Minerals, just like vitamins, enable your body to grow and develop healthily. They are the constituents of our bones, teeth, soft tissue, muscle, blood and nerve cells. They act as catalysts for many biological reactions within the human body, including muscle response, the transmission of messages throughout the nervous system, digestion, metabolism and utilisation of nutrients and important in the production of hormones.
Your body cannot make all of the nutrients it needs to function optimally, so you need to eat them. Unfortunately lifestyle choices and a deficiency of minerals in our soil mean we often can’t get enough of what we need through the food we eat.
Stress and hyperactivity can have a major impact on the extent to which our body uses minerals. As these states make our body work in overload, using up our minerals faster. Different types of diets also might result in a mineral 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 on weight-loss programs or with eating disorders. Older adults with poor appetites may also not get enough calories or nutrients in their diet.
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 also result in 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
- splitting nails or hair falling out
- problems sleeping
- irregular heart beat
- loss of appetite
- muscle cramping, twitches
- numbness or tingling in the extremities
- poor concentration
Different minerals have different actions in our body: so, unless you have a specific condition that you are trying to support or know that you are lacking in a specific mineral, it can be worthwhile taking a full mineral supplement, especially since most minerals work best in conjunction with other minerals.
Here are some of the more well-known minerals and the role that they play in our body:
Calcium for growth, bones, teeth, clotting of blood, nerve and muscle response, proper heart action
Magnesium maintains the nervous system, prevents cramping and muscles spasms
Zinc repairs wounds, immune system function, prostate function, and reproductive organs
Iron is essential in the formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells, bone formation, healing, skin and hair pigmentation and protein metabolism
Copper helps red blood cells utilise iron, is part of many enzymes, works with vitamin C to form elastin
Potassium maintains fluid and mineral balance, helps nerves & muscles and is essential for heart function
Selenium is an antioxidant and helps maintain healthy muscles, red blood cells
Chromium works with insulin to help keep blood sugar levels steady, increases effectiveness of insulin
Molybdenum plays a part in preventing anaemia, found in tooth enamel, important in the prevention of dental caries
Iodine an essential part of the hormone Thyroxine, regulates production of energy & rate of metabolism
L-Glutamic Acid (HCL) metabolises sugars & fats, is the only compound used for Brain Fuel
Boron is important for the uptake of calcium and other minerals into skeletal tissue
The great news is we can top up a deficient mineral using a variety of easy to take supplements.
We take a look at some of the popular options below