult an expert in person. Care has been taken when compiling this page but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This material is copyright.

IvyRose Holistic Health 2003-2017.