Minerals, like vitamins, are essential to good health. Calcium and zinc, for example, are essential for bone growth and immune system support. Calcium plays an important role in everything from our bones to our cell membranes, while zinc promotes wound healing and supports the immune system. Unfortunately, it has become more difficult to get enough minerals simply from the food we eat.
Minerals are naturally occurring elements found in rock formations. As erosion gradually breaks down the rock and stone through a process that can take millions of years, the resulting dust and sand forms the basis of soil which in turn passes these minerals to plants. Our bodies obtain these minerals by consuming plants. However, modern agricultural and food preparation practices rob our food of many of their life-giving nutrients, especially minerals.
Having moved away from nature’s cycle, in which animals consume plants and then return minerals to the soil through excretion and death, minerals are now ending up in the sea or landfill sites instead of back in the soil. The modern flush toilet, monoculture and long-range transportation of produce are but a few of the factors exacerbating this situation. Under ideal circumstances plants typically absorb some 70-80 different minerals from the soil: the number being returned by farmers can now often be counted on the fingers of one hand.
For this reason crops are now often grown in depleted soils; in fact, most American farmland is severely depleted of selenium and often contains only marginal levels of zinc, magnesium , calcium and other minerals. Once harvested, the food is often stored for long periods and then processed into bread or other refined products. All of these practices strip foods of their essential vitamins and minerals.
One example is the milling of grains, such as wheat, where great nutritional losses occur. When wheat is processed into white flour, many minerals are lost including 59% of magnesium and 72% of zinc. More than 70% of other essential trace minerals such as manganese, boron, chromium and selenium also are lost. Purchasing whole grain foods that are organically grown and as minimally processed as possible are steps in the right direction. Many feel that mineral supplementation has become a requirement of modern living.
This is due, in part, to the high-stress lifestyles that most of us lead. Studies have shown that stress depletes our bodies of vitamins and minerals. If the food we eat isn’t supplying us with enough minerals to begin with and then our stressful lifestyles destroy more nutrients – we end up deficient. Mineral deficiency can take the form of everything from a lowered immunity – causing frequent colds and flu – to muscle cramps, slow wound healing and fatigue.
Taking mineral supplements requires knowledge and caution, since once minerals enter the body, they compete with one another for absorption. For example, too much zinc can deplete the body of copper, while excessive calcium intake can affect magnesium absorption. Supplemental minerals should always be taken in balanced amounts and under an expert’s guidance.
A good multi-mineral product may provide actual benefit or at least provide insurance value against unknown deficiencies. For example, there is a 2% likelihood of falling outside of the bell-shaped curve for a particular nutrient (if the RDA is based on the amount of a specific nutrient intake that is required to prevent disease in 98% of the population). In other words, a person doesn’t know if they have a higher requirement than average, but there is a 2% chance of being deficient for that one nutrient. For 2 nutrients it would be 4%…and for 40 nutrients it would be 80%. So, with an average unsupplemented diet, there may be an 80% chance of anyone not getting enough of a particular nutrient, and not know which one or ones it could be. A good multiple is cheap insurance against this likely event.
Multiple Mineral Supplementation can help with the following
See the link between Senior Issues and Multiple Vitamin Supplement.
See the link between Diabetes and Multiple Vitamin Supplement.
|May do some good|
|Likely to help|
Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.
The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.
An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.
A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.
An essential element involved primarily in enzymes that are antioxidants. Three selenium- containing enzymes are antioxidant peroxidases and a fourth selenium-containing enzyme is involved in thyroid hormone production. The prostate contains a selenium-containing protein and semen contains relatively large amounts of selenium. Clinical studies show that selenium is important in lowering the risk of several types of cancers. In combination with Vitamin E, selenium aids the production of antibodies and helps maintain a healthy heart. It also aids in the function of the pancreas, provides elasticity to tissues and helps cells defend themselves against damage from oxidation.
An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.
An essential mineral found in trace amounts in tissues of the body. Adults normally contain an average of 10 to 20mg of manganese in their bodies, most of which is contained in bone, the liver and the kidneys. Manganese is essential to several critical enzymes necessary for energy production, bone and blood formation, nerve function and protein metabolism. It is involved in the metabolism of fats and glucose, the production of cholesterol and it allows the body to use thiamine and Vitamin E. It is also involved in the building and degrading of proteins and nucleic acid, biogenic amine metabolism, which involves the transmitting of nerve impulses.
A mineral that may play a role in maintaining strong bones, affecting calcium and magnesium metabolism and proper membrane function.
Chromium is a mineral that becomes a part of the glucose tolerance factor (GTF). Chromium aids in insulin utilization and blood sugar control. By controlling blood sugar, chromium helps prevent the damage caused by glucose, which is called glycation. Chromium helps maintain normal cholesterol levels and improves high-density lipoprotein levels. Chromium is also important in building muscle and reducing obesity.
An essential mineral that is a component of several important enzymes in the body and is essential to good health. Copper is found in all body tissues. Copper deficiency leads to a variety of abnormalities, including anemia, skeletal defects, degeneration of the nervous system, reproductive failure, pronounced cardiovascular lesions, elevated blood cholesterol, impaired immunity and defects in the pigmentation and structure of hair. Copper is involved in iron incorporation into hemoglobin. It is also involved with vitamin C in the formation of collagen and the proper functioning in central nervous system. More than a dozen enzymes have been found to contain copper. The best studied are superoxide dismutase (SOD), cytochrome C oxidase, catalase, dopamine hydroxylase, uricase, tryptophan dioxygenase, lecithinase and other monoamine and diamine oxidases.
Recommended Daily Allowance of vitamins or other nutrients as determined by the FDA. U.S. RDAs are more widely used than RDAs, and focus on 3 age groups: Infants of 0-12 months; Children of 1-4 years; Adults and children of more than 4 years.